I have a standard cylindrical electric hot water heater with a problem. It's 15 years old, in great physical shape, and all 4 relevant parts have been replaced at least once over the years. Right now, the top element is working (I can feel the heat) but the bottom isn't. Neither the circuit breaker nor the reset button on the top t'stat are tripping. I replaced the bottom t'stat last night with an old one I had tucked away in my tool box but it didn't help.
My questions are: 1) Was that the likely culprit and my old tool box t'stat probably bad? 2) Is the upper t'stat actually the problem? (Remember, the reset never kicked.) 3) Is the bottom element the real problem? (Please tell me no.)
I know diagnosis would be easier with the proper meters, but I figure it's cheaper to by replacement parts on an educated guess than buy the equipment and then buy the replacement parts on a highly educated guess.
Thanks and happy Easter, DJ