Question about Rheem 40 GAL ELEC TALL Water Heater 6YR SC 82VH402

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I have a Rheem model 71-308. It only has a lower access panel. How do I access the upper heating element?

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If your heater only has one access panel, then it only has one element. These are mostly in the 30 gal. electric models.

Posted on Dec 27, 2011

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Rheem 49 gal model 81V400B - hot water lasting only 5-10 minutes then takes an hour to heat back up.


Ordinary tank-type electric water heaters are fully repairable by homeowner.

A) Basic info on Rheem
Rheem electric water heater website:
http://www.rheem.com/products/tank_water_heaters/electric_water_heaters/
Find age of Rheem: look 2nd and 3rd digit of serial number, for example 06 is 2006

B) Water heater has some hot water.
That says certain things: upper element is working, water heater electricity is working, reset button is not tripped, and heater is not experiencing run-away overheating event.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-it-works.html

C) That leaves 4 suspects that cause lower amount of hot water.

1) TP valve is running hot water out of tank -or- leaking faucet is running hot water out of tank.
Check for leaks
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-replace-TP-valve.html

2) Lower element is burned out.
Test lower element using inexpensive multi-meter from Home Depot.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-test-water-heater-element.html
Replace element with same wattage shown on label, and clean out sediment:
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-clean-sediment-out-of-electric-water-heater.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/Clean-sediment-out-of-water-heater.html

2) Upper or lower thermostat is bad.
Replace both thermostats for about $25.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-replace-thermostat-on-electric-water-heater.html

3) Burned or shorted wire located between upper and lower sections of tank.
Turn off power. Open covers on side of tank. Remove insulation. Inspect parts for signs of high heat and burning. Especially check lower element. Tighten any loose wires. Replace part that shows signs of burning.
Put insulation and cover back over thermostats so cooler outside temperature doesn't cause thermostat to misread tank temperature.
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, 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 03, 2011 | Rheem 40 GAL ELEC TALL Water Heater 6YR SC...

1 Answer

I am only receiving half of the normal amount of hot water.


You have electric water heater.
Electric water heaters are fully repairable by homeowner, excluding hybrid type.

Rheem electric water heaters:
http://www.rheem.com/products/tank_water_heaters/electric_water_heaters/
Rheem fury series manuals and models
http://www.rheem.com/product.aspx?id=09DF2BDD-5E11-4D32-B574-84ACFB8A4619

Age of Rheem water heater is shown first 4 digits of serial number located on side of tank: for example 0705 means July 2005.
Serial number also shows model number & wattage of elements in case you need to buy new generic 4-bolt type 4500 Watt element from hardware store.

A) If your water heater receives very cold incoming water, it may not heat fast enough to keep tank warm.
Add a tempering tank.
http://waterheatertimer.org/Tempering-tank.html
Add insulation over entire water heater except TP valve. Insulate pipes completely.
Read more information:
http://waterheatertimer.org/9-ways-to-save-with-water-heater.html

B) 40 or 50 gallon water heater is 240Volts and tank will have 2 access panels on front.
Rheem ships all water heaters with 4500 Watt elements.

Narrow down the suspects:
C) Water heater has some hot water.
This tells us upper element is working.
And that water heater electricity is working.
And that reset button is not tripped.
And that heater is not experiencing run-away overheating event.

That gives us 3 solid suspects.
1) lower element is burned out. Test lower element using inexpensive multi-meter from Home Depot.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-test-water-heater-element.html
Replace element with same wattage shown on label, and clean out sediment:
This will restore water heater to full 99% efficiency.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-clean-sediment-out-of-electric-water-heater.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/Clean-sediment-out-of-water-heater.html

2) Upper or lower thermostat is bad. Replace both thermostats for about $25.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-replace-thermostat-on-electric-water-heater.html
If you want to test thermostats and all parts before replacing anything:
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-troubleshoot-electric-problems-with-water-heater.html

3) Burned or shorted wire. Turn off power. Open covers on side of tank. Remove insulation. Inspect parts for signs of high heat and burning. Especially lower element. Tighten any loose wires. Replace part that shows signs of burning.
Put insulation and cover back over thermostats so cooler outside temperature doesn't cause thermostat to misread tank temperature.

geno_3245_185.jpgRheem 4500 watt element

Dec 14, 2010 | Rheem Water Heaters

1 Answer

The water want stay hot very long


You have electric water heater.
Electric water heaters are fully repairable by homeowner, excluding hybrid type.

Rheem electric water heaters:
http://www.rheem.com/products/tank_water_heaters/electric_water_heaters/
Rheem fury series manuals and models
http://www.rheem.com/product.aspx?id=09DF2BDD-5E11-4D32-B574-84ACFB8A4619

Age of Rheem
water heater is first 4 digits of serial number located on side of tank: for example 0705 means July 2005.
Serial number also shows model number & wattage of elements.

A) If your water heater receives very cold incoming water, it may not heat fast enough to keep tank warm.
Add a tempering tank.
http://waterheatertimer.org/Tempering-tank.html
Add insulation over entire water heater except TP valve. Insulate pipes completely.
Read more information:
http://waterheatertimer.org/9-ways-to-save-with-water-heater.html

B) If cold outside temperatures are not to blame, your water heater may have a bad thermostat or bad lower element.

C) 40 or 50 gallon water heater is 240Volts and tank will have 2 access panels on front.
Rheem ships all water heaters with 4500 Watt elements.

Narrow down the suspects:
D) Water heater has some hot water.
This tells us upper element is working.
And that water heater electricity is working.
And that reset button is not tripped.
And that heater is not experiencing run-away overheating event.

That gives us 3 solid suspects.
1) lower element is burned out. Test lower element using inexpensive multi-meter from Home Depot.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-test-water-heater-element.html
Replace element with same wattage shown on label, and clean out sediment:
This will restore water heater to full 99% efficiency.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-clean-sediment-out-of-electric-water-heater.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/Clean-sediment-out-of-water-heater.html

2) Upper or lower thermostat is bad. Replace both thermostats for about $25.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-replace-thermostat-on-electric-water-heater.html
If you want to test thermostats and all parts before replacing anything:
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-troubleshoot-electric-problems-with-water-heater.html

3) Burned or shorted wire. Turn off power. Open covers on side of tank. Remove insulation. Inspect parts for signs of high heat and burning. Especially lower element. Tighten any loose wires. Replace part that shows signs of burning.
Put insulation and cover back over thermostats so cooler outside temperature doesn't cause thermostat to misread tank temperature.
geno_3245_183.jpgRheem element

Dec 14, 2010 | Rheem 50 GAL ELEC TALL Water Heater 6YR SC...

1 Answer

What is the energy factor for the mod.82V80-2? I have two seperate 30amp circuits, one for the top element and one for the bottom element, if that changes anything.


http://www.rheem.com/product.aspx?id=09DF2BDD-5E11-4D32-B574-84ACFB8A4619
http://globalimageserver.com/fetchDocument.aspx?id=052c9e32-ce37-48d7-8990-9e430f23fef3

82V80-2 Energy factor is .86 according to water heater industry self-regulated standards.

Rheem pdf says these water heaters are wired for non-simultaneous operation.
Except special order water heaters.
Non-simultaneous operation uses single 240V circuit as described below.
If your water heater is wired for simultaneous operation, and each element is on a separate circuit, that makes your water heater special order. I would guess the reason is for higher first-hour delivery, which implies rapid heating and would likely affect energy factor.
You might want to get serial number off model and call Rheem for specs on that special order.

Your water heater energy factor may be the same because 'energy efficiency is based on the amount of hot water produced per unit of fuel consumed over a typical day.' This means an aircraft carrier can be considered highly efficient despite overall cost. And naturally the guys making the aircraft carrier are also doing the rating.
http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/water_heating/index.cfm/mytopic=13000

Non simultaneous operation means the upper thermostat controls heating functions.
240V goes to upper thermostat first.
When water inside tank is cold, thermostat reads temperature through tank wall.
Upper thermostat turns on upper element until top 2/3 of tank reaches thermostat set point.
Once set point is reached, upper thermostat turns off upper element and sends power to lower thermostat and lower element.
Lower thermostat reads temperature through tank wall, and turns on lower element until bottom 1/3 of tank reaches thermostat set point.
As water cools inside tank, lower thermostat is first to respond since hot water rises.
Lower thermostat turns on lower element until tank again reaches set point.
When hot water faucet is turned on, hot water exits top of tank.
At same time, cold water enters bottom of tank through the dip tube.
The heating cycle repeats.
At all times, the electricity flows through upper thermostat. And upper thermostat is powered by one 240V circuit.

With simultaneous operation, the upper and lower thermostats work in same manner.
Except thermostats are wired separately.
Lower thermostat does not wait for upper part of tank to be heated first.
Lower thermostat turns on whenever lower part of tank cools.
The advantage is more hot water available rapidly when demand is high. This is called first hour recovery.

One method for reducing electric consumption is to set lower thermostat so it only turns on during certain times of day. For example Whirlpool Energy Smart operates in this manner and shaves a few bucks off the bill each month. This says that simultaneous operation is not an energy saver, unless that circuit controlling lower thermostat is set on a timer.

Dec 06, 2010 | Rheem 80 GAL ELEC TALL Water Heater 6YR SC...

1 Answer

Water is not hot, doesn't last long. Thermostats turn elements on when turned up. Elements show 230 when on.


Lower element can be burned out and still read 230V across screws

1) We know thermostats are working because elements test 230V.
2) We know upper element is working because tank has some hot water.
If upper element is burned out, tank will have no hot water.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-it-works.html

3) Here's how to test lower element:
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-test-water-heater-element.html

4)Here's how to replace element
Rheem element is 4500Watt bolt-in type
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-clean-sediment-out-of-electric-water-heater.html

5) Rheem manual says: Heaters furnished with standard 240 volt AC, single phase non-simultaneous wiring, and 4500 watt upper and lower heating elements.
http://waterheatertimer.org/pdf/Rheem-spec-sheet.pdf

geno_3245_94.jpgRheem 4500Watt element

Nov 21, 2010 | Rheem 40 GAL ELEC TALL Water Heater 6YR SC...

1 Answer

My water is not hot


There are two access panels on the heater, remove screws to access it. They cover the upper thermostat and element and the bottom covers the bottom thermostat and element.
The top thermostat is the main one that has a reset button along with a dial to turn up the heat for the top element. A white plastic knob that you can use a flat head screw driver to turn to adjust.
Also you have one on the bottom to turn to adjust the heat on the bottom.

This is how you adjust thermostat's to increase to a hotter setting.

Jun 10, 2010 | Rheem 40 GAL ELEC TALL Water Heater 6YR SC...

2 Answers

Test procedure for elements and thermostat


Remove upper and lower access panels
in upper access, use voltage tester to test voltage of on the uppermost terminals above the red reset button. should be ~220V between terminals (110 to ground)
If not: breaker off or bad,
If 220V proceed:
Test the two terminals immediately below this reset button should be 220V
If not: reset tripped or bad
If 220V present, proceed.
Turn off breaker to heater.

Use ohm meter or continuity tester.
test resistance across upper element terminals -should be 10 to15 ohms
check between each terminal and ground -should be open circuit .
If not replace element
Repeat for lower element.

test across lower element thermostat should be no resistance when stat turned up so it clicks on.
(To test that lower stat turns off, allow tank to heat up completely before conducting this test) Turn sta temp down so it clicks off then test across stat terminals -should be open circuit

The upper thermostat is a 3 way switch
The simplest way to test it is to turn the power back on turn the upper stat all the way up so it clicks on and use voltage tester across the UPPER element terminals, should be ~220V
Now turn the upper stat down so it clicks off- check upper element should be 0 V between upper element terminals -(Caution ! terminals will still be live 110V to ground)
The upper stat has now sent power to lower stat.
Turn lower stat up so it clicks on, check Voltage across lower element -should be ~220V turn lower stat down so clicks off, should be 0 V across lower element terminals.

NOTE If tank is completely cold the upper stat will not switch off and wont send power to lower stat.
If lower tank is cold lower stat may not click off even when turned down.
normal stat setting is 125 to 130
The hotter you you set the stat, the faster your tank corrodes.

Apr 09, 2010 | Rheem 40 GAL ELEC TALL Water Heater 6YR SC...

2 Answers

Not heating water hot enough or as much water.


You probably have a bad heating element. Probably the upper element.

Feb 03, 2010 | Rheem 40 GAL ELEC TALL Water Heater 6YR SC...

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