Part Time Water Heater

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Lance725, Feb 21, 2007.

  1. Lance725

    Lance725 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    I apologize for the length of the post but I am hoping history helps. Last Wednesday I noticed that my water was loosing its heat while taking a shower. It was ok in the morning, My wife took one in the afternoon, and I took another one after work before going out (5:30). My son took one around 11:00pm and FROZE. I froze Thursday morning and me and a friend changed out both elements Thursday night. Long story short, from that point on we have had hot water (warm) for about 10 minutes and then it is gone. I have replaced both elements and now both lower and upper thermostats. Here's where it gets weird. I get a 220 reading on the top element, but NONE on the bottom when I check both connects on the element (lower). If I ground out either leg on the bottom element I get a 110 reading, but cannot get a 220. The wiring is correct and I am sure the elements and thermostats are good. From what I can tell, the top element is heating and the bottom is not. Anyone know why I do not get a 220 reading on the bottom?
  2. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    Disconnect the 2 wires from the element and check continuity. You should get reading of between 12 -15 if the element is good. Then check each wire to ground and see what you get. Based on what your post said I think you have a bad upper or lower thermostat. Check the line side of the lower stat also. If the element is good you may want to just replace both the upper and lower stat. What are the stats set at temperature wise.
  3. Lance725

    Lance725 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    We already checked the continuity of both elements upper and lower (new and old). Both sets showed good. I have also already replaced lower and upper thermostats. I guess that's part of what doesn't make sense. All working parts have been replaced and all connections are good but I still do not get a 220 on the lower element
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,833
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    heater

    If the upper element has 220/240 volts, the bottom one CANNOT have the same. It is off when the upper one is on, and vice versa. Without an ammeter to test power usage, you are working blind as to whether the elements are functioning or not. You may have spent a lot of time and money needlessly, depending on the REAL reason for the cold water.
  5. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    You may have a bad new stat. It is unlikely but possible. What is the temp of the stats set at??? Place the test leads on the screws of the upper stat that are going down to the lower element after the top element reaches the set temp and the stat switches over. It should read 240V at that point. If not you have a bad upper stat. Check the wireing diagram that came with the upper stat and be sure it is wired right.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2007
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