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Old 11-27-2007, 07:04 PM   #1
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water heater noise


Daughter complained about running out of water in the shower. I checked the stats (2) on the electric heater. I ran almost allt he hot water out first then checked for voltage at the top element. No voltage until I ran the stat up to 130 as I had set it at 120 when my ma-inlaw and wife's grandmother lived in the house seperate times. As I said, the stat would kick back on at about 130. Problem is, it makes a slight noise while it is heating the water. When I turn the top stat back to 120 in order for it to kick off and to get the bottom to kick in, there is no noise when it is heating. Actually, I should say when the voltage is transferred to the bottom, there is no noise like when the top is live. I have not ohmed the elements. I do not think this is a pressure buildup, as I had run almost all the hot water out by running the kitchen sink and the tub. It should have been below the 120 the stat was set on. How unusual is it to hear this slight noise? Not sure how to describe it. Not really a sizzle nor bubbling sound. Maybe element going out and getting too hot too quick?

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Old 11-27-2007, 08:04 PM   #2
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water heater noise


Scale build up on the upper element. Or high watt density element. Has it ever been changed? Probably scale, replace it.

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Old 11-27-2007, 10:20 PM   #3
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Never been changed. I can't remember when I changed the heater in that house. I still have the old one beside it. It is in a fruit cellar like part of the house, and I just never got around to taking the old one out. NOw that I think about it, I think I have heard the same thing here at my house. I also seem to have less hot water than I should. I changed it out about 3 or 4 years ago. We seem to have hard water here. Is that a contributing factor? When I ran most of the hot water out, shouldn't the voltage been sent back the top stat if the temp of the water was below the setting on the stat? Do you ever set the top stat a little higher than the bottom? These were set the same, but seems like years ago some would set the top a little higher. I guess I might as well change the stat and the element while I am at it. Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 11-27-2007, 11:34 PM   #4
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water heater noise


Yes hard water is a contributing factor, or I should say will speed up the scale build up. The build up on the elements will insulate them and reduce their efficiency and eventually the elements will fail. It also collects on the bottom of the tank where it will harden into a insoluble scale that also reduces heating efficiency and will lead to tank failure. This is what the anode rod is for. It takes the majority of the scale before everything else in the tank. Yours is probably history.

Was the bottom element heating when the top was off? The top heats first then when at set temp it stops and the bottom starts. I like to keep upper and lower at the same temp, then again I make sure that every heater I work on is no higher than 120 because if a kid or someone gets scalded guess who they come after.
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Old 11-28-2007, 04:03 AM   #5
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water heater noise


When you dial down the top element, it's satisfied and transfers power to the lower. If you hear nothing when the lower is supposed to be on, it's possible the lower heating element is bad and only the top portion of the heater has been heating for quite some time. (The first sign of this is having, but running out of hot water frequently.)

Checking for voltage on the lower element will not tell you if it's working, only that it has power. If it's burned out, you won't have a load when the lower element is activated. Do you have an amprobe?
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Old 11-28-2007, 07:31 AM   #6
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water heater noise


Quote:
This is what the anode rod is for.
That had crossed my mind. I was thinking the top heated first, and that is why I ran the water until it ran cool/luke warm so I could check to see if the top was at least getting voltage. I also was not quite sure which was heating. It was late, difficult place to get to, and I did not want to take the time to drain the tank and pull everything out to properly check it. I guess I will take a bucket with me today so I can drain it. I have seen how the elements can get scaled over on others. I hear you about the temperature. I had it set at 120 due to the old folks that lived there. Actually, I think that is hot enough for bathing for these college kids too. Like I said, I will go ahead and change the top stat too as I think it should show voltage without having to be 10 degrees higher when the water is only luke warm.

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