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Old 02-16-2011, 08:38 PM   #1
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NEW Hot water heater problem


I just moved into a new house and I am having issues with the hot water tank. In fact, I have since day 1.

First off, the tank is electric and is 40 gallon capacity. I believe the brand is Richmond.

Anyways, when I try to take two consecutive showers the second shower always runs out of hot water. Some friends told me to change the elements and see what happens, so I did. No change. I am about to just change the tank out with a 66 gallon tank. 40 gallons should be efficient enough for TWO people, should it not?

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Old 02-16-2011, 09:35 PM   #2
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How is the hot and cold blended for your shower. IN the sense that do you turn the hot on high and the cold on just a little, or do you turn both on more or less equally, etc.

What is the temperature of the hot water alone, as measured coming out of the tub spout?

Do a "dummy shower run" namely not taking a shower yourself but having the water coming out at about the same rate into a bucket of known capacity and you measure and write down how much water you get out before it gets cold. (Don't fill the bucket as fast as you can). Some experts have said that fo a 40 gallon electric tank the water will be quite cold after you drew out 30 gallons over the time frame of two people taking showers.

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Old 02-16-2011, 09:45 PM   #3
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How is the hot and cold blended for your shower. IN the sense that do you turn the hot on high and the cold on just a little, or do you turn both on more or less equally, etc.

What is the temperature of the hot water alone, as measured coming out of the tub spout? If the temperature is less than 120 degrees F you can adjust the thermostats under the two cover plates on the side of the water heater.

Do a "dummy shower run" namely not taking a shower yourself. You will need a helper to hold a bucket of known capacity under the shower head. Start by opening both the hot and cold quickly, approximating the proportions you normally use, then turn off just the cold, all the while collecting the water in the bucket. Quickly empty the bucket each time it fills and count the bucketfuls during the time you normally take for a shower. Stop when the water gets cold. (Don't fill the bucket as fast as you can). Some experts have said that for a 40 gallon electric tank the water will be noticeably cooler after you drew out 25 gallons worth of hot water over the time frame of two people taking showers in quick succession.

Only one of the two elements operates at any given time. Shortly after you start to use hot water, the lower element comes on. When much of the hot water already in the tank has been used, the lower element goes off and the upper element comes on. When the water at the top of the tank is up to temperature, the upper element goes off and the lower element comes back on. It is possible that elements or thermostats can be defective. Turn off the electricity for the water heater before working on the water heater or nearby plumbing and have water flowing out of a hot water faucet before turning the electricity back on.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 02-16-2011 at 10:06 PM.
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Old 02-17-2011, 08:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
How is the hot and cold blended for your shower. IN the sense that do you turn the hot on high and the cold on just a little, or do you turn both on more or less equally, etc.
It's adjusted on a half moon lever. Left is hot and right is cold.

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Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
What is the temperature of the hot water alone, as measured coming out of the tub spout?
I haven't measured the temp coming out of the faucet, or shower. Should I? How? I have the tank turned up pretty high, near scalding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Do a "dummy shower run" namely not taking a shower yourself but having the water coming out at about the same rate into a bucket of known capacity and you measure and write down how much water you get out before it gets cold. (Don't fill the bucket as fast as you can). Some experts have said that fo a 40 gallon electric tank the water will be quite cold after you drew out 30 gallons over the time frame of two people taking showers.
Interesting. I'll give that a try this weekend.

Thanks.
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Old 02-19-2011, 12:57 AM   #5
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NEW Hot water heater problem


Take shorter showers You may have a pretty high flow shower head compared to the new low flow ones. In my master shower we have dual shower heads, one a new low flow and one old good one. If my girl friend takes a shower using both she can easily nearly drain the tank. When you start flowing 5+ GPM you will notice the water cooling pretty quick. Also depending on the temperature of the cold water will determine how much hot water you are using to get to your shower temp. Cold winter water needs more hot water then "warm" summer water. Also applies to recovery time and use time of the hot water heater. Just some ideas.

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Old 02-19-2011, 07:37 AM   #6
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Lower element failure on an electric water heater shows up as water going cold seemingly too soon. Some rough (non-foolproof) tests are:

1. After significant hot water usage, wait four hours without using hot water and then drain about five gallons from the heater drain valve. If this water is quite cold then you may have lower element failure.

2. After significant hot water usage, wait four hours without using hot water and then measure the voltage across the lower element terminals. The lower element should have finished heating and the power cut off by now.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HandyBrad View Post
It's adjusted on a half moon lever. Left is hot and right is cold.
If you usually push the lever quite far to the left when taking a shower that means you are using hot water out of the tank quite rapidly.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 02-19-2011 at 07:40 AM.
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Old 02-19-2011, 10:53 AM   #7
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If both the cold supply and hot water from the tank enter at the top you may have a "dip tube" which feeds the cold water to the bottom of the tank to mix it. They can crack or deteriorate and shorten your water supply. Read about it here or google :dip tube
http://www.ehow.com/how_5008950_repl...er-heater.html

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