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Question DetailsAsked on 3/5/2017

30 gallon electric hot water tank new element barely warm water

tank is 20 years old not used much in camp

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2 Answers


Assuming of course that the thermostat has been set from vacation or away or whatever back to the desired hot water setting, and has sat on for a couple hours. Also assuming that water comes out the hot faucets at full flow - that there is not a closed valve or low incoming pressure or such.

First thing I would do is drain about 5-10 gallons out of the tank if that is not routinely done about yearly - could be sedimented in the bottom, which prevents the heat from getting to the water.

Otherwise - I would (being electrical handy) take a volt-ohm meter and check that the elements (or possibly only one on that size heater) are both getting power, and if 220/240V that both sides are delivering power, because in a camp environment it is more than commonly possible that you have lost one lead on your main feed so are only getting 120V - one side of the 220/240V feed.

Then I would turn off the power and disconnect the element leads and check that each element has the correct resistance and has not burned out, and that the connections are good and not eaten by a critter or such.

20 years old one possibly not - but modern water heaters generally use a one-element heating mode - only one element heats at a time, and the second one does not turn on till the first one heats all the way up to the selected temperature - so if the temperature sensor/relay on the first element is not working right it never turns the second element on, so that would be the next thing I would check - whether it is switching from one element to the other (commonly or usually top first, then bottom, but varies by brand and age in some cases).

Here are several previous questions with answers about water heaters not heating correctly - not all are about electric heaters, but give you some items to check on in trying to debug this:

Answered 3 years ago by LCD



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Answered 3 years ago by Member Services

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