Electric Hot Water Tanks

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      Avatar photoDean Jones

        I recently had a woman in the cottage next to us, ask me to look a her hot water tank since I am a licensed electrician. To everyone who isnt an electrician, Im supposed to fix anything electrical from dishwashers to stereo components. She had a very old two element tank but running at only 120 volts. I have since been informted about a flip-flop switch alternating between the elements. I couldnt understand why the unit was only fed with #12AWG good for 20amps when one element alone drew about 15amps (voltage was 116.9v). Obviously I dont work on these everyday, so I wasnt too familiar with the components, but there was 2 thermostats one with just two terminals and one with four terminals. The one with four terminals looked like it had been replaced and it looked like a double pole switch. Is this the flip flop switch? It was wired to go in one side,(on the first terminal marked #1) but come out on the fourth terminal which looked to me to be on the other pole. Can anyone direct me to a schematic or some info on flip flop switches? Thanks again, Mr. Bear.

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