Hot Water Heater not making enough hot water --

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Hi all,
I'm having a strange problem with the hot water in my home, and I'd love some advice on it. A quick history -- I bought my home 2 years ago and then the hot water heater (40 gallon electric) was only maybe 1 year old. Last summer the bottom started to leak, and i was greeted to an inch of water in my hallway one morning. Anyway, it had a 9 year warrenty from Home Depot, so I took it back and replaced it with a 50 gallon electric hot water heater. It was literally $10 more for the 50 gallon over 40, so figured what the hell. I live by myself, but I hope to start a family someday.
About about a month after installing the 50 gallon hot water heater I got a roommate, and that 50 gallon has been working great until two mornings ago when i went to get a shower and ran out of hot water after maybe 3 minutes. I asked my roommate if she took a long shower, and she hadn't -- plus the washing machine nor dishwasher had been running - this was in the morning before work. Neither of us have changed our routines, and every morning since she moved in 6 months ago we've had plenty of hot water to spare.
The water is hot, plenty hot when you use it, but it's just not making enough. I felt the exit line from the hot water heater and it is warm, and it has power... is there something that would cause this sucker to quit making the quantities of hot water it was making? It's in a tray and such, and there's no water in the tray or the overflow pipe (which runs to the tray), so it's not leaking.
Any ideas?? This sucker is a pain to replace, so I hate to replace it again -- but I like my hot showers more :)
Thanks or any advice or suggestions.
Ringo
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1. If you haven't already done so, insulate all the hot water pipes that you can. 2. Have you ever flushed the hot water heater? 3. It's electric, are you shure both heating elements are working? Sounds like one of them might have broke.
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Ringo,
It's possible that there are 2 heating elements in this heater so, if you are handy, check the lower element. With the power cut off check that there is continuity across the element. With the power on check for voltage to the element. If it's just a single element heater the problem may be in the thermostat. With the power off spray the thermostat with switch cleaner and sweep the temp up and down a few times then reset the temp to the correct temp. While doing these things check all connections to be sure that they are tight. Do not shock yourself.
Dave M.
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Sounds like your roommate fell in love with your new 50 gallon hot water tank. I think you mother objects to your lifestyle, and she is sneaking around your place at 1 AM, to turn the hot water off. She knows your girlfriend showers before you, and she is targeting you for a cold hint that the girl has to go.

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Ringo Langly wrote:

Why do you have a hot water heater?
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Heh - I always cringe when I hear that.
It's like "preflight planning".
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John Harlow wrote:

Good thought....I've done lots of flight planning in my days, and some preflight inspections, but never any preflight planning <grin>.
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All of the other suggestions are good. However you can not tell if an element is working just by having power to it. You really need an amp meter to check it out.
Is it really cold where you are? then the problem may just be in the settings of the elements. Try raising the settings on the tstats 5-10 degrees. But no higher than 150 F. The bottom stat should be the lower one. by 5 degrees.
Chances are the bottom element is the problem. Having said that there is one other suggestion. There is a plastic dip tube on the cold water inlet connection. It forces the cold water to the bottom forcing the hot water to the top. (stratifying the water). If this tube is cracked then all of the incoming water can go to the top reducing the hot water.
This repair takes time and normal hand tools. FIND the dip tube first. I have never seen them at the Despot. Other wise your going to have to call a plumber to fix it. When my dip tube crapped out that is what I did cause I did not have the time and was tired of cold water in the middle of my shower.
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It's possible to be reasonably sure about the lower element, with just a VOM. Check both for continuity, and getting power. If you have both... it's likely OK.
Could also be a bad thermostat, or bad sequencer (I think the name for the more complicated stat at the top element).
Changing dip tube requires to unthread the nipple out of the top of the cold inlet side, so requires some plumbing skill. The one I did, I installed a copper union so it would be easier to get it apart the next time. Instead of just a quick and dirty coupler.
--

Christopher A. Young
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Hey Ringo,
In regards to checking the continuity of the elements you should have -about - 12 ohms of resistance on your meter for the element resistance. Also, the thermostats on electrics have little red buttons on them to reset them when they trip; might have to push one!
Barrie

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Barrie Hiern wrote:

buttons on

Hi everyone ---
Thanks for the great comments and suggestions. I didn't realize there were two elements, and that might be it. I'll do some testing, but if it ends up being the element then I'll just pull the entier unit and take it back to Home Depot.
As for the comments about my roommate, that's totally off topic and not appreciative. She is a roommate and friend I've had for most of my life, so it's rather insulting that some conclude she's a girlfriend or anything more then a friend just because we share a house. I guess I should've expected such comments. Usenet isn't the place it once was, and anyone can post off-topic garbage about anything now'days.
To those who replied with pertinent replies I do appriciate it whole heartedly, but to the others, please find something better to do with your time.
Ringo
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This is USENET If you want to play in this sandbox, grow some skin. You got lucky. Oscar didn't even stop by with pictures of his girlfriend. There's lots of stuff to learn here and plenty to _ just _ skip _ over..... Lighten up a little. Your food will digest better.
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Ringo Langly wrote:

there
if
Remember also that suggestion about the dip tube that keeps the cold water entering at the bottom of the tank. You didn't sweat (solder) the fittings near the water inlet, did you? That's a no-no because it melts the dip tube.

not
I think the comments actually may have been appreciative after all:
appreciative adj. Capable of or showing appreciation.
appreciation n. 1. Recognition of the quality, value, significance, or magnitude of people and things.

or
You may appreciate that in referring to your friend as "roommate", you implied a certain proximity of sleeping, as in, in the same room. You may also appreciate that in referring to your roommate as "girlfriend", others in fact paid you the complement of insinuating that you are capable of being the object of another's affection.
But now you've gone and shot all that to heck ;-)

was,
And with your invitation, you might expect more ;-)

You mean like reading the advice af people we don't know? ;-)
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That's a supposed oxymoron. A better example would be "the department of rendundancy department".
"Hot water heater" makes about as much sense as "cold ice maker".
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Ringo Langly wrote:

You're absolutely right about the locker room comments, the implied snickering, ribald attempts at humor, and other untoward observations.
Now, back to your problem.
Have you suggested to your roommate that the two of you shower together?
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LOL
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"military intelligence"
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Christopher A. Young
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Is this your room mate: www.tubgirl.com?

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Probably no big deal. If it's electrical, it probably has 2 heating elements. One of them is probably gone. It's easily replaced. Take off the little panel you can unscrew and have a look.
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No, the thing makes cold ice. You're thinking of an ice freezer when they mean water freezer.
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