Question on wiring a 240 volt Sauna Heater?


O.K. Heres my problem. Previously, I had a 240 volt hot tub with a 50 amp Double pole GFCI. Recently replaced hottub with a 240v sauna. Now, according to the wiring schematic. I need one 240v line hooked up to power the three heating elements.
Unfortunately, the power coming off the GFCI seems to be on 110v ( 2 lines 110v each = 220v). This is a four wire hookup ( black, red, white, ground). It seems that I need a 3 wire hookup for the sauna ( black, white, ground). However, no matter how I wire this sauna heater, I seem to be only getting 110v to the elements.
Went to local hardware store and bought a 40 amp 120/240 v SINGLE pole breaker was told that that the breaker should recognize whether the appliance needs either 110v or 240 v and would give accordingly. Unfortunately, when only hooking up, I still only receive 110 v to the heater according to both my multimeter and a simple circuit tester. Out of the 4 wire going to the sauna, I only hooked up black, white, and ground, and just left the red dangling.
Am I missing something here? Is it possible to force 240v out of single wire hookup? If so, how? Thanks.
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wrote:

Don't use the white wire from your spa GFCI. 240v should be using two blacks or a black and a red depending on which style wire they used..
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Your original GFCI should work OK, so hook up red and black to the terminals. Of course you can't 'force' 240 V where it doesn't exist..Recheck your sauna wiring diagram to make sure you don't need 120V for the controls. If so, the neutral must be present at the heaters controls. HTh
Joe
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hdivr wrote:

In simple terms, the 240 volt circuit is two 120 volt circuits with respect to the white neutral wire. Connect the breakers as they were originally and measure between the red and black leads. You should get 240 volts.
Unless you want to risk electrocution in your new sauna, you should entrust the installation to someone more familiar with 240 volt wiring, or study references more thorough and trustworthy than Usenet.
This marginal advice is presented without any warranty, expressed or implied.
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Yes, if I test between the black and red they will show 240v. However, doesn't that mean that each element is only being powered by 110v? The schematic on the heater is different than the instruction manual. On the heater, it shows a single L1 line (240v) that powers the entire heater and that all three elements are "jumpered" with a metal clip. However in the manual, they show both a L1 and L2 wire hooked up seperately to different elements and the third element doesn't appear to be hooked up. (I can jumper the third element to the second, but when checking with my multimeter, it only shows 110v being directed to each element (with the end of the tester being held to ground.
Am I reading this wrong? Should I only be reading the multimeter and tester across the two terminals to get 240v and not reading each Line against grounding to bare metal?
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Who knows what exactly you are looking at. When the install manula is unclear and you don't know what you're doing, I'd suggest following the previous poster's advice and getting an electrician or someone to do it who knows what they are doing.
Should I only be reading the multimeter and

Yes. You get 240V between the two out of phase hots and 120V between each of them and neutral or ground.
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hdivr wrote:

If the heater element is for 240V, they should be parallel connected between L1 and L2 where your 240V goes.
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Tony: This guy/gal doesn't understand enough to parallel or series connect the heater elements as required. It's one of these "The red goes here and the black goes there ........ " situations without the person really understanding what's going on.
Recommend being careful about giving advice such cases.
For example; the heaters elements MAY be for 230 volts 'each'. On other hand each element may be for 115 volt and it may be 'possible' to connected them for 230 volts by wiring them in series.
Even if the OP was to quote the model number or scan the connection diagram and post it somewhere we are still, by replying, assuming the info is correct.
If it's only small sauna unit a 50 amp beaker may be too big? Fifty amps at 230 is 11.5 kilowatts. However if it did consume the full 50 amps, which is doubtful, at full blast that could be an electricity cost of $1.50 per hour?
One last point; the OP's mention of a third, possibly unconnected element may raise the possibility of three phase? That makes it sound like a fairly 'heavy' unit. It doesn't necessarily mean he has to connect up the third element but does raise yet another question. A competent electrician would probably sort it out (previously sight unseen) in less than hour! The OP has already bought a seemingly incorrect 'Single-pole' circuit breaker and is liable to do something else wrong?
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hdivr wrote:

Your red and black are 110v each for a total of 220v. Your neutral will provide 110v for what ever. Your Green ground is for safety ground. You need all 4 wires. Black and red from the breaker, white from the neutral bar and ground from the ground bar in the panel.
--
Blattus Slafaly ? 3 :) 7/8

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Usually these things come with terminals for power connection, and control connection. It sounds like you're looking at an internal wiring schematic
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Thanks to all replies. Hooked it up and finally got it checked out.
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Geez. Get someone who knows what they are doing before somebody gets electrocuted! Also check your insurance policy a) Home insurance; property and personal liability, in case something catches fire or is not grounded correctly. b) Personal life insurance in case you are not around!
Making a lot of assumptions; if the previous installation had a 50 amp double pole breaker the previous (existing) wiring is adequate for the new item?
Without seeing the hook up diagram hard to tell if the new unit needs all three wires Red, black, white AND GROUND. Or it works with only Red and black AND GROUND.
The hardware person either does not know waht they are talking about or you misunderstood! 230 volt appliances (using typical North American domestic wiring) use red and black PLUS GROUND and some case also need the white neutral wire.
See paragraph one; get some help before you blow something inside the new unit that operates on 115 volts by connecting it inadvertently to 230 volts.
We had to replace the electronic temperature control for a commercial 230 volt fryer and the thermostat unit smaller than a cigarette pack cost a couple of hundred dollars.
It also may appear that you do not have the means or the knowledge how to test (safely) for 230 volts?
Also btw in the case of sauna and spas etc. is it a code requirement that metal plumbing etc. MUST BE BONDED to the electrical grounds? May need to check codes in your jurisdiction.
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