Question about Water Heaters

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In-home Hot water heater; I've changed elements, both thermostats, and the electronic circuit on my circuit breaker. Is there any other reason why it is not heating up my water?

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  • 71 Answers

Use a test meter between elements to see if your getting continuity
and between power lead before elements. There has to be a line break if your not getting power entering elements.

Posted on Nov 29, 2014

  • Carlos Alston
    Carlos Alston Nov 29, 2014

    I think the problem is that we didn't fill the tank first, then put the power on. I usually wait at least 30/45 minutes later, to make sure it's completely filled, and I didn't the last time.

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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  • 66 Answers

SOURCE: circuit breaker trips on electric hot water heater circuit

Check the voltage at the water heater. Sounds like the element is burnt out and is tripping the breaker.

If it is more then 5 years old I would check.install a new heating element.

Posted on Mar 27, 2009

SOURCE: Reliance 40 gal hot water heater. Model 54020RS960

Hello Bill The temp stat is a square box clipped in under the elements .Can be replaced in 5 minutes.Need a large flat screwdriver.

Posted on Oct 15, 2010

SOURCE: how do I change the

Buy elements at local hardware store or home center, like Lowes
Look at label on side of tank.
Label shows element wattage.
Element is also printed on end of element in tiny letters-numbers.
Typical elements are 4500 and 5500 watts.
Tank needs 10 gauge wire and 30 amp breaker for 5500 watt element.

Water heaters are fully repairable by homeowner.

1) Have you tested water heater to see if element is problem? You need cheap multi-meter from Home Depot.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-troubleshoot-electric-problems-with-water-heater.html

2) To change element
a) turn off power
b) drain water from drain valve ... once it starts draining, loosen element slightly while tank still has weight to hold against you turning element wrench.
Here's what to do if water heater won't drain:
http://waterheatertimer.org/Water-heater-will-not-drain.html
c) open covers on tank, remove element using element-wrench from hardware store or home center.
If element won't come out:
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-remove-old-water-heater-element.html
d) Clean out tank if needed.
e) Replace element.
f) Fill tank entirely with water before turning on power or element will burn out.
g) Once tank is filled, and water flows steady out of tub spout, turn on power.
Each steps above is shown on following link:
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-clean-sediment-out-of-electric-water-heater.html

3) You need to buy some things:
Screw-in type (not bolt-in type) Element that matches wattage on tank label. New Element comes with washer.
Inexpensive Element wrench.
Inexpensive multimeter if you are going to test parts first.
Some pieces of pipe and hose if tank sediment needs to be cleaned out.
Washing machine hose if tank will not drain (return after job is done).

4) Also:
You need flat tip and phillips screwdriver.
Lighting to work on tank
Some WD-40 if element is stuck in place.
Garden hose to drain tank.
Shop vac and duct tape if you need to vacuum out sediment.
Tarp to protect floor and carpet
Maybe a knife to cut back insulation on wire if wire is burned at element.

Web links above go through entire process step by step.
Add a comment if you need more help, I'll be back around 5 CST

Posted on Nov 30, 2010

SOURCE: Hello, I have a Rheem 81V52D 50 gal. residential

It's probably bad upper or lower thermostat.
BUT... new element could also be shorted.
OR ... original tank is rated 1500 watt elements look at label on side of tank.
I always replace both thermostats to save time.
Lower thermostat costs $10 at Lowes.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-replace-thermostat-on-electric-water-heater.html

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

Posted on Jan 17, 2011

barterjoe
  • 338 Answers

SOURCE: My hot water heater tripped the circuit breaker on

Tough problem here. Most dual element heaters share one line. if this is the case and you have power on the top and none on the bottom I would check the connecting wires one to another. also check the settings of the thermostats. They may be adjusted all the way down. If the wires and connections are good I would recommend ohm testing the new elements. I have burned elements out by introducing cold water to very hot coils (forgetting to turn the water on after flipping the breaker)
Never forget that calcium buildup will short the element. If touching on the bottom you will burn it up.
If this does not help try borrowing hot water from neighbors ;)
Good luck
Joe

Posted on Feb 15, 2011

Testimonial: "top element = O ohms, burned out. Replaced top element, turned water on and waited for tank to fill this time "Prior" to plugging in. THANKS!! "

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1 Answer

What else can I try, my Intertherm water heater is not heating water off the lower element?


I should like to hope I have your answer.
If yours is like most U.S. model, it is called a 220 volt unit.
That is not really 220 volts, it is really 2 separate 110 volt units.
What that means is, there are actually 2 separate 110 volt hot wires to the water heater, usually one hot wire is black, and the other hot wire is red.
One is for the upper heating unit, one is for the lower heating unit. Perhaps your lower unit has blown the circuit breaker for that line.
I mean the circuit breaker in the main fuse box/circuit breaker box.
Did you test the lower wiring to see if the hot wire is hot?
If it is hot, be sure to test the ground wire, and also the wiring between the bottom and the top of the heater inside it.
God bless your efforts.

Jan 04, 2018 | Water Water Heaters

1 Answer

Hot water heater


1) Check across top two screws on upper element for 240volts.
Circuit breaker can be tripped on one leg so water heater appears to have power, but only has 120Volts to ground, and not full 240Volt potential across both wires.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-troubleshoot-electric-problems-with-water-heater.html#electricity

2) Move wires to another same-size circuit breaker
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-replace-circuit-breaker.html

3) Add comment and say what you find, and for more assistance Dec 2012

Dec 12, 2012 | Rheem Water Heaters

1 Answer

On the water heater the circuit breaker was tripped. Reset and heater started working ok. Main service breaker was still on/ possible reasons for this problem.


Circuit breakers for water heaters generally operate at their maximum current. Once in a while a circuit breaker will trip for no apparent reason. The other reason may be a fault with the element or the thermostat. If this is the case it will generally happen again. If it does the element and thermostat need to be tested. If there is a fault the c/b on the HWS should always trip before the one at the switchboard providing that they are the same rating.

Feb 24, 2011 | RELIANCE ELECTRIC WATER HEATER

1 Answer

Whirlpool E1F50RD045V 50 gal elec. , top element is on bottom element is not getting 208 v, removed both legs from bottom stat has120v on each side not getting 208 from top , is their a relay not closing...


Sounds like you might have a thermostat problem, or burned out lower element
Lower thermostat and both elements will test for 120V at all times because upper thermostat only cuts off one leg of 240V circuit, and other leg is hot all the time.

http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-test-water-heater-element.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-water-heater-thermostat-works.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-wire-water-heater-thermostats.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-replace-thermostat-on-electric-water-heater.html

Yes, the elements alternate being turned ON.
This is called non-simultaneous operation.
Look at label on side of tank: Each element has rating of 4500Watts, but tank rating is also 4500Watts > that shows that both elements are not ON at same time.
This is standard wiring for water heaters.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-it-works.html

Water heaters can we wired differently, for example converted to simultaneous operation where upper thermostat and lower thermostat are no longer wired together, so upper and lower parts of tank are independent.
Lower thermostat is replaced with ECO protected thermostat identical to upper thermostat.
Another 240V circuit breaker is added to breaker panel, and that 240V line runs directly to lower thermostat. So upper and lower thermostats are each on separate 240V line.
The advantage of simultaneous is faster recovery of hot water, but downside is probably higher electric bill. Simultaneous wiring is usually reserved for larger tanks like 80 gallons, where elements can fall behind the amount of hot water needed.
Otherwise, ordinary non-simultaneous operation is proven to be satisfactory, if your home has not experienced shortages.
http://waterheatertimer.org/B220C.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-wire-off-peak-water-heater-thermostats.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/Do-it-yourself-water-heater-timer.html

Add a comment for more free help.

Also take advantage of fixya phone service.
For a price, expert speaks with you over phone while you work on water heater or any do-it-yourself project.
Fixya is always less expensive than a service call.

Feb 08, 2011 | Whirlpool Water Heaters

1 Answer

No heat the water.


Suddenly no hot water: Red reset button tripped, circuit breaker tripped, bad upper element, bad thermostat, loose wire, TP valve is running hot water out of tank, leaking faucet is running hot water out of tank.

1) Check for leaks.
2) Check circuit breaker.
3) Open top cover on water heater and push in red reset button.
If reset is popped out and will not reset, replace thermostat:
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-replace-thermostat-on-electric-water-heater.html
4) Test upper element:
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-test-water-heater-element.html
5) Loose wire
Do full troubleshoot:
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-troubleshoot-electric-water-heater.html

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

Feb 01, 2011 | RELIANCE ELECTRIC WATER HEATER

1 Answer

I replaced all parts but water heated won't get hot


You have electric water heater.
You replaced elements and thermostats but heater still won't work.
And tank was completely full of water, and water was running out of a faucet before turning power ON.
If elements are not fully immersed in water, they will instantly burn out.
If upper element is burned out, then tank will have NO hot water.
If lower element is burned out, and upper element is not burned out, then tank will have some hot water.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-test-water-heater-element.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-it-works.html

If elements did not burn out, then that leaves 1 main suspect: the electricity.

1) Push in ECO red reset button on upper thermostat. If ECO is tripped out, then heater will not work.

2) Click circuit breaker all the way one direction and then back the other direction to make sure breaker is latched.

3) If tank has 2 elements, then it is 240volt.
If 1 leg of 240Volt circuit is not working, then 240V appliance will not work.
240Volt circuit needs both hot wires to complete the circuit:
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-wire-EH40-hot-water-heater-timer.html#120-240

Buy cheap multimeter from Home Center and set dial to 240-250-277VAC
Tape tester leads to woods sticks to keep hands away from power.
Power is ON
Test across top 2 screws on upper element should show 220-240 volts.
If you have 240 at top two screws, then skip down to step 6.
If no reading across top two screws, then move to top of tank.

4) Open connection point where wire connects to heater.
Test across both insulated wires should get reading of 220-240 volts.
If no reading, move to circuit breaker box.

5) Mark water heater breaker.
Turn off all breakers except water heater breaker and main breaker. (and breaker to light fixture where box is located)
Do not hold or touch or lean against anything metal.
Stand on dry boards and wear dry clothes.
If main breaker is OFF, the big wires that connect to main breaker are still HOT.

Remove box cover.
240Volt breaker has 2 wires connected with screws.
Test across both screws for 240Volt.
See if wires are loose.
If there is no reading, then breaker is not working on one leg.
To double check, move water heater wires to another same-size 240V breaker and then put ear against water heater to listen for bubbly-fizzing sound.

6) If you are getting 240 to water heater, then wire inside tank could be loose.
Do 30 minute 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 phone service.
For a price, fixya expert speaks with you over phone while you work on timer.

Jan 09, 2011 | Rheem 40 GAL ELEC TALL Water Heater 6YR SC...

1 Answer

Is the lower element suppose to have two legs of 120 to it? Or do i need to move a wire up top to make it 240? as it is on top element.


You have water heater with two elements.
Two-element water heaters are 240Volts.

1) Lets talk about what makes a 240Volt circuit
See basic water heater circuit:
http://waterheatertimer.org/B220C.html

Open link, and illustration at top of page is your water heater circuit

Notice that two insulated wires come from the circuit breaker and go to the water heater.
These two wires are 120volt each. When these two 120Volt wires combine, they create 240Volts
These are called hot wires because they come from the hot busbars.
There is also a bare copper wire that comes from neutral busbar.
The bare copper wire is a safeguard, and is not necessary for the 240V circuit to work.

Inside each circuit breaker box is 1 neutral busbar, and 2 hot busbars.
Open image below, and it shows typical residential breaker box
http://waterheatertimer.org/images/Inside-Main-Breaker-Box-420.jpg

In a residential home, each circuit takes two wires to complete the circuit.
For 120Volt circuit, you need 1 neutral wire and 1 hot wire to complete the circuit. These are usually a black and white wire. The bare copper wire is a safeguard.
For 240Volt circuit, you need 2 hot wires to complete the circuit, and each hot wire comes off a different busbar. These can be a black and white wire, and sometimes a black and red wire. The bare copper wire is a safeguard.

With a 240Volt water heater the two hot wires connect to the black and red wires located on top of water heater.

2) Let's talk about wiring inside a water heater.
http://waterheatertimer.org/images/WH-w-combined-530.jpg

Open image on link above, and it shows your 240volt water heater wiring.
The 2 hot wires from breaker box connect to the red and black wires on top of heater.
Inside each water heater, the wires are color-coded and will appear the same, or nearly the same, as shown on link above.
As long as your wiring appears like the image, and the hot wires from breaker box connect correctly, and the circuit breaker is working fine, then your water heater will work.

Add a comment any time.

3) More electric water heater links about water heaters, thermostats and tank wiring:
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-electric-water-heater-works.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-water-heater-thermostat-works.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-wire-water-heater-thermostats.html

Dec 28, 2010 | 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

No hot water


Electric water heater can be repaired by homeowner.

Four things can cause NO hot water:
1) ECO red reset button tripped. Remove top cover on water heater, push red reset button on thermostat. Put insulation and cover back over thermostat.
2) Circuit breaker is tripped, circuit breaker bad, or wire loose in breaker box. Turn breaker on-off and listen for crackling or fizzing sound, and burned smell. Test breaker for 220Volts. Test top two screws on upper thermostat to see if water heater has electricity.
3) Bad upper thermostat. Replace upper thermostat.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-replace-thermostat-on-electric-water-heater.html
4) Bad upper element. Test upper element.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-test-water-heater-element.html

Nov 22, 2010 | Reliance WATER HEATER CO #9-40-DKRT 40GAL...

1 Answer

We have a new Rheem 30 gal short water heater. It only seems to put out about 10 gallons of hot water before it starts going cold,any suggestions......


I am assuming that everything was fine and then all of the sudden available hot water usage time dropped.

On a dual heating element hot water heater it can be

1. Internal tank loaded with sediment (drain and purge from lower garden hose fitting)

2. Thermostat or element problem with ONE of the 2 heaters. (Trouble shoot element thermostat)

3. Check Circuit breaker for partial trip of the breaker.

Feb 14, 2010 | Rheem 30 GAL ELEC SHORT Water Heater 6YR...

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