Help With Electrical Water Heater?

I love this site, and would appreciate any ideas you may have.
My Reliance water heater (from Lowes, 7-10 years old, and used in a rental mobile home) needs to have the reset button pressed each day in order to fu nction.
I asked at a good plumbing outfit whether it might make sense to replace th e heating elements, thinking that the elements might cause increased resist ance if corroded. The man said that with any sort of problem with a heater that age, it is better just to replace the heater.
He suggested Bradford White, Rheem, and A.O. Smith as good quality heaters, but they are pricey.
Still, I have heard that elements wear out and need to be replaced periodic ally, and so I wonder whether that or something else might be worth a try b efore buying a new heater.
Thanks in advance!
Dwight Gibb
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On 9/15/2013 2:32 PM, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Assuming that by reset, you are referring to the red button on the thermostat and not a circuit breaker. This is a temperature sensor, which kills power if it overheats. IMO the most likely cause for this happening is a defective lower thermostat, but if you are going to replace that one, you may as well replace the upper as well. Before I replaced anything, I would do a thorough inspection of the tank. I agree with the plumbing outfit, at that age it probably makes more sense to get a new unit.
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If the resistance increaces, they will heat less and not trip the overload. They might have internal shorts that decreace the resistance.
They may also develope holes in them and let the internal resistance elements contact the water creating a high resistnce short.
If you had an ohmmeter you could cut the power to the heater and see if there is any resistance to ground.
Sometimes if the elements develope leaks, the water will get very hot.
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On 09/15/2013 02:32 PM, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

The high-temp limit switch may be kicking out because the water heater is over heating. My first guess would be a bad thermostat.
Have you checked the temperature of the water when it kicks out?
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On Sun, 15 Sep 2013 11:32:06 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Vote me with RMB, bad lower thermostat.
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On Sunday, September 15, 2013 3:38:56 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

al mobile home) needs to have the reset button pressed each day in order to function.

the heating elements, thinking that the elements might cause increased res istance if corroded. The man said that with any sort of problem with a heat er that age, it is better just to replace the heater.

rs, but they are pricey.

dically, and so I wonder whether that or something else might be worth a tr y before buying a new heater.

And I wouldn't be so quick to replace the WH either. With gas ones, 10 years or so and I would agree. But with electric, they tend to last much longer. But it all depends on water. If you have some history as to how fast they tend to go in your area with your water, etc that could be a help in determining it's expected life.
But I guess it also depends on if you can fix it yourself too. If you can, then you may be able to fix it for $25. If it requires a pro and it's gonna cost $150, then I guess it starts to push the balance more in favor of replacement.
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On Sunday, September 15, 2013 5:39:52 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

ntal mobile home) needs to have the reset button pressed each day in order to function.

ce the heating elements, thinking that the elements might cause increased r esistance if corroded. The man said that with any sort of problem with a he ater that age, it is better just to replace the heater.

ters, but they are pricey.

iodically, and so I wonder whether that or something else might be worth a try before buying a new heater.

I would also take this opportunity to check the over temperature pressure r elief valve, make sure if is not corroded and stuck closed. . If you have a bad thermostat, then the overheat reset button and the TPS valve are you r second and third defense against an explosion. If the reset should also fail, you are down to one.
Mark
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On Sun, 15 Sep 2013 11:32:06 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

My house came with AOSmith and I wanted the replacement to have the input and output pipes in the same place. Sears had that. I suspect AOSmith makes their wh's.

I'm not at all recommending you replace the WH, but whenever you do, espeically if you buy the same one or the same brand you have now, you should remove and save the old thermostats and heating elements, except whatever is identified as bad. . Then when you suspect one is bad, you can just replace it with an old one. AFAIK thermostats have stayed the same for 35+ years, maybe two different styles for most wh's, one per brand. Heating elements stay the same for the same size wh by the same maker, and probably beyond that.
You can replace a heating element by turning off the electricity, disconnecting the wires to the element, and unscrewing the element. Pull it out and lickety-split put the other one in. No need to drain the WH. When I did this only a couple teaspoons of water escaped. (The sales guy at the independent store where they sold AOSmith told me this. At the time, I thought I had to buy an element from the company that made the WH, but it was a cheap repair anyhow compared to paying someone, and I got this good free information.)
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drain the tank, then remove the heaters........
the tank may be full of sludge, covering the bottom heater which can cause it to overheat.
if you dont want to replace the tank then take a look inside...
in some water areas they will fill with gunk
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