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Old 04-21-2008, 09:36 AM   #1
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over heating electric water heater

My 7-year old Bradford White electric water heater tripped the energy cut-out device this weekend to prevent overheating. The temp at the faucet was around 180 F. I'm not sure what is causing this other than a faulty heater element or stuck thermostat. Is there a way to determine what the issue is, or should I just start replacing parts until I find a fix? Until I resolve this, I am cycling my water heater circuit breaker at my breaker box as the water cools though-out the day.

Model #: MI65R6DS13
Manufactured: March, 2001

If anyone has any advice regarding what to check first, please advise.

Thanks in advance.


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Old 04-21-2008, 11:11 AM   #2
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Sounds like it probably is a faulty tstat.
(If your water is 180 degrees, your T&P valve should have tripped, too, I believe that it goes up to 150 degrees). I might be worng on that.
To change tstats, get a good look of the layout and number of screws on your tstats or make a sketch, and go to the store and get tstats exactly like them (do not have to be same brand).
Turn OFF the power to the water heater and EXCHANGE THE WIRES ONE AT A TIME FROM THE OLD TSTATS TO THE NEW. You can't go wrong like that.
Good luck!


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Old 04-21-2008, 11:32 AM   #3
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With 180 degree water, I think we can rule out your heating element! It is working pretty darned well!

By "energy cutoff device" do you mean breaker/overcurrent device? If it is tripping there is definately a problem. Could be the water heater, could be something else. The good news is that the breaker is doing its job, which is to trip instead of letting the wire burn up.
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Old 04-21-2008, 12:11 PM   #4
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The "energy cut-out devise" is a quote from the Bradford White website. Its a red trip button on the upper element designed to prevent overheating. When I reset the button the heater started heating again, but now I control the temperature by tripping the circuit at my breaker box.

I'll look at my tstat and find a replacement at the hardware store. As you're right, with 180F water the heating elements are probably not the issue.

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Old 04-21-2008, 12:27 PM   #5
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Replace both upper and lower stats, should be fine after that.
Fix it right the first time, so you won't have to fix it a 2nd time.

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Old 04-21-2008, 01:03 PM   #6
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As Ron said...replace both upper and lower thermostats (cheap enough)...

Also, change the temperature and pressure relief valve!! Like Mike S. suggested, T&P valve should have blown off to protect the water heater and your home/family.

That safety device failed...luckily knowone got hurt...check out this link to see what can happen when relief valves fail and knowone is around to determine issues like you did...


(Not that I think this could have happened at your home...T&P would have blown off eventually becuase was not plugged.capped...but still wanted to emphasize importance of these valves working properly...see video!!).

To replace the T&P valve, need to shut water off at cold water shutoff above the heater, shut the electricity off at the breaker panel (30 amp double pole), drain 5 gallons or so off at drain at bottom of heater (may need to cap this with a boiler drain cap if leaks after using)...then remove the old T&P valve, install 5-6 wraps of teflon tape (wrap teflon clockwise) on new T&P valve and install it.

If need to cut the T&P discharge pipe..cut it...then let us know you had to cut it and where and we can tell you how to repair this (must reconnect FULL SIZE)

Then fill heater, purge water to tub spout or laundry sink (purge to sink/tub where no aerator is at end of spout, 'cause will clog). THEN...

REPLACE THE TWO THERMOSTATS!! Now is good time to do it as the ELECTRICITY IS SHUT OFF!!! Do not replace thermostats without confirming power is off using a confirmed working electrical tester...PLEASE!!

Shut electricity, THEN replace T'stats, then as long as heater filled with water can turn electricity back on.

Be careful...you can do this..not hard...just detailed. Good luck!!

Last edited by Boston Plumber; 04-21-2008 at 03:39 PM.
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Old 04-24-2008, 09:41 PM   #7
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May i also suggest you make sure you put the insulation back on and the cover. If you fail to have those on the thermosat will not be read the tempature of the tank correctly and can over heat the water.


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