Hot water heater running out of water

Page 1 of 2  
Hi, We've been in our house for about six months and recently we started losing hot water. It would last for only about 10 mins or so then run out. We figured that since the water heater was somewhat old (2000) that we should just replace it. We bought pretty much the same one, a 50 gallon GE electric water heater. After a couple of weeks we're still seeing the same problem, even with the 1st shower of the day. I've got the temp pumped up to like 135-140 degrees. That seemed to help but it not the solution. Any ideas what else this could be? I've ordered a low flow shower head. Thanks, Jay
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
After a couple

Coincidence. The GE sold by Home Depot is a Rheem. I bought one a few years back, and it was the single worst (most trouble-prone) appliance purchase I've ever made.
Very early in its life -- 6 weeks, maybe -- it ate its first heating element. I replaced the first, and the other element died about six months later. I replaced both with stainless.
I've also had unending problems with the sacrificial anode on it, but that's another (really long, boring) story.
So, start from scratch. Google, and here:
http://www.bobvila.com/HowTo_Library/Fixing_Electric_Water_Heaters-Water_Heaters-F2171.html
These things are really simple, and the troubleshooting procedure is straightforward.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
What was coincidence? Your story or my troubles with two water heaters? :-) Thanks for the help!
How long of a shower do you get now with the heating element changed?

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Got off the phone with the Rheem tech support, looks like the thermostat is bad... the upper/lower element were only showing 1 volt AC... sending a new one out
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jay wrote:

Do the tests on the elements/thermostats. If all checks OK, there might be a "bypass" occurring between cold supply and hot lines.
This can occur inside a single-handle faucet cartridge (even when OFF) or in a washing machine solenoid valve. Less likely, there might be a temperature compensating valve in the system.
Also, check that the heater was plumbed correctly; Cold supply to the nipple marked "COLD". It's an easy mistake to make and produces exactly your symptoms when done backwards.
Jim
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Speedy Jim wrote:

The latter is my thought as well, running out of hot water quickly is a classic symptom of a lack of dip tube, which would explain the failure of the first water heater ('cause it was old and the dip tube fell apart) and also the continuing symptoms from the second ('cause it got inadvertantly hooked up backwards.)
nate
--
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
http://members.cox.net/njnagel
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The heater was definitely plumped correctly. Could the bypass be in a shower water control? Not sure about the element tests. It appeared ok, but the instructions were a little unclear on the bobvila site. I'm gonna call rheem tomorrow and have them walk me thru it.. Thanks j
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jay wrote:

you could try shutting off the valves to all single handle faucets in the house then take a shower. if the problem goes away then it's a bypass in one of those faucets. if it persists, then try shutting off the stop valves to the shower then run hot water somewhere else in the house. if you have good hot water there then your shower valve is the problem.
nate
--
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
http://members.cox.net/njnagel
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Ok, It's tough to do though because the problem doesn't happen every time... My guess is it may be the shower valve, the molding is kind of loose as well as the lever controlling if the shower or tub gets the water...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Send someone to the cellar, and see if the hot pipe off the WH is actually hot, when the shower gets cold? That could tell if it's a WH problem or a mixer problem.
--

Christopher A. Young
.
.

"Nate Nagel" < snipped-for-privacy@roosters.net> wrote in message
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Dip tube?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Would that fail right away? The heater is only 2 weeks old... Definitely hooked up right! :-)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

tube. It might not have been installed, might be in the hot side, or might be broken. I would check for it in the inlet pipe and pull it up as far as possible to see if it is okay. If you can not pull it out very far, it should be possible to remove the lower element and see it with a flashlight and mirror.
Another possibility is that you have a leaking hot water line somewhere, particularly under a concrete slab. That will prevent the heater from ever heating the water hot enough, especially at the bottom of the tank. This can be detected by the outlet pipe staying hot for a long distance from the heater when no hot water is being used.
Don Young
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

No, not right away. HOwever, was it even installed? It should be in the cold water side; it carries incoming cold water all the way to the bottom. It is not usually something that is installed at the factory. If it is gone, the hot water at the top (heat rises) mixes with the incoming cold water, providing exactly the problem you describe. A dip tube costs $10 or so.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The Dip tube isn't installed by default?? You gotta be kidding me... That would do it....
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jay,
Yes the dip tube is installed by default. But brand new products are sometimes not put together correctly so it might be the dip tube. Your local library will have books on home repair and maintenance. You need to buy a voltmeter and learn to use it if you don't have one. Your problem predates the new water heater so I suspect you have a leak, either in a pipe or in a single handle faucet. I suspect that you bought a new water heater when there was nothing wrong with the old one. Welcome to the DIY Homeowners Club, we all make stupid mistakes. It's how we learn.
Dave M.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The GF has a similar problem on a gas water tank. Now - I looked on the web, but did not see (or could not find) any picture of what this dip tube looks like or how to replace it if it is broken.
Would anyone have a link to this type of information by any chance?
thanks.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In article
[...]

Your Google-fu is weak: www.waterheaterrescue.com
--
Grandpa
Killing all posts from Google Groups
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Here you go:
http://home.howstuffworks.com/water-heater1.htm
The dip tube is on the cold water inlet and carries the cold water to the bottom of the tank. As the water is heated, it rises to the top of the tank where it is taken out by the hot out to the fixtures. If the dip tube is broken or missing, cold water will be drawn out of the supply side before it has time to be heated.
It is kind of like locating an airconditioning register too close to a return.
--
Robert Allison
Rimshot, Inc.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Dave, If I had a leak in a single handle faucet wouldn't I be seeing what under sinks, etc? Where can I look for this? Thanks, Jay
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.