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Thread: Water just warm, not hot

  1. #16
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    You might not hear water running from a leak, if there is one.

    The top element comes on first so you have hot next the top/exit point. Once that upper volume is hot, it switches to the bottom element which will continue until it heats the rest of the WH tank, then it shuts off, too. If the top element can't reach its setpoint, the bottom element won't ever turn on, but, you should have a small volume of hot water at the top if the top element is actually drawing those 18A and there's no constant flow. A constant flow will result in the WH never getting up to temp if it is high enough volume (doesn't actually need much).
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  2. #17
    DIY Member higgledy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    You might not hear water running from a leak, if there is one.

    The top element comes on first so you have hot next the top/exit point. Once that upper volume is hot, it switches to the bottom element which will continue until it heats the rest of the WH tank, then it shuts off, too. If the top element can't reach its setpoint, the bottom element won't ever turn on, but, you should have a small volume of hot water at the top if the top element is actually drawing those 18A and there's no constant flow. A constant flow will result in the WH never getting up to temp if it is high enough volume (doesn't actually need much).
    Jadnashua, you were right. I found a broken pipe in the crawl space. I have not got in there yet, but it must be a pin hole in the copper tubing because the noise is faint and water pressure is decent. I can see the rock in the crawl is wet and water is dripping from the joist. This also explains why my electric bill was double last month. Thanks for the advice.

    Btw, I used to live in town houses off Spit Brook Road across from the Tara Hotel. Back in the '80s. Great place to live.

  3. #18
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    Maybe the pipe goes under a slab and you have a leak...
    Quote Originally Posted by higgledy View Post
    There are no pipes other than drains running under the slab.
    Quote Originally Posted by higgledy View Post
    I found a broken pipe in the crawl space.
    Slab or crawl space... same difference. Essentially the leak was were it may go unnoticed, which was my point.

    Anyway, glad you got it sorted.

  4. #19
    DIY Member higgledy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    Slab or crawl space... same difference. Essentially the leak was were it may go unnoticed, which was my point.

    Anyway, glad you got it sorted.
    Thanks lligetfa.

  5. #20
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    quote; Here is a link to a water heater problem nearly exactly like mine. He's final solution was to replace the water heater.

    A plumber bought a new heater to replace for a customer and then brought it back because it was not heating the water. I told him he had a broken pipe, but he refused to believe me. The supply house did NOT refund his money, but told him they would return the heater to the manufacturer and if they said it was defective and gave them an allowance then he would get his refund. HE came back later, after installing the second heater and said it was a leak.

    As soon as you said the upper element was never satisfied, THAT made a leak the only possibility. As far a "high watt density" elements are concerned, they are cheap but almost useless. I have had them fail within weeks of installation. Plus, I never use 3800 watt elements, only 4500 watt ones. And they are either "low watt density" or "lifetime" Ni-Chrome elements. 3800 watt elements are advertised as "energy saving" that only means that they use less power per hour, however, that also means that they have to run longer to heat the water.

    A "good" plumber would have detected that problem in a few minutes, WITHOUT replacing all the heater's components which were probably NOT defective.
    Last edited by hj; 11-05-2012 at 06:55 AM.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  6. #21
    DIY Member higgledy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    quote; Here is a link to a water heater problem nearly exactly like mine. He's final solution was to replace the water heater.

    A plumber bought a new heater to replace for a customer and then brought it back because it was not heating the water. I told him he had a broken pipe, but he refused to believe me. The supply house did NOT refund his money, but told him they would return the heater to the manufacturer and if they said it was defective and gave them an allowance then he would get his refund. HE came back later, after installing the second heater and said it was a leak.

    As soon as you said the upper element was never satisfied, THAT made a leak the only possibility. As far a "high watt density" elements are concerned, they are cheap but almost useless. I have had them fail within weeks of installation. Plus, I never use 3800 watt elements, only 4500 watt ones. And they are either "low watt density" or "lifetime" Ni-Chrome elements. 3800 watt elements are advertised as "energy saving" that only means that they use less power per hour, however, that also means that they have to run longer to heat the water.

    A "good" plumber would have detected that problem in a few minutes, WITHOUT replacing all the heater's components which were probably NOT defective.
    Thanks. My wife does not think my plumber is good either. In the past, I've hired him to remodel a bathroom. His work is neat and I've had no problems with shady workmanship, etc. I guess he needs to beef-up his diagnostic skills. The other thing is that it is difficult to find a good plumber, especially when you really need a plumber. I assume a plumber is more likely to get to your house that day if you have history with that plumber. Is that illogical thinking?


    BTW, the plumber replaced the 3800 Watt element with 4500 Watt element, it was a high watt density, but he did not know that we had hard water. He told me that water heaters he services on the other side of my county he always uses low watt density elements because that side of the county is know for hard water. I never knew my water is hard either till this experience. Now, I know.

    I've learned in life that a good plumber, a good electrician, and a good lawyer are all worth the money they charge. Thanks for the advice.


    Phil

  7. #22
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    If there is a "high watt density" for the upper element and a "low watt density" for the bottom, you will be OKAY. But, if the bottom one is HWD, then keep your old elements because you will need them.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  8. #23
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by higgledy View Post
    I've learned in life that a good plumber, a good electrician, and a good lawyer are all worth the money they charge. Thanks for the advice.


    Phil
    Don't feel bad that you misdiagnosed it initially. Even the pro's sometimes get it wrong on the first try. Hopefully they go good for it.
    http://www.terrylove.com/forums/show...Heater-Problem

  9. #24
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    quote; Even the pro's sometimes get it wrong on the first try. Hopefully they go good for it.

    I am glad you said "sometimes" because it should be a very rare occurance for a "good plumber", and usually happens when they have multiple problems and one of them is "masking" some of the others.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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