No Hot Water

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum' started by shuswapcruisers, Apr 25, 2009.

  1. Apr 25, 2009 #1

    shuswapcruisers

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    Hello all.
    Been on vacation the last 5 months and started up the water system after winterizing it and all is well except for... NO HOT WATER.
    This is what I have.
    A standart John Wood 50 gal tank
    Drained it completely and turned off the power before winter.
    Today after firing up the system, removing all air from taps and turning on the breaker... no hot water.
    The reset is not out and with a current tester is getting power to BOTH heating elements. Tank is 1.5 years old and I have never run into a problem after winterizing before. We are remote so any ideas will be appreciated.
    thanks
     
  2. Apr 25, 2009 #2

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    Run some water out the drain valve and I expect you'll find it hot.

    Residential hot water heaters will have BOTH the cold water inlet and hot water outlet located at the top of the heater. However, there has to be some way for the cold water to get to the bottom of the tank to displace the lighter, hotter water above it. Otherwise, when you were to draw hot water, the cold water coming it at the top of the tank would travel directly to the hot water outlet, and you'd get luke warm water (at best) coming out.

    That "some way" is called a dip tube, and it's broken on your hot water heater.

    A dip tube directs the cold incoming water to the bottom of the tank so that gravity keeps the colder heavier water at the bottom of the tank and the lighter, hotter water at the top of the tank. That way, you get ALL of the hot water out of the tank before it runs cold.

    Run some water out of your drain valve and see if it's hot. If it isn't, then maybe your elements aren't working. But, if the water in the tank is hot, and yet you're not getting equally hot water out of the faucets, then your dip tube is toast.
     
  3. Apr 25, 2009 #3

    shuswapcruisers

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    Hey Nestor
    Water at the drain (bottom) is ice cold.
    Power is to the heating elements (2)
    Guess it has to be I burnt out the elements when I drained and winterized the tank?
     
  4. Apr 26, 2009 #4

    MACPLUMB

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    it is your upper element is burnt out,
    what we call dry fired it only takes about 10 seconds to burn
    out if enough water is not covering it when it comes on
    to help prevent this always bleed the water out though the tub/shower valve plus all other faucets in the cabin before turning the power back on ,
    also it helps if you can get elements that are made with "incloy"
    this is the black type stuff that works on electric stove tops
    thats why they don't burn out

    MACPLUMB
    35 yr master plumber
    with a ph.d. In water heaterolgy
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2009
  5. Apr 26, 2009 #5

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    Shuswap:

    Do you have a multimeter to check for continuity? If not, is it possible to turn off all the electric appliances in your house, and then turn up your water heater's thermostat and watch your electric meter to see if there's any watts being used by the only thing left; the water heater?

    The material MACPLUMB says to get is incoloy, which is apparantly more resistant to corrosion or scale forming on it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2009
  6. Apr 26, 2009 #6

    shuswapcruisers

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    I think your right.
    Just drove two hours to get new elements.
    Draining tank now.
    Will let you all know later tonight
    Thanks
     
  7. Apr 26, 2009 #7

    shuswapcruisers

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    Would I have burnt out both and if not... how can I tell?
     
  8. Apr 26, 2009 #8

    shuswapcruisers

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    NOW DO I FEEL DUMB
    Got the top one out... or whats left to it.
    Still waiting for the bottom to drain before I pull out the bottom to check it.
    With all the scale I see I might as well change it anyways.
    Update later!
     
  9. Apr 26, 2009 #9

    Redwood

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    Stubs huh?:D
     
  10. Apr 26, 2009 #10

    shuswapcruisers

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    Yup
    Just call me stubby!:D
    Thanks MacPlumb:)
    Id type more but Im going to take a nice long HOT shower
    Goodnight
     
  11. Apr 26, 2009 #11

    Redwood

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    I like to use an ultra low watt density element when I replace water heater elements.

    [​IMG]

    This # 02953 4500 watt / 240 volt Ripple Foldback Lime Life element made by Camco Mfg. Inc. has a wattage density of only 50 watts per square inch and offers a substantially insreased service life even in an area with heavy lime properties in the water. The nickel and chromium incoloy elements are claimed to even stand up to being dry fired even though I have never personally verified this claim.

    Click here for the manufacturers web page

    Note: They also sell a 5500 watt element which I do not recommend. Many water heaters are not designed for the additional 1000 watt load. This product was designed for big box stores where they may claim bigger is better.:eek:
     
  12. Apr 26, 2009 #12

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    But it's all crooked.
     
  13. Apr 26, 2009 #13

    Redwood

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    Yup! Thats what makes it so good.
    There is so much more surface area that the element runs cooler yet still put the same amount of heat into the water.

    You can't burn that one out.
     
  14. Apr 26, 2009 #14

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    Oh. :confused:
    Are you sure the customer isn't supposed to fix it himself with a hammer?
     
  15. Apr 26, 2009 #15

    Redwood

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    You could pound on it with a hammer and straighten it out but then you would have to use a hole saw to cut a hole in the other side of the tank so you can get the element all the way into the bung.:D
     
  16. Apr 26, 2009 #16

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    Oh, so they bend it all to he11 like that for a reason.

    I'm thinking they probably just make them straight and then drive over a pile of them with a truck.

    Thanks for the info. I'll see if I can make one with my car.
     
  17. Apr 27, 2009 #17

    MACPLUMB

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    YES THIS IS THE ONE I MEAN, I RECOMMEND THESE ALSO :agree:

    MACPLUMB
    35 YEAR MASTER PLUMBER
    WITH A PH.D. IN WATER HEATEROLGY
     
  18. May 2, 2009 #18

    RandyJ

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    Just my 2 cents here. It's a simple task with a screwdriver and multimeter to check an element without taking it out. Turn off the electricity to the water heater. Use the volt meter to check to MAKE SURE THE ELECTRICITY IS OFF. Remove one wire to the element. Check for continuity across both terminals. I have also seen this test to fail because the element pieces were broken and contacting the metal of the element tube...but you should get 100% continuity if it is good and anything less than that is bad... You can also leave the lead to the element on and remove the lead coming from the element, turn the power back on then check for voltage on the terminal you have removed the lead from simply by getting a good ground with one lead and touching the other to the terminal you removed the wire from. I've rarely had to replace a lower water heater element... I live on a lake with 99% of the houses being vacation homes so this is a very common problem.
     
  19. May 3, 2009 #19

    Redwood

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    They should read about 10 - 13 ohms screw to screw and open screw to the flange.
     

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