I have a problem with my electric water heater, which is 66 gallons, Sears brand, 13 years old.
We bought this house about six months ago. Yesterday, without any previous symptoms, I found the water from the heater very hot - steaming. Since we were in a hurry to go out, I just switched the heater's circuit breaker on the main board OFF. I thought the thermostat might have gone bad and decided to replace it by myself today.
Today morning, I switched the circuit breaker back ON to get some hot water (generally I don't switch off the heater at all). After an hour or so, since I did not get any hot water, I inspected everything and found that the circuit breaker of the water heater on the main board had tripped.
I searched google.groups and found a lot of information regarding this - with possible causes, (1) a stuck thermostat OR (2) bad heating elements.
To experiment, I turned the bottom thermostat all the way to the lowest point. Put the upper thermostat at a medium level and switched the circuit breaker back on. Within about 5 minutes the circuit breaker tripped again. I tried the same experiment with the upper thermostat with similar results.
So here are my questions. I think either the thermostat(s) or the heating element(s) had gone bad. (1) Should I get an electrician to repair the heater - replace the thermostats and/or the elements OR (2) Considering the age of the heater (and the previous owner was not good in maintaining it – she never drained it in a period of 5 years), should I buy a new heater.
Thanks in advance for your time.