Elec. Water Heater Q's

Old 10-04-05, 07:38 AM
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Elec. Water Heater Q's

Hello all. I'm new to the forum and have a few basic questions about my water heater that I'm sure will be easy to answer.

I've come to the realization that my lower element is broken and needs to be replaced. I went to drain the tank, and of course sediment blocked the drain valve. Took me 5 hours to get 50 gals. to drain. Finally got it drained last night and removed the lower and upper elements. The lower is visibly broken, but the top seemed to clean up ok (had a bunch of calcium on it). I pulled the anode rod out and it's probably about 50% gone. I have pretty hard water in my area (rural, but on city water supply) and this heater is only 2 years old. Now my questions:

1. Should I replace the anode rod, or just clean it off and replace it in 6 months when I flush the tank again?

2. While in the process of draining the tank, I *thought* that I had drained enough off that I could get away w/ removing the upper element. I was wrong All I got was a gusher as I discovered to my dismay that the tank was still filled above the element, and I had to quickly screw it back in to stop it from emptying onto everything. The nylon blanket insulation between the inner tank and outer skin got the most, and is still pretty wet. The power was off (obviously). I was told that as long as I put the plastic element covers over the terminals before I restore power, and not get any of the insulation touching the terminals that I should be fine as far as power goes. Is this true, or do I have a bigger problem now?

3. Is there a better drain valve that I can install to replace this small plastic one that came w/ the heater? Maybe a brass valve?

Thanks in advance. Hopefully tonight I can get it all back together and actually have hot water again, lol.... And no, I don't have the $$ to hire a pro, hence the DIY.

Old 10-04-05, 05:39 PM
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Replace the anode rod since you are one of the lucky ones to get the old one out. Also replace both elements unless you want to go through this again in the near future.

Your insulation will dry out but it should be dry everywhere there are electrical connections. Water is a good conductor of electricity. Make sure all safety covers are in place before applying power.

Brass drain valves are alway an improvement and available at most hardware stores. Just check the length of yours so you can get similar.
Old 10-05-05, 06:50 AM
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Thanks for the advice. I replaced the anode rod, as well as the elements. I got everything back together and filled the tank (purged air as I went), and threw the switch. Now it looks as though all my effort was in vain as I still have no green LED on my control box showing it's firing the elements. I have verified power coming in to the controller, but the board shows none at the 3 black switches on the board itself. Looks like I'm going to have to replace the controller board as well

Another day of cold showers awaits. Yay

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