Rust around element/thermostat

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by Rebekah Rich, Feb 27, 2021.

  1. Rebekah Rich

    Rebekah Rich New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2021
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Hello,

    I am in need of some advice. My 50 gallon electric water heater was recently leaking at the connection from the cold water supply. That's been fixed, and still no hot water- so I opened up the bottom panel and discovered the insulation was wet. Turned out the leak had caused a lot of rust around the thermostat and heating element- I included a picture. The plastic protective cover was also a bit fried/crispy and the insulation slightly charred, indicating it got quite hot.

    Is this something that can be fixed (replace element/thermostat, maybe wiring, and get rid of the rust with baking soda/wire brush)? Or will the whole heater need to be replaced?

    Thanks in advance!

    20210227_220507.jpg
     
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I would replace the water heater. How old is it? Anything over ten years isn't worth putting any money into.
    It's also kind of scary. 240 volts can do a lot of damage to someone.
     
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  4. Rebekah Rich

    Rebekah Rich New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2021
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Unfortunately it's only 5 years old, so I was really hoping to save it if possible.
     
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    With no power at all, it's normally the top element not working. That could be a reset of the thermostat, or a bad element.
    With that much rust on everything, you would want to at least clean as much up as possible and check the connections. They do make element testers to check continuity. Not a very good job for someone's first time. Electricity is not like running water over your hand to see if it's warm. I am extremely careful when working with it. Testing the elements is done with the power off at the main box.

    The top element heats the water first.
    When the top half reaches temperature, then the power switches to the lower element.
     
  6. Sarg

    Sarg Enjoy Learning

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2020
    Occupation:
    Recently retired
    Location:
    NorthEast
    It does not look like it is worth saving. Thermostat appears ruined as does the element as in "melted".
    Even replacing the components doesn't negate the rusting tank and more important the puzzle as to what happened.
    If it is five years old it is a true candidate for a warranty recovery.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
  7. Rebekah Rich

    Rebekah Rich New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2021
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Right, I've already replaced the top thermostat and heating element, and still no hot water. I opened up the bottom panel and saw this.
     
  8. Onokai

    Onokai Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2012
    Location:
    Arcata,Ca
    You will need new thermostats and to clean it all up-it looks nasty-what brand is it -deffenly had water in there to rush like that.
     
  9. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Occupation:
    Sensitivity trainer.. and plumber of mens souls
    Location:
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    Just change everything on the heater both elements and both thermostats...

    also you might want to check the connection in the top plate... sometimes it can be a loose
    wire nut or could be full of water from the leak you fixed on top....
     
    Sarg likes this.
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