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Testing a hot water heater

Is there any way to tell a water heater work without hooking up every thing? Can determine the heating element works without filling it up with water? It is electric.

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I would try a continuety test on the element.  You should get no resistance.  If the water heater has been sitting for any real length of time, then it is probably better to just replace, instead of tryin to reuse, especially since you don't want to shower/wash is stagnant water...
Hope this helps

Posted on Jan 08, 2009

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Heater element only gets 120volts. Should be 240v, correct? Water does not heat up.


Testing voltage on heater can be tricky since elements can test 120Volt to ground all all times.
This is because thermostats only turn off 1 Hot leg in the 240Volt circuit, while the other hot leg remains live. Each hot leg in 240Volt circuit is 120Volt.
http://waterheatertimer.org/B220C.html#120-240
Troubleshoot electric water heater:
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-troubleshoot-electric-problems-with-water-heater.html#reset
Try following things in order: Press reset button. Test elements. Replace thermostats.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-test-water-heater-element.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-replace-thermostat-on-electric-water-heater.html
Add comment.

Apr 29, 2013 | Water Heaters

1 Answer

Reliance 606 electric 40 gallon hot water heater will get extremely hot and then shut off. I have to push the reset button after showers. I have turned the heat down but it still gets to hot. Thermostat...


ECO reset button trips for several reasons.

1) Easiest thing without testing, is replace both thermostats.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-replace-thermostat-on-electric-water-heater.html

2) If problem persists, then test elements.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-test-water-heater-element.html

3) If problem continues, do full troubleshoot
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-troubleshoot-electric-problems-with-water-heater.html

Add a comment for more free help.
Also take advantage of fixya expert assistance live.
For a price, expert works with you while you work on water heater or any do-it-yourself project.
Fixya is always less expensive than a service call.

Mar 08, 2011 | RELIANCE ELECTRIC WATER HEATER

1 Answer

We installed a brand new Reliance Electric Hot Water Heater, but no hot water, only lukewarm! Replaced top heating element and still no hot water!! Any suggestions as to what we need to do now?


If you have some hot water from dual-element water heater, then that tells us:
Water heater is 240Volt.
Upper element is working. If upper element is not working, then heater has NO hot water.
Reset button is not tripped.
Electricity and breaker to water heater are delivering 240Volts to heater.

Remaining suspects are:
1) Bad upper or lower thermostat: Solution: replace both thermostats for 28$.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-replace-thermostat-on-electric-water-heater.html
2) Bad lower element: Solution test and replace element:
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-test-water-heater-element.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-replace-water-heater-element.html
3) Loose wire or loose connection: Solution: open both covers and inspect for burning. Tighten all screws very tight.
4) Bad wire: Solution: Buy cheap multimeter from Home Center and do a 30 minute troubleshoot of entire water heater before replacing any parts:
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-troubleshoot-electric-problems-with-water-heater.html
When testing for voltage, rotate multimeter dial to 240-250-277VAC
When testing elements or continuity, rotate multimeter dial to Ohms.

Jan 10, 2011 | RELIANCE ELECTRIC WATER HEATER

2 Answers

I have a Rheem Model # 62SV-520 and I loose hot water after about 10 minutes in the shower. I think one of the heating elements is bad, but if so, which one.


There performance depends on your demand. If you are using an energy saving shower head I would expect you to have enough hot water for easily a couple of showers. But, if your using the "power flush" type shower heads that use 3.5 gpm or more, the 40 gallon heater is not enough. Also, consider type of water your heating. Is it well water or municipal. Unsoftened well (this includes some municipal well supplies too) water causes hardness ions to cake the heater element making them less efficient. If you have the low flow shower, it is likely you have an element burt out. They can simply be replaced and picked up at any big box store for less than $20 dollars. Each element can be tested in place with a continuity tester. If your not sure how to test, but would be willing to replace the elements - replace both of them. You will have to shut off power to heater and drain tank completely before removing elements. Replace elements with same wattage or higher. Most have two 2250 watt elements for a total of 4500 watts. you can easily install two 3000 watt elements and have a quicker recovery rate and more hot water than ever.

Jan 03, 2011 | Rheem 81VP6S/430126 Water Heater

1 Answer

Water may stay hot for 5 minutes then gets cold. water heater often blows breaker or pop out switch.


I suggest taking 30 minutes and testing water heater parts.
Right away we know 2 things:
-Electricity to heater is good.
-Upper element is receiving power because you have some hot water. If upper element was burned out, you would have no hot water.

That leaves 5 suspects:
Upper thermostat.
Lower thermostat.
Loose or shorted wire.
Upper element shorted to ground near center of element.
Lower element shorted or damaged in some manner.

Buy $10 milti-meter from Home Center or hardware
When test calls for testing voltage, rotate multimeter dial to 240-250-277 VAC.
When test calls for testing elements or continuity, rotate multimeter dial to Ohms.
Take 30 minutes and go down page.
Test will identify problem(s) and show how to fix it yourself.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-troubleshoot-electric-water-heater.html

Add a comment for more free assistance.
Also take advantage of fixya phone service.
For a price, fixya expert speaks to you via phone while you work on water heater.

Jan 01, 2011 | RELIANCE ELECTRIC WATER HEATER

1 Answer

No hot or warm water what is the voltage reading susposed to be on the heating elements? I have 122 volts on each terminal on both elements but no action, what am i doing wrong?


If water is totally cold, then upper element is not getting 240V. Since element tested for 120V, then that says upper element is burned out, upper thermostat is bad, or circuit breaker is bad.
Best thing is to buy multimeter and do 30 minute troubleshoot:
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-troubleshoot-electric-problems-with-water-heater.html

Also read information below for understanding how water heater works.

Testing elements for voltage can be misleading.
If water heater has 2 elements, then tank is 240Volts.
240V water heaters have 120V on each element at all times.
So elements have hot 120V power, but they are not turned on until the circuit is complete with 240V.
Open following links to read specifics about 120V and 240V
http://waterheatertimer.org/B220C.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-water-heater-thermostat-works.html

240V is made from two 120V Hot wires from breaker box.
Each 120V line from breaker is called a 'leg.'
So 240V circuit has two legs, and both legs need to be turned on to complete 240V circuit.

Water heater thermostats turn off only one leg.
The other leg is Hot all the time.
So when you test screws on an element, for example test between a screw and any bare metal part of tank, then the screw will always show 120V.
That is just one leg of the 240V circuit.
But the 240V circuit is not turned On until both legs are connected.
Every residential circuit needs two wires to complete the circuit, and in the case of 240V, those two wires are both 120V.

When the thermostat turns on, it turns on the second leg to the element and that completes the 240V circuit.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-it-works.html

Dec 16, 2010 | Rheem 40 GAL ELEC TALL Water Heater 6YR SC...

1 Answer

Only about five minutes of hot water, both elements and thermostats are good?


A] First of all, we know your upper element is working because you have some hot water:
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-it-works.html
It says tank is not overheating.
It says tank is getting 240Volts.
It we know water heater is 240Volts because you have 2 elements.
And it says reset button is not tripped.

B] That leaves 4 suspects:
Suspect 1) Bad Upper thermostat or Bad Lower thermostat: solution replace both thermostats for about 25$. Steps shown in link below.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-replace-thermostat-on-electric-water-heater.html
Suspect 2) Burned out Lower element: solution take out element, clean sediment out of tank, put in new element. Steps shown in link below
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-clean-sediment-out-of-electric-water-heater.html
Suspect 3) Loose wire or connection: solution open covers and remove insulation and look for signs of burning and high heat. Tighten all screws very tight. Replace burned part. Put insulation and covers back over thermostat so thermostat not exposed to cool air which will cause thermostat to misread tank temperature.

C] Before replacing anything, you can test water heater parts and determine exact cause of problem. Testing requires $5 multimeter from Lowes or Home Depot:
Install battery in multimeter.
When test calls for testing voltage, rotate multimeter dial to 240 or 250 or 277 Volts.
When test calls for testing continuity, rotate multimeter dial to ohms (upside down horseshoe symbol is ohms)
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-troubleshoot-electric-water-heater.html
After doing 30 minutes of testing, you will be expert in water heaters.

If sediment builds up inside tank, it will reach lower element and burn out the element.
That could be problem.
Restore full efficiency to tank by cleaning out sediment and replacing lower element.

E] More reading to preserve tank and save money long term
http://waterheatertimer.org/Replace-anode-rod.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/9-ways-to-save-with-water-heater.html

Dec 10, 2010 | Rheem 50 GAL ELEC TALL Water Heater 6YR SC...

1 Answer

We just recently replaced both heating elements in our water heater. Now the water is just barely getting warm and not hot. What's wrong??


Electric water heater if fully repairable by homeowner:

A] First of all, we know your upper element is working because you have some hot water:
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-it-works.html
That says tank is not overheating.
It says tank is getting 240Volts.
It we know water heater is 240Volts because you have 2 elements.
And it says reset button is not tripped.

B] That leaves 4 suspects:
Suspect 1) Bad Upper thermostat or Bad Lower thermostat: solution replace both thermostats for about 25$. Steps shown in link below.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-replace-thermostat-on-electric-water-heater.html
Suspect 2) Burned out Lower element: solution take out element, clean sediment out of tank, put in new element. Steps shown in link below
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-clean-sediment-out-of-electric-water-heater.html
Suspect 3) Loose wire or connection: solution open covers and remove insulation and look for signs of burning and high heat. Tighten all screws very tight. Replace burned part. Put insulation and covers back over thermostat so thermostat not exposed to cool air which will cause thermostat to misread tank temperature.

C] Before replacing anything, you can test water heater parts and determine exact cause of problem. Testing requires $5 multimeter from Lowes or Home Depot:
Install battery in multimeter.
When test calls for testing voltage, rotate multimeter dial to 240 or 250 or 277 Volts.
When test calls for testing continuity, rotate multimeter dial to ohms (upside down horseshoe symbol is ohms)
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-troubleshoot-electric-water-heater.html
After doing 30 minutes of testing, you will be expert in water heaters.

D] You replaced elements for a reason
.
Did you test elements before replacing?
Was tank producing some hot water before you replaced elements?
If tank producing some hot water, then lower element was bad, and upper element was good.

And when you replaced lower element, did you also clean sediment out of tank?

If sediment builds up inside tank, it will reach lower element and burn out the element.
That could have been original problem, and it could be same problem again.
Restore full efficiency to tank by cleaning out sediment and replacing lower element.
http://waterheatertimer.org/Clean-sediment-out-of-water-heater.html

E} More reading to preserve tank and save money long term
http://waterheatertimer.org/Replace-anode-rod.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/9-ways-to-save-with-water-heater.html

Dec 10, 2010 | Rheem Water Heaters

1 Answer

My water is not heating in my Rheem 40 gallon electric. I pushed the reset button, but when I turn off the breaker and then on again, I do not hear the elements heating up.


Electric water heater can be repaired by homeowner
If I understand correctly, water heater is producing no hot water.
Reset button clicks in, but still no heat.

Three initial things can be causing this:
1) No power to water heater. Test across top two screws on upper thermostat for 240V. Red and black wire are attached to these screws. Screws are marked 1 and 3. Upper thermostat is same that has reset button. If power tests 120 across screws, then breaker may be off on one leg. If no power, then start testing at breaker.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-troubleshoot-electric-problems-with-water-heater.html

2) Upper thermostat is bad. Replace thermostat with generic upper thermostat available at hardware store.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-replace-thermostat-on-electric-water-heater.html

3) Upper element is bad. Test and replace element using Rheem 4500 watt element available at hardware store. Image shown below. Look at label on side of tank for element wattage. Rheem puts 4500 watt elements into all their 240V electric water heaters.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-test-water-heater-element.html

If upper element is burned out the tank will not heat any water.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-it-works.html

Rheem 4500Watt element
geno_3245_98.jpg

Upper thermostats are generic and interchangeable:
geno_3245_99.jpg

Nov 23, 2010 | Rheem 40 GAL ELEC TALL Water Heater 6YR SC...

2 Answers

I have a new whirlpool water heater 40 gallons I run out of hot water when taking a shower. what could the problem be?


Hi,
You did not specify here so I'm guessing... you have an electric hot water heater.
The problem that happens with them is that the bottom element goes bad. The top one still works so you still have hot water, just not much of it.
Usually when the top element is satisfied it switches to the bottom and heats the rest of the tank.
I think you will find that your only heating the top 1/3 of the tank and that the bottome element needs to be replaced.

I hope that this will help you to solve your problem!

Thanks for using Fixya!!

Heatman101

Dec 08, 2009 | Water Heaters

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