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Hot Water Heater Question

10/03/2015 2:58 PM

hot water heater bottom element burned out, replaced bottom element and now have no power running thru bottom element. i have power to top element and top thermostat but i have no power thru the bottom element. i have checked all connections.

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#1

Re: HOT WATER HEATER

10/03/2015 3:38 PM

Did bottom element burn out, or lose power.

Do you have power in the wires to the bottom element?

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#2

Re: HOT WATER HEATER

10/03/2015 4:45 PM

You have deceived yourself. Somewhere along the line a connection that is required to send power through is not being made. Could be wiring, the thermostat, a fuse of some type, or even the new element.

.

Do you have a multimeter?

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#3

Re: HOT WATER HEATER

10/03/2015 4:52 PM

Where does the supply voltage end? If it's at theelement the new one burned out. If not there it ends where ever your problem is.

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#4

Re: HOT WATER HEATER

10/03/2015 5:01 PM

On many domestic water heaters the two elements are connected to different supply tariffs.

The bottom element is connected to some form of off peak tariff which may not be currently available to you. This gives you a cheaper rate for your water heating, but is only available when the supplier makes it so. They do this either with a time clock on your meter board or via a signal sent via the power lines, power may be off at present.

The top element is on general tariff and power is normally available at all times and is there to heat only the top portion of the tank to give you an emergency supply of heated water.

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#5

Re: HOT WATER HEATER

10/03/2015 5:19 PM

Heaters like this often have a series one time breaker. These usually can not be reset. Check for that. There might also be a separate fuse for each of the upper and lower.

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#6

Re: HOT WATER HEATER

10/03/2015 8:09 PM

We need the make and model # of the water heater...and point to point readings with your multimeter...

http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-wire-water-heater-thermostats.html

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: HOT WATER HEATER

10/03/2015 9:25 PM

upper power = zero?

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: HOT WATER HEATER

10/03/2015 9:57 PM
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#11
In reply to #6

Re: HOT WATER HEATER

10/04/2015 1:11 AM

There is an alternative wiring option for twin element heaters where connected to dual tariffs.

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#12
In reply to #6

Re: HOT WATER HEATER

10/04/2015 2:43 PM

Personally I prefer having mine wired so that both elements can come on at once if needed.

At low usage my lower element comes on. At higher usage both come on and it seems to work pretty well plus gives me a fairly fast recovery time compared to most staged electric water heaters.

Needs a bigger breaker and feeder wire though.

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: HOT WATER HEATER

10/04/2015 2:55 PM

I prefer mine just as it comes out of the box. No fuss, no bother.

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#9

Re: HOT WATER HEATER

10/04/2015 12:26 AM

Why do you want to heat hot water ? I have a water heater . Not sure why anyone would need a hot water heater .

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#15
In reply to #9

Re: HOT WATER HEATER

10/05/2015 8:48 AM

I bet a hot water heater cost less than a cold water heater?

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#22
In reply to #15

Re: HOT WATER HEATER

10/07/2015 7:49 PM

Prove it!

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#23
In reply to #22

Re: HOT WATER HEATER

10/07/2015 8:09 PM

I'll sell you a hot water heater for $1,000,000.00 and a cold water heater for $1,000,001.00.

...though I might be able to come down on the cold water heater price a little if you whine in the appropriate tones.

If anyone wants a definitive end to this or many other 'I bet this costs more/less than that' type disagreements, I'd be delighted to help you resolve your vexing predicament.

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#24
In reply to #23

Re: HOT WATER HEATER

10/07/2015 8:16 PM

I will pay nothing less than $2,000,000,000.10

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#25
In reply to #24

Re: HOT WATER HEATER

10/07/2015 8:50 PM

Yes, nothing IS less than $2,000,000.10, sir. You are right to be proud of your arithmetic prowess.

Now, if we could get back to the purchase of the water heaters....you were saying that you will pay, and then were distracted.

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#26
In reply to #25

Re: HOT WATER HEATER

10/07/2015 9:54 PM

I don't remember where I was when I said that. Do you?

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#27
In reply to #26

Re: HOT WATER HEATER

10/08/2015 7:04 AM

Who?

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#29
In reply to #15

Re: HOT WATER HEATER

03/02/2017 12:34 AM

Heat pump technology for water heating has been proposed and available for decades. I doubt that anyone has a currently-enforceable patent on it.

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#10

Re: HOT WATER HEATER

10/04/2015 12:39 AM

You most likely have it wired in correctly. Water heaters have two elements, top and bottom, and one multi-action thermostat/switch. The two elements do not operate/heat at the same time

When there is cold water in the tank the upper element works. This is to heat the water closest to the outlet so there is hot water going to the outlet pipe. When the top layer of water, in the vicinity of the top element, becomes warm the thermostat shuts the power off to it and on to the bottom element. This results in the top of the heater, by the discharge outlet, hot/warm water ready to be used and the bottom of the heater with cold water that is now being heated. When the thermostat detects that the bottom water Is warm/hot it shuts down power to both, top and bottom elements. At this time you now have the top half heated by the upper element and the bottom heated by the bottom element.

When water is drawn out of the tank, the first water comes out from the upper part because that's where the outlet is. As the water is drawn out more cold water comes in. Since the inlet is near the bottom ( done by having the inlet water go through a pipe from the inlet connection down to the bottom of the tank) senses cold water then the thermostat causes the bottom element to go on. If the water is drawn out faster than the lower element can heat it (inlet water is cold, similar to stratification between the hot and cold water) it shuts off and the upper element turns on to heat the warmed but not hot water coming up to it.

Your present situation is: 1) you replaced the element and reconnected the same wiring; 2) you filled the tank with cold water; 3)cold water is now at the upper and lower elements and the thermostat. 4) thermostat senses cold water at it so it turns the upper element on to heat the upper layer of cold water; 5) when the upper water became hot the thermostat should have shut it down and powered the bottom BUT YOU BECAME FRUSTRATED BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T GET HOT WATER OUT OF THE FAUCET FAST ENOUGH FOR YOU. If you had waited longer the bottom element would have powered up. Then you wouldn't have had to contact CR4

"Haste makes waste" A 50 gal water heater, now the most popular size, with 4,500 watt/hr elements takes quite a long time to heat the whole tank. Much longer than an hour.

Take a warm shower now.

Good Luck, Old Salt

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#14
In reply to #10

Re: HOT WATER HEATER

10/05/2015 7:42 AM

also if it is not heating at all top element may be bad, especially if you did not bleed the air from the top of tank before applying power.

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#16

Re: Hot Water Heater Question

10/05/2015 11:07 AM

Most electrical water heaters have dual purpose thermostat control systems that allow both elements or just the bottom element to be energized until the water reaches a preset temperature value then the bottom element is switched off and only the top element is operational until maximum water temperature is reached.

If you are certain the wiring is correct then most likely the top temperature control device is bad or is tripped.

Turn off all power to the heater then remove the top element cover and reset it by pressing the red button until it clicks. Restore the power and check both elements for presence of power.

If this does not fix the problem you will need to use a DVOM to identify where the problem is or call a reliable electrical appliance service company to troubleshoot it.

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: Hot Water Heater Question

10/05/2015 2:52 PM

NO, NOT FOR RESIDENTIAL ELECTRICAL WATER HEATERS! Two out of 4 major manufacturers don't make them with simultaneous operating elements. The other 2 state that they only make "a few" with simultaneously operating elements. There are so few that one customer service dept. had not been trained on them. Almost all electric hot water heaters have sequentially operating dual elements. This is described in #10.

If elements are 4,500 watts each (18.75 amps @ 240v), sequential elements would have #10 wire with a 30 amp 2-pole breaker. Two elements running simultaneously would draw 37.5 amps total which would require at least #8 wire, preferably #6 and a 2-pole 40 or 50 amp breaker (if #6 wire is used).

A 50 gal unit with a normally stated recovery rate of 25gal/hr for 90oF temp rise will take at least 2 hours to heat up the whole tank containing cold water.

Small heaters usually have one element located near the bottom of the tank.

Good Luck, Old Salt

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#19
In reply to #16

Re: Hot Water Heater Question

10/06/2015 10:38 AM

OOPS! Major brain burp on my part.

Sorry for the bad information and misdirection.

Please note correction below:

Most electrical water heaters have dual purpose thermostat control systems that allow both elements or just the bottom element to be energized until the water reaches the top element setpoint temperature value then the top element is switched off and only the bottom element is operational until maximum water temperature of bottom thermostat setpoint in tank is reached.

Please refer to Solar Eagle's post and review the wiring diagram on the left most side for factory wiring of most residential two-element hot water heaters.

Also; Just in case the hot water heater you have does not follow the provided wiring diagram it would be a good idea to download the applicable wiring diagram from the OEM website for reference and troubleshooting.

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#20
In reply to #19

Re: Hot Water Heater Question

10/06/2015 11:21 AM

No sorry necessary! I have a gas water heater!

Excellent reference and technical diagnosis information is Bradford White's Residential Electric and Light Duty Commercial Electric Water Heater Service Manual.

http://www.bradfordwhite.com/sites/default/files/product_literature/238-47104-00A.pdf

One situation no one has mentioned is if the heater is a 240v unit with a single pole thermostat and there is rust in the heater or the water is rusty, there is a good possibility that the heater could power on without the thermostat contacts closing. The rusty water eats at the insulation on the element and eventually cracks it. When this happens current will flow from the energized side of the crack (side without thermostat contacts) through the conductive rusty water to the grounded shell of the tank. The more rust the more often this happens. Replacing the element is a solution but possibly only a short term fix. If the rust has accumulated from the water or a rusty inner wall best to junk it and replace it. Putting a particulate filter on the inlet pipe to the heater will help keep rust particles from coming into the tank.

Quite often the first indication of this is a shock while touching a metal faucet handle or a shower head. Talk about "hot water"!

I have seen this happen in several locations. More prevalent where the access to the heater is poor such as built in under a counter, in a small closet, in a crawl space, etc.

Good Luck, Old Salt

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#21
In reply to #20

Re: Hot Water Heater Question

10/06/2015 8:30 PM

I went to gas also and have had no issues since. Hard water is certain death for an electric heater if it isn't cleaned regularly.

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#18

Re: Hot Water Heater Question

10/05/2015 7:35 PM

The top element comes on first. This gives the user a small amount of hot water for immediate use. Later the bottom element comes on heating the entire tank. If both elements came on simultaneously, the wiring would need to be resized. You will notice there are two thermostats, I have forgotten which is set higher, I think the lower is set at a higher temp. BTW the lower element usually "burns" out first because of sediment build up which causes it to overheat and fail.

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#28

Re: Hot Water Heater Question

10/08/2015 1:31 PM

SOLVED- finally replaced both thermostats and elements and hot water problem went bye bye. Thank you to all 27 replies. I have learned a lot from your suggestions and the one that helped me the most was/were the diagrams.

Again, thanks to all !

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#30

Re: Hot Water Heater Question

04/09/2018 3:10 AM

I am facing the same problem with my water heater, my neighboring friend suggested me to take help of water heater installation NJ professions and get the repairing done by experts. But I want to know how you sorted this problem.

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#31
In reply to #30

Re: Hot Water Heater Question

10/10/2023 7:04 AM

Er, that's in #28⇑.

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