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Old 09-11-2010, 06:19 PM   #1
Nytstyk
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Default Electric water heater needs to be reset often

I have a 50 gallon electric AO Smith water heater in my house. For months we have not gotten hot water on demand and have to hit the reset button on the thermostat to get hot water 20 minutes later. Thursday I changed both the top and bottom heating elements and had hot water all day but Friday morning we had no hot water; had to hit the resedt button again. Friday I replaced the thermostat and we had hot water all day but this morning we had hot water for a short while and then it ran out; had to hit the reset button again.
What else is there to troubleshoot? Is there a lower thermostat that should be changed too? There are no water leaks on the floor. I have tested for power from the power panel to the elements and thermostat and there is good power.

Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

jp



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Old 09-11-2010, 08:59 PM   #2
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How old is the WH? It sounds to me like you may have a short in the wires leading to the elements, causing the reset button to pop. If it is not that old, I would recommend contacting AO Smith for their personal trouble shooting advice. Also, I'm assuming when you replaced the elements, they were not clogged with sediment, as this also may cause the elements to overheat. If there was sediment in the tank, did you flush it out?



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Old 09-12-2010, 02:03 AM   #3
Nytstyk
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Default water heater

The unit is about 8-10 years old. I don't know what "flushing out" the tank means exactly.

When I took the old elements out they had rust on them but they cleaned up well. I wiped them off with paper towel and they cleaned up nicely. I put them in a bag and kept them. I put new elements in. We have lots of sediment in our well water system.

Okay, flushing out. To change the elements I needed to empty/drain the tank. I put a hose on the end of the drain valve and opened the drain valve petcock. I also opened the back pressure valve when draining the tank before I shut off the water valve on top of the water tank. I watched the water drain out the hose and it was rusty colored. I did not close the water shutoff valve on top of the tank until the rust colored water stopped. Then I closed the water valve and let the tank drain with the back pressure valve open until no more water drained from the hose.

Then I changed the elements, filled the tank with water, then restored the power.

Thanks for your response. I look forward to your advice. Thanks.

jp

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Old 09-12-2010, 03:59 AM   #4
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Since your WH is 8-10 years old, and with the discovered rust in the tank, I'm wondering if your sacrificial anode rod is corroded to a point that the cold water is staying at the top of the tank, causing the elements to overheat and trip the reset button? Most rods can be replaced but sometimes you have to cut your losses and purchase a new WH.

I recently had a 12 year old electric WH that needed new elements and a sacrificial anode. The cost would have been ~$135 to repair it, but I would still be dealing with a 12 year old tank. I pulled it out and replaced it, knowing it will give around 10 more years of great service with no future worries.

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Old 09-13-2010, 06:10 PM   #5
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Well I think it is a moot point now. This morning there was water leaking on the floor from the tank below the lower element.
I am going to replace it. Home Depot has GE model heaters with 6, 9 or 12 year warranty. The local plumbing supply dealer is willing to sell to me and he has the exact replacement; AO Smith ECT 52 tank.

Are GE water heaters good? I actually want the AO Smith Conservationist model heater but I can't find anyone that will sell to me or that carries this series; they want to install themselves. I can install myself.

Thanks.

jp

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Old 09-13-2010, 07:23 PM   #6
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I believe one is no better than the other. I really hope you do some research into Tankless Water Heaters. With the Federal Tax Rebates and the costs savings, it really makes it worthwhile.



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