Replaced heating elements... water temp back to low again


Hi all, if you do a search in this group for my email address, youll find a post I posted a few months ago. Basically, my water heater was not staying hot enough. I replaced both heating elements and all seemed to go back to normal. We had hot water enough to last both our showeres without any cold water entering the scene.
However, it has been a few onths since then and the hot water is getting weak again. We cant even get the tub filled half way without the hot water going bye bye. The replacing of the heating elements helped for a few months, but now blah!
Then, my wife JUST NOW calls me telling me a horror story about a girl she works with having to go home today becasue her hot water heater busted and water was every where.
A friend of mine who works on them suggested i turn the thermostat up, and it that doesnt work, replace the thermostat. And if THAT doesnt work, get a new water heater (it is about 12 or 13 years old as it is.)
My question; Do i need to worry about my water heater blowing up anytime soon? Are there signs that the sucker is gonna blow? And if so, am I experiencing some of these sings? (gulp).
Thanks for everyones help in my former post, and thanks in advance to this one! Jazz Mann
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Jazz wrote:

That is not likely to work.

That would not test the thermostat. The thermostat does not control how much water is hot, only how hot it can get.

That advice may be good. How long do water heaters last in your area. Where I live with good water we get about 20 years or better on most water heaters. But in some areas 10 years is really old.
If your neighbors are having problems at 10 -15 years, I would suggest replacing it. I think in my area, I would likely replace it even though it might have a few more years on it.

Not likely to blow up. There are some very good safety devices to prevent that. Leaking however is another matter. It is possible that your water heater has a build up inside that has reduced the capacity to the point that you will need to replace it to fix it. If that is true, it is likely that it also is close to a leak failure.
If money is really tight and if your neighbors are getting along with water heaters that are older, then I would check the heating elements ( resistance check ) and check out the thermostat. (does it provide hot water to start with and then after a partly full tub run out of hot water or is the water not too hot to start with?
Unless you can really identify a failed heating element or thermostat, I suggest replacing it at that age.

--
Joseph Meehan

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Jazz wrote: ...

...
...
Sounds like an element failed again --
Couple of possibilities --
1. Just a random "infant mortality" failure. Sometimes happens.
2. How hard is your water? Did you find a lot of scale ("egg shell") deposits in the bottom of the tank when you replaced the elements last time? Did you clean all that out, if so? If not, quite possible if you have very hard water the lower element got covered over again and burned out again.
In TN, w/ mostly well water and all the limestone there, water was _extremely_ hard and would collect over an inch of deposits in a year. Twice a year cleanout was sufficient to keep elements indefinitely, forget and would burn out reliably on a yearly basis. Replacement w/o cleanout would be scenario two above without fail.
Don't raise thermostat temperature, that's not the problem, all you'll do is increase your power bill and risk lifting safety and won't have any more hot water by volume than you now have (just what you get will be hotter which isn't what you need)...
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Good advice all! I live in Alabama, my water is soft. I like it. When I changed my element, the water in the tank was clean. but you may be right, could just be a bad element... hate to have to change them again though :(

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I have had new elements fail in several months ... it happens.
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42g2000cwt.googlegroups.com:

I think all you need is a new "dip tube." It's nothing more than a plastic tube that directs the cold water to the bottom of the tank. They eventually break off and the cold water then enters the tank at the top where it immediately starts to mix with the hot water and after a few minutes your waer is all cold.
Replace the dip tube and you should be fine. Often though, you can't get the broken section out, so just leave it in the tank. It'll cause no harm. Simply remove the short piece from the top and insert the new one, cutting it, if need be, so that the cold water enters the tank about 6 inches from the bottom.
Morvin
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im afraid that would involve cutting the copper pipe right? Would have to get a plumber in for that :(

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You're right. But it would be less expensive than a new tank, unless of course your tank is on its last legs and will have to be replaced shortly anyway.
Morvin
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