The Tank › BradfordWhite elec not so hot anymore
- May 16, 2014 at 1:22 pm #20847
50 gallon electric Bradford White Model M250T6DS-INCWW. 6 mos. old in new house.
Had it set just above HOT and the water was a too hot to hold my hands under full hot faucet. For 6 months it worked great for a nice long shower.
A week ago the power went out for 7 hours during a snow storm and since then water is not as hot as it used to be – I can comfortably hold hands under full hot faucet.
Don’t see a reset button anywhere. Drained off two gallons from bottom of tank and saw no sediment.
Maybe the power outage was a coincidence but the fact remains the water temp has dropped. Any ideas why?May 17, 2014 at 6:47 am #20848May 17, 2014 at 6:47 am #20849
Is this the picture of the lower thermostat/element? Most electric WHs come from the factory with the top thermostat (master) having the only reset button. The lower thermostat (slave) has no reset button. The purpose of the ECO (emergency cut out or reset button) is to shut off both legs of electricity in the case either thermostat fails to open and/or an element cracks and continues to slowly heat (through the water to ground) even with the thermostat open. And if the ECO is at the top thermostat, one is sufficient. You said the water was not as hot. What about quantity of hot water? Sounds like the lower thermostat or element has a problem and now the upper thermostat which may be set a little lower than the lower thermostat is making all the hot water. Due to variations between thermostats, thermostats may operate slightly differently even though they appear to be set at the same number.
A volt/ohm meter will tell you where your problem is. Unless qualified to troubleshoot live circuits, check with the WH OFF!
DavidMay 17, 2014 at 11:33 am #20850Larry WeingartenParticipant
Hello: David’s answer is spot on. In addition you may want to read the tanklet on troubleshooting electrics. http://www.waterheaterrescue.com/pages/WHRpages/English/Troubleshooting/Tanklets/electric-water-heater-issues.html Can’t hurt! 😉
Yours, LarryMay 17, 2014 at 9:50 pm #20851
Thanks, Larry, but that link did not work for me.May 17, 2014 at 9:52 pm #20852
When I drained 2 gallons from the bottom of the tank to check for sediment the water was cold. Is this normal?May 18, 2014 at 6:53 am #20853
Yes. Hot water, being less dense (lighter), floats on the cold water.
If several showers are taken back to back, everyone will have a hot shower until the “hot water runs out”, which happens in less than one minute.
Start with a whole tank of hot water. Cold water enters the WH and is routed down through the dip tube to the bottom of the WH. This keeps the cold water from mixing with the hot water and the hot water floats on the cold water.
A 4500 watt WH can only produce 1/3 gpm of 90F rise. If shower requires 2 gpm of hot, then the level of cold begins to rise in the WH. When the cold water reaches the lower tstat, the tstat turns on. As usage continues, the cold water level will eventually reach the upper tstat. Now the upper tstat (master) takes power from the lower tstat (slave) and gives it to the upper element. Up to this point, the user has enjoyed “hot water”. With only a few gallons of hot water located above the top tstat, if usage continues, the level of cold rises to the top of the WH. The user gets surprised when his shower “suddenly goes from hot to cold”.
All hot water use is stopped. The WH top tstat continues to supply power to top element until the tstat setpoint is reached. You now have hot water above the top element and cold water just under the top element.
This is called a “quick recovery” feature; you have a few gallons of hot water “quickly” instead of having to heat a whole tank.
The top tstat now takes power from the top element and transfers it to the bottom tstat. The bottom tstat puts power to the lower element until the lower tstat reaches its setpoint. Now, hot water exists from the lower element to the top of the tank. The tank is cold below the lower element.
PS The link did not work for me either.
Go to the Tank, then click on Tanklets. Tanklets has a lot of topics. Click on Electric Water Heater Issues.
If you do not have a volt/ohm meter, hot water floating on cold water can help you. With no hot water usage for one hour, turn power to the WH OFF. Now remove insulation above the the lower element so you can touch the tank. If the tank above the lower element is cold, you have a lower thermostat/element problem.May 18, 2014 at 12:12 pm #20854
With no hot water usage for one hour, turn power to the WH OFF. Now remove insulation above the the lower element so you can touch the tank. If the tank above the lower element is cold, you have a lower thermostat/element problem.
Thanks for your excellent explanation.
With power off I felt the tank about 3″ above the lower element and it was cold. What would be the next step?May 18, 2014 at 8:40 pm #20855Randy SchuylerKeymaster
If you are not handy with a voltmeter, you ought to get a plumber out to find out if it’s the lower element or the lower thermostat and replace whichever is defective.
I didn’t try to click on the link in Larry’s post, but I did copy it and paste it into the URL window of my browser and it worked.
Randy SchuylerMay 18, 2014 at 9:59 pm #20856
Thanks, Randy. I pasted the url in my browser and pulled up the troubleshooting page.
I’ll run a check with a multi-meter tomorrow and let you know what I find.May 19, 2014 at 9:13 pm #20859
Top thermostat and element check out OK.
I have 240 volts across lower element when heating.
With power off and wires off lower element there is 0 reading across the element screws with ohm meter. There also is 0 reading from either element screw to tank body (ground).
Bad element? Time to call for warranty service?
RichardMay 20, 2014 at 9:18 am #20860
Yes, sounds like a failed element. If you can get it changed under warranty, go for it. In the meantime, raising the setpoint of the top thermostat will increase the number of stored BTUs, giving you slightly more time for mixed water applications (eg, shower). But beware of scalding.
DavidMay 20, 2014 at 5:25 pm #20863
The warranty only covers parts so we’d have to pay labor and trip charge for a plumber to come out 80 miles round trip.
I’m fairly handy and if I can get an element I’d rather replace it myself. How difficult is it? Any tips?May 20, 2014 at 6:37 pm #20864
The picture shows this to be a screw type element. If you don’t have a socket this big you can get the “element wrench” where you buy the element. The element wrench is a piece of pressed conduit with 6 sides on one end to engage the element and 2 holes in the other end where you place a large screw driver to torque the wrench and element out.
Super duper plumbers may change the element without draining the tank and only spill a cup of water. I always expect something to go wrong so I cut power to the WH, open a hot side faucet, and drain the heater.
Be sure heater is full of water (water flow out of the hot side faucet) before restoring power.
Since you have taken an interest in DIY repair, read about WH maintenance on this site and the need to replace the anode at a future date. Parts sales is what helps keep this site open.r
If you have a water softener, your anode could already be nearly gone. Once the anode is consumed, the WH will begin to rust.
DavidMay 23, 2014 at 12:32 pm #20867
I replaced the lower element and this is what it looks like after being in use for 9 months. Is this normal appearance?
If the upper element looks like this should it be replaced as well?
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