Problems with GE Hot Water Heater

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by nottick, Jan 21, 2009.

  1. nottick

    nottick New Member

    Apr 25, 2006
    A GE water heater( 30 gallon) manufactured by Rheem was installed.

    It was powered "on" before it was fully filled.
    It made hot water the first day, the second day I had to press "reset" button.

    today, third day still no hot water, pressed "reset" button and the thing blew the breaker with sparks shooting out of top access panel.

    Could the heating elements or thermostats have been damaged due to being powered and not having the tank fully filled.?

    If so, can I purchase a "plumbers pack" from Home Depot( includes upper and lower thermostat and two heating elements ) and replace all.

    Thanks in advance to any and all who provide assistance.
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    Well, guess you've learned, turning a WH on before it is filled is a sure way to ruin the thing...yes, replacing the elements and thermostats replaces all active parts in the tank. If you're lucky, it tripped before it compromised the tank wall.
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  4. nottick

    nottick New Member

    Apr 25, 2006
    GE Water heater

    Being as the top access panel is where I had the spark, can I assume the top element and thermostat are the only things that need to be replaced?
  5. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Dec 15, 2007
    Service Plumber
    Maybe... Maybe not!

    At this point the water heater needs to be troubleshot to determine the true extent of the damage the has occurred to the components and wiring of the water heater, to determine what components are needed, or if complete replacement is needed.
  6. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Master Plumber

    Feb 6, 2005
    Sensitivity trainer.. plumber of mens souls
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    replace it all

    just do it all.....
    why try to save your pride at this point??

    you have already admitted that you "screwed the pooch",

    so just do a clean sweep or you will be

    chaseing ghosts throughout the unit until
    you finally give up
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    The upper element is definitely shot, but whether anything else is or not is indefinite until it has been tested. I only replace what is broken.
  8. nottick

    nottick New Member

    Apr 25, 2006
    HJ, replaced what was broken

    As is the case with most of the posts I do here, I tend to inherit the problems after a staff member has screwed-up.

    After some questioning of the individuals involved I was able to learn that the power was turned after the tank had begun to be filled.

    I did check the lower element and thermostat - they were good. I had to replace only the upper element and thermostat.

    Thanks to all who provided their insight to assist me to resolve this issue.
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