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Old 05-15-2013, 10:22 AM   #1
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Hot water heater not providing enough hot water

Sears Powermiser 12 electric water heater, 55 gallons. Two people in the house yields only about five minutes of hot water in a shower before turning cold.

My daughter-in-law just bought a house with this situation. The HWH is less than five years old and has no cracks or leaking. How should I troubleshoot this? I can only think of two things that could have gone wrong: heating elements or thermostat, both of which are replaceable. Are there other things?

Replacing elements is a small job but requires draining the tank (a pain) and is about $50 in parts; thermostat is something I'd bring someone in to do so it's a more expensive job.


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Old 05-15-2013, 11:02 AM   #2
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dip tube?


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Old 05-15-2013, 11:16 AM   #3
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Unlikely it's the dip tube, according to THIS article that problem is associated with HWH'ers from the 90s and would not provide ANY hot water. They have great hot water for five minutes or so and on the kitchen sink the water is almost too hot. My guess is that one of the elements is out.
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:55 AM   #4
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Immediately after the water has gone cold at a shower, how is the hot water at the kitchen sink (with the shower still running)? Maybe the shower faucet assembly has a temperature control (anti-scald) component that has failed, letting too much cold water into the mix.

2. Half of the dip tube may have broken off. (or maybe two thirds)
The good conscientious technician or serviceperson will carry extra oils and lubricants in case the new pump did not come with oil or the oil was accidentally spilled, so the service call can be completed without an extra visit.

Last edited by AllanJ; 05-15-2013 at 11:59 AM.
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Old 05-15-2013, 01:03 PM   #5
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Sears powermiser 12... I'm surprised there's not a class action lawsuit by now.

Just a suggestion, if it's less than 5 years old, I would call sears immediately and tell them what's going on. This should be 100% covered if they did the install, if not, then homeowner may share some of the resposibility - I don't know. I wouldn't touch anything right now, it may void warantee etc. Let them decide what to do.

That being said, you can check the thermostat and heating elements with a basic multimeter without voiding warantee. Be very careful. If you are not comfortable doing this, then don't. IMO, thermostats don't usually go bad, but heating elements fail quite often. I tend to agree with you Bob, I think it's the heating element as well, but we won't know for sure until it's tested.

how to check thermostat

how to check heating elements

replacing thermostat

If you can rule out those two possiblities - then like other members have already said, it may possibly be the dip tube, which should be 100% covered. IMO, it's possible the dip tube could have failed. However, being less than 5 years old, it just doesn't seem like it would fail that soon, unless on the install someone put too much heat on it or something to cause a premature failure.

Last edited by jmon; 05-15-2013 at 02:23 PM.
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