Hot water suddenly stopped lasting long


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Old 09-06-10, 01:52 PM
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Hot water suddenly stopped lasting long

Water gets the same temp as always, but does not last as long as it did in the past. This started about a week ago. I checked around my water heater and I don't see any leaks. What would be the first thing I should check? I looked around and read that one common issue with water heaters are dip tubes breaking. Would I get the same symptoms?
 
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Old 09-06-10, 02:21 PM
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Post a brand, model and serial number...there were only a few years that were really affected.

Also...electric or gas? If electric It's more likely that an element or thermostat has gone south.
 
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Old 09-06-10, 02:48 PM
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Rheem
Model No: 81V520
Serial No: 1201F19280

Electric Water Heater, about 9 years old.
 
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Old 09-06-10, 03:19 PM
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Yep...Dec '01.....the faulty tubes were mostly from '93-'96. You'd be able to see pieces of tube in your faucet aerators if it was the normal failure...not that it might not be the problem...but more likely you have a bad heating element or thermostat.

I never remember how it works....so I'll have to step aside for someone who knows...but basically one element heats the upper water..then it switches so the other element heats the bottom water. Search for how an electric water heater works and you'll see what I mean.

I'd guess its a 50 gal or so? Can't pull up the info..but it would def have 2 elements if it is.
 
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Old 09-06-10, 04:11 PM
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Is this something that can be fixed or do they usually have to replace the entire heater?
 
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Old 09-06-10, 04:50 PM
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$15-20 part as I remember..

If you have to call someone...add at least $100 to that.

If it's a 6-9 year warranty (should be somewhere on the labels...or call Rheem)...I might be tempted to just replace it....but then I could do all the work myself. A Plumber might charge $700-800.
 
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Old 09-06-10, 07:53 PM
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Most likely is that the lower element is burnt out. Second most likely is the thermostat for the lower element is bad. Least likely is that the upper thermostat is bad.

When an electric water heater is first energized the upper element is switched on and heats the water in the upper part of the tank. This gives you usable hot water quicker than heating the entire tank of water. When this upper amount of water is heated to the upper thermostat setting the upper element is turned off and power is routed to the lower thermostat and element. Under normal operation the lower element does all the work and the upper element rarely comes on.

Unless you are capable of doing the work of changing the elements and/or thermostats yourself you may be better off having a new heater installed. While electric water heaters DO have a longer life than do gas-fired models the cost of having someone replace a single element, then a thermostat, then the other element or thermostat will quickly rise to the point of tossing good money after bad.
 
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Old 09-11-10, 01:30 PM
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I don't know a a lot about water heaters, but I know how to troubleshoot. Tell me if what I did is valuable information or not. I turned the top thermostat off, and used all of the hot water in the house to see if the bottom thermostat and heating element would give me warm water. I left the house for about 6 hours, to run some errands. When I returned the water was cold and would not heat up at all. Does this tell me that chances are that I have a bad bottom heating element or thermostat?
 
 

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