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Thread: Help with something

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Cortland NY
    Posts
    238

    Help with something

    I know that this is generally a wood working group. But as many of us are also "handy men" we also get into things like home repair and maintenance. I am one of those guys. So here's my question and need for any help that can be given.

    The 6 year old water heater has blown the element. I drain the unit replace and have hot water soon after. Week goes by and again no hot water. Drain and replace element and this time stat. Hot water for a week. Again element goes and I find myself without hot water. By the way the wife is not barking at me yet but you know it's only time.

    I have replaced this element I think 6 times and by now thinking it must be more than just the element. I have this job again this weekend and am dumbfounded what to do. Is there something I'm missing?

    Here's the info about the tank: 20 gallon, 120volt, 1500 watt element and single stat.

    If anyone has a bright idea that I have over looked please let me know.

    This is the first time since 06 that I have had to do anything with this tank. It has worked well up till now. The unit is still in great shape.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Rochester Hills, MI
    Posts
    940
    Man that's tough. I'd hate to have to do that job that many times.

    I'm no expert, but have repaired/replaced my share of water heaters over the years. I think if I were you, I'd consider a whole new unit as opposed to just replacing the element. It is six years old and should have a few years left, but the way I look at water heaters is that by the time they approach 8-10 years old, they're on borrowed time.

    If you do repair this one, the first thing that comes to my mind is this. Once you've drained the tank down and replaced the element, make SURE that you have turned the water supply back on and COMPLETELY refilled the tank before turning the power to the heater back on! Button up the job as far as the element replacement and then before turning the power back on, run the hot water at one of the faucets for enough time for the air to be purged from the system. You have to make sure that the element is completely submerged in water before it's energized or it will burn out.

    Good luck!
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Cortland NY
    Posts
    238
    Oh I agree with the need for it to be in water. I am sure of that. Also the first time I emptied it I also made sure that the buildup was gone as well. I have been told that maybe the rod has gone and that is causing the trouble. The heater is in an apt we currently reside in (we are landlord) and is tucked in the cabinetry so it would need to be un plumbed, cabinet disassemble, removed and rod replaced if indeed it is problem. At that point it would seem that I ought to replace it.

    I have found that draining the tank takes just a little time and replacment is easy as pie now so it is turnaround in under 45 min. This isn't the first time working with a water heater and doing this, so I have prior experience. But this time it is dumb founding me. I had one element changed at 8 on a Saturday to have it go by 1 same day. It jsut doesn't make sense.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Posts
    13,450
    That's a tough issue. Got any pics of the burnt out elements? Is the scaling light or heavy on them?
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Cortland NY
    Posts
    238
    None of the elements have been saled much. Even the old one wan't that scaled. The one that only lived just a short time had surface scale on it but was easily brushed off. I worked in plumbing sales years ago and if I were to compair these to what I saw they look near new.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Posts
    13,450
    Those unit just don't have that much to them and very few things make them burn out, usually running dry or pulling too much power. I guess I'd probably put a clamp type ampmeter around the new one's feed wires to see how much current it's drawing once you have it running again. Should pull around 10 - 12 amps based on being 1500 watts. Sounds like you may be enough into it that may be cheaper to replace it too.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    falcon heights, minnesota
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    5,610
    if it is frying the element, to me it sounds like the element is in a constant 'on' state. one would think that there would be some sort of thermostat control, that would shut off the element when the whole tank has reached full temperature, and turns it back on when the temperature drops.
    benedictione omnes bene

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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tellico Plains, Tennessee
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    4,352
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Noren View Post
    if it is frying the element, to me it sounds like the element is in a constant 'on' state. one would think that there would be some sort of thermostat control, that would shut off the element when the whole tank has reached full temperature, and turns it back on when the temperature drops.
    That was my first thought... you may have a bad thermostat and draw too much power to the element.

    I'd sure hate to have to keep repeating your repair... my water heater is in the back of the master bedroom closet... (we live in a modular home) and every time I have to get into the water heater space, it's take all the clothes out of the closet, open the wall at the back, do whatever is needed, close the wall, put all the clothes back in the closet...
    Chuck
    Tellico Plains, TN
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/TellicoTurnings
    My parents taught me to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder to find any.
    If you go looking for trouble, it will usually find you.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    bethel springs TN, but was born and raised in north east PA
    Posts
    3,132
    Well i'm not a plumber, but my brother is. A few weeks ago my heater went haywire, so i called Rick and asked him if he would pick me up a element. Rick said if your gonna replace a element you might as well replace bouth elements and your therostat. He picked up a kit with all 3 for only 5 dollars more than buying just 1 element.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Posts
    11,833
    Six year old electric water heater is a candidate for scrap heap. Floods in house ain't fun.
    You said it is a 20 gal. that is pretty small for a household. Is it possible you are just overusing it?
    When my almost new GE had the bottom fall out and GE would not replace under the warranty I got a Marathon from our electric company. It is a plastic, rust proof, highly unsulated job. We lease, did not purchase. The installed and any repairs are done free to me. I know, over time, we pay more than price of new, but the service and peace of mind are worth it. May be worth your checking into.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

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