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Commercial Hot Water Heater Not Working After 14 Years

Question: I am the superintendent in a 20 unit condo building. Recently, the commercial water heater stopped working. It was about 14 years old. I had a new one installed, but the transformer on the unit immediately experienced a malfunction and it stopped working as well. Do you think it's possible there is something wrong with the electrical in the building?

Answer: First of all, having the unit last 14 years is really darn good. Most of the time, you'll be lucky to get five years out of a commercial unit, let alone 10 or 14 years. So your unit has had an excellent life.

In terms of the electrical concerns, the building would have had to get a permit in order to get the commercial water heater installed originally.  So, the same electrical wiring would still be in place prior to 14 years ago when you had the wiring checked out, and the permit drawn up. If you don't have a permit, you could be in big trouble. So you should have one. If not you had better get one.

If nothing has been changed with the wiring in the last 14 years, then you can rule out the possibility of it being a wiring problem. Likely the best course of action is to get the transformer replaced, by the company you purchased the new hot water heater from. It would be covered under a warranty for minimum of first 30 days. The company will replace the transformer for you and everything should be OK after that.

If you have the transformer blow again, or something else blow, you do have a wiring problem. In this case, have a professional electrician come on site to take a look at the problem.

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