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Thread: Replace heating element AO Smith ProMax

  1. #1

    Default Replace heating element AO Smith ProMax

    No hot water! The lower element in the water heater measures about 15 ohms and the upper one almost infinity, so that tells me the upper is a gonner. I think I need to drain the tank to below the upper element, unscrew it, and screw in another. Is it that simple? Will the lower element continue to work with the upper disconnected? If not, can I do something to make this happen? My school teacher wife needs a morning shower! HELP!

  2. #2

    Default I think I found the info needed

    I found a thread from last month that answered all but the question of whether the remaining element will work on its own without the bad element also working. Is there a way to have the remaining good element continue to heat all by itself? If so, I might be able to get enough hot water for the wife's shower in the morning.

    I'll replace both elements and the anode tomorrow.

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member Mike Swearingen's Avatar
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    Default

    One element should work without the other, because they don't come on at the same time anyway.
    The lower element does most of the work, because that's where the dip tube delivers the cold water supply.
    Mike

  4. #4
    DIY Member GregO's Avatar
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    John,

    Replacing both is an easy process. Just make sure to flip the breaker to the unit, drain it, then disconnect, remove and reinstall a new upper and lower element. Make sure also to refill the tank BEFORE flipping the breaker back on!!! Inspect for leaks, then adjust thermostat for desired temperature setting. Good Luck.

    Greg

  5. #5
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Default Replacing element

    Even if you can replace the element without draining the tank, I would advise you to drain it completely anyway. Tanks should be drained every year and this would be a good time to do it.

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default elements

    The lower element will not work unless the upper one heats the top of the tank first. But the question is why the upper one was working in the first place. It is a "last ditch effort" when the tank is about to run out of hot water and thus only operates under the most extreme conditions. Under normal conditions, therefore, it should not have operated, and thus could not burn out, unless there was also a problem with the lower one not functioning properly. There is a way to bypass it, but if you did something incorrectly you could create a dangerous situation, and if you forgot how to "undo" it the heater would be unsafe. Most plumbers would replace the element, either top or bottom, without draining any water.
    Last edited by hj; 02-03-2005 at 07:45 PM. Reason: text

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