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Thread: Electric hot water heater not working - repair or replace? Help!

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member aGrandma's Avatar
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    Default Electric hot water heater not working - repair or replace? Help!

    I'm buying a (foreclosed) home and the electric water heater does not work. I had a plumber friend look at it. The supply line was leaking at the top of the tank due to over-tightening. He replaced both supply lines, and the ball valve, and turned on power at the breaker box. There was ice-cold water still in the house. After a few hours there is still no hint of warm water in the house. He said the next thing to test are the heating element(s)? I know nothing about water heaters. Can anyone tell me, is this cost-effective to test and replace a heating element if it's not working or should I just buy a new water heater? Are heating elements expensive? And of course we don't know the reason the heating element might have stopped working. Is this a common occurrence with electric water heaters? This is a Flo-Mor brand and it's about 13 years old.

  2. #2
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Elements are easily replaceable, and at the same time you should replace both thermostats.

    Electric water heaters can give well beyond 13 years of service....but given the circumstance, how much money do you want to spend on it?

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member aGrandma's Avatar
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    Do you have a ballpark guess as to how much a thermostat costs? and a heating element?

  4. #4
    In the Trades Jerome2877's Avatar
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    Replace it! You could spend the money replacing the parts and it might leak the next day. Anything over 10 years old I recomend replacing it.

  5. #5
    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    Ace hardware in brooklyn sells the elements on line for $4.50. Or Coast hardware for about 7$

    Its easy to check and see if there is power to the element. Start with the top element, if it has power, the thermostat is okay, and you could very likely just wait until it fails. To replace that, about 20$

    If your plumber knows anything about anodes, and he can get it out, it will tell you if the heater might be worth repairing. Heres some good information:

    http://www.waterheaterrescue.com/pag...er-anodes.html

    If the plumber is free, repairs might be ok. But a new one can cost as little as $230 to $300

    http://www.doitbest.com/Main.aspx?Ne...640&PageId=365
    Last edited by ballvalve; 12-05-2010 at 11:51 AM.

  6. #6
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Repair or replace? It's sometimes a crapshoot. Some heaters last for many years, other fail in just a few. Parts are not too expensive, but there's no way to tell how much longer the interior of the tank will last. The labor to replace the parts will exceed the cost of parts by quite a bit. If it was my 10 year old heater, I'd replace it now.

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