Kenmore w h acting up

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by tregg, Dec 27, 2009.

  1. tregg

    tregg New Member

    Messages:
    31
    Location:
    Iowa
    My just over one year old Kenmore Power Miser 6 gas water heater is fluctuating between scalding hot water at times and othertimes not hot enough. What part might be the problem? If it's the thermostat is that part of the gas valve and can it be replaced or would I need the whole gas valve? Is the role of the thermocouple for the piolet only? thx!
  2. vtxdude

    vtxdude New Member

    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    NH
    I will say that the one thing that the Kenmore has going for it over the other similar designs is that the base is surrounded by that black mesh screen which looks like it will keep quite a bit out from getting through

    That is maybe the only positive thing I can say about a Kenmore based on my experience
  3. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    If you can be certain that it seals tight to the floor and you clean it regularly.:eek:

    Of course if the water heater is set in a pan like it should be in many cases the pre filter gets a little harder to reach...:eek:
  4. tregg

    tregg New Member

    Messages:
    31
    Location:
    Iowa
    Which W/H to buy

    I've been reading that Kenmore is not a good brand of waterheater. If so what is a good brand? I must say though that my previous unit was also a Kenmore Powermiser 6 and that lasted for years and I only replaced it when it seemed to be getting limed up-making that percolating sound. I never had any problem with the pilot going out.
    This new one though looks like a different story because of the irregular heating.
  5. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    It does sound like the gas control valve....like mark said...
  6. vtxdude

    vtxdude New Member

    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    NH
    Was your old Kenmore pre 2003? Seems like everything went downhill for some after the new requirements. I have only had my Power Miser 9 for over a month and having all sorts of issues with it getting enough air through it's tiny flame arrestor


    I think I am going to replace it with a Bradford White and fight Sears to take this one back
  7. EdHitchens

    EdHitchens New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Nova Scotia
    We have a Kenmore PowerMiser 9 (electric) from Sears Canada that is four years old and starting to act a bit wonky, similar to the original poster's issue.

    On Monday night, the hot water was suddenly scalding hot. Not really knowing where to start, I began by testing the high pressure valve to ensure it was working. This is something we were supposed to do once a year but completely forgot about.

    Last night the hot water was barely warm and this morning it was cold. After pushing the reset button on the top element/thermostat (not sure if it was "tripped", just followed troubleshooting instructions in the user guide), it is now hot again. Not as scalding as it was previously, but hotter than it has been for the past 4 years.

    Does anyone know what might be causing this? I'm guessing it is a thermostat as a bum element(s) wouldn't heat the water at all?
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2010
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,253
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; I'm guessing it is a thermostat as a bum element(s) wouldn't heat the water at all?

    Your "guess" is wrong and that is why you need a professional to test all FOUR components, because it CAN heat the water even if it is burnt out, and a burnt out element WILL heat the water superhot and trip the ECO button on the top thermostat.
  9. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,460
    Location:
    MD
    1 cause likely is t'stat
    2 cause likely is t'stat or element
    3 cause likely is t'stat

    Check the element current draws when hot with a clamp-on ammeter; you can also use a DVM on the 120 vac scale to check current draw but you need to know the wire size and length from the main panel to the heater.

    If you have a 4500 W element the draw should be 4500/240 = 19 A.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2010
  10. EdHitchens

    EdHitchens New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Nova Scotia
    Thanks for the replies.

    Had a tech take a look and he confirmed that the elements were fine. He said it was up to me if I wanted to replace the t-stats, which were covered under warranty. However, I would be on the hook for the labor (almost $150 all told). As the water is now fine and has been for a few days, I opted to pass on the replacement for now. If it acts up again I just need to call and they'll come out to do the swap and not charge me for another service visit.
  11. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,302
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    I'm sure you realize that Kenmore is just a name Sears places on appliances. Sears does not make anything. Kenmore appliances are manufactured by many different manufactures for Sears, so your water heater could be one of several brands. Often these appliances are modified slightly so Sears can sell them for a bit less than the mother brand. Not saying they are all inferior, but I do believe many are.
  12. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,460
    Location:
    MD
    So was it his opinion that it is one 'stat or the other, and not connections or some other problem, like a bad connection in wiring back to the panel?

    This is like you come to a doctor and he says "it's up to you" as to what you want to do next. I guess I would have then asked him for his diagnosis in writing, as a countermove to his shirking the responsibility for this repair.

    How much for just the parts? If you do it yourself without injury to yourself or damage to the unit you will probably be paying yourself at least $50/hr minus the cost of the parts.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2010
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,253
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote;
    1 cause likely is t'stat
    2 cause likely is t'stat or element
    3 cause likely is t'stat

    1. is MORE often a bad element than a thermostat
    2. is a result of the red ECO button popping out because the water was too hot. See #1.
    3. Only time will tell, since it takes a day or so for the symptoms to reappear.
    I have replaces THOUSANDS of elements, but only a few dozen, and maybe even fewer, thermostats over the past 60+ years. Very few thermostats malfunction and then start working properly so it only takes a few minutes to determine if it, or they, is the problem, IF the heater is hot at the time. If it is cold then it takes longer because you have to wait until it gets hot enough to actuate both thermostats.
  14. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,460
    Location:
    MD
    I don't get how a bad element can ever cause too much hot water [#1]. Don't they fail by becoming an open circuit or shorting to ground?
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2010
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