Water Heater Not Much Hot Water

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Old 12-29-17, 06:07 PM
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Water Heater Not Much Hot Water

My daughter bought a home and is complaining of only have 5-6 minutes of hot water before it starts cooling down. She has a 40g electric heater, model #E1F40RD045V, I could not locate a make.

I went up today and took a look at it. I tested the thermostats and elements based on directions from How to troubleshoot electric water heater

Both elements and thermostats tested fine. I did notice that 2 wires were flipped, according to the wiring instructions from the page above. The black wire (red arrow) and blue wire (yellow arrow) were flipped. The black is supposed to go to the element, but goes to the lower thermostat. The blue is supposed to go to the lower thermostat but goes to the element. Not sure it makes a difference, but was something I noted.

I ran the kitchen sink and checked the temp at 120, but sure enough after about 5 minutes it was cooling down fast.

What else should I be looking at?
 
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Old 12-29-17, 06:38 PM
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When servicing the thermostat section..... you need to work against a diagram. Don't follow wiring colors as there is no set coloring rule.

The light blue wire is in the correct location and should connect to the lower thermostat.
The dark blue wire is also in the correct location and feeds the upper heating element.......However, there should be a second wire on this terminal feeding the lower section. Where did it go ?

In my diagram.... it's the lower red wire.

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Old 12-29-17, 06:54 PM
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You need to turn power off and remove the wiring from the elements to check them for continuity.

When the water is cold there should be 240v on the upper element and not on the lower one. When the water reaches the setpoint of the upper thermostat..... there is no longer 240v connected to the upper element. Now 240v needs to be measured on the lower element.
 
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Old 12-29-17, 06:55 PM
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Thanks for the reply,

I may not have explained it well....

All the wires are there, might be hidden behind the insulation. Your diagram is the exact diagram I looked at when checking the wiring. Your red wire (on L4) is black (red arrow on my photo) on my heater and it runs to the lower thermostat. I have a second wire coming off L4 that runs to the upper element as in your diagram. The wire on T4 (blue in my photo, yellow arrow) runs to my lower element. Hopefully that clears it up.

I was going to switch the wires, but the wire running to the lower element is not long enough to reach the L4 terminal. Should I splice in a piece of wire and switch those two wires?


Gary
 
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Old 12-29-17, 06:57 PM
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Ok..... I see the second wire.

So your wiring looks ok. Your two lower element wires connect to L4 and T4. It doesn't matter which direction. This is 240VAC.... there is no polarity.

Did you check both elements for continuity ?
 
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Old 12-29-17, 07:01 PM
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Here is a photo of my lower element and thermostat connection.

The blue wire on the lower element is the same blue wire that is connected to T4 on the upper thermostat. The black wire on the lower thermostat is running to L4 on mine.
 
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Old 12-29-17, 07:05 PM
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Thanks for the replies, PJmax.

I was posting my second photo when you posted your reply about my wiring. I was thinking the "direction" didn't matter, but wasn't 100% sure.

Any suggestions what I should be looking at? Dip tube, maybe?
 
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Old 12-29-17, 07:09 PM
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That bottom element looks like it's seen better days.
Not sure if you didn't see it.... I posted several times did you check continuity on the elements with an ohmmeter ?
 
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Old 12-29-17, 07:14 PM
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Yes, there is continuity on both elements. The continuity on both elements was between 12-13. I checked with the wires disconnected.

I checked both thermostats as well and both worked as they should. I followed the directions given on the webpage I referenced in my first post.

Electrically it appears to be working fine.

I did see that the lower element has some corrosion on it.
 
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Old 12-29-17, 08:37 PM
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After a couple of hours of not using any hot water (power on , of course) is the bottom of the tank about the same temperature as the top? (Turn off the power when feeling it to prevent being shocked.) If both top and bottom are hot then a dip tube problem is most likely.

However, 40 gallons is a rather small electric water heater. A tank-type heater can only supply about 2/3 of its capacity before there isa a noticeable drop in the output temperature. For the 40 gallon heater this means only about 26-27 gallons of HOT water. Remember also that in the winter municipal water supplies will often drop in temperature significantly and this will significantly drop the recovery rate of the heater, meaning less overall hot water supply. Add in that the colder water when blended with the hot to supply a tolerable temperature will mean less cold and more hot in the blend which in turn means less overall hot water.

The latter can be alleviated to some extend by raising the thermostat settings on the heater. BUT, raising the heater's thermostat then introduces the very real danger of being scalded by overly hot water so it is a trade-off of safety versus convenience.
 
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Old 01-01-18, 04:59 AM
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How old is the heater? Did it ever give a lot more hot water before the water went cold?

Dumb question but check anyway. Are the water connections backward, hot water piping connected to the cold water heater pipe on top and vice versa?

Yes, check the dip tube. It could have broken due to age and need replacement.

Shut off the power before draining any significant water from the heater with the water supply turned off. Do not power up the heater until you have water gushing from a hot faucet for a minute.
 
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