The Tank › Electric water heater slow recovery
- March 8, 2013 at 6:24 pm #19613bobbeauParticipant
I have a new 50 gal tank with 2 4500 watt elements. When doing a lot of laundry we run out of hot water. Would replacing them with 5500 watt elements help with recovery?
Whould it be a good idea. I’m also thinking of puting a 30 gal tank in front of it,water coming in is about 40 degrees. Thanks,BOBMarch 8, 2013 at 9:45 pm #19614Larry WeingartenParticipant
Hello: Putting in hotter elements will speed up recovery, but only by a little. I might play with your washing machine a bit. Does it have water levels you can select? Selecting something a bit lower could help. If you are able to choose warm wash and cold rinse, that will cut hot water use. As for sanitizing clothes, (killing off bacteria) even straight hot water from a residential heater won’t do a good job, though it can help with bedbugs. If there is oil or grease, a good detergent for cold water use can work. Here’s more info: http://www.consumersearch.com/laundry-detergent/review Tide Cold Water seems to get good marks.
So, you ‘ve got choices and maybe a little experimenting to do. I think I’d play with washing technique first and if you still need more hot water, some plumbing upgrades can be done. 😉
Yours, LarryMarch 9, 2013 at 8:41 am #19620energyexpertParticipant
4500 watts will increase 20 gallons per hour by 90F; your case sarting at 40F means 20 gph of 130F (5500 watts = 24.4 gph). Increasing the WH thermostat setting to 150 or 160 gives you more BTUs stored to start, but as Larry said, this will not help unless you start washing with warm (which will now be warmer than before since the HW is hotter) instead of hot.
A mixing valve installed at the WH would dilute the hot water there instead of at the washer. This would also prevent someone getting scalded in the shower.
If increasing the temperature and/or washer operation changes don’t solve the problem…?
A second WH can be plumbed in series and wired from the same circuit: Rewire the WH closest to the point of use. Unwire the top element. Reconnect the wires going to the bottom thermostat in place of the top element. Set the lower thermostat to maximum setting. Run a jumper wire between WHs. Supply end connects on the top thermostat in place of the wires originally going to the bottom thermostat. When the WH closest to the point of use is satisfied, power is transferred to the second WH.
This strategy prevents having to buy another thermostat (and pull another circuit) but you will lose the quick recovery feature on the modified WH. If quick recovery is desired, then the lower thermostat will have to be replaced with another upper thermostat. Wiring from the same circuit also limits the load you place on the utility.
PS Read more on this site. You will want to maintain your current WH by replacing the anode instead of having to replace a failed WH..
It sounds like you have a “laundry day”. Back in 1973, you could only get 10 gallons of gas every other day. so that is what we did. If you did a one load of laundry each day, I bet your problem would disappear. Or one load early and one load later each day. 4500 watts will produce 480 gallons of 90F rise in 24 hours.March 10, 2013 at 6:17 pm #19628bobbeauParticipant
Thanks guys,my wife has her way of doing laundry. I don’t want to mess with it or I will be doing the laundry! I will be going with a second 30 gal tank. Thanks for the info on wired from the same circuit,it sounds like it will take care of my problem. Thanks again. Bob
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