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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    5

    Default Electric Water Heater: Water Too Hot

    This started a couple of days ago. The hot water is coming out scolding hot and then there is no hot water. I assume the water ehater is heating the water to much and then shutting down. I went in and reset the heater but the problem is still happening. My final attempt before either attempting to do some serious work on the water ehater itself or calling in a repairman was to turn the settings down. Any helpful advice would be greatly apreciated. TIA.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The deep South
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    459

    Default Re: Electric Water Heater: Water Too Hot

    Turn the power off NOW !!! Have it looked at by a pro .

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    62

    Default Re: Electric Water Heater: Water Too Hot

    You either have a burned out lower heating element, or a malfunctioning lower thermostat. Your standard electric water heater has an upper and lower heating element that operate independently of each other...each with their own thermostats. Even though the hot and cold lines both enter at the top of the tank, the cold water enters the heater and travels down through a "dip tube" and exits the pipe close to the bottom of the tank. The hot water exits at the top of the tank, and does not have a dip tube. Since hot water will rise, just like hot air will, then based on your description, only the top element is working. It is heating the water near the top of the tank, leaving that in the bottom cold. The job of the lower element is to heat the water in the bottom of the tank. That top element is working overtime to try to keep up, and that is why you are getting scalding water for a few minutes, and then it goes cold. If the lower element was working, and the top one was out, you would just have a lot of warm water, but not much hot.

    This is a very common problem, and parts are readily available at home centers. The project is rather involved though, and will require that you turn off the power, drain the tank, remove the element and/or thermostat, get the exact matching part, make the repairs, and then completely refill the tank before turning the power back on. Unless you are rather DIY savvy, you may just want to call a plumber.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Electric Water Heater: Water Too Hot

    We called in a pro. Thanks for all the helpful advice.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,418

    Default Re: Electric Water Heater: Water Too Hot

    You said you had to reset the water heater. This tells me that the high-temperature cutoff kicked out. I'm guessing the upper thermostat went bad and won't shut off.

    For everyone else's information, reference, enjoyment, whatever... the top thermostat "overrides" the bottom thermostat so only one element is on at a time. The bottom element does most of the work, as it heats the cold water. Most of the time, the top element won't come on; only if there's high demand. When the top element comes on, the bottom element won't come on no matter how cold it is down there.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Electric Water Heater: Water Too Hot

    Not to confident in the repairman's analyses. He came in and took a look at it for a few minutes, opened it up, ran the water and then told me that the brains were fried. Terminology anyone? Anyway he said the whole water heater neds to be replaced, that they could replace the brain but that at this point it looks like it would just keep burning it out. Loks like I'm paying for a new water ehater and installation. I can't help but feel this is wrong but then again, to me, its a lot of money to replace it. I checked out Lowes and water ehaters go for under $300 yet I'm paying $800. Can a repairman's time be that cost worthy?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,418

    Default Re: Electric Water Heater: Water Too Hot

    Get a different repairman, this one's brains are fried. Any competent repairman should use proper terminology with a customer, and explain what the parts do if needed. Terms like thermostat, element, and control valve aren't that hard for the layman to understand.

    Replacement of the water heater should take no more than an hour; $400-500 is an unreasonable labor charge. There will be some other minor expenses: probably less than $25 worth of parts plus a permit. In most places a permit is required to replace a water heater, even if you do it yourself. That will be an added expense.

    One critical thing we all forgot to ask: is this a gas or electric water heater? In some cases, a water heater may have to be placed on a raised platform. This can mean reworking the plumbing, electrical or gas, possibly even the venting. You may be required to install earthquake straps. If that's the case, it may take $100 worth of parts and 2 hours labor.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Electric Water Heater: Water Too Hot

    Its an Electric Water Heater, 40 Gallons, about 4 feet tall. The repairman explained that they would have to put the water heater on order which is beyond me since there are so many readily available at any Lowes or Home Depot. He says the $850 price includes all installation and a 6 year warrenty from them on the water heater as well as the 4 year warrenty the water heater already comes with.

    The water heater is a Bradford White which the repairman says isn't that great.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,622

    Default Re: Electric Water Heater: Water Too Hot

    Call another repairman.
    An electric water heater consistes of a tank, and insulated jacket, two thermoststs, two elements, a pressure/temperature release valve, a dip tube, and anode rod but no brain. Sounds like you got a high commissioned salesman rather than a repairman.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Lakeland ,MN
    Posts
    356

    Default Re: Electric Water Heater: Water Too Hot

    Quote Originally Posted by Fencepost View Post
    You said you had to reset the water heater. This tells me that the high-temperature cutoff kicked out. I'm guessing the upper thermostat went bad and won't shut off.

    For everyone else's information, reference, enjoyment, whatever... the top thermostat "overrides" the bottom thermostat so only one element is on at a time. The bottom element does most of the work, as it heats the cold water. Most of the time, the top element won't come on; only if there's high demand. When the top element comes on, the bottom element won't come on no matter how cold it is down there.
    I am sorry to inform you that all water heaters top element does not overide the bottom stat and element. In a residential unit that is the case most of the time but, not always the rule so do not assume that is the case. I have seen both in homes. A true way to find out is to look at the wiring info on the unit and compare the element watts to the elements watts and the circuit required by the manufacture. this is a reference enjoyment or whatever.
    Harry

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