I have an OLD water heater (prob. from the 80s) that came with the house. I
have replaced the lower elelment twice in ten years, with this being the 2nd
time. I was having trouble with having enough hot water, and eventually I
didn't have any. So when I went to Sears to replace the parts, they couldn't
tell me what the problem was for sure and suggested I just buy both upper and
lower elements and thermostats. So I replaced everything and had hot water
but once again I soon ran out. I let it go for about 1 1/2 months until the
upper thermostat blew and also blew out the fuse. I replace the upper
thermomstat and again am not getting enough hot water for even one shower. I
checked all the screws to see if there was voltage and on the upper
thermostat there are 7 screws. the only screw that didn't register any
voltage was the bottom right screw which has a wire going to the lower
thermostat. There is no voltage registering on the lower thermostat or
element. I had the wire checked for continuity and everything checked out.
Why can't I get any power to the lower thermomstat? I really don't want to
replace the tank if there is any possible way to save it. It is in a very
inconvenient location and I don't want to deal with the hassle of replacing.
Oh, incidentally it is a Kenmore tank. PLEASE HELP!!! I'm tired of freezing
in the shower!!!!!
Considering the age, the problems to date, bite the bullet and replace it.
Be done with it and have hot water and comfort for the next 10 or 15 years.
Do the work one time instead of smaller headaches and inconvenience many
times. The tank is ready to start leaking soon, probably when you get
everything else fixed. Not to mention the sediment in the tank.
Of course, if you like to suffer, continue as you have.
Dual element heaters only have one heater on at any given time.
Lower element is more of a "maintenance" heater, the upper is
during intervals of high demand. So, you're probably just seeing
a time when the upper element is on.
In a situation like this, I'd either suspect miswiring, or that
the tank is _heavily_ crudded up. Eg: bottom element is buried
in hard water crystals - which tends to cause the lower element to
burn out (which it has). Tho, I would have thought you'd have seen
that while installing the lower element (it'll be a "slush" of
water and crystals).
You should try flushing the tank. A wet-dry shopvac and a narrow
hose thru the lower element hole helps. But given the age of
After that, recheck the wiring. There should be a wiring diagram
on the tank somewhere.
You should also double check that the elements are the right voltage,
for the supply.
I have seen 120V elements wired to 240V and vice-versa. Both work,
tho, the former tends to burn elements out (they last weeks or
even a few months before blowing, but blow they do), and the latter
is very slow to recover from hot water usage (only delivering
1/4 the wattage they should).
If in doubt, get a plumber or electrician to check out the wiring.
Age and Treachery will Triumph over Youth and Skill
Thank you for your reply. I did clean out the bottom of the tank, both times
that I replaced the elements. I cannot find any wiring diagrams, on the tank
or otherwise. Do you know of anywhere that I can check for the correct
wiring? Although, I'm not entirely sure that is what it is since I had the
same problem right before it quit altogether. Is it possible that a wire
just "went bad?"
Chris Lewis wrote:
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