need help with my new GE electric WH

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by geogridshorthair, Jan 31, 2010.

  1. geogridshorthair

    geogridshorthair Geologist

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    southern california
    just purchased a new GE electric WH for my hunting cabin and after 4 weeks it does not produce hot water.

    my cabin has VERY hard water greater than 25 grains (425ppm) and very high water pressure.

    when i installed it there was excellent hot water.

    i have only taken 4 showers and today the water was only warm but not hot.

    i thought there might be excessive salt buildup so i flushed the tank from the bottom and there was not salts and the water was cold.

    any ideas?

    thanks for the help.

    steve
  2. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Does the unit have power applied to it?
    Does the water heater contain water at the proper temp?
    Is there a tempering valve installed on the water heater?
    Is there a hot cold crossover such as a bad moen or, mixit vale possibly some other as well?
    Is there a leak on the hot water lines?

    Just a few of the things it could be...
    Some trouble shooting is needed!
  3. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    You have lost one of the 2 electrical connections needed to produce hot water...It could be at a wire nut or the breaker or some where at one of the connections in the heater...I would check the breaker first to see if it has popped by turning it off and then back on... then the wire nut connections...if it was installed by a plumber I would just call him back...the water being hard would have nothing to do with the problem....

    When was your cabin built and what brand is the breaker panel
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2010
  4. geogridshorthair

    geogridshorthair Geologist

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    southern california
    Redwood,

    Thank you for your reply.

    The unit is powered and the thermostats on the WH are set to 125F.

    I'm not sure what a tempering valve is or where to look for it. However, the unit provided hot water when i installed it about a month ago. Since it is a hunting cabin I only go there on the weekends; so therefore, I have only taken four showers since the install.

    There is only one shower mixing valve, and a toilet installed. I have not yet installed the kitchen or bathroom sinks. There are some outside hose bibs.

    No leaks that i have seen.

    Some background info. The cabin is about 60 years old and I did a complete remodel of it this summer. All new plumbing using "shark-bite" and PEX. I did the plumbing. Obviously I'm not a plumber but this was a very simple project. The cabin is only 450 sqft and has one shower two sinks, a toilet and two hose bibs. Pretty straight forward. Shark-bite and PEX are significantly more expensive but snapping together all those connections verses having to sweat them with copper made the job much easier.

    What makes this issue even more interesting is that my neighbors (which was also remodeled this summer) has an electric WH also. He has a different model but his also only produces "luke-warm" water too.

    I'm wondering if we had some power surges during the major storms last week and if that had any impact? However, I'm pretty sure my power did not go off because all my digital clocks (oven and microwave) were OK. I also believe I turned my WH power off when I left.

    Any way thanks for the response.

    steve
  5. geogridshorthair

    geogridshorthair Geologist

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    southern california
    Thanks Cass,

    The unit is 220V and I did the wireing. I know there is power to the unit cause I checked that with my "sniffer", both red and black were HOT. However, I did not check the wires at each electrode for power. I only check them for tightness. I also checked the breaker on the WH and it was OK.

    I did a total remodel of the cabin this summer and used Murray panel and breakers. The problem is not power to the WH unit, but is might be electrical within the unit.

    BTW, here is a New Weekly Phrase: "The second amendment is my concealed weapons permit" from Ted Nugent.

    Thanks again for your reply.

    steve
  6. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    You realy need to check Amp draw not just voltage but voltage is a good place to start...
  7. geogridshorthair

    geogridshorthair Geologist

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    southern california
    Cass,

    Should I check current at the connection comming into the unit, or at each electrode?

    I have a good digital Fluke DVM, and I understand the difference between current and voltage. My guess is that the unit should be pulling about 30A at the power into the unit if both electrodes are working.

    Thanks again.

    steve
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,285
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    The OEM elements in heaters are NOT the highest quality. I have had some load up with minerals and burn out in a matter of a couple off weeks. IF there is 220/240 v., not just "power", to the upper element, but no hot water, then it is probably burned out. You cannot test for 220//240 with a "sniffer".
  9. geogridshorthair

    geogridshorthair Geologist

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    southern california
    hj,

    Thanks for the response.

    I know the sniffer just detects AC and can not tell me what the voltage or current is. I have no reason to believe that there is any less than the 220V.

    However, when I return to the cabin in two weeks I will bring my Fluke and will test both voltage and current.

    If the element did load up with salts it happened really quick, but as i said our water at the cabin is REALLY HARD. I do plan to install a water softener when i return in two weeks.

    As I said in a previous post my neighbor is also having problems with his new electric WH; the same issue, low water temperature.

    Thanks again for your post.

    steve
  10. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    check your wire nuts and be sure the connections are good...I have seen where if the connection is not good, the wire will pull out enough while putting the connections into the heaters JB, for it to work for a while then the heat build up from a bad connection causes it to fail....
  11. geogridshorthair

    geogridshorthair Geologist

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    southern california
    Thanks Cass.

    I will check those connections next time I'm at the cabin.

    steve
  12. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,237
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Are you wired to a good double pole breaker? Do check for 220 as you may only be getting 110. Sniffer will still show voltage on both lines.
  13. geogridshorthair

    geogridshorthair Geologist

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    southern california
    Cacher-chick,

    thank you for responding.

    all my electrical is new. the breakers are Murray and working just right. next time i go to the cabin (2 weeks) i'll bring my DVM and do a through check on the electrical stuff.

    steve
  14. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    The problem which i have seen many times even by professional plumbers !
    You did not have the water heater all the way full of water when the power came on their was water around top element but it still burned a hole in it like a bad spot on a piece of fruit, !
    When you go back to the cabin take a new element and a element socket to change the top element run a ohm
    test on the top element it should pull between 11 to 13 ohm's i think you will see open circuit !

    You have a "dryfired" upper element if the top element doe's not work the bottom will not come on !

    it was just good enough to work a couple of times then finished burning out !
  15. geogridshorthair

    geogridshorthair Geologist

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    southern california
    Thanks MacPlumb,

    When i first pressured that system I distinctly remember opening the outside hose bib to flush the air out of the system before powering the water heater. However, i did not flush the hot side since none of my sinks were finished. So there might have been air in the hot side, I'm not sure.

    The problem is that I did get 4 hot showers from the WH before it failed.

    I might make it to the cabin this Sunday and I will bring my DVM and a replacement element (if HD has one).

    thanks again for your response.

    steve
  16. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,819
    Location:
    New England
    WHen you drained the tank, was the power off?
  17. geogridshorthair

    geogridshorthair Geologist

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    southern california
    power to tank was turned off.

    thanks for your reply.

    steve
  18. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    Yes they will sometimes work for a couple of days or weeks with a damaged element

    but still go out from being dry fired
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