suddenly water is hotter than normal, but runs cold after 8 min.

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by Druski, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. Druski

    Druski New Member

    Feb 7, 2014
    We have a 12 y.o. electric tank which just suddenly one day started heating the water hotter than normal, and it runs cold after an 8 minute shower. No other appliances were used prior and this is consistent since the problem began 4 days ago. No leaks. Any ideas?
  2. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Jan 14, 2009
    Odds are the dip tube that directs the incoming water to the bottom of the tank has broken off near the top. Without the dip tube there less mixing, and the water becomes stratified with the hottest water at the top (which is well above the heating element's thermostatic sensor.) That stratification makes the initial slug of water coming off the top of the tank pretty hot. But since the cold water is being injected at the top of the tank it's short-circuiting most of the water in the tank, making the exiting water temp drop fairly rapidly.

    It's sometimes worth replacing the dip tube if it comes out cleanly. But in your in your case it's probably only as a DIY: A 12 year old unit it could be on it's last legs anyway, better to pay the pro to install a new unit than the travel time & labor just to swap out dip tube to get another coupla years out of it.
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  4. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Mar 30, 2011
    Rocket Scientist
    Houston, TX
    I would suspect a bad / shorted element.

    Good luck.
  5. JerryR

    JerryR Member

    Jul 27, 2011
    Hard to tell without taking some voltage and resistance readings

    Another cause could be a defective upper thermostat failing to switch to the lower element. This would heat the upper portion of the heater only. After the hot water is drawn off the top then the cold water from the lower tank exits.

    It could also be a defective lower element or defective lower thermostat.

    It can be tricky and confusing to troubleshoot if you are not comfortable using a volt/ohm meter.

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