My 80 gallon electric hot water heater's lower heating element has burned
out for the second time. It burned out about 8 years ago, and I replaced it
then. The heater is about 18 years old now. I have well water, which is very
hard and has a lot of calcium and lime in it. When I replaced that element 8
years ago, I looked into the heater thru the element hole and the bottom of the
tank was packed with chunks of lime & calcuim. I vacuumed out as much as I could
with my shop vac, but I would say that there was still about 3-4 inches of the
stuff still in there. Now, it's 8 years later, and I would guess that the chunks
probably are now above the element hole. I am also very leery about opening the
drain valve (it's a plastic one), as I'm afraid if a piece of those chunks gets
into the valve, I might not be able to close it. I'm also afraid that if I open
it, nothing will come out due to the calcium and lime blocking the drain
passageway. If I remember correctly, it took about 2 hours for it to drain 8
Should I try to replace the element, or should I replace the heater ???
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