Question about Rheem Water Heaters

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This a Manufactured house. I am having an issue with having to reset it in order to get the hot water heater to heat the water. This is an electric hot water heater. The info on the water heater is: S/N RH 05981 52556, model 71-40D B, wattage 240volts AC only, upper 4500, lower 4500, total 4500, cap US gallons 40. I am not sure what other info is needed

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  • Tom Ludwig Feb 01, 2010

    I may have not described what I was resetting when I reset my water heater. My hot water heater has a reset button on it. The breaker in the electrical box stays on. Sorry for not getting into detail. The reset button is located in the top hole and is centered between 6-8 wires, which are coverd by a plastic shield.



    Thanks

    Tom

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  • Rheem Master
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Hello,
It looks like from the serial # that this heater is 11 years going on 12 old... It is getting ready for replacement anyway... in my part of the country it would be leaking by now.
Anyway, the problem you have is either that one of the thermostats is not tightly against the metal of the tank, which can happen in a older heater, or that one of the thermostats has gone bad and will not shut off. This causes the reset to pop because the tank is over heating.
Tracking down exactly what is happening cantake a long time. You will need an electric meter and be checking the bottom element to see if it licks the power back up to the top one. Then if that happens you need to see if the top thermostat kicks off at the temperature you want. If the reset pops before the temperature goes over the set point then you have a bad reset/thermostat on the top.

Heatman101

Posted on Feb 02, 2010

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  • Master
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Good morning,

I'm guessing that you are stressing the "Manufactured" home because it uses full size appliances, correct?

What is the electrical feed to your home, 100 amp 200 amp?

There are several reasons for a breaker to trip. The circuit is demanding more amperage than it is protected for. For example, if your water heater is a 40 amp heater, and it is pulling 45 amps, then the breaker will trip to protect the device.

If someone was doing "decorations" and hammered a nail through the conductors to the heater to the panel. The breaker itself may be bad. The water heater my have a short to ground withing its wiring. And last but not the least, the breaker or the panel could be defective.

I must warn you, if you do not know how to service the Main Panel, call a licensed electrician. May panel mistakes can get you killed or severely burned if you do not know what you are doing.

Does the breaker trip immediately when you reset it? If it does, then you need to shut he main service feed to the panel down. The wires connecting to the main panel will still be live so STAY AWAY FROM THEM!!!!

Remove the panel cover and examine the breaker marked for Water Heater. Carefully remove the breaker and look at the contacts on the bottom of the breaker. They should be clean and smooth. If there are any burn marks or pits, replace the breaker with a breaker that is made for your panel. Take the breaker with you to a Lowe, Home Depot or an electrical supply shop.

With the breaker removed, check the phase bus bars that are under the breaker to make sure they are clean and smooth. If they are pitted or contaminated, the bus bar will need to be replaced. Or in some cases the entire panel will have to go.

While you are in the neighborhood, take a multi meter and set it to 1K Ohms. Place the black probe lead onto the frame of the cabinet. Using the red probe, place it on each lead from the breaker. If either position reads zero (0) then there is a direct short between phase and ground and you may need to replace the cable.

At the water heater, remove each phase conductor and then check if the ground fault is removed. If it does, more than likely, the heater has a ground fault short and should either be serviced b a plumber or electrician. Personally I would just replace the water heater if the ground fault short goes away.

Before you head of to the store for parts, I would turn the main panel back on so that the home has power again. Remember to shut the panel down before doing any work when you return.

Don

Posted on Jan 31, 2010

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