Question about Rheem Water Heaters
Turn the top thermostat temperature down and the bottom thermostat temperature up. Turn the hot-water on in a tub or shower and let it run. The bottom thermostat should activate first and send 208-to-240 volts to the bottom element. Once the power comes on, turn the water off. If power is going to the element but you cannot hear it heating or humming, it's the element.
When you are having a problem on an electric water heater, it is recommended that you replace both thermostats and elements. If one part is worn out, it will not be long until the other parts need to be replaced as well.
Posted on Sep 13, 2010
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017
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.
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.
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.
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Posted on Feb 08, 2011
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