My water heater stopped working today.

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I have a Bradford White Hydojet Model M280R6ds5 water heater and it stopper working today. It is electric and i checked the circuit breaker. Last night my wife said that it got really hot and today it is producing luke warm now cold water. I looked up the manual that came with it and then checked the lower access panel. I noticed that the lower heating element connection's black wire appeared to be burnt and the surrounding insulation, which is touching the electrical connection, appears to be burnt as well. I think this is the problem...help? It has now snowed 36 inches or more in my area and this would happen today.
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Chris wrote:

First thing first, do you have a multimeter? One with Amprobe preferred. Start checking heating elements and therm0stats with power off to the heater. How old is the heater?
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Tony,
Thanks for answering so quickly. No, I do not but I did figure out one of the problems. The red button for the upper thermostat had popped out. Does this indicate a failing thermostat? And is the lower discoloration or burnt appearance of the black wire and surround insulation a concern?
I think it was purchased in 2004.
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wrote:

Tony,
Thanks for answering so quickly. No, I do not but I did figure out one of the problems. The red button for the upper thermostat had popped out. Does this indicate a failing thermostat? And is the lower discoloration or burnt appearance of the black wire and surround insulation a concern?
I think it was purchased in 2004.
If the upper thermostat failed, it could overheat, which would trip the thermodisk high limit (red button). Pushing it back in, may get the unit heating again, but it would likely overheat and pop the limit again. It sounds like, at the very least, you may need an upper thermostat.
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On Sat, 6 Feb 2010 15:46:46 -0800 (PST), Chris

Some discoloration and deformity of the insulation can be expected close to the heating element. If the wire had a poor connection it would have likely melted where it was connected.
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Not necessarily but it may indicate that the lower element, say, has gone bad inside tank (it 'may' for example be in contact, electrically, with the water). MAKING SURE power is off, turn off the whole house if necessary, try cutting that wire and see if the upper element will give you at least a limited amount of hot water. After that get someone in who knows what they are doing to look/fix it. You are dealing with 230 volts, water and grounded equipment and the questions as asked do not indicate any real knowledge of what is involved! PS. Is your life insurance up to date?
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Terry,
Good point. I can fix a lot of things but this is not my forte. I will call someone to see when this can be repaired. In the meantime I hope this allows us to have hot water until it is repaired.
Thank you to all that have replied.
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Tony Hwang wrote:

Hi, Ny take on the problem. One of the thermostat(probably bottom one) got stuck causing two element coming on which tripped safety sensor.
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Whenever I have an electric water heater go bad I just replace all heating elements and thermostats. The are relativly inexpensive and now you got all new stuff. Hopefully the new wil last as long as the old did.
Jimmie
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Jimmie, thank you. The problem is that all stores are closed due to the recent winter blizzard in our area. I will consider this as soon as possible. Checking the water temperature since the red button reset.
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On 2/6/2010 6:22 PM, Chris wrote:

With all due respect, if you have to ask whether a burned wire might be a problem, you should check around for a friend or a family member who has a little more experience with these sorts of things. Be sure to turn the power off.
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Ha, Jimmy I totally respect that statement. I was looking more for the answer as to what caused it and how to fix/replace it. I know that it is an issue.
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Sorry, I meant mcp6453.
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What's needed at the moment is for somone experinced to test the two heater elements. To see if they are short, open, or short to ground. And then see if the heater elements are getting power.
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Christopher A. Young
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On Feb 6, 8:13pm, "Stormin Mormon"

Chris
Do you have a voltmeter that can measure 240 Volts??
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On 02/06/2010 06:50 PM, Chris wrote:

time. If one shorted, the one with the popped breaker, disconnect it and reset the button. The bottom element should still work or vice versa. One is bad, the other is still good. Determine the bad one. and run with a single until you can repair it.
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I agree with this.
You can heat water on the stove.
Also, you can get hot water from the bathtub faucet.
Okay, I'm kidding about the last part.
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Lol. Is this place becoming hostile? : ) No, just kidding. I did find an answer to my immediate problem.
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I was thinking much the same thing. If Chris knew how to do that troubleshooting, s/he would have done so already. Electricity is a skill that is nearly impossible to learn over the internet. A person should learn, live and in person, from one who already knows.
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What you discovered is a problem, but not your primary problem. I'm not familiar with that particular water heater, but garden variety units have an upper thermostat and heating element that would heat first. Once the upper thermostat is satisfied, it sends power to the lower thermostat, which in turn sends it to the lower element. You need to start at the top, determine if you have 240 volts to the unit- determine that 240 volts is getting to the upper element- determine that the upper element is actually heating, then move on to the lower parts
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