One of our customers had a sauna installed months ago and haven’t had any problems with it until last week. When preheating, it was sparking and smoking. He turned it off, pulled the heater panel off and got the following:
If you look at the black wire at the bottom, it had 8 braided wired, but the installer cut 4 of them so he could screw it to the terminal.
He is saying it was wired properly and it’s a malfunctioning unit. The company is saying it was wired wrong.
From the photo he sent to us , it doesn’t appear to me that the connection he mention overheated. The cut-down stranded wire’s insulation shows no signs of excessive heat and its screw isn’t discolored. Rather, it appears to me that the terminal strip’s connection to the sauna’s own wiring (top left of photo) was at fault.
Thus, my inclination is to say that would be a manufacturing defect. However, two cautions – I don’t know whether that terminal strip was installed at the factory, or by the installer. Also, I’m not looking at this in person.
This is not to excuse the installer. The connection method itself is very poor practice and not a workmanlike installation. In addition, he or she committed a code violation in failing to follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions on wire size and breaker capacity.
My cautious judgement, based on the information provided, is that the sauna probably was not installed correctly, but that the damage wasn’t caused by the faulty installation. This puts you in a rather difficult position in which both sides can keep pointing the finger at each other.
BTW, what’s that yellow wirenut doing in there on the white wire? And isn’t a yellow wirenut too small for a #8 wire? Or did the installer just use that to cap off an unused white wire in the cable?