i need advice about a leaking hot water tank


Our 60 gallon electric hot water tank only had enough hot water for one bath, so the plumber drained the tank and replaced a defective heating element.
We had enough water for 2 super hot baths that night, then ONLY cold was left. And the tank starting leaking on the floor that night, although dries up during the day.
The plumber next replaced a gasket thinking that would stop the leak, and pressed the reset button. We again had super hot water for 2 baths ONLY that night. We pressed the reset button ourselves before bed, and again had leaking water around the tank overnight which dried up during the day.
The plumber came back and replaced the thermostat. The water isn't so boiling anymore, which is good, but we still have a problem with the tank shutting itself off after the evening baths, plus there's water on the floor in the morning.
When the tank's panels are off i can see that the yellow insulation is wet. I'm assuming this is what keeps shutting the tank off forcing me to reset every evening.
What do I try next? Do I need a new tank? Is the water I see just leftover water from the bad gasket/super-heated water problem? Will it dry up on it's own after a few days? I assume the water is what's shorting the system and shutting things down. But why is there only water on the floor overnight and not during the day?
Anyway, advice I could bring back to my plumber as a suggestion (or to a new plumber) is appreciated.
Thanks; Les
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Approximately how old is this water heater?
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wrote:

I'd get a new plumber... a water heater is a cheap replacement ~ $100 bucks. 3 wires to connect & 2 pipes.
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Without seeing it, or knowing how old it is, it's impossible to give much advice. If the tank was properly drained, there should only have been a tiny bit of water when the element was removed, not enough to get the insulation soaked with a lot of water. Did you check for any visible leaking around where the element was replaced? And even if the insulation is wet, I doubt it would cause the circuit to trip. If the insulation is wet, I'd leave the access covers off until it's dry and make sure the wet insulation isn't on top of bare circuit contacts.
I guess since you're already into this guy for an unknown amount, you should call him back again. But I wouldn't pay him anymore unless it's clear that whatever is going on is due to some other problem cropping up that he isn't responsible for.
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On Mar 10, 1:25 pm, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

The tank is roughly 5 years old... I read elsewhere that if the water is super hot (and it was), that can cause leakage. The thermostat was apparently shot, but even after replacing it I assume the damage would have been done and any water that seeped into the insulation would have to evaporate. it's just weird that I only get seepage overnight.
I think it's either time for a new plumber or a new tank.
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On Mar 10, 12:48 pm, snipped-for-privacy@malch.com (Malcolm Hoar) wrote:

Not that old... 4 years? 5? Something like that.
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On Mar 10, 11:39 am, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Let's see. You have a 5 year old tank. It didn't leak before the plumber did some work. It leaks now. Simple - he screwed it up or didn't install something right. As to the soaked insulation - it is ruined. As well jacketed as it is, it is highly unlikely to ever dry out again. He should be stuck for a new tank and crossed off your list of people to call in the future.
Harry K
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There may be hope for the insulation, since it is around a heated tank that will cause the moisture to go into a vapor state. Need to leave the covers off the t-stats to allow it to happen. Might even carefully make a drilled hole in the base of the metal shroud to clear and accumulation if it isn't able to leak out, but from the description, that's been able to happen.
No, I don't think the HWH needs to be written off as a loss, but the same does not apply to the plumber.

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On 10 Mar 2007 09:25:48 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

If you bring in another plumber without giving the first enough time to fix it, you could be out the money you already paid.
Might want to check his/her credentials. ;)
tom @ www.MedJobSite.com
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On 10 Mar 2007 09:25:48 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

I think a NEW plumber is in order. Hell, you probably spent the cost of a new heater on call backs by now.
If you are handy, just buy a new heater, install the two pipes and the electric wires and be done with it.
However, if you are handy, shut off the electric. Look for the location of the leak. It's probably the gasket by the element that he replaced. There is likely rust under the gasket and its not ever going to seal tightly. But, if you pull the element out, and coat the gasket with hi-temp silicone (red stuff from auto parts store), then reinstall it, you will end the leak. Do leave it sit overnight with out water pressure though so the silicone can dry. I should mention if it's rusty around that gasket, the tank wont last much longer. If there is a pinhole in the tank itself, its time for a new tank.
Why it only leaks at night is beyond me..... Maybe there is a ghost in it???? :)
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Wait a minute. There are two thermostats for an electric water heater. Both of them need to be set for about the same temperature, maybe a little different to acomodate stratification.

element. Then another visit, replaced a thermostat. And there is still a leak. What does this pattern suggest to you? If he were working on my car, would a similar pattern emerge? And you might want to check the last two numbers of your serial number, they may indicate year of manufacture. An electric water heater should be good for about 12-13 years.
On Mar 10, 12:25 pm, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

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