shower question no hot water. new to the forum

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by KenBraldley, Jan 21, 2009.

  1. KenBraldley

    KenBraldley New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Hi,
    Like I said I'm new to the forum. My girlfriend and I just moved into a new to us house. It was built in the 70's I believe. We are renting off of her father. My question is we have very little hot water. It lasts about 10 minutes while showering, and is only enough to fill a quarter of the tub. Today after reading other info I ran the shower until it got cold and checked the other faucets and they were cold as well. We have a kenmore power miser 12 electric water heater 50 gal. And the temp gauge is almost ah high as it will go. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks in advance
    Ken
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,013
    Location:
    New England
    There's a dip tube in the WH that directs the incoming cold water towards the bottom of the tank (hot comes off the top). On some models, there was a problem with that dip tube breaking up and inserting the cold near the top, reducing the amount of hot water you can obtain. This tube isn't expensive, and can be replaced, if it is non-existant any more. Most electric WH only activate one heating element at a time. The upper one extends the outlet temp when drawing water, switching to the lower one to reheat the entire tank when the top one gets warm enough (a few can use both at the same time). The thermostat or heating element of one or the other could be bad.

    If you have an older showerhead, it could dump 4-5 gallons per minute, and 10-minutes of use could exhaust that tank. All newer ones are required to use 2.5 gpm or less. You could check the flow with a bucket and a watch.
  3. KenBraldley

    KenBraldley New Member

    Messages:
    2
    I replaced the showerhead with a brand new one yesterday with one from Lowes. I didnt look at the GPMs but Id imagine its about 2.5 or so. I will try to look for a dip tube and if its not the dip tube and its one of the heating elements, how much are those and are they hard to replace? Im sure this isnt the smartest thing but Im learning as I go. My goal is to become more self sufficient at small home repairs instead of calling a friend or a professional.
  4. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Here is some reading on Dip Tubes.
    See if yours is one of the affected units.
    http://www.rustylayton.com/htmlxtra/diptube.html

    As for checking out the elements and T-stats it is basic electrical troubleshooting. The elements run one at a time switched over by the top T-Stat. How are your electrical skills?

    Depending on the age and condition of the water heater replacement may be the best option. Generally 10 years and older is on borrowed time.
  5. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,349
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    It is very possible there is so much sediment in the bottom of the tank it has shorted out the bottom element. My son and I worked on his mother's heater last month. It was a b***h getting the element out and once we did we found the bottom of the tank was just packed with sediment. Needless to say, a new heater was installed the next day. As far as trouble shooting the elements and other electrical components, you need the proper test equipment and knowledge to use it. Most of us DIYers don't have either. If the heater is quite old, it may not be worth the expense hiring a plumber to test the components. You can certainly check the dip tube and replace it if it is broken. Tubes are cheap and replacing them is very easy.
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