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where does the white wire go?

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The wrong wire was used to install this water heater. These require a 2 hot and a ground, usually a #10, depending on capacity. This is a 3 hot with ground so the white wire is not uses/not needed. Just put a wire nut on it and stuff it into the junction box. Just to be safe, make sure the white wire is also capped of in the breaker panel, not on a neutral bar or breaker.

BTW, why do you need a water heater if the water is already hot, get it, "Hot water heater" ;)

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Actually the wiring is correct in regards to amperage capability. The NM cable is 10/3 with ground; 2 ungrounded conductors (hots), 1 grounded (neutral) and 1 grounding (equipment ground). Mostly a it?s a waste of a small amount of money. However, an electrical inspector may call out the use of a ?smurf tube?, (ENT, electrical non-metallic tubing), box connector being used as a NM cable connector. This connector is not listed for securing NM cable. As an electrician, I would just snip the neutral off at each end of the circuit. It would allow more room at the water heater connection point to stuff those wires into already small and cramped area.

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