Hello. I'm having some troubles with my electric water heater. Let me
Its fairly old (several years I'd guess) and I dont believe it was ever
drained. I've only lived with it for a year. Fairly suddenly (like in a
couple days time) it started to lose a huge amount of its hot water
capacity. Showers would be limited to a couple minutes before going
I read up on them a bit, and figured I should drain it since it really
couldn't hurt. So, I did,but it didn't fix the capacity problem,
although there was a TON of sediment in there.
Next I got out my voltometer and I couldn't see any power going to the
lower element or thermostat. I decided to get a new upper thermostat
since the existing one was fairly old and they are pretty cheap to
replace. I got the same spec/type one from Lowes, but it still was not
putting any power out from the terminals on the upper thermostat that
lead to the lower thermostat/element.
I then decided to just replace both the elements and the other
thermostat, just in case I was just really bad at diagnosing water
heater problems. Still no go.
I've tested all of the cabling and it all checks out. The input
terminals on the lower thermostat/element have 0V across them at all
times. The upper element/thermostat terminals put out a steady 208V.
I've made sure the thermostats are flush with the tank. I've checked
over and over that the wiring is how it was before (how it worked for
years) as well as how it shows on the diagrams that came with the
The worst part is that after all this, it almost seems to have lost
some of its heating ability.
I've read that the elements dont usually go on at the same time, they
alternate. Still, the upper element is always hot and gets voltage
while the lower element is always very cold to the touch and has 0V.
Changing the temp settings on either thermostat does not trigger the
power to switch over either. The lower and upper thermostat are both
open at all times since the tank never gets hot enough to shut them
off. I've tried the reset button on the upper thermostat but that does
nothing since the high temp gauge doesn't get tripped. I've tried
swapping new and old thermostats to no avail.
Can any experienced water-heater troubleshooting/repairing people help
out? I'm really at a loss. I've put several hours and about $40 in
parts into this thing and its still not working, and I cant afford a
real plumber. I'm feeling a bit desperate at this point :)