running out of hot water

Page 2 of 2  
Ryan wrote:

Our 50 gallon tank was set at about 135 and it would provide hot water to a shower as long as you wanted to run it, never ran it more than 60 minutes though.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I'm just going to pass on an idea or two, since I not only have a Monkey Wards 800 Energy Saver 800 Special Edition glass-lined 40-gallon tank that no only has had the moth-eaten dip tube replaced, but services a house with 5 adult/young adult women who always seem to get in the shower and suck up the hot water before me ... and I always seem to have a fair amount of hot water:
1) If I were you, I'd start looking at what might possibly have happened between the time you wrapped the tank and had unlimited hot water and now, when you'd have more hot water if you boiled it in a big witches' cauldron on your stove.
I'm not sure what kind of Luke Skywalker double-thermostat setup you have in your house since I and everyone I know have only one place to set the water temperature -- and that's on the big red temp-setting dial attached to the tank itself. Perhaps someone was futzing around with something next to it and knocked the setting to a lower temperature. If it can happen in my house a week or three ago by someone digging out boxes of Xmas ornaments stored several feet away, it can happen in anyone's house, I guess.
If that's not it, then ...
2) If totally everything has failed your inspection(s) and the inspection(s) of an actual HVAC guy, maybe it's just time to bite the bullet and quit wasting your time on a lost cause and just buy a new damn water heater. Nobody like spending a few hundred bucks on a new water heater, but it beats the shit out of taking lukewarm showers and banging your head against a wall trying to figure out what's wrong with the tank or its associated mechanicals. But again, that's just me. Do whatever makes you happy.
AJS
snipped-for-privacy@veridiem.com (Ryan) wrote:

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

You're describing a GAS water heater. The OP has electric, which typically have 2 heating elements and each is controlled by a seperate thermostat. Usually, these are hidden behind 2 access panels, one near the bottom, and the other 1/2 way up.
The upper element in an electric water heater takes precedence over the lower element. Meaning, when the upper element calls for heat, the bottom 1/2 the tank is already cold due to it being used.
As the upper element calls for heat, the lower one is turned off so the upper can heat the top portion of the tank only. The lower element will get power to heat only after the upper element is satisfied.
If you're quickly running out of hot water, chances are the lower element is shot and the bottom 1/2 of the tank is always cold.

You've checked that the bottom element is getting power, but is it heating up?

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (HA HA Budys Here) wrote:

Yikes. Thanks for pointing out the error of my ways. My bad that I keep forgetting ther are other people in the world who are on primitive ways of making fire. I promise I'll do better next time.

Two different heating elements controlled by 2 separate thermostats hidden behind 2 different access panels. And to think that all this time, I thought the world was happy with dealing with just a sigle all-in-one fire/temp regulation package that NG water heaters are. Again, my bad.

If I recall right, all this heating-hierarchy I think happens within the tank even with NG water heaters, too. But all in all, methinks it's easier for your clueless homeowner like myself to maybe pin down our basic problem more directly and more easily with our NG units.

Which means, like I said, it's probably just time to dump the durn thing and buy a new one. Manufacturers only warranty 'em new for 5 years for a reason, methinks ;)
AJS
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Heck give yourself some credit for trying!

There ARE smaller electric heaters with only 1 element at the bottom, and those "shorty" units often found in the ceilings of strip shopping centers, often run on 120v as well... but generally, a house with an electric water heater will be the standard tall unit with 2 elements, 2 thermostats, and 2 removable access panels. Actually 3 if you count the cover on top where the cable enters!

Well, yes because heat rises. If only the bottom element worked, it would eventually heat the entire tank, but you'd never get really "hot" hot water until the entire tank fully recovered. That's why there's an upper element to take on the task of heating the top portion ONLY when so much hot water has been drawn off so quickly that you risk actually having no heated water to any degree at all. An ice cold tank would take a few hours to fully recover, but it can heat the top portion nicely (usually the top 1/3) and reasonably fast if it can concentrate on the top portion only.
Then again, if one has an electrical service capable of supplying BOTH upper and lower elements simultaniously, then the WH could be connected that way, vastly cutting down on the number of times you "almost run out."

I've seen them at Sears and the Borg for 12 years, however, that's on the tank integrity ONLY and not any of the electro-mechanical parts. And these permier models probably aren't sold where people have really bad water...
I'm surrounded by developments that are turning 30-35 years old and people are just now seeing their gas WH's crap out. BUt we have really good, pure water here that's PH neutral.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
AJScott wrote:

Well you are wrong. Electric water heaters are much easier to fix and nearly maintenance free and the maintain the water temperature more evenly. There is no gas burner to futz with, just straight old electricity which either works or doesn't. And gas thermostats, in my experience, have a wide range between off and on. The electric thermostats may, but are not likely to need changing. The elements will, but they are relatively easy to change and cheap. Manufactures have 5 year warranties so they can sell cheaper and raise the price considerably if they have a 7-10 year warranty. And electric water heaters, even the cheapest, commonly last 15-20 years. If you lived in an electric area, you would know that lots of electric water heaters last much longer.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

This is Turtle.
Ha Ha , the original poster stated that he had changed both elements and it had no effect on it.
TURTLE
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Turtle:
Yes, he did. I was summarizing each possible failure senerio. May be the upper stat is not properly connected to the lower, or the upper stat isn't operating correctly, switching to bypass once satisfied so the lower portion can do it's job, or the lower stat isn't properly connected to the upper, or to it's accompanying element...
Or maybe both are just set too darn low. 130 seems lukewarm to me... Isn't 150 considered minimum, 180 if you have a dishwasher?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
HA HA Budys Here wrote:

Some dishwasher have a preheater so they don't need 150 degree water. 180? some (?most? (?all?) water heater don't go as high as 180. 150 or 155 is closer to the top.
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.