Elements in hot H2O tank going bad

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  #1  
Old 02-08-03, 03:23 PM
itsjaynemm
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Elements in hot H2O tank going bad

A year ago, both elements in our hot water heater went bad. Just a week ago, my husband replaced both the top and bottom elements, even though just the bottom one was bad. Then, a few days later, the top one went bad (the bottom one was still good), so he replaced only the top one. Now today, the bottom one is bad. What could be causing the elements to go so quickly?? It's a 50 gallon tank, probably10 years old. Help!!
 
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  #2  
Old 02-08-03, 07:31 PM
BoatCop
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A 10 year old water heater is approaching the end of it's life span.

There could be several reason for the elements to go bad, but I think it may be in the temperature control system, and not in the elements.

There may also be an electrical issue, with improper voltage going to the elements and/or controls. A new element shouldn't fail that quickly, unless there's problems elsewhere.

Is it possible he installed 110v elements in a 220v heater?

At 10 years old, it may be time to replace the heater. You'll save the aggravation, and save money in the long run. Today's heaters are much more efficient than 10 years ago.
 
  #3  
Old 02-08-03, 07:45 PM
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I don't like to scrap a water heater until it leaks. That seems to come around soon enough anyway. The age has nothing to do woth the elements going bad. What exactly is the problem with the elements. Are they burning up or just not getting hot? I have a real problem believing that the elements are bad. I have never seen an element go bad that quickly. Unless the tank was empty when the power was turned on. You can't beat the shortness of life of an element then. Are they sandard 4500 watt 240 volt elements that you are using? Do you have an ohmmeter? I know, lots of questions but you have piqued my interest and I want to know what the problem is.
 
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Old 02-09-03, 05:29 AM
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Cool

I agree with KField.
You hsuband either turned the power back on without the tank being full, or you have a problem with the thermostats.
I always change both elements or both tstats at the same time if either one goes bad, and I don't replace water heaters until the tank goes. Everything else can be easily repaired or replaced.
To change tstats, turn the power OFF, and get two with the exact same number and layout of screws (don't have to be the same brand as on the heater).
Exhange the wires from the old to the neew stats ONE AT A TIME and you can't go wrong. Easy.
Let us know. TY and Good Luck!
Mike
 
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Old 02-11-03, 03:53 PM
itsjaynemm
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The water tank has been replaced....it was the easiest thing to do. 3 kids=baths, laundry, dishes, we got tired of running out of hot water. The water would be hot at first, and then get cold.

The elements were 4500 watt 240 volt, and the tank was filled before the power was turned back on.....Not sure what an ohmmeter is, (is it a voltage tester)? If so, we have one, and used it every time. Ya know, I think he said something about corrosion on the bottom of the tank, or something.

Does anyone suggest we keep it and figure out the problem, or just get rid of it??? Spring clean up is in a few months

Thanks for the replies. Hopefully, I won't be back
 
  #6  
Old 02-11-03, 06:09 PM
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Take it and dump it and don't waste another firing of a synapse (sp?) on it... They are basically worthless once they have been used...
 
  #7  
Old 02-11-03, 06:46 PM
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I'm glad that I read this post since our hotwater heater isn't working quite right anymore. I looked at the ratings tag trying to find a date on this thing and discovered the ratings tag had December 1983.

Looks like I'll be handwashing dishes for awhile longer since that's what I was saving for instead of a water heater.

Kay
 
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Old 02-11-03, 07:03 PM
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You buy the heater and I will come to Mississippi and put it in for you... No charge... Of course, my license is only good in GA, so I can't get it inspected... ....
 
  #9  
Old 02-11-03, 08:20 PM
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I am going to have it installed since after taking measurements and looking online the new models are either too tall or short. My old unit is 42" tall and 30 gals. I'm looking into the 40 gals since there are currently 6 of us in the house, but may not need it that big since we don't take showers at the same time and only have 2 baths. The 30 gal did us just fine before but now it is definitely failing us.

Some of the units I looked at (Sears) online were 60" tall. It will fit okay in the water closet, but the way the plumbing is run I would prefer someone who knows what they're doing to install it since some of the plumbing will have to be moved to accomodate the taller unit. Would be nice if I could find one that fits in the same way with the outlets similar so I don't have to move any of the plumbing. I will make a trip to the local home depot and see what they have. They don't list anything online for my area except for a really small one. I've seen them at the store before, wonder why they don't list any others for my area?

Just stay close online when I get it (probably - hopefully) Friday in case I get brave and try this myself LOL. May even get DIY-ie and replace the door gasket on the dishwasher so I don't have to wash dishes 6 times a day by hand.


Kay
 
  #10  
Old 02-12-03, 06:37 AM
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As a general rule (mine) a 30 gallon electric water heater is only capable of satisfying a 2 person household. Any more and a schedule must be developed to allow recovery. A 40 is OK for 3 people with no schedule. I would plan on using a 50 gallon electric heater if you have 4 or 5 people and a washing machine and have a dishwasher.(one that works....plan for the future)

We tend to get spoiled with all todays convenience items and I am no different. If you can get by with a smaller one, you will save some electric.
 
  #11  
Old 02-12-03, 06:49 AM
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It would be nice to be able to take a shower the same time as my daughter. Or at least within an hour after they do LOL. I will shoot for the larger tank then. I should have taken it at a sign that when I clicked on the 6 people in household tab that they didn't have any recommendations LOL.

Thanks for the input! My children are ages 18, 15, 12, & 10. It will be awhile before a smaller tank will be needed. (18yo just moved back home, too).

Kay
 
  #12  
Old 02-12-03, 07:06 AM
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How do you know H2O heater bad?

How did you know your hot water heater was bad? I have a 50 gal. heater that is at least 10 years old (probably 15, but was out of service for a few years but has been working fine for the last 5 years until now). Recently we noticed that we would run out of hot water after the first shower in the morning - when previously it would last for 3-4 showers. With 3-4 adults, a bunch of kids and a washer, it is used a lot!

I tested the elements with a volt/ohlm meter and both still complete the circuit and came up with the same reading (unless I did it wrong).

Questions:

When I tested the elements, I turned off the power, but did not disconnect the wires from the elements, would this give me a bad reading?

Even if one element was bad, the first thing in the morning should have given the heater enough time to heat the whole tank and give us the same amount of hot water. I would have thought that a bad element would just mean that it would take a lot longer to get hot, but overnight should be enough, shouldn't it? Is this wrong thinking?

What are the symptoms of bad elements?

What are the symptoms of a bad thermostat?

Thanks
 
  #13  
Old 02-12-03, 07:14 AM
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What you want to measure with an ohmmeter is the resistance through the element. I always remove one wire from the element before taking the measurement. You should see 11-13 ohms. You don't have a problem with the top element because only one element works at a time and the top has priority. If you have a bad top element, the symptom is no hot water at all because the top can't heat and the bottom isn't allowed to turn on until the top is hot. So look at the lower element. If it is bad, you will get 1/2 tank of hot water. Ohm it out or check it for 240 volts at the element when it is energized. Make sure you see 240 and not 120.

Also don't rule out the dip tube. If it is broken off or shortened, the cold incoming water will not make it to the bottom of the tank and will mix with the hot water waiting to exit the tank and you will have warm water instead of hot.
 
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Old 02-12-03, 07:23 AM
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Elements can be tested with both wires attached, elements that can give a false reading is the bolt in type.
 
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Old 02-12-03, 07:00 PM
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Kaybyrd, look into STATE water heaters. They make very short units that aren't available from all companies...
 
  #16  
Old 02-12-03, 07:29 PM
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Guess what! There is a State distributor right down the street from me! I will check into it tomorrow. Thanks Ragnar!

K.
 
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