Hot water heater element

Last night the wife runs out of hot water. I check continutity for both elements, and as suspected, one was not working. Ran to the Depot and got two new ones, plus a ball valve as there was never one installed to shut off just the HWH.
There were 2 different types of elements. The $10, shinny U type with 1 yr warranty, and then the $17 grey plated double U type that folded back on itself giving twice the area with lifetime warranty. Not that I really care about the warranty, but I got the $17 ones. I'm sure the coating will provide a bit of protection, but the element seems to have more area for calcium deposits to build up on and closer spacing since it doubles back.
Is there any significance between the two?
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snipped-for-privacy@gate.net wrote in news:1188324490.948809.129510@ 57g2000hsv.googlegroups.com:

You mean with the power off and the wiring removed you got an "open" on one of them?
Or do you mean only one was heating the water when you checked it?
The latter is normal and the bottom one will usually burn up first if they are the same age.
When the tank is fully hot and you start using hot water, the bottom one will kick on shortly after. If you do not continually use a lot of hot water, the bottom element will stay on until it comes up to temp.
If you are using a lot of hot water the bottom element will shut off and the upper will kick on. When the upper tank gets to temp it will shut off and the bottom element will kick back on until the entire tank is up to temp.
You've probably installed them already and the above is all moot to you.
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The bottom element was open (with power off) - it is broken. I realize the top comes on first and then the bottom. I've replaced them with the more expensive versions, but just wondered if they were really any better than the cheaper ones.
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snipped-for-privacy@gate.net wrote in

Who really knows. If it gives the buyer a warm fuzzy then it's worth it. Funny how we know if something is a lot cheaper it's definately more inferior. But when it's more expensive we wonder if it's REALLY any better. :-)

In normal use the bottom comes on first. That's why it's usually the one that burns out - gets more use.
The only way the top would come on first is if the tank were shut off and the top allowed to cool below it's thermostat setting.
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The one which folds back has "lower wattage density". Meaning the outer surface of the element doesn't get as hot. This is useful in water with dissolved minerals.
In any case, you got the good one, which is excellent choice.
--

Christopher A. Young
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