Re: Hot water heater upper thermostat reset
Posted by hj on February 23, 2004 at 07:59:28:
In response to Re: Hot water heater upper thermostat reset
I do not use the "continuity" test to check a water heater element since it requires that the wires be removed from the element to do it. I test the elements with a voltmeter and an ammeter with the power on to the heater. These tests are more accurate than the continuity one, but since the tests are made with the power one, they should must be done with great care. The first test is whether the element should be heating and for that you test for full voltage at the element terminals. If you have power then you use the snap around ammeter to see if it is drawing power. If the amps are zero, the element is bad. There are additional tests to determine the operation of the thermostats, bu they can be somewhat complicated to describe adequately even though they are simple to do.

: I have a 40 gallon Rheem electric hot water heater. Abruptly last week, my wife declared that there "was no hot water". So, up into the attic to have a look, the upper thermostat reset button was tripped, reset it and voila, hot water. Except that now, 3 days later, it has done it again.

: I have current running through the upper thermostat and heating element. I don't have any current running across the upper thermostat terminals that run to the lower thermostat (and, obviously, no current at the lower thermostat or heating element). However, I am unsure if I should always be able to measure current at the upper thermostat, or only when the lower element is actually supposed to be heating.

: After that long and sad tale, my question is: How do I know which part is bad - the upper thermostat, the lower thermostat, or the lower heating element? In reading some of the other posts here dealing with electric HWH issues, I have seen references to "continuity testing", but I have no idea what this means. My preference would be to have someone professional come and look at the unit, but I live in rural Louisiana, and getting someone to come out is not so easy.

: Any advice appreciated. Any solutions GREATLY appreciated.

: Neal




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