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  • Electric Water Heaters

    I searched for some info on them on the site here, and didn't really get what I was looking for.

    Figured I would just ask!

    Elements, how to test? What tool do you use?
    Speaking of elements, what do the different watt ratings mean? And are they interchangeable?
    Does the element have to match the tank? Such as if sticker says 5500, can it accept a 4500 element?
    What is the difference between the elements that go straight out, and the ones that are doubled up? Are they interchangeable? I noticed on a bradford white tank, I had a element that wouldn't fit. Bad luck or are they not universal?

    Can anyone explain the different connections on the thermostat?
    How often do they go bad? Any way to test? Is there a watt rating on thermos? Is ther a difference between single, double, top or bottom?

    Is there any reason on a single element tank, you couldn't wire it up for 2 elements? Assuming it had a top port. Or would you run into thermostat problems? If so do they sell any sort of bracket you can use to provide a top thermo?

    Sediment in the bottom, will this affect anything other than draining the heater?

    Why do the elements scale up horribly? Is this normal and is there any way to stop it?

    Hoping this can be a go to for someone not so versed in ele heaters, such as me

  • #2
    Re: Electric Water Heaters

    63 views and no one can answer? Not even one question? guess I'm not the only one! Someone chime in and help out all 64 of us!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Electric Water Heaters

      Well, if I count right you ask about 16 questions in your first post. Each one could have a short or long paragraph answer. So while I'm sure many can answer all of these, it's alot of effort to go through.

      You're basically asking how electric water heaters work, how to troubleshoot them, and how to modify them. Check some of the manufacturers' websites first and then maybe shorten your question list.

      Just a suggestion.


      J.C.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Electric Water Heaters

        Do a little research stolen none of its that hard think about it logically when you pull something out you replace it with the same you do not change anything on anything " especially" in a home owners house if your not trained or atleast well educated oncthat topic. Minerals when heated scale things up to be honest it Doesnt sound like you have the knowledge or training to be working on a hot water tank .. no offense there's lots I don't know start off with a lil research eliminate the " dart" questions .. sorry if this is harsh but read the manual it will answer most of your questions..

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Electric Water Heaters

          I could answer all of your questions but have to spend hours typing.
          I will answer one though,to check an element you need a mutimeter set to check continuity.
          If no continuity element is bad.
          And you have to check it with wiring disconected.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Electric Water Heaters

            Originally posted by stolen View Post
            I searched for some info on them on the site here, and didn't really get what I was looking for.

            Figured I would just ask!

            Elements, how to test? What tool do you use?
            Speaking of elements, what do the different watt ratings mean? And are they interchangeable?
            Does the element have to match the tank? Such as if sticker says 5500, can it accept a 4500 element?
            What is the difference between the elements that go straight out, and the ones that are doubled up? Are they interchangeable? I noticed on a bradford white tank, I had a element that wouldn't fit. Bad luck or are they not universal?

            Can anyone explain the different connections on the thermostat?
            How often do they go bad? Any way to test? Is there a watt rating on thermos? Is ther a difference between single, double, top or bottom?

            Is there any reason on a single element tank, you couldn't wire it up for 2 elements? Assuming it had a top port. Or would you run into thermostat problems? If so do they sell any sort of bracket you can use to provide a top thermo?

            Sediment in the bottom, will this affect anything other than draining the heater?

            Why do the elements scale up horribly? Is this normal and is there any way to stop it?

            Hoping this can be a go to for someone not so versed in ele heaters, such as me
            I will try to answer your questions one by one
            1. Elements are tested using an ammeter (you need the one capable of testing amperage) A 4500W 240V element should pull close to 18.75A, whereas, a 5500 should pull 22.9A (W/V=A) For this reason it is necessary to have a 20A breaker with 4500W elements and something larger with 5500W elements (just be sure the wire you are using will sufficiently carry the amperage). Typically, I have noticed that the elements with a larger surface area (double loop) are more durable than those with a smaller surface area. Most elements are universal, except those that require a bolt-in element.

            2. Most dual-element water heaters are wired in such a way that both elements have a constant hot lead (120V) to the element. The upper thermostat then determines whether to send the other 110V lead to the upper element or down to the lower thermostat. Given a situation of no hot water the problem is typically found in the upper element or upper thermostat, whereas a situation of not enough hot water is typically due to the lower element or lower thermostat.

            3. There is no reason why a single element tank could not be wired for two elements, but usually the size in gallons dictate the number of elements and there would be almost zero benefit in converting to a dual element as they only operate one at a time. The only benefit of a top thermostat is that when the level of hot water in the tank rises above the top thermostat the upper element turns on to assure that hot water can be delivered in the shortest time possible, as opposed to the lower element having to do all the work of heating the entire heater, however, given the time would not be a problem.


            4. The accumulation of deposits will greatly shorten the livespan of the lower element if allowed to build to that level.

            4. The scale you are referring is usually a combination of calcium/lime and can be greatly reduced through the use of a water softener.

            And this is my limited knowledge based upon the fact that 99% of the water heaters here are gas fired. Someone from another area where electric water heaters are more prevelant may be able to answer your questions better.
            Last edited by Devine Plumbing; 09-13-2011, 10:41 PM.
            Distractions are everywhere, don't lose sight of your dream.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Electric Water Heaters

              I use a multimeter to test, set it to ohms, and make sure at least one leg is unhooked, somewhere between 10 and 14 ohms is normal in my experience, to test the thermostats I just leave my multimeter hooked up to the power going to the open leg of the element and turn the t-stat up until it closes the connection, if that works, then I back it back down and see if it opens the connection. if the ohms volts and amps all look normal it's still good.

              The watt ratings on the elements seem to be interchangeable, but you'd want an electrician to answer that question for sure. I'd think it has more to do with the t-stat you have installed with the element than anything. Hopefully someone can chime in there.

              There are 3 electric element sizes that I've run into, you have the standard size that most water heaters are going to take, the sandhog elements that a.o.smith sold "which use a standard sized element wrench," and then the rheem marathon elements "which you need a special sized element wrench for, which they will of course sell you when you order the elements"

              If the sediment builds up in the tank to the element, the element will usually die shortly after, my understanding is that they overheat.
              The elements scale because you have minerals in your water, it's normal.

              as for wiring the different t-stats to work in the wrong application, Don't unless you've got a Good understanding of what you're doing, just install a like product.

              Originally posted by stolen View Post
              I searched for some info on them on the site here, and didn't really get what I was looking for.

              Figured I would just ask!

              Elements, how to test? What tool do you use?
              Speaking of elements, what do the different watt ratings mean? And are they interchangeable?
              Does the element have to match the tank? Such as if sticker says 5500, can it accept a 4500 element?
              What is the difference between the elements that go straight out, and the ones that are doubled up? Are they interchangeable? I noticed on a bradford white tank, I had a element that wouldn't fit. Bad luck or are they not universal?

              Can anyone explain the different connections on the thermostat?
              How often do they go bad? Any way to test? Is there a watt rating on thermos? Is ther a difference between single, double, top or bottom?

              Is there any reason on a single element tank, you couldn't wire it up for 2 elements? Assuming it had a top port. Or would you run into thermostat problems? If so do they sell any sort of bracket you can use to provide a top thermo?

              Sediment in the bottom, will this affect anything other than draining the heater?

              Why do the elements scale up horribly? Is this normal and is there any way to stop it?

              Hoping this can be a go to for someone not so versed in ele heaters, such as me
              No, it's not rocket science, it's plumbing and unlike rocket science it requires a license.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Electric Water Heaters

                The first question I ask when I run across an electric water is, do you have limited or no hot water?

                9 times out of 10, they will say limited hot water, and that tells me it's the lower element. I double check it with my tester to make sure, and replace.

                If there is no hot water at all, I first make sure the breaker isn't tripped in the box. Then I check to make sure the reset button isn't tripped on the upper element. After I check it with my tester, I also touch the tank to see if it's cold. It's rare that I have to replace the top element, unless the customer directs me to do so.

                I always match up the element for what the water heater is rated for...I don't mess around with that. If it calls for a 240v/4500 watt element, that's what goes back in.

                Sediment also lowers the efficiency on a water heater once it starts to accumulate. A Water softener will combat that.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Electric Water Heaters

                  Thanks for the replies that were on topic.

                  We also have gas heaters in 99% of the homes around here. So my experience with eles is limited. I usually just change out the tstat and elements when there is a problem. Wire everything as it was, and works just fine. I don't alter anything on the job, but was hoping some of you more experienced could answer those odd questions. Was also hoping this would be useful for someone else looking to the forum for electric heater info.

                  but thanks for the "you're not experienced enough" and "go do research answers". They are always helpful!

                  Oh and the heater that cause me to ask questions, had 5500w on the sticker, but pulled out a 4500w element out of the tank, single element heater. so i was pretty confused by that. And it was the folded over element.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Electric Water Heaters

                    Originally posted by stolen View Post
                    Thanks for the replies that were on topic.

                    We also have gas heaters in 99% of the homes around here. So my experience with eles is limited. I usually just change out the tstat and elements when there is a problem. Wire everything as it was, and works just fine. I don't alter anything on the job, but was hoping some of you more experienced could answer those odd questions. Was also hoping this would be useful for someone else looking to the forum for electric heater info.

                    but thanks for the "you're not experienced enough" and "go do research answers". They are always helpful!

                    Oh and the heater that cause me to ask questions, had 5500w on the sticker, but pulled out a 4500w element out of the tank, single element heater. so i was pretty confused by that. And it was the folded over element.
                    I call it the "WheelO".


                    J.C.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Electric Water Heaters

                      From my experience there is also a strip of magnesium that runs down the tank " sacrificial anode" that should be visually inspected, usually its non existent. The tank should be drained. " here atleast" once a year due to white iron which only solidifys when heated and calcium. Didn't mean to come across as an *** hole I'm not. Anyways rheem seem to be the best in my experiens stay away from gsw or john wood I always put a brass boiler drain in if the existing drain is plastic,, " due to the fact they do need to be drainedO quite regularly check the wire size and make sure its correct. Lots of the Old tanks here have no ground they use the metal sheathing or " armor " as a ground do not offer any sort of warrenty on electrical components if this is the case. I only use the looped elements most are comparable. I always use dialetric union on the hot nipple " not sure if that correct procedure" just how I was shown to do it. Last but not least if its on concreate I usually put ridgid Styrofoam under it to prevent premature coresion. And a drain pan of course. The rheem marathon tanks seem to be worth the money?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Electric Water Heaters

                        Easiest way to check Elements is the ohm'em out and check for continuity.

                        As long as the Element is rated for 240v you can go with a 3500 or 4500 watt element, but it is best to install what is rated for the heater.

                        Not sure what you are wanting to know on the thermostat, can you be more specific?
                        Will Rogers Plumbing
                        Moore, Oklahoma
                        (
                        405) 323-2852

                        "Your Solution for Any Sewer and Drain Cleaning Needs"

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                        www.willrogersplumbing.com
                        http://willrogersplumbing.com/?page_id=8

                        "Oklahoma's Favorite Plumbers!"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Electric Water Heaters

                          Originally posted by stolen View Post
                          63 views and no one can answer? Not even one question? guess I'm not the only one! Someone chime in and help out all 64 of us!
                          Ridgid has a forum section called "Ask the experts", try that.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Electric Water Heaters

                            Originally posted by ironranger View Post
                            Ridgid has a forum section called "Ask the experts", try that.
                            Thanks again for your input.

                            Again, thanks.

                            Will,
                            I'll just research them more, not need to ask anything more. How's business? We are SwAmPeD

                            Comment

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