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  • Class Project

    Ok i have to do a class project for plumbing school. be cuse i have way to much time on my hand with riding along with a plumber and doing the home work from plumbing school. WEll any ways i did trouble shotting an eletric water heater. So i was woundering if any one knew where online a flow chart or a good guide to trouble shooting eletric water was. thanks

    craig

  • #2
    Re: Class Project

    In GE WH from HD have them in the box. If you want to become a great plumber you need to learn electrical.
    Buy cheap, buy twice.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Class Project

      Originally posted by Gear Junkie
      In GE WH from HD have them in the box.
      Is that because they think you're going to be needing them soon? :-)

      Water heater electrics are reasonably logical. All water heaters are not the same, but most are. You need a voltage meter, a continuity tester, and an ammeter. These are available on a single unit, and that's much better than a plain multitester.

      First step: check for power. Ignore whatever the customer tells you. If they say it's off and you believe them, you could die.

      Check incoming power - top screws on the top thermostat. (On a two-element heater)

      Then check for power below the reset button. Remember, you're checking for 220.

      If there is power at the top but not below the button, it's possible that the button popped 'just because,' or it's also possible that it popped because it actually overheated. Ask about overheating.

      If there's no power at all, or only one leg has power, find out why. Often a bad breaker or fuse.

      If you have power at both places, check the top of the tank to see if it's hot. Then, if it's hot, check near the bottom of the heater to see if that's hot.

      If the bottom of the heater is hot, somebody's got their facts wrong. So you ask the homeowner - "What seems to be the problem?" You need to find out why they think they're running out of water too quickly.

      If they say that it keeps popping the button, then you know that it's overheating and more testing is necessary. If it's the first time, well, more testing is still necessary.

      It's important to know at this point that the tests you can do are not always perfect, but they work about 99% of the time.

      It now depends upon the temperature of the heater. You can check to see which way the power goes. The top thermostat is usually just an either/or switch. Either it powers the top element, or it heats up and powers the bottom element.

      If you turn the top thermostat down, the bottom one may come on. If you turn it up, the top one may go on instead. Sometimes, you can determine if the thermostats are working this way.

      Turn off all power to the unit.

      Take the wires off both elements. You should have nothing but empty screws. Put one side of a continuity tester on one screw and the other side on the other screw and see if there is continuity through the unit. If none, the element is likely burned out. (Or burned clear off!)

      Check for short by putting one lead on an element screw, and the negative lead on the tank or element base. If you have continuity, it's shorted and bad.

      Do this with all the screws and elements. If the elements test good, it's still possible that they behave differently when hot, but not real likely.

      If the element(s) have been shorting, and if there is any presence of arcing or black burn marks, you should always replace the thermostats as well as the element(s). When the element shorts to the water in the tank, it can pull a lot of amps and burn connections inside the thermostat. It's cheaper to do it while you're there than to take a chance and wind up back at the job.

      Sometimes, it's a simple matter of a malfunctioning thermostat and that's all you need to replace.

      If you think everything is up and running and should work, leave a loop of wire sticking out of the heater on each element and turn the heater back on. (Not until you are absolutely sure you have water all the way to the top of the heater!)

      When the heater starts heating, check the amperage on the top element. It should read about 18.5 amps. If you can hang around long enough, wait until it switches to the bottom element. You can speed this procedure up by cutting the temperature setting on the top thermostat as per above instructions. Then use the ammeter on the bottom element as well.

      Note: the bottom thermostat is a basic on/off switch. One side of each element is always hot.

      For simultaneous elements, only some of the above works.

      For 120 volt point-of-use heaters, you have a hot wire and a neutral wire, as opposed to the 240 volt heaters that have two hot wires operating at opposite peaks and ground each other. (Think sine wave - one side is at 120 volts while the other side is -120 volts.)

      120 volt elements test the same way as 240 volt elements.

      If you replace an element and the old one breaks off inside the heater, you must get the pieces out. They can cause a hot spot on the new element and early failure will occur.

      If there's sediment, the more you remove, the longer the new element will last. Many years ago, a fellow from the local power company used to brag that he could replace an element in less than fifteen minutes. He didn't even bother to drain the tank. I followed him around about two weeks later doing the job over and right.

      My favorite sediment-removal tools are a clothes hangar with just the right bend on the end and a shop vac. There's no easy way to do it through the 1" hole. A piece of 3/4" PEX pipe stuck into the vacuum hose can be used to remove a lot of sediment from inside the heater. (Unless the bits are too big to fit through the pipe.)

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Class Project

        Thanks i mean i know how to check them just putting it in to words is my problem, hmmm

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Class Project

          Originally posted by craigofva View Post
          Thanks i mean i know how to check them just putting it in to words is my problem, hmmm
          Craigo,

          As you learn more about plumbing you will learn how important it is to put things into words. This is not to put you down, but too often our young recruits feel it's enough to "know how to do it" .

          I want to see you succeed, so do yourself a favor. Check your local Adult Learning Centers and see what they have to offer in basic writing courses. Many of theses are free or low cost, and come in all different formats.
          the dog

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Class Project

            Originally posted by plumbdog10 View Post
            Craigo,

            As you learn more about plumbing you will learn how important it is to put things into words. This is not to put you down, but too often our young recruits feel it's enough to "know how to do it" .

            I want to see you succeed, so do yourself a favor. Check your local Adult Learning Centers and see what they have to offer in basic writing courses. Many of theses are free or low cost, and come in all different formats.
            Dog, it warms my heart to read a post like this! I read his original post and thought crap not only don't they teach spelling in plumbing school, but they don't teach grammar either
            I love my plumber

            "My Hero"

            Welcome, Phoebe Jacqueline!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Class Project

              Originally posted by MrsSeatDown View Post
              Dog, it warms my heart to read a post like this! I read his original post and thought crap not only don't they teach spelling in plumbing school, but they don't teach grammar either
              you cannt graditate form my class unlas you cen reed and rite good an get teh perids and punqitin rite got to be able to figger matmmatiks two
              sigpic

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