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Yet another household shutdown

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  • Yet another household shutdown

    This is my month - 2 cars in for repair/clothes dryer ot therm/water supply from shore well froze up (2 days to do repairs/, garden tractor won't start/took out guard rail on dwnhill curve with snow/ OK so thot I was done but NO!
    Pressure relief valve on 270 litre electric hot water tank wouldn't stop pouring out water - replaced same with new - then noted hot water set at 60 deg. C is coming out of tap at 69 Deg. and also noted that bottom element has no voltage at terminals- top element is at 243Vlts. Reduced thermostat to 55Deg C. and water is now at 66 Deg.??
    a) I assume that both elements should always be both on or both off and both should have voltage on or off?
    b)Any reason for higher than normal water temp out of taps?

  • #2
    Well, If someone comes along that really knows plumbing I may be in for some ridicule but here's my 2 cents. (Hope it's worth more than that)
    On every water tank I've dealt with, both elements operate simultaneously. You may want to disconnect the power to the inop element and test the element for continuity with an ohm meter(disconnect power first or you'll see sparks and ruin the meter). If the element has continuity then you'll need to track back to find where you lose the power supply. (For me it's ALWAYS been the element failure). As far as the water temp, my guess is the water outlet is close to the working element, so it's drawing from near the element that's trying to heat the entire tank to the thermostat setting. (Probably working 24/7)
    You may have noticed the hot water fades out during high usage and perhaps a long recovery time.
    With any luck a somebody that does this profesionally will come along soon and help you more than I can.

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    • #3
      OK - I have continuity across the non-functioning element.(bottom) I have continuity in the voltage wiring from the top element to the bottom element. I have no voltage across the bottom element??? Redid the meter reads 3 times because it doesn't make sense but same answer each time??

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      • #4
        Uh Oh, I can't see what your seeing, but something in the control is preventing the power from reaching the bottom element. ( I know, stating the obvious) I've been told some high efficiancy units do have twin thermostats, but in any case there must be a relay, overload, switch or thermostat breaking the circut. Try to find the wiring diagram or go on line with the model & serial # to get one. Sorry I couldn't solve it for you.

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        • #5
          If the top and bottom element are wired directly together then you have a coroded connection between the top and bottom element causing a high resistance in the connection. A continuity meter will show that the wires are connected but a true Ohm meter set on 200 ohm scale will likely show open loop ( no connection) The wires should show near 0 ohms. Drop power to the tank and have a good look at the wires and connections, look for blackening at the connections or more likely if you tug or wiggle the wire at the bad connection it will come apart and the connector will still be on the element. If the connectors are all good it may be the wire itself. The wire should be the cotton braided stuff that you find on stoves. It should be flexable and not kinked. If you find a crunchy spot or a darkened spot on the insulator the wire will likely separate if you pull on either side of that spot. Please note that you can NOT use soldier connectors to fix this problem as the heat will melt the soldier. You must use crimp on connects. If you find a break in the wire you can use a marrett to connect the wires..
          Check your electric bill and make sure you are not actually renting it first.

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          • #6
            Well, back to my #1 and #2 ?
            I have since found out that with two thermostats-1 top and 1 bottom of tank-they are never on at the same time due to the amount of current that would be drawing at the same time, so they alternate.
            #2 - both thermostats are "making and breaking" properly (power off) as I increase/decrease the temp setting. Having moved each thermostat thru a range of temps and then putting power back on I am now getting water temp accuratly as set.
            Not sure why there was that initial variation -hotter than set- by 6 degrees and there are no loose/blackened wires or terminals.
            Thanks to all for your input - I now have more ejamacation on these matters than I did prior to posting.

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            • #7
              The Lower element is usually the one that does most of the heating. Once on line, the top element will only engage if the tank has been completely drained of hot water. the top element only heats the upper 1/4 of the tank while the bottom element looks after the rest. when we set up temperatures for water heaters, the upper element is always set 5 - 10 degrees below the lower. If your heater has top mounted water connections,the cold connection has a 'dip tube' which terminates about 12" from the bottom of the tank which pushes the warmer water towards the top. The hot water connection has no tubes.
              Cheers!

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