High Limit Question

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by shawninolympia, Dec 24, 2009.

  1. shawninolympia

    shawninolympia Computer Repair

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Olympia
    Merry Christmas Everyone!

    So I ran to the store today and came home and my wife said she smelled something burning in my daughters room. I went in, checked everything I could and I could not find the source of the smell. For some reason, I decided to check the hotwater tank in the closet behind a false wall. The smell was coming from there. I took off the top cover where the "high limit" is and there is melted and burned plastic. Yes I turned off the breakers and tested to make sure no power was still flowing to it before I did anything. Do you think I should just replace the high limit and if so where would I go to buy one. Thanks for any help! What a time for the tank to not work! Merry Christmas!

    Shawn
    Olympia, Wa
  2. Doherty Plumbing

    Doherty Plumbing Journeyman & Gas Fitter

    Messages:
    810
    Location:
    Penticton, BC
    Replace high limit and the thermostats.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,285
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    high limit

    The replacement "upper" thermostat will come with the high limit. You must have had a loose wire which created high resistance and heat to melt it. You will probably have to shorten, or replace some wires, to eliminate the melted portions.
  4. shawninolympia

    shawninolympia Computer Repair

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Olympia
    Thank you

    I will give that a try tomorrow! I don't think many places are open today! :eek:) Again, thank you for what you do and if I don't think I can handle the job I will be calling a professional. Merry Christmas!
  5. change it all

    usually the high limit fails due to a problem in
    the system, a shorted out element....

    I suggest you take a good look at the elements...

    It really dont cost much more to
    change out everything both upper and lower
    t-stats and elements just to be safe
  6. shawninolympia

    shawninolympia Computer Repair

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Olympia
    Question

    I build computers for a living. I'm not a plumber. I do have alot of mechanical ability so I know I can do this and if I don't think I can I will call someone. I do have one question. In order to change everything like you say, I have to drain the tank correct? Thanks
  7. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    If you are changing elements the tank has to be drained.

    It does not have to be drained to change the ECO and Thermostat.
  8. yes drain the tank

    its wise to drain the tank to change the elements,
    then look inside the bottom element to see how built up

    the sediment and lime might be inside the heater...
    scrape that out if necessary

  9. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,794
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    If the tank is over ten years old, you may want to consider replacement on the tank too.

    Water heaters tend to run in the 10 to 20 year range for life expectancy.
    Though, that's an average, not a promise.
  10. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    I'm not sure how you do it but I can't remember the last time I drained a water heater to change an element...
  11. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I do it on the quick too but I would advise to home handyman type to drain a water heater....:eek:
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