Electric water heater manufacturing element quality going bad?

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by ballvalve, Apr 14, 2010.

  1. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    I have some water heaters with heavy useage. The well water quality is good by tests and within norms.

    I have used several brands of elements, usually 3500 and 4500 watt, of all density types. I used to get about 2 or 3 years + from an element. Lately, I am changing elements like batteries in a kids toy.

    Heaters are drained regularly and I recently vacuumed out the calcium debri in the bottom of one. Installed a Camco mfg. lime life ripple super low watt density element. Blew out at one of the sharp bends in 2 months. Looks like the metal was stretched too thin there. Almost no calcium-lime build up on the element. Quiet in operation. Another went zonkers and blew out in a few areas and bent itself up into a pretzel.

    NO dry firing. A mediuim density fold back element also blew in 6 months.

    Do anode rods protect the heating element as well as the tank? Any ideas?
  2. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I don't know what to tell you. I have used many of the Camco Lime Life elements without problems like you are facing. I would say given the number of failures you have had the problem is unique to you.
  3. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Another Camco "lifetime" element blew its nichrome wire through the casing within 3 months. Hardly any lime on the element. Maybe Camco moved its MFG. to china or bangladesh.

    Customer NO-service from Camco, and the store too. Guess I'll go back to Graingers who send out new ones with a single phone call.
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,650
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    I have used low watt density fold back elements, and/or lifetime ones for all my replacements, and seldom have to replace them for YEARS.
  5. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    So have I with good results. Its only in the past year or less that these Camco's explode.
  6. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I haven't seen it myself...
    I use quite a few of them I carry them on my truck for use.

    I'd suspect something else is causing your problem...
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,024
    Location:
    New England
    Some things I'd check:
    - Make sure that the power inlet wires are tight and the proper gauge.
    - Make sure you have a good ground lead
    - See if you have an a/c potential between the pipes and the ground wire
    - at the panel, see if you have a potential between the ground and the neutral
    - if your meter has a peak hold or an 'instantaneous' reading, check to see if there are any excessive peaks or dropouts.
    - make sure that the leads are tight at the CB
    - pull the CB and look to see if there is any evidence of overheating, or poor contacts on both the CB and the bus bar; if old, consider replacing the CB. If the bus bar is burnt, move to another slot, or replace the panel.
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,650
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    NONE of those would cause an element to deteriorate, but an electrical leakage to the tank could cause it to start leaking sooner than it should.
Similar Threads: Electric water
Forum Title Date
Water Heater Forum, Tanks Cap blown off top of electric water heater Sep 2, 2014
Water Heater Forum, Tanks Rheem Performance 30 gal. Short 6 Year 4500/4500-Watt Elements Electric Water Heater Jun 13, 2014
Water Heater Forum, Tanks Electric water heater in series with boiler Apr 7, 2014
Water Heater Forum, Tanks Need a new electric water heater Mar 26, 2014
Water Heater Forum, Tanks Very Old Water Heater Info. Philadelphia Electrical & Mfg. Co. Feb 14, 2014

Share This Page