Image source: The Straits Times, ‘Improper heater wiring caused boy’s death while showering‘
The improper installation and wiring of a water heater is one of the factors that can lead up to an electrocution. The 2016 electrocution was caused by two main issues as described below:
1. Do not use a 13A 3-pin plug
A 3-pin plug usually has a power rating of 13A, that is insufficient for a high wattage appliance. You need at least a 15A power source for a water heater. Using a 13A socket may cause your wires to overheat, melt and fuse together, leading to a short circuit.
In newer houses, a 15/20A front flex outlet is already provided for you. Connect your water heater wire directly to this. In older HDB estates, connect the water heater wire to a ceiling rose instead. If you are living in private housing, you may have an outdoor connection unit, which is called the ‘isolator’. Refer to images below for a description of all parts.
2. Secure wires properly so they do not melt into each other
Image source: How-To Geek, ‘Fixing damaged or broken cables’
Some contractors join wires and secure them with tape. This results in a neat looking wire finish but manual wire joining with tape creates higher areas of resistance and overheating. This results in higher chances of wires fusing together and causing a short circuit.
A better solution for joining wires is using a closed end wire connector. These wire connectors do not look as neat but they are more resistant to melting and fusing. They are also safer and more durable.
Like taped wires, wire connectors are usually left exposed. This is 100% safe. The wires are usually run to an area that is hidden and out of sight.
3. Check your circuit board for faults
Image source: The Straits Times, ‘Circuit breaker can save you from electrocution’
Test your own circuit board at home. You can do a manual trip test every few months by pressing the ‘test’ button on the board. This will activate the trip, which means your earth leakage circuit breaker (ELCB) is working well. Ensure your appliances are powered off before you do this.
4. Safety maintenance for water heaters
Like your air-conditioner, it is also good practice to do regular safety maintenance checks on your water heaters after you have used it for over 3 years.
The authorities (Enterprise Singapore) have recently released a circular on 24 September 2018 advising consumers to have their water heaters serviced periodically by a qualified service technician.
For more information:
Email us at [email protected] for the latest water heater maintenance checklist. This list is continually updated in accordance with the latest circulars from Enterprise Singapore.
If you are an existing A. O. Smith water heater user, click here for a special offer for a safety maintenance session. You will be required to register for the offer using your mobile number. Offer valid till December 2018.