I emptied tank but left on electrical power


  #1  
Old 03-07-11, 05:03 AM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Quebec Canada
Posts: 42
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
I emptied tank but left on electrical power

In preparing to go Florida for a month I emptied my electrical hot water tank but in the rush I forgot to turn off the breaker for the electricity. Very stupid I know!

I remembered only sometime after arrving in Florida and contacted my friend to go over and shut off the power.

In total the power was left on an empty tank for about 20 hours.

I was wondering what to expect when I get home. Should I just assume both elements will be burnt out and just change them? Or should I fill the tank and see if it still works.

I am assuming the damage will be limited to the heating elements.

It is a 3 year old 60 gallon tank made by GIANT.

Thanks
SlyBry (the stupid guy)
 
  #2  
Old 03-07-11, 05:38 AM
GregH's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 9,500
Received 68 Upvotes on 62 Posts
Only one would likely be burnt out as you need to have the top thermostat satisfied before the bottom energizes.
Best would be after the power has been turned off, mark and remove the wires from the elements and check the continuity of both elements.

You do need to remove the wires and set the meter to x1 ohms, not 10,00 or 10k.
 
  #3  
Old 03-07-11, 06:55 AM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Quebec Canada
Posts: 42
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Thanks for response. If all I have doen is burnt one element I will consider myself lucky. At 2:00am when I realized what I had done I was worried the house might even burn down.

Do you think it is highly likely that the top element is fried or do you think there is any chance I might have got really really lucky and have no repair to do.
 
  #4  
Old 03-07-11, 07:13 AM
GregH's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 9,500
Received 68 Upvotes on 62 Posts
Probably burnt but lets hope for the best and plan for the worst.
Next time you might do better to just shut off the water supply to the house, kill the power to the the tank but not drain it.

With the water supply shut off you would not have any floods and the tank might fare better with water in it IMO.
You would have less bacterial growth and the sediment would be less likely to harden.
 
  #5  
Old 03-07-11, 07:26 AM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Quebec Canada
Posts: 42
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Just FYI

I drain it for insurance reasons. They drive me nuts with their scary exception clauses and demands to have someone check my house ever 48 hrs while I am away in winter season.

If I shut off water supply in house & drain it there is no chance of the it freezing and leaking 60 gallons of water. I live in Montreal so freezing can happen if heating system fails. With it drained I now only have someone check my house once a week.

Thanks once again for your help.
 
  #6  
Old 03-07-11, 06:03 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 9,883
Received 188 Upvotes on 168 Posts
Do you think it is highly likely that the top element is fried or do you think there is any chance I might have got really really lucky and have no repair to do.
No one is that lucky! You probably have a fried top element.
 
  #7  
Old 04-10-11, 05:39 AM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Quebec Canada
Posts: 42
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Just an update on what the results of my stupid mistake were.

Got home finally from long trip and repaired the water heater. Both top and bottom elements were fried. The top element had melted and split in two. The bottom element was so contorted I could barely get it out of the heater.

I think my days of draining tank in preparation for a trip are over. The consensus seems to be that it is better to leave the tank full.

To make matters worse the cheap plastic valve at bottom of tank is now leaking. It is all plastic and you use a screwdriver to open and close it. To fix this I screwed a hose attachment with shut off valve onto it. Maybe I will see if I can change the valve if and when I ever drain the tank again.
 
  #8  
Old 04-10-11, 07:03 AM
GregH's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 9,500
Received 68 Upvotes on 62 Posts
Thanks for the update.

On the tanks we have available here the plastic valve unscrews leaving a 3/4" fpt fitting on the tank.
Whenever I get a new tank I will install a 3" nipple with a 3/4" ball valve and a garden hose fitting.
This helps a lot when draining because if you open a nearby tap or loosen a union on the tank if you have one, the water comes flying out of the tank.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: