Electric water heater question


I recently had to replace a large 85 gallon electric water heater. The orginal one, circa 1982 was being used on an off peak electric meter. The lower element was wired to the off peak circuit, activated from 11:00 PM to 6:00 AM by the meter. The top element cycled as usual during the day.
When I got a replacement 85 gallon heater, I was unable to wire the elements separately.
The original heater had four wires, two for each element, coming to the top junction plate. The new heater had only 2 wires going to the upper thermostat, which, of course, acts as the primarly switching device for both upper/lower elements.
Another pair of wires could not be fished to the bottom element due to the foam in place insulation between the tank and the metal jacket of the new heater.
After checking with an electrician friend of mine, he sez that they no longer make heaters like my old unit.Thus I had to wire the new unit sans the off peak feature.
Is my electrician friend correct? OR are new water heaters available that allow the elements to be wired separately????
tnx,
Doug
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grainger catalog turn to page 3625 item 6E025 at http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/wwg/catalogPDF.shtml
Doug wrote:

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wrote:

Thanks for the info. The specs for that Marathon heater do say that since all wiring is in conduit, it can be converted for off peak seage.
However, my local Grainger store didn't have it in stock. If I had wanted one, it would take about a week for shipping. I had a leaking heater and needed a local suppy FAST.
However, next time I'll check into that.
Doug
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wrote:

You just need too find the wire from the top thermostat to the bottom one and wire a switch leg through your off peak equipment to that.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Yep, and if you can't bring the new leads down from the top of the tank because of that foam insulation, I don't see why you couldn't use a hole saw to make an appropriate size opening adjacent to the lower thermostat's cover plate. You could install a standard cable clamp there for that feed from the off peak meter.
I'm presuming your heater DOES have a lower thermostat and cover plate, but the way they're cutting back on stuff fer all I know they've figgered out how to get by without 'em already. <G>
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia
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On Tue, 27 Jun 2006 14:08:10 -0400, Jeff Wisnia

You don't need to get to the bottom thermostst. Just use the wire that is already going there from the top thermostat. Connect one side of your switch leg to the thermostat terminal where the wire to the bottom was connected and wirenut the other side of the switch leg to the wire going down. You have basically "or"ed the peak load device with the feed to the bottom thermostat.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

If I were you, I would just wire the heater as it is (both upper and lower lements together) to the off peak service. Unless you use lots of water, you will have plenty to get through the peak time and this will save you money. I run my water heat on off peak only.
Mark
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Nope, no can do. This is a good size single family house being rented to tenants. It would be kind of hard to explain to the tenants that if they run out of water, they are going to have to wait until late night....
Doug
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On Tue, 27 Jun 2006 17:04:58 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Unless I drill a hole near the top thermostat, as another poster said, your idea won't work.
I was easily able to identify the wire on the top thermostat that feeds the lower element. The trouble is getting to it withing drilling the case.
I'd have to leave the top cover plate off (code violation) or drill a hole - probably voiding the warranty.
I can't fish a wire down from the top junction box to the upper thermostat due to the foam insulation.
Doug
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Doug wrote:

If you carefully twist and solder new wire onto the existing wire to the lower thermostat in all probability you can use the existing wire to pull the new wire into place. It's foam insulation, not cement.
Pete C.
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wrote:

Doubtful... The foam used is very gluelike. It's probably the same as the adhesvie expanding spray foam sold in cans. Everything is basically glued in place. Breaking the wires loose that go from the top junction box, under the top cover of the heater and down the sides seems nearly impossible. Hey, I didn't want this to turn into a 12 hour installation....
Doug
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wrote:

Can you just drill the foam with a stiff piece of wire? Pull stranded back
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On Wed, 28 Jun 2006 20:26:22 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

It's kind of hard to drill around corners, from the top junction plate, across the top of the heater, down the side.
Doug
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