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In wall electrical cable touching hot water line

Resently had a water heater leak and had wall damage. Noticed during the wall rebuilting that an electical line (in the wall) is running across a copper hot wafer line (in the wall) coming from the hot wafer heater. Is there an issue if the electrical cable is touching the hot water line coming from a water heater? Is it safe?

Re: In wall electrical cable touching hot water line

It's not such a great idea that they touch, so separate them if you can, by placing a piece of wood between them.

The hot water line carries water with a temp of 105-125 F, and it shouldn't touch any electrical wires, even though they are insulated.

Re: In wall electrical cable touching hot water line

The insulation on most wiring installed since about 1985 is rated for at least 90 degrees celsius, or about 194F. Wiring installed before then is likely rated at 60 celcius, or 140F. So unless your water is very, very hot or you have older wiring, it should be safe so long as the insulation remains intact.

However, it's probably not a good idea. Nearly all plastics can withstand a high temperature for a short period of time. Plastics do become more brittle with age as the VOCs evaporate out of them; heat hastens the process. Prolonged heat can significantly shorten the life of a plastic.

Re: In wall electrical cable touching hot water line

Isaac, you said the wire crossed the water line not ran alongside of it. Depending how close it was to the water heater and the temperature setting of your water heater could make all the difference.

I suppose the wall is now closed up so if you can remember if the pipe was too hot to touch (when hot water was flowing) you might want to: 1) reopen the wall and separate the pipe and the wire or 2) lower the thermostat setting of your WH to 110 or 120 deg.

This will also lower your power bill but maybe make you wife mad if the dishwasher leaves spots and you run out of hot water in the shower. Lifes a tradeoff!

Good Luck from Columbiana, Alabama
Maurice Turgeon, http://thesemi-retiredelectrician.com

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