Hot water heater and furnance question


Old 10-11-05, 08:16 AM
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Hot water heater and furnance question

I replaced an old furnace last year. The old one had a tank which assisted in heating the water for the house. The new furnace is tankless. I now rely on my elec. hot water heater solely. This has proven to be a problem as we have noticed a considerable drop in the amount of hot water available and a large increase in our elec. bill.

My questions:

-The water heater is more than 8 years old. (I bought the house 8 years ago.) What is the normal lifespan of these?

-How do I check its effeciency as far as if the upper and lower sections are heating the water properly on the inside?

I am a novice on all of pleas be pretty basic in the responses and
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Old 10-11-05, 05:39 PM
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If maintained properly an electric heater will out last a gas heater by many years. A gas heater uses transferring of surface heat to heat the water. Eventually this fatigues the water heater and can cause leaks.

The other factor in the life of a water heater in my opinion is pressure. I have seen water heaters last 20 years with a tank pressure not exceeding 40-50 psi. I have replace many new heaters that had a pressure above 80psi.

I have asked many people over the years why they replaced their existing electric heater and most say because it didn't work. Not that it was leaking. An electric heater is harder to troubleshoot when not working, slower in recovery, and many, if not most plumbers don't have the training on them. There is alway a trade off.

To check if both elements are heating normally divide the voltage into the wattage listed on the side of the element. This should give you the amps the element is designed to pull. Take an amp meter and measure the load of each element. They should be very close to your calculations and to each other.
Old 10-12-05, 06:43 AM
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Thanks, but....

Thank you for the response. It is a bit over my head.....

Please let me me know how to check the PSI and the amps. I am unfamiliar with how to do either..
Old 10-12-05, 07:20 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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An inexpensive pressue gage can be purchases at any hardware store. Connect it to one of your oustide bibbs, or a washing machine faucet, to check your pressure.

This is not the right time to start learning electrical service and safety. A WH had 240 volts on exposed terminals as soon as you take off the cover. It will come and get you.

A plumber or electrican can quickly determine if your elements and thermostats are operating properly.

Keep in mind that an electric heater will not give you the amount of hot water you may have been used to. The recovery is very slow, and as you start using water, cold water is introduced into the tank to mix with the previously heated water. One long shower or filling a tub could consume all your hot water from a 40 gallon tank.
Old 10-12-05, 12:46 PM
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Do the wraps for water heaters help at all?
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