I need to adjust the electric water heater thermostat. I opened the cover
and made the adjustments. When I was done I put the cover back and saw the
cover says "Must turn power off before adjusting thermostat
settings"...oops...I didn't think of it since there seemed no risk of any
contact with electrical parts. Is it possible I did any damage by doing so?
I hope not.
The hot water in my recently purchased home seems to be slow in
comming and does not get very hot.
The water heater is gas and is about 15 years old.
When I lit the pilot light, I saw a lot of debris on the burner.
I brushed this off but it made no difference in the problem.
Should I replace the burner or the entire heater.
I did drain the heater, first with the water main turned off and
then flushed it with the water main on. I got a lot of redish
water out of the unit.
How does one know when a water heater has reached end of life,
other than a complete failure?
Red water...not good.
Gas heater *avg* life...10 years (Yes, some last longer).
Water temp is controlled by thermostat (round knob on gas control).
Turn it to higher setting.
How *long* it takes for the hot water to reach a fixture
is determined by the length of piping from the heater.
If only certain fixtures experience "tepid" water temp,
it is possible that there is a "cross-connection" between
Hot and Cold lines (could be a single-handle faucet or
a washing machine valve, for example). Don't focus
on this scenario; it is rare.
How hot is not very hot? The thermostat can be set very low by your
standards so as not to scald. Get a thermometer and tell us just what the
temperature is. Look to see what the setting is.
Slow in coming is usually a distance or pressure problem. Once the water
that is in the pipe is pushed out by the water in the heater, the how water
is there. Does not matter what the temperature is, it is either there or
As long as the flame is working properly the debris does not really matter.
Chances are it may be corrossion of what is above the burner starting to
corrode and flake off. If it blocks the burner, yes a problem, if it does
not and the flame is the same, you get the same heat.
If the burner is working properly, that is not the proble and replacing it
is a waste of money. There may be other problems though.
If there is sediment on the bottom it will retard heat transfer. Flush once
in a while to prevent it.
You don't get hot water any more for one thing. Leaks is another. At 15
years it may or may not be on the way out. Some will go 20 or more. Start
with the basics like the thermostat setting.
There is only one thing to do with a 15yr old gas hot water heater,
especially one that is giving any hint of problems. Replace it before
it bursts a leak and you have potentially huge damage. Knowing it's 15
years old, I'd replace it even if it was still working fine. 10yrs or
so is the typical life of these and they can go without warning.
That probably depends a lot on the installation, mainaintence, and local
water conditions. Replace the anode every several years may make a big
Your flame is fine. Doesn't have to be perfect.
What is NOT fine, is the thick layer of crud that is built up on the
floor and walls inside the tank. It is like a layer of insulation and
you are just wasting gas heating the crud when you are trying to heat
Get rid of it now.
I volunteered to install a water heater. No sweating of pipes needed
because it is a mobile home and the plumbing is nothing more than
flexible copper tubing and fittings.
I made a drawing with dimensions and headed for Sears. I ran into a
problem once I started to look at the water heaters on display. They
all had the hot water outlet on the top left and the cold water inlet
on the top right. The water heater that I will be replacing has the
cold water inlet on the bottom right of the tank. This spot on the
tank usually has the drain fitting. Either this is an (1) oddball tank
or (2) the cold inlet on the top is capped and someone decided to
use the drain instead. I have been unable to eyeball the tank as of
yet to determine which.
Is this method of supplying cold water problematic or perfectly
I don't think there is any technical reason why this won't work, other
than the possibility of the incoming water stirring up more sediment
from the bottom of the tank more than the water coming down out of a
conventional "dip tube".
But, is there no convenient means of draining on the existing tank?
If there isn't, I suppose it's not hard to remove the fitting you
describe and push the flex out of the way whenever someone feels it's
time to drain it.
My old tank was like this; the cold inlet was integrated into the
outlet. It was electric, an old rental from the local power company; I
inherited it when I bought the house. I forget the brand, sorry; but I
believe it was made in Canada. There was nothing to indicate that there
was ever a top inlet on the unit.
It seems like a reasonable way to do it; one fewer hole in the tank and
no dip tube to fall into the tank. But I wouldn't refit such a scheme
onto a tank that wasn't made that way.
I can't think of any technical reason why adjusting the thermostat could
damage anything in the heater.
I think it's just the company's way of CYAing themselves in case you
did touch the several wiring connection screw terminals, which on many
if not all common electric water heaters are within an inch or so of the
thermostat adjustment location, on both sides of it. They are usually
hidden by fiberglass insulation which isn't very hard to push aside and
be touched with a finger or a screwdriver. (If you're a clutz that is,
which I know your not, since you were still concious and could key in
your post after you completed the job. <G>)
BTW, care to share the derivation of your screen name with me? I trust
it's not what it brings to my prurient mind, because the only meanings I
know for a word pronounced "cooze" aren't very polite.
: miamicuse wrote:
: > I need to adjust the electric water heater thermostat. I
opened the cover
: > and made the adjustments. When I was done I put the cover
back and saw the
: > cover says "Must turn power off before adjusting thermostat
: > settings"...oops...I didn't think of it since there seemed no
risk of any
: > contact with electrical parts. Is it possible I did any
damage by doing so?
: > I hope not.
: > MC
: I can't think of any technical reason why adjusting the
: damage anything in the heater.
: I think it's just the company's way of CYAing themselves in
: did touch the several wiring connection screw terminals, which
: if not all common electric water heaters are within an inch or
so of the
: thermostat adjustment location, on both sides of it. They are
: hidden by fiberglass insulation which isn't very hard to push
: be touched with a finger or a screwdriver. (If you're a clutz
: which I know your not, since you were still concious and could
: your post after you completed the job. <G>)
: BTW, care to share the derivation of your screen name with me?
: it's not what it brings to my prurient mind, because the only
: know for a word pronounced "cooze" aren't very polite.
: Happy Holidays,
: Jeffry Wisnia
: (W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
: "Truth exists; only falsehood has to be invented."
Depending, it's also possible that the new settings didn't take
effect yet. Sometimes the electronic controls can require sort
of a "boot" in order to re-read settings, thus the powerdown
requirement to set it.
I've only seen that on top of the line stuff though; I'm more
inclined to think it was safety as mentioned, but figured it
couldn't hurt to mention the re-read issue.
If it seems like the change didn't happen though, try a power
down/power up first to see if it kicks in the new setting.
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