elements in hot water heater going bad?


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Old 05-30-01, 10:25 AM
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we have a 50 gallon electric water heater in the house. The hot water doesn't last as long as it used to even with the low flow shower head. Turning up the temperature didn't fix the problem. How can I find out if the electric heating elements are going bad? or am I better of just replacing the tank?
 
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Old 05-30-01, 12:28 PM
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Click on link below to see how you test the elements, using an ohm meter.

http://www.atozplumbing.com/water_heater_test.htm
 
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Old 05-30-01, 12:49 PM
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elements dont slowly go bad,they work or they dont. you probobly have a bad dip tube
 
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Old 05-30-01, 02:09 PM
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Sorry to have to disagree with you plumbguy, there can still be continuity in an element and still be bad.

Testing a element with a continuity tester only, one that gives off a audio only can give a false reading, that is why I use a ohm meter to know for sure.

For continuity to take place there must be continous contact between the terminals being tested. If there is a break in the flow then there will be no continuity, but, if there is any corrosion between the terminals on the element which allows continuity to bypass the break then there you now how a element testing falsely.

I have seen elements gone bad and give a low ohm meter reading that why I go by a rule below 9.0 replace the element

Now the bolt in type element I have a hard time doing test on them. It seems these can give a false reading even if there bad.

Now for a diptube if it's broke off, then there will be all warm to luke warm water only, and will not even be hot from the beginning.

 
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Old 05-30-01, 04:31 PM
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you are correct,thanks for the correction,I failed to read the post carefully.
 
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Old 05-31-01, 05:09 AM
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Cool next step for the electric water heater

Thanks to everyone for the advice! Life is truly a learning experience.
Okay, I have the ohm meter. No problem with the testing procedures outlined. Now I was looking for instructions/advice on replacing the electric element(s) themselves (can't you tell I never did this before?). Doesn't sound like a difficult task but I'd rather know what I'm getting into now rather than find out in the middle of the job.
P.S The atozplumbing website is great! Keep adding to the site! Your poll shows that alot of us aren't even in Oregon!
 
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Old 05-31-01, 07:09 AM
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First trun the water off to the heater, and turn the power off, drain the heater all the way out.

There is a special socket used to unscrew the elements, found at Home Depot, called a water heater element socket.

The trick to removing these is ensureing that you are fully seated and squared on the element nut before wrenching on it, bad things can happen to the kunckles if your not ready.

There is a trick to the trade for removing these without having to drain off the heater. I'm not telling you to try this but do it the first way I mentioned.

The trick is shut the water off and power to the heater, relieve the pressure a hot water faucet then turn that faucet back to off when pressure is relieved on the hot water line.

Now the fun part, have a good large towel handy set it around the bottom of the heater. Prepare the new element to be installed and ready to go in.

Now just get the element started to where you will be able to unscrew it via the hand and scocket, now pull the old element out and insert the new one, water will exit the tank but not all at once, reason is after turning water off and relieveing the pressure you have put the tank in an airlock, meaning the tank will not drain fast without the air, so it will begain to gulp for air though the element opening.

You should be fast enough to remove and install the new element with little water escaping, the most water lost on the floor will be about one quart or less.

This trick should be done by the experienced only, or a failed attempt could mean 50 gals of water on the floor.
 
 

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