Can't seem to fix my lower element!


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Old 10-02-12, 10:10 AM
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Can't seem to fix my lower element!

At a loss with this one. I have an electric hot water heater, where the lower element is not functioning. Below are the steps I've gone through, but the lower element still doesn't heat.

- Ran voltage tests with a multi-meter, no issues
- Replaced upper & lower thermostats
- Replaced upper & lower elements

I really don't know what else to try at this point. Is it possible my system is wired to only heat half the tank? That's all I can think of at this point that could be wrong.
 
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Old 10-02-12, 04:25 PM
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What gives you the impression the lower unit is not operating? If you are having no issues with voltage and you filled the tank with water before you went hot, then the lower unit should be heating. When you removed the lower element was it burned?
 
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Old 10-02-12, 05:11 PM
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Both elements do not come on at the same time. Its either one or the other. Lower the temp on the upper and raise the temp on the lower. Then check voltage.

Remember....HIGH VOLTAGE. You can be killed.
 
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Old 10-02-12, 07:02 PM
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I open the drain valve after it's sat for hours and it shoots out cold water. I also run out of hot water faster than I think I would, which got me investigating to begin with.

Tonight I compared the wiring of the unit, to a wiring diagram I found online I did find some problems, and adjusted to match the diagram. I tested the water about 30 minutes later (still cold), but I'm going to wait. I do see 240v going across the lower element, so I'm hopeful I've fixed the problem.

Thanks!
 
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Old 10-02-12, 07:31 PM
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Did you turn the electric on with no water in it? Even though you have 240v the element may be fried. You need to do a continuity test, or use a clamp on ohm meter to test.
 
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Old 10-02-12, 08:14 PM
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Water was in the tank when I turned on the electricity (remember the top element heats fine)

I also just ran a continuity test across the lower element (wires unhooked!) and it passed.

I've attached the wiring of my thermostats, if anyone wants to take a look. Forgive me in advance for the nasty wirenut, in order to match the diagram I posted earlier I had to extend the wire.

Thanks for your help guys!
--Michael
 
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