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J187 04-12-2008 12:23 PM

Water heater not functioning. Not draining either?
I am having trouble w/ my electric water heater. Its only 1 year old. Hot water runs out too fast. I tested each element for continuity, and they seem to be fine. I noticed however that when I shutoff the cold supply and open the bib on the bottom, the tank will not drain. What might cause this?

Boston Plumber 04-12-2008 12:57 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Hi Neighbor!!

Hey, if running out of hot water earlier than you used to...only a few things it could be.

You seem to have eliminated the elements at this point. That leaves 1) the thermostats, 2) the wiring at heater, 3) the breaker or fuses, or 4) could also be that the dip tube in cold water supply has broken off/fallen into tank. did disconnect the wires from the elements when you tested for continuity...yes..?? If not..need to disconnect wires before taking a continuity reading.

Let's see....then, need to test for power at each thermostat. Test the top thermostat by turning up the temperature setting at the thermostat and take a reading across the top element...what did it read..? Then lower temp at upper thermostat and go to lower thermostat and turn the temperature setting higher...take a reading across the lower element. What did you get for reading there..? You should be reading 220-240 volts when each element fires. If not, let us know. (I provided a pic. of thermostats...your heater electrical most likely resembles the double element on left of pic..ignore the others).

If don't get 220-240 volts at each element then may be 110-120 volt of power into heater is missing (diconnected or breaker/fuse broke). Here, test at the junction box on top of the heater (see pic.). Again, test across both black and red wires...should get 220-240 volts...if not, chase back to breaker/fuse and replace (should be a 30 amp double pole breaker or fuses).

And if all this checks out...may need to look into the cold water nipple of the heater to determine if dip tube had fallen into heater, etc.

In terms of the water heater draining..I would hook hose onto drain, and keeping shut off valve in ON position..see if can get water to come out of drain. If can, then should also drain without water on...may just need to open a hot water faucet to break the vacuum...;) Let me know...

So there...lots of info. to let you continue your search for the answer. Let us know what you find as you go along. Good luck.

J187 04-12-2008 06:59 PM

Thanks. I got it. I actually tried on a whim changing out the thermo for a second time...Seems to be working fine. I did this because the first thermostat I bought I realized the bag was opened when I got home, didn't think anything of it, but maybe it had a been a return....

As far as the draining goes? I pulled the whole bib off the tank to see if maybe something had blocked it, sediment or something. Found some strange nepryne type seal on the back of the bib and pulled it off. Drains fine now. Never saw that before, I'm sure it wasn't supposed to be on there - maybe its a factory thing that got left on?

Either way, thanks. HOpefully its all set.

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