Can I have help finding a Wi-Fi controlled ON/OFF Timer for my water heater's recirculator pump?

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Jeff Handy

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In flat lamp cord, the ribbed wire is neutral (as in the white equivalent) and the plain wire is hot (as in the black equivalent).

I am not sure if that carries over to a flat wire with an integral ground, but I assume you could find that out from Google.
 

Diehard

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It's funny I was never aware of those markings, indicating polarity.
Or I should say, Intended Polarity. Since it depends on who wired the outlet.
Only takes a second to check live vs neutral with a meter or Non-Contact Voltage Detector.
 

Jeff Handy

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Yes, just split the wires and test individually, stick them onto your tongue one at a time, just kidding!

For a factory made cord, the polarized plug is almost certainly wired correctly.

If uncle Joe installed a new polarized plug, test the wires and rewire the plug if needed

If you are hanging a ceiling light, sometimes it’s easier to attach to an existing length of lamp cord.
You never know if the existing lamp wire is correct or backwards, so test it, and reverse or eliminate it if wrong.

By the way, a little memory trick is “Plain is power, ribbed is return”.
My own little creation.
 

Jeff Davis

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Black wire refers to the live wire carrying the juice. While white wire is typically the neutral. It would likely work either way but it is preferred to switch the Live wire(black)(also referred to as the line "L") rather than the neutral "N"(white). That way you're stopping the 120V at the switch rather than simply breaking the circuit but still allow the live wire to continue through where one might think it dead.

You could use a multimeter to test for the live(black) wire vs the neutral wire. In fact most newer plugs these days have a wider and narrower blade in addition to the ground. The wider blade on a plug/receptor is typically the neutral and the narrow is the live(power). That's assuming of course it was wired properly within the electrical box.
Thanks for teaching me a little stuff about wiring. I tested the pump cord's plug end and it's like you said "the narrow one is the Live (power)", so now I can put the Aquastat switch on that one so the pump's motor won't be hot 24/7. That's the side on the cord that doesn't have those ribs on it.

Not that it matters but probably since the recirculation pump's power cord is 27+ years old, it doesn't have a wider or narrower prong. Both prongs are just old-style narrow. But I know which should be which since I plugged the cord into a newer extension cord that has wide & narrow slots & I did my voltage test.

I don't have a multi-meter anymore but I just used my little, cheap voltage-finder probe that I'd bought last year at Harbor Freight Tools to use when I was fixing the lightbulb socket's wiring in my garage door opener.

All of the house's outlets are the same 27+ years old as the pump but they all have a wider prong slot on the left regardless of whether they are 3-prong grounded or just standard 2-prong. So, maybe the pump was a few years old when my house was built or the building code didn't care so it hadn't been retrofitted.

The outlet on the wall behind the water heater that the home's builder had installed just to run the recirculation pump also has the wider (left) & narrower (right) outlet slots & a grounding hole centered below them.
Here's a couple pics of me testing to find the Live (power) lead:
finding hot lead in pump wire at plug on cord.jpg
finding hot lead in pump wire at plug on cord all lit up.jpg
 

Jeff Handy

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When there is a grounding prong on the plug, as you have there, there is no need for a wider blade on one wire, since the plug can only fit into a socket in the correct orientation.

Unless the grounding prong is snipped off, as some idiots do.
 

Diehard

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It still doesn't matter if someone wired the black wire to the wrong terminal on the outlet.
Should always double check with a voltage test.
 
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Jeff Davis

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It still doesn't matter if someone wire the black wire to the wrong terminal on the outlet.
Should always double check with a voltage test.
Diehard, I'm just wondering about AC power. When I touch my voltage finder probe on either prong of the extension cord's plug with it plugged in far enough to be running the recirculation pump, one prong lites the tool up bright & it stays lit bright. The other prong briefly lights it up dimly & then it goes dark. Is that how AC would read on a multi-meter too?
 

Diehard

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Diehard, I'm just wondering about AC power. When I touch my voltage finder probe on either prong of the extension cord's plug with it plugged in far enough to be running the recirculation pump, one prong lites the tool up bright & it stays lit bright. The other prong briefly lights it up dimly & then it goes dark. Is that how AC would read on a multi-meter too?
On a multimeter, you would have a readout of the actual voltage when you touched the hot(black, live) side with one probe and a ground or neutral with the second probe.
Outlet-test.jpg
 

Jeff Handy

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28F66B38-2859-4D04-B951-CE5783DA22C6.png Just get something like this.

15 Amp 125-Volt Grounded Switch Tap, White

https://www.homedepot.com/p/206520425

Or just get a switched power strip and plug into that.
No wiring, cutting, testing needed.

You can get timers like this also.

Or wifi controlled switches that can be controlled by your smartphone, all just plug in, no wiring.
 
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Jeff Handy

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If you need to use the Aqua stat, just cut the wires near the pump, carefully separate them for a few inches, put on wire nuts, and spread them out a little.

Plug in the cord, and test the wires with the meter.

You will find the hot wire where the Aqua stat needs to be added to.
 

Jeff Davis

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View attachment 23462 Just get something like this.

15 Amp 125-Volt Grounded Switch Tap, White

https://www.homedepot.com/p/206520425

Or just get a switched power strip and plug into that.
No wiring, cutting, testing needed.
Jeff, I'm not sure you understand my deal or maybe I don't understand why you've suggested these switched outlet add-ons. I don't want to need to go out to the water heater in the garage to turn on the recirculation pump. That's why adding this Aqua-stat is the perfect solution.
I'll do it soon now that I've got the wiring & Aqua-stat location figured out with help from Diehard.
 

Jeff Handy

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And I also mentioned timers, and wifi controlled plug in switches.

You would not have to go out to the garage with those devices hooked up to the pump.
 

Jeff Davis

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On a multimeter, you would have a readout of the actual voltage when you touched the hot(black, live) side with one probe and a ground or neutral with the second probe.
View attachment 23460
Thanks. I'm guessing that my silly little voltage finder toy tool just somehow senses nearby voltage since to use it you just press a button on it and then touch whatever with the probe. So it's never really a complete circuit unless it is somehow using your body and the earth? I don't care since it does only light up bright on one side of the cord, that's got to be Positive.
 

Jeff Davis

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There is no positive and negative with a/c current.
Thanks guys. I feel dumb with everything that I've said wrong or asked. But, I guess that's why I'm here. I appreciate all the help.
I know it's dumb but I'm going to need to do this in a few weeks after a trip. I'll check back in then & tell you how well it went.
 

Diehard

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Sounds like we may be regressing here!

Forget the switch if you have no need for it.

Just read Jeff's post #111 carefully and if you don't quite get it, ask.
 

Jeff Davis

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If you need to use the Aqua stat, just cut the wires near the pump, carefully separate them for a few inches, put on wire nuts, and spread them out a little.

Plug in the cord, and test the wires with the meter.

You will find the hot wire where the Aqua stat needs to be added to.
Thanks Jeff. That sounds easy and for sure. I don't have a meter & I don't want to buy one & I can't figure out who I could borrow one from that lives anywhere near me, so I guess I'll just try this with that silly voltage probe tester that I showed you in #104. That should work.
It's embarrassing but I don't even have any wire strippers anymore. I sold all my tools with my manufacturing business in 2004.
 

Jeff Handy

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Good wire strippers are about $14.00 at Home Depot.
They will last forever, buy one, much better than a paring knife or razor knife, which will cut off too many strands.

You will use them again, don’t cheap out.
 
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