Why does the boiler get an electric shock from tap water? Causes and solutions to the problem


Few houses or apartments will not have a boiler in the bathroom. It's practical and convenient; there's no need to wait for hot water in a kettle or pan on the stove. However, it is necessary to become familiar with the problems of the device in advance, and not as they arise. For those who have already encountered the problem or want to know the solution now, we have prepared an answer to a frequently asked question: what are the reasons for the boiler to shock through water? The problem is quite strange to hear, but very popular.

Causes of electrical leakage in a water heater

Believe it or not, the classic “neighbors are stealing electricity again” will not apply here. The situation is quite common and requires intervention in the water heating system itself or in related elements.

The first thing we do when the water begins to shock is to turn off the power to the device, wipe our hands with dry towels and call an electrician if we cannot figure out the situation ourselves. If you do not have knowledge in the field of electricity or are simply afraid to touch a faulty device, do not do anything so as not to complicate the situation for a specialist. But for a knowledgeable person or master, information is needed about how the boiler generates electricity. You need to look for the problem in two places:

  1. the boiler is electrocuted by the water heater,
  2. the boiler produces an electric current through the water.

When current is transmitted through water, the sensation occurs instantly. And if the problem is inside the device itself, then identifying it is not so easy. Let's look at everything in order.

Preventive measures

If the water is hard, you should install a filter.
After installing the water heater, you should not forget about its maintenance. To prevent the internal spiral from being exposed for contact of electricity with water, you need to remember the hardness of the tap fluid. The volume of impurities and rust is reduced by installing filters or several modules to organize a cleaning system.

Precautionary measures:

  • Water heaters are powered from a separate main with a separate automatic circuit breaker.
  • Check the wiring connection to the boiler (each wire is connected by three wires to the corresponding contacts of the panel).
  • Remove the tank in a timely manner to descale it.
  • Regularly inspect the wiring and install a protective disconnect device.

The RCD immediately de-energizes the unit if a voltage leak occurs. The device will not replace grounding, but will prevent electric shock in a fraction of a second.

Why does tap water give me an electric shock?


We assure you right away that this problem does not affect the operation of most devices and does not harm humans. Therefore, do not be afraid to install the device after a problem occurs or after reading this article. Even the manufacturer took into account all the points, so if the boiler gives an electric shock, it does not harm anyone.

So, if you feel that the water from the boiler is electrifying while taking a bath, shower, or when you simply open the tap, then you need to immediately look for the problem. There are several of them:

Incorrect installation. Characterized by the incompetence of the technician installing the boiler. However, this can arise not only due to “crooked hands”, but also when using low-quality components. For example, the cheapest wires were purchased, or the cross-section was damaged. If the problem of the boiler, which generates current through the tap, looks like just poorly connected wires, turn off the power and use a screwdriver to firmly secure the bundle of wires together.

Damage to the heating element. All equipment requires additional maintenance and replacement of components. Don’t think that you installed the device for at least 10 years and forgot about it. This attitude will one day come back to haunt you, and in a very unpleasant way. This is especially true for those houses where hard water flows from the tap, creating a lot of scale (you can track it by the kettle: if there is a lot of rust and red scale, then this is your situation). The heater gradually loses its protective mechanisms and shells, beginning to come into contact with current. This is the reason why the water heater emits current through the water. You can get rid of the problem like this:

  1. Turn off the boiler.
  2. Drain the water and turn off the taps.
  3. Remove the cover of the device and find the heating element.
  4. Remove the old one and replace it with another one. It is advisable that the part be from the same manufacturer as the equipment.

As you can see, there is nothing supernatural in setting up the device, you just need a little patience and effort. But still, you shouldn’t refuse the services of an electrician.

Improper fastening of the electrical part of the boiler can also cause the water heater to discharge current through the water. It’s not at all difficult to get confused about where “zero” is and where “grounding” is, even for a professional. To eliminate the problem that the boiler is electrocuted through water, it is necessary to reverse the wiring connections. Basically, the grounding cable is yellow-green in color. After installation, check the entire system for the problem. If nothing has changed, return the wires to their places and look for the problem in another area.

RCD installation

Residual current device
The conscientious technician whom you called to install a water heating boiler will definitely advise you to install an RCD (residual current device). This is a small device that is placed directly into the panel and is responsible for ensuring that your boiler does not shock you. That is, if problems arise, it will simply turn off the electricity supply, which will save you from troubles and the boiler from more severe breakdowns. Installing an RCD does not take very much time and does not take a lot of money, but the device is very useful, and in matters related to electricity, there is no need to waste time on trifles or even save money.

These are all the reasons why a water heating device may not work correctly, causing its owners tangible troubles on the skin. We also told you what to do in these cases and how to eliminate them. I would like to remind you of only one thing: electricity and water are a very dangerous connection and if you do not have the skills to work with them, it is better to call an electrician.

Water flows from the water heater

In this situation, it all depends on the location of the fault:

  1. Poor grounding. This design is responsible not only for the safety of all electronics, but also for saving electricity consumption. Believe it or not, even less scale will appear! Therefore, we look for grounding (if there is one) and correct it. Well, or install it (how did you even live without it?).
  2. Damage to the inside of the boiler. What to do in a situation where the boiler is electrocuted? Just call a specialist. You can dig into every bolt yourself, at least until next year.

Boiler repair

If the heating element cannot be repaired, it is replaced with a new one.

Operating procedure:

  • The unit is disconnected from power.
  • The boiler is removed from the wall.
  • Remove the bottom panel and record the schematic arrangement of wires and contacts.
  • Disconnect the conductors and remove the heater and base.
  • If cleaning is possible, get rid of scale.
  • If a layer of deposits has damaged the metal, replace the element.

The parameters of the new heating element must correspond to the previous one. The location of the magnesium anode is taken into account.

If you need to install grounding for normal operation, organize a circuit . In a private house, this is a metal triangle, the corners of which are equipped with pins for driving into the ground. The side size varies from 1.0 to 3.0 m.

Weld the contour from the corner, connect it on the sides with a corner or strip. A trench is dug from one corner to the house panel to connect the entrance to the house with the grounding loop. In the apartment, the connection occurs through the neutral core. This wire goes from the panel to each outlet.

All power receivers must have an additional contact for connection to the grounding conductor.

Prevention of new breakdowns

In order to avoid recurrence of problems, protect against electric shock and extend the service life of the water heater, it is necessary to carry out a number of preventive measures:

  1. Regularly clean the boiler tank from scale formation. This procedure will significantly improve the performance characteristics of the heating element and reduce the likelihood of new breakdowns.
  2. Install an RCD. The device detects all leaks and automatically disconnects the water heater from the power supply, protecting the owner from electric shock.
  3. Carry out a routine inspection of the wiring for damage and contamination.

Residual current device

To protect yourself and prevent emergency situations from occurring, you should install a special residual current device, or RCD. This small-sized device is installed in a special panel. The RCD is responsible for ensuring that the boiler does not give an electric shock. If problems occur, the device will simply disconnect the boiler from electricity.

  • protects the boiler from breakdowns by de-energizing it at the slightest threat;
  • permanent protection against electric shock;
  • installation of the device will not take much time;
  • does not require large financial investments.

Residual current device

To be sure of your safety and the safety of your loved ones, it is important:

  • choose a high-quality computer from a trusted manufacturer in a licensed store;
  • if difficulties arise with installation or it is impossible to cope with this task on your own, it is better to call a specialist who will install the electric heating element;
  • take care of installing special protective shutdown devices.

Troubleshooting Electrical Wiring Problems

For owners of private housing construction, in cases of current leakage, attention should be paid to the grounding device. For proper grounding, you need to prepare a small recess and install metal pins in the form of an equilateral triangle.

After this, a wire responsible for grounding should be attached to one of the pins. For strong fastening, the wire is pulled to the pin using a screw. In addition, you need to make sure that the washing machine and other appliances are used in accordance with their intended purpose.

The serviceability of the devices is checked as follows:

Main process

Instructions for connecting the boiler to the electrical network will be provided from the point when the entire heating system is connected to the installation site of the unit. All that remains for you is to hang the water heater on the wall and connect it to the power supply.

Wall mount

Let's consider a more complex option when installing a storage type boiler will be used, because... installation of a walk-through water heater is less labor-intensive (due to the lighter weight and dimensions of the product). First you need to mark the wall in accordance with the placement of the fasteners. To do this, measure the distance required to install the mounting ears and transfer it to the wall. Be sure to use a building level so that the ears are placed strictly horizontally.

Any misalignment will affect the performance of the unit, and therefore its service life and efficiency of use. The tank must be placed perfectly level in both horizontal and vertical planes.

After marking, take a drill, drill holes in the wall and drive dowels into them. Next, we screw the anchor hooks into them and hang the boiler on the wall, as shown in the photo below.

Don't worry about decorative wall decoration. Even if renovations have already been made in the apartment, with careful installation you will not damage the surface. You can also see detailed instructions for installing and connecting a wall-mounted boiler in the video example:

How to install a water heater on a wall

Connecting wires

Once the water heater is securely mounted on the wall, you will need to install the electrical wiring to it yourself. Let's consider two existing options for connecting wiring from the meter.

Option 1 - Powered from a wall outlet

This option is used if the unit power does not exceed 3.5 kW. In this case, it is necessary to connect the socket to the place where the boiler is connected to the electrical network, as shown in the diagram above. The minimum cable cross-section should be 2.5 mm2. (copper conductors). It is recommended to calculate the cable cross-section in advance so that it can withstand the resulting loads.

Option 2 - Power from the shield

If you purchased a device with a power of more than 3.5 kW, it is prohibited to use power from the outlet, because it simply will not withstand such a load. In this case, it is necessary to connect the cable to the water heater directly from the electrical distribution panel installed in the apartment or house.

Please note that the boiler can be connected to a single-phase network if its power is no more than 4 kW. If the rated power is higher, the network must be three-phase (voltage 380 Volts)

After you decide on how to connect the boiler to electricity, you need to power the device yourself and move on to the next step. The video below discusses various water heater connection diagrams:

Electrical installation diagrams

Setting up protection

Since when creating a heating system you will be dealing with powerful equipment, as well as the close location of water and current, you need to take care of protecting the boiler and yourself.

First of all, you need to connect the RCD and circuit breaker to the line that will serve the unit. If the power will be supplied from an outlet, it is recommended to install protective equipment on the distribution panel. In the event that the power will come directly from the shield, the protection devices must be located near the object itself so that it can be conveniently and safely serviced. Do not forget that when placing RCDs and AVs close together, it is necessary to ensure that the devices are protected from moisture. To do this, it is recommended to place the products in a sealed box.

In a 220 V network, it is necessary to connect the electric boiler through a two-pole circuit breaker

Remember an important rule - the automation is installed with the upper connection of the input phase and zero

First start

When all electrical installation work is completed, you should proceed to starting up the equipment. The first step is to check all connections of wires and pipes for integrity and tightness. If no abnormalities are detected, you can proceed to turn on the power supply. To do this, first open the valves on the pipes (cold and hot circuit), after which you can turn on the machine and the RCD. We strongly recommend watching the video instructions, which clearly explain the entire process:

Video lesson: connecting an electric boiler to the network and pipeline


Body punches

Such a malfunction is much more dangerous than electrified water. If there is even the slightest suspicion that the housing has become electrified and it has begun to give an electric shock, then you must immediately unplug the water heater from the outlet and call a technician to repair the device. It is quite dangerous to solve such a problem on your own.

Note! Most often, an electric shock through the body occurs due to poor grounding or serious damage to some part inside the boiler.

In both cases, only a specialist can establish the exact cause of what happened.

The lack of grounding in a room is the source of many troubles, because according to all operating rules, any electrical devices must be grounded. A familiar electrician or a person who knows well how best to do grounding in this particular case will help eliminate this trouble. Sometimes, instead of grounding, you can ground it using a suitable cable, which will also solve the problem.

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