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My hot water heater just replaced the 2 heating elements, had hot water for 1 shower then it went to just warm and then to cold. not sure what to do next?

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  • mjhmsu Aug 04, 2010

    I opened my timer box and adjusted the time of day and the next morning i had hot water for about 30 minutes. i also noticed that the tabs that are supposed to be on the timer dail ar not on there. don't the tabs tell it when to shut off and turn on. Do i need to get a new timer ?



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I'm assuming that both new elements are working and coming on when the thermostat calls for them.

Where the water enters the hot water heater is a pipe that goes to the bottom of the tank so the cold water entering the tank doesn't mix with the hot water which is in the top of the tank where it's taken off first when you use the water. This pipe can come loose and the cold water will mix with the hot so that it seems you don't have much hot water. Remove the intake fitting and lift it up to see if the pipe is connected.

Posted on Aug 04, 2010

  • Charles T Nevin
    Charles T Nevin Aug 04, 2010

    The timers I have seen the tabs do turn the heater off and on. If the tabs are not there the heater would stay on or off depending on how it was when the tabs were taken off. They are usually removable to change the times. You may be able to put them back on if you find them.


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If the water heater will only supply a small amount of hot water then run cold the problem is a part called the dip tube.

The dip tube is long plastic tube that fits into the cold water inlet of the water heater. The purpose is to feed the incoming cold water to the bottom of the tank, because you draw the hot water off of the top. When the dip tube breaks the cold water feeds in the top as you draw off the hot, so the hot water cools off very quickly.

The dip tube is an inexpensive item that can be purchased at most plumbing supply stores. You may have to cut it to length for your heater.

Let me know if you have questions.

Posted on Aug 02, 2010


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1 Answer

I turned up my hot water heater up to 135 on the top should the bottom be lower setting

Most likely the bottom element is burned out.

To check, turn the top element down and the bottom way up, you might hear it heating the water, you might. Or turn the top element way down with the bottom up to 135 and wait for about 1/2 hour and take a shower. Did you run out of hot water?

Do you have a 50-55 gal hot water heater or larger? If not you need to turn the bottom element up to 135.

If you are taking really long showers you will run out of hot water with any electric water heater.

Install a low flow showerhead.

Jan 17, 2018 | Home

1 Answer

Water doesnt get hot unless you run the sink first then the wster on shower get boiling hot then ice cold showers a few weeks old

So you have 2 heating elements in your hot water heater. A top and a bottom. From the sounds of it your top element has went bad however they are only about $17 a piece new and it is recommended you replace both at the same time. Thats why it takes you long run to get hot water the top water heater water is still cold and long run gets to the bottom and gives you hot water.

Apr 03, 2015 | Home

1 Answer

Hot water runs out fast after awile it gets hot again.

This sounds as if one element has failed. I always replace them in pairs. They should
be the 4500 watt element. Usually if the lower element fails this will occur as only the
top of the tank gets warm. You must shut off power at the breaker panel and make sure
at the top two connections on the upper thermostat (red and black) that there is no
power with a test light or meter.

Shut off water supply, attach hose to drain valve
open a couple of faucets or the shower and drain. If it does not drain, open the
water valve to purge the sediment and close it again. After water has drained remove
the heating elements by removing the two wires and using a water heater socket
(or 1 1/2 inch socket if you have a big socket set) and replace them.

As a side note, if you have removed the restrictor to the shower head this same
problem will occur.

Jul 14, 2011 | Reliance & Lowboy& Electric Water Heater

1 Answer

My water is luke warm and then runs cold and then overnight goes back to luke warm. I turned temp gage s up to 150 and still luke warm. I have a Rheem 40 gal electric tank

Its time to replace the heating elements. 90% of the time it's going to be the bottom element, but if you're going to drain it anyway, elements are only $10.00 to $12.00 I would go ahead and replace them both. Replacing the elements is simple just follow these steps.

Step 1: Turn off the power to the water heater.
Step 2: Turn off the cold water valve supplying the water to the heater.
step 3: Drain the water heater there are a few steps to proper draining, connect a hose to the drain port on the lower front of the heater and open the drain valve (remember its gravity drain so downhill all the way) pull up on the pop off handle to relief the pressure in the tank and to let air in so it can start draining also open the hot water valves in your tubs and showers (the more air you can get in the faster it will drain)
Step 4: Undo the 2 wires connected to the heating elements and unscrew the element counter clockwise until it comes out of the tank (they make a socket type tool for removing the elements it's real cheap and can be found at any Home Depot)
Step 5: Take the elements to Home Depot (or any hardware store) and find the exact replacements also get a 1/2" roll or Teflon tape.
Step 6: Teflon tape the threads on the elements (with the threads facing you apply the Teflon tape clockwise) about 4 times around the threads is good.
Step 7: Reinsert the elements into the holes and snug them up tight. (Clockwise) Not supper tight
Step 8: Reconnect the wires to the elements they are 220 volts so there is no neutral either wire to either screw is fine.
step 9: Close the drain valve a disconnect the hose make sure the pop off is closed and turn the water back on leave the tubs and showers on until the tank is filled and air quits coming out of them . Check around the elements for leaks if you see a leak simply snug it up a bit more.
Step 10: Set temp to 125 or whatever you find efficient, replace element covers and turn the power back on and you're all set.


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

1 Answer

50 gallon electric heater not working after about 5 minutes in the shower the water gets cold and the rest of the house i do have 240 going to water heater thermostats goood element good

Some elements will read with a meter good until they heat up.

Hot water then going to ice cold top element is working and bottom bad. Luke warm water and then goes cold bottom element good and top element bad.

Elements and thermostats are not to exspensive to replace.

If you have power only two thing's left are the thermostat's and the elements.

May 21, 2010 | Water Heaters

1 Answer

How does an electrial water heater work

it uses resistive heating elements that are encased in an electrical insulation and then covered with metal, like the cooking elements in a stove, or on a cooktop range. when electricity flows through them they heat up and get hot (like a light bulb filament wire glows) When the water reaches a certain temperature set on the thermostat, it opens the electricity,turns it off to the element until the water cools down past whatever temperature it is set at, and then it turns back on. That is why if too many people take a shower you will run out of hot water because cold water is always flowing through the water heater and when all the hot water is used, you have to wait for the heating elements to heat the water back up. To make sure it heats up quickly make sure all the HOT water faucets are off so that water isn't flowing through it and is just sitting there heating up. All work on the same principle.

Nov 09, 2009 | Electra 11-1/2" Water Heater

1 Answer

Warm water only

You can eliminate the shower control knob possibility by turning on your hot water anywhere else in the house. If you get hot water in other places, then it could be the knob causing it. A substantial lime buildup in the tank can also cause poor heat transfer from the elements to the water.

Sep 16, 2009 | Rheem 40 GAL ELEC TALL Water Heater 6YR SC...

2 Answers


is there one or two,, turn off power drain it down, use the water heater element wrench remove the wires and the element, install new element snug it tight, start filling the water heater while it is filling reinstall the wires, turn on a hot side faucet only let the air out, wait till you have a full flow of water out of the faucet then turn the power back on to the unit, the thermostat should beat 120 degrees,

Feb 21, 2009 | Select Brands 20012 500°F Heating...

3 Answers

Water is either hot or cold - no in between.

I found a way to get warm water in the shower, but I'm not sure it qualifies as a solution. After trying everything else I thought that maybe when I was feathering the faucet in the shower toward the cold side so I would get warm water that at a certain point it blocked the flow on the hot water side enough so that the sensor in the hot water heater sensed there was no demand in the line and it shut the water heater off. To test this, I went to the kitchen and turned the kitchen sink faucet all the way to the hot side and then turned it on so that I got a small flow of water. I waited for the water to get hot to be sure the hot water heater was working. Once it was hot, I left it running to keep demand in the line and then I went to the shower and turned the faucet on. When the water got hot I started feathering the control towards the cold side and soon I had warm water. So I think I'm right in that the sensor in the hot water heater was shutting the water heater off when the demand in the shower was lowered to a certain point when I was trying to adjust the water temp in the shower.

So now I can get warm water, but it means I have to leave the hot water running at another fixture in the house to create a false demand in the system so the hot water heater doesn't shut down. Is there a way to adjust the senor in the hot water heater so that it will stay on when I'm using the shower only, so I don't have to waste water by running another faucet when I want to take a shower?

Nov 28, 2008 | Water Heaters

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