The Tank › Elec water heater issue
- March 27, 2009 at 10:13 am #11061
I know similar issuses have been asked in previous post but can’t find one that helps me. Ok so here we go! A few months ago our water heater started tripping the upper limit reset ( once maybe every couple of weeks). We got tired to be shocked ( by COLD water) so we called a plumber and they did some testing and replaced the upper thermostat. Everything was great until 2 days ago the reset tripped twice in 24 hours. So we called the same company back again and a different tech came out and retested and pulled the elements and said everything looks fine nothing is wrong. He suggested calling and electrician and having them (test the power for a spike)? Did I waste my money the first visit? Is tye problem really the heater and they dont want to deal with it? What should I do? I want to replace the water heater anyways with maybe a larger one and can’t keep wasting money on what might be the problem and the heater IMO is a ( piece) anyways.March 27, 2009 at 10:42 am #11062Randy SchuylerKeymaster
We get incredible numbers of posts about exactly these kinds of issues. Finally, we created a comprehensive list of things to test for using a voltmeter. The most common issues are bad thermostats and burned-out elements, but there are other things, too.
I’d say the first visit wasn’t a waste of money since you got a few months of hot water. The second one might have been. If there is a third visit, the tech should take our list and check everything with a voltmeter.
You can find this by going to the homepage, clicking on Troubleshooting, then Tanklets, then Electric Water Heater Issues.
Also, please remember that beyond the function issue with an electric, there is the longevity issue — what shape the anode is in, whether there’s sediment buildup. People tend to fixate on function and forget the other part. So read The Basics section, as well.
Randy SchuylerMarch 27, 2009 at 11:14 am #11063
I have read this section and 2 things- the tech did pull out the elements and inspect them I dont now if he tested them with a meter and the tank is a BW with the combo anode so I cant see how to check it easily. Also there was some rust in the water when he drained the tank.March 27, 2009 at 8:45 pm #11066
Ok I went out and bought a volt meter and tested the upper and lower elements and both tested 244 volts. I also checked the ohms on both and got 12.3 ohms ( both elements are 4500 watts) checked both for grounding out. So now what else can cause the upper limit to pop?March 27, 2009 at 9:27 pm #11068Randy SchuylerKeymaster
Again, go to Troubleshooting, then to Tanklets, then to Electric Water Heater Issues. The first item contains the list of thing to check.
If you check the Bradford White anode, best to have another ready to hand. It’s hard to get theirs out without wrecking the nipple. But it’s still worth doing.
Randy SchuylerMarch 27, 2009 at 10:24 pm #11069
Thanks Randy I have checked everything as mentioned but still nothing leads me to what would cause the switch to trip. I am at a complete lose.March 28, 2009 at 1:09 pm #11071Larry WeingartenParticipant
Hello: There are some specific tests to do on the elements with the ohms scale of the meter. These will determine if there is a leak to ground or a short. Have you done those two tests?
ps. I’ll add that it would be useful to have a look at a wiring diagram for the heater to make certain it is still wired correctly. Switched wires could prevent the heater from shutting off 😕March 28, 2009 at 3:33 pm #11073
Thanks for your input Larry I have in fact checked for shorts grounding out and checks fine wiring looks correct also. Strange thing is it only trips once in a blue moon. it has tripped about 5 times over a 6 month period 3 before new top thermostat and twice after.March 29, 2009 at 2:32 pm #11074Larry WeingartenParticipant
Hello: If I’m repeating what you already know, just ignore me 😛 The two tests that need doing are these: For shorts in the element; turn off power – disconnect one wire from the element – put the meter in ohms times one and check between the two screws. You should see the needle of the meter swing 1/2 to 3/4 of the way over. If not, the element is burned out. Next test is to put your meter in the ohms times 1000 range – check between one screw and ground, (which usually is the element flange) and then the other screw and ground. You should see no movement of the needle. If you do, there is a leak to ground and slow heating is going on. I don’t know of any other test that will give you this information.
Please do let us know what you find.
Yours, LarryMarch 29, 2009 at 9:08 pm #11077
Thanks Larry you did mention 1 more step that I was not aware of (ohm test from 1 screw to ground) and will perform it in the morning. FYI I have a digital meter but assume the meter should still reasd infinite if the test is goodMarch 30, 2009 at 10:46 am #11080
Did the other test and everything works out fine. I guess maybe it could be an electrical issue?
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