I have an electric immersion heater (now 3 years old) in the bathroom. Recently it has kept cutting out (by tripping the fuse) after quite short intervals - so the fuse may need to be reset several times before the water is hot enough to have a shower. Any ideas on how to fix this?
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I think that your water heater was made in 1991 so it would be 20 years old. This is not uncommon for a electric heater but you are probably right about it being on it's last legs. The good news is that a electric water heater for use in a manufactured home is no different then other building types so they are not more expensive. Gas water heaters for manufactured homes cost anywhere between 150.00-200.00 more than standard. Thank you.
From your description, it sounds like the pull chain ON/OFF switch is broken.Admittedly, this is the first time I have ever heard of a pull chain switch being on an electric heater, But, I guess it is in the ceiling and not wired to a wall switch, it's the only way to turn it ON or OFF. I wouldn't think that replacing the pull chain switch would be that difficult or expensive to replace. Most home centers and hardware stores sell this type of switch for use in ceiling fans, The key would be removing the faulty switch and taking it with you to buy a new one. You want to be sure that the new switch matches the amperage and polarity of the old switch.
As far as the unit only being a year old and the switch failing so quickly ... it's in a warm moist environment 24 hours a day. It doesn't surprise me that the switch broke. You might want to consider replacing the pull chain switch with a hard wired wall switch. Certainly, it would cost more than replacing the pull chain switch, but you'd never have that problem again.
Placement of the heater is the problem. It needs to be in a more central location. Perhaps the hallway. That way, it heat has a more open area to travel and reach the areas you're trying to heat. Keep in mind though, it will always be hotter where the heater is located.
It sounds like your breaker is too small (amp rating not high enough). You need to check the wire size going to and from your breaker to see if you can put a higher amp rating breaker in. It would be advisable to have an electrician check it out.
A 23 year old unit will be a major energy hog.You will see a massive improvement even with a less efficient unit,but go with the energy efficiency.The price of fuel is going to keep going up,and you will be using the furnace for many years.I'm in Ohio,and we get by just fine on electric for the very rare occasion the temperature drops below the level where the heat pump cant keep up.If this really worries you,you can put a couple space heaters back for emergency.Of course your talking about a gas unit,or a dual fuel unit.The dual fuel would be your best bet of course for ultimate fuel efficiency,but they can be pricey for the ones with all the bells,and whistles.Some will even use the fuel that is less expensive at any given time throughout the day.For example in some circumstances electricity is more expensive during the day then at night.Ultimately you have to figure out how much energy you use on average to heat your house.If you know the efficiency of the unit you have now you can estimate the actual output energy that is actually needed to heat/cool your house.Which would be the effective output of the old unit.Figure out how much less energy input you will need with a more efficient unit to get the same average output as the old unit.Subtract the energy usage for the new unit from the average energy use from the last winter.This will be your approximate energy savings.This should give you some Idea of the energy savings.
Glenn, thank you for responding to my question on the bradford white hot water heater. It is an electric hot water heater, 7 years old. Our water is good in this area, not considered hard water. We do not have a water softener. Appreciate any advice you can give me.