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Wife says we are not getting enuf hot water, its running out to often. Well, its 120 gallon heater on off peak. 2 elements, one on top and one on bottom. I called my buddy at the Coop power company and he said to turn off breaker and check with ohm meter on lower element, so I did.
My digital was set at 200 Ohms, the reading was 1 then when I touched the probes to each other the reading was .3 then when I touched the probes to the heating element bolts, the reading was 13 so what does that all mean? Is the element blown or not? My buddy is at lunch so I have not heard back from him. If its blown I can replace it easy enuf. :)
 

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Jim - dug this up off of the web for you. Turn breaker off and disconnect both wires from the element.

"The resistance reading should be close to the voltage squared divided by the wattage of the element. A 240 volt 4500 watt element should measure around 12.8 ohms. Also check to see if you have any resistance between each terminal of the element and ground. This should show infinite resistance. If you get any continuity between any terminal and ground, the element is shorted out and will need to be replaced."

If both elements check OK - look into the thermostat being the culprit.
 

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I have the Bosch "on demand" heater. No tank and can run hot during two main operations (i.e. shower and laundry can be done at the same time). Space saver too.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
thanks Al will do that process after supper..
With 3 girls, 4 bathrooms, laundry, dishwasher and sinks running, Id run out the 'on demand' unit fast lol This system is VERY cheap, I get 3cent per k/w rate and heat up 120 gallons to 170 degrees at night, then a tempering valve mixes the water as it leaves the heater to 115 temp to the baths, etc. The 'on demand' systems here have to use regular rate of 16 cents per k/w,,, yikes
 

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Wow... My 60 gal gas unit keeps up with 2 showers at a time and the dishwasher or washer going. That cold weather really takes it's toll.
 

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If the water heater is in your basement and you have some way to drain it, I suggest turning off the feed to the tank, attach a garden hose to the bottom and drain the tank. Once drained, pull each heater element out and inspect it. A friend bought a condo with a bad heater and the resistance still read in check. I forget what it was, but it certainly wasn't in the Kohms or anything that would make you think it was bad. We pulled out I believe the upper element, and it was TORCHED! We must have been reading the resistance of the water and one small sliver of metal still attached because it barely made the full loop, and crumbled in his hand. I recall the socket was some weird size; I still have it; something like 1-3/4". They really are a simple setup. If its not an element, its the thermostat, and those are an easy replacement as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yep 1 1/16th bolt size to remove it if I need too. Dont even have to drain it.. 120 gallons takes forever, just pull out and slap the new one back in on the bottom REAL Quick, might loose 1/2 gallon of water but the floor drain is right there.
Dennis, the gas w.h. will keep up much better than elec. no question. But gas is more expensive to heat with when I get 3 cent rate on my w.h. :D Im pretty cheap too :)
 

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I just went through this exercise with daughter & son-in-law wtr htr in Mass.

I killed power and ohm measured the elements, both 12 ohms, +/-1 ohm diff.
Turn power on, measured 220 VAC across terminals on one element.
Each element has its own thermostat.
Turned up t/stat on upper element and heard water cooking and 220 VAC across it. Turned down t/stat and proceeded to bottom element.
Turned up t/stat and no action, no voltage. Exercised t/stat. T/stat finally closed and element cooking water.
Set both t/stat's back to the same setting, just under hot, about 3/4 range. A week later, lots of hot water, 62 gal tank.

Moral of story, no ohms, element open.
No voltage, bad t/stat.

If element has to be changed, or t/stat needs to be changed, good time to attach hose and drain/clean tank. Be sure when done, to purge all air from tank, air is the worst enemy on an element.

If tank is over 10 years old, might consider to have it replaced this spring, peace of mind. Wife will really like you.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
thanks Ev... tank will be 10 years old this summer but has had only soft water in it the whole time. I should get 20 years out of the tank but I will see what comes of all this. Power Co. is sending an elec. over in the morning to check it out, free :)
 

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Was a little late seeing your post. Sounds like you have it squared away. If you still have problems, post back and we'll have you up to par in no time.
 

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thanks Ev..Power Co. is sending an elec. over in the morning to check it out, free :)
You're welcome. Doesn't hurt to have a free professional.

Yes, with soft water, you just might get 20 yrs. I got 15 yrs on my city water heater.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
elec. checked both elements, still good, bottom of w.h. was hot at 9am so it heated up overnight. Now looking at toilet mixing valve that is turned OFF but might have failed somehow, but toilet tanks are cool not warm so doubt its that. Maybe daughters are taking 30 min. showers then doing laundry to much. :) thanks guys, we are doing a 'use' analysis now.
 

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do you think maybe its a mineral build up???they put an anode rod in water heaters to collect mineral deposits, but if running well water, maybe you are getting alot of build up on the elements and rod...maybe the rod is full???...not working efficently through the crud...
 

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do you think maybe its a mineral build up???they put an anode rod in water heaters to collect mineral deposits,
An anode rod in a water heater is the "Sacrificial Lamb " in the water heater to make it last longer. It is designed to be eaten away saving the tank. Most tanks last 5-7 years and there are 10 year tanks. I have seen tanks last 15-22 years having been used in well water along with anode rod replacement every 3-5 years or so. The mineral or sediment build up you speak of drops to the bottom of the tank and rusts out the tank prematurely. It is best to drain the tank, washing away that rust every year or so to stop the build up. With the draining/rinsing and anode rod replacement, the water heater tanks could last many years over the warranty.

Kev
 

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An anode rod in a water heater is the "Sacrificial Lamb " in the water heater to make it last longer. It is designed to be eaten away saving the tank. Most tanks last 5-7 years and there are 10 year tanks. I have seen tanks last 15-22 years having been used in well water along with anode rod replacement every 3-5 years or so. The mineral or sediment build up you speak of drops to the bottom of the tank and rusts out the tank prematurely. It is best to drain the tank, washing away that rust every year or so to stop the build up. With the draining/rinsing and anode rod replacement, the water heater tanks could last many years over the warranty. Kev
Well said. I've always given mine all the TLC listed above AND changed the dip tube twice (which had turned to moosh). Its going on 14 years now, same water heater, knock on wood!!!
 

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i`ve seen and replaced elements that were so coated in mineral deposits that they were hard to get out of the heater...(built up on element)...thats why i mentioned it...i have no doubt the rust drops to the bottom, but that wouldn`t stop hot water from being produced...
 
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