Water Heater?

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If my electric water heater is not providing adequate hot water for a 20 minute shower anymore is it time for total replacement or just replacing the thermostat? TIA, Dan
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Dan wrote:

Might be as simple as an inlet dip tube which has fallen off, or maybe one element in a two element heater is burned out, or as you suggest one (even possibly two) thermostats bad.
You'll need some diagnostic assistance and a decent VOM (volt-ohm meter)to learn what's wrong.
If it isn't leaking, it CAN be returned to normal operation by finding and replacing defective parts at less cost than buying a whole new heater.
Jeff
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How hot is the water it does provide? I don't know if thermostats change their effective setting, but if they do and if water isn't hot enough, making it hotter will make it last longer.
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The water heater probably has an element burned out, but it could also be other problems. Whether it is better to replace the whole heater or repair this one depends on what the actual problem is, the age and general condition of the rest of the heater, etc. It is not that hard to check one out if you have a volt-ohmeter and a basic kmnowledge of electricity. Larry
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More likely one of the 2 elements is done
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

A 20 minute shower is a tremendous use of energy (and time!).
Leaving that aside though, some simple trouble shooting without even the use of a meter can point out the trouble.
While a technician/electrician might use a test-meter of some sort; because they have one and are familiar with it most parts can be tested with a simple light bulb. We have several test meters for example and it is usually a matter of which one is at hand etc.
Assuming we are talking about a standard 40 US gallon or equivalent, North American style water heater, connected to 230 volts and grounded.
However the style of question suggests that the OP has little/no electrical knowledge and should therefore get someone knowledgeable to do the work. The 230 volts and a tank full of hot water at pressure requires care.
Agree it is probably, most likely something simple such as burnt out heater element, defective thermostat etc. But since there are two of both in most tanks and the method they are usually connected (flip- flop between upper and lower etc.) while instantly understandable by a competent person, it can be confusing to someone working on it for the first time or only once in 20 years.
If tank not leaking; a shame (and wasteful) to spend at least several hundred dollars to have it replaced if it's a $20 to $40 repair item!
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Just curious, do you have a Prius or Inisght?
If the tank is 15 years or older, would you change your opinion?
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wrote:

    Where I live I would repair it. I live in an area with good water and water heaters tend to last longer than in many areas of the world.
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

My WH is 18 years old and while I have not repaired it, I have replaced the T/P valve, drain valve, and anode. See no need to spend big $$$ to replace it as it shows no signs of failing now that I've caught up on the maintenance. (gas tanks seem to be far more expensive than electric for some reason.) Plus if I get a new WH I'll save the valves that I replaced for spare parts (actually, I'd install the ball drain valve in the new heater before even turning it on.) No, I don't drive a hybrid.
nate
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false economy, a new tanks better insulation etc would save energy.
you are working hard to spend more on ehergy
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Agree. If I had an 18 year old gas water heater, I'd replace it just based on age to avoid a potential disaster. If a tank lasts that long, a new one would work out to ~$30 a year, which is a small price compated to a flood in the middle of the night.
Also, for someone worried about the energy usage of a 20 min shower, I would think they would want either a new higher efficiency conv tank or tankless instead of an 18 year old one.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I wasn't the guy that was worried about the energy usage, just giving my experiences. Right now there's not enough free cash laying around to simply replace it; if I had a lot of cash I'd consider it, but new clutch hydraulics for the car, new tires for the pickup, etc. have taken precedence lately over proactive replacements of home appliances that are still working. And I don't think that I'm "working hard..." everything I've replaced has taken a few minutes with a pipe wrench and/or socket/breaker bar, not a whole lot of labor involved.
nate
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Ed: Yes. Tanks we have used during last 50 (1960 to present) years have lasted an average of about 9-10 years. All have been 40 US gallon electric with two elements usually 3000 watts IIRC correctly. Minerals in water, an acidic soil and acid rain from mainland north America seem to be reasons for short life.! All tanks here are electric; no gas available except propane, used by RVs and for some propane fireplaces and is expensive. Impression from OP is that an electric being discussed? No; do not drive a Prius etc. have along paid for and hopefully, in these corrosive conditions next to the North Atlantic, pickup will last for another 8 years or so. So while gas is expensive here, drive only as necessary.
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terry wrote:

http://www.energyhog.org /
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terry wrote:

A city-slicker is strolling down a country lane when he spots a farmer holding a pig up in the air so the pig could nibble at low-hanging apples.
"Just WHAT are you doing?" asked the city-slicker.
"What does it look like I'm doing," replied the farmer. "I'm feeding the pig!"
The city-slicker shakes his head and comments: "Looks like a tremendous waste of time to me."
Farmer smiles and replies: "Shows what you know. What's time to a pig?"
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First thing I'd check would be whether there is 240 volts at the bottom element. If there is, check the element for continuity. It's probably burned out. I'm guesing the bottom element, or the thermostat switching that enables it, because it sounds like only the top of the tank is being heated.
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on 12/30/08 1:52 AM Bob F said the following:

This is the logical response I need. Thanks. I only take a 20 minute steam shower when I have a chest cold.
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Dan wrote:

Hi, If you have clamp type ammeter, it's real handy. 'stat can fail open or close. I'd check bottom 'stat and element first.
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Dan wrote:

You are taking a "Hollywood Shower." Have you considered the alternative of the "Navy Shower?"
1. Turn on shower, get wet all over. 2. Turn off shower. 3. Lather and scrub. 4. Turn on shower, rinse. 5. Turn off shower.
Total resources: Less than 3 gallons of water in only two minutes.
It's for the children.
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HeyBub wrote:

But the OPs name "Dan" might be short for Danielle.
Most Wimmen I know spend far more time taking a shower than guys do, viz:
Young Dannie has fun in the shower, With the water-jet set to full power. For it sets her aglow, When she aims it below, And she comes for at least a full hour.
(Adapted from a lim by Peter Wilkins)
Jeff
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