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Do you use a tick tracer?


Focal Point
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Originally posted by Focal Point

So lately I've been running into a lot of all electric homes where the panels are not labeled.

I was wondering if a tick tracer would be a good investment in tracing down water heaters, and A/C units to see if properly amped.

Do you have one? if so do you recommend one?

I don't have one.

I suspect that there isn't much it can do that I can't do with a volt stick.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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A tick tracer has two parts and connect to both ends of a wire, it confirms that the wire at the breaker is the same wire at the AC unit.

A volt stick is is about the size of a pen and can light up, beep or both when there is current in the wire.

Now that we have distinguished between the two let me say I own both, I use the volt stick daily. It has saved my life on knob and tube that I was told is abandoned and on several exposed wired in attics.

I use the tick tracer once or twice a week because I can't find the location of a wire or broken connection. Never on a normal home inspection.

Look at the wire size at the AC disconnect and at the breaker, if they are the same, your "visual" inspection is complete, I am all for raising the bar, but it is not our job to trace circuits or label breaker panels.

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Oh, I've got one of those volt stick things that looks like a pen and lights up and beeps and stuff!!!

I agree they are great for detecting K&T, current and they are even good for detecting rev. polarity, unfortunatly the problem I run into is the water heater, furnace, cook stove, oven and A/C are all on 30 Amp breakers... No joke I ran into this Thursday...

I was thinking a tracer might come in mighty handy.

P.S. In the tool world we call those A/C detectors, volt stick brings to mind an image of a long cane with aligator clamps at both ends

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Originally posted by swarga

A tick tracer has two parts and connect to both ends of a wire, it confirms that the wire at the breaker is the same wire at the AC unit. . .

Is there more than one kind of tick tracer? I used to own one made by Tiff and it had only one piece. It worked exactly like a volt stick, but it had a sensitivity adjustment.

I lost it long ago and don't miss it.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Focal Point

I was wondering if a tick tracer would be a good investment in tracing down water heaters, and A/C units to see if properly amped.

Maybe I guilt of something but I have never gone that as far as to trace out wiring (unless something is visibly way out of wack).

I check the wire size for the breaker at the panel and take a quick look at the connections at water heater, heat pump to make sure their not burnt.

I always use a volt stick to check bare/loose wires.

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Yes but what I'm saying is if the Breakers are not labeled, I wont know which goes to what. If the A/C is MBF 40 amps and is ran to a 60 amp breaker, I wouldn't know unless I traced it. I know I could just write it up as "unable to determine" but if there were a quick easy to check it I would like to know.

Thats all.

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