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#4658224 - 02/06/18 04:45 PM Learned the hard way fixing Electric water heater!
ZZman Offline


Registered: 03/17/08
Posts: 5490
Loc: Michigan
Mother in laws electric water heater quit. I bought a kit that included both elements and upper and lower thermostats.

The install was surprising easy. My big mistake was not reading the instructions. I did not totally fill the water heater and bleed the air out of the pipes before I turned on the power. The upper element burnt out.... Live and learn.
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#4658233 - 02/06/18 04:59 PM Re: Learned the hard way fixing Electric water heater! [Re: ZZman]
Al Offline


Registered: 06/08/02
Posts: 17957
Loc: Elizabethtown, Pa
Yea unfortunately (for you) the upper Tstat controls which element gets the voltage and the upper element will be energized when filling the tank and while the tank is getttiong up to temp.
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#4658262 - 02/06/18 05:31 PM Re: Learned the hard way fixing Electric water heater! [Re: Al]
MParr Offline


Registered: 10/28/17
Posts: 458
Loc: Georgia
Iíve never had that happen to me. My problem is our water here in SW Georgia. Lime and calcium buildup is terrible. I had a heck of a time getting my lower thermostat out the last time. I even drain the tank twice a year. Next time I have to replace the elements, I have a plan. I will drain the tank and close the valve. I will then pull the top element and pour 2 or 3 gallons of white vinegar in there and let it work. Then drain the vinegar and replace both elements.
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#4658371 - 02/06/18 07:15 PM Re: Learned the hard way fixing Electric water heater! [Re: ZZman]
simple_gifts Offline


Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 11869
Loc: Middlesex County CT
Isn't the thread title more suited as "How many of you have burned up an appliance that belongs to your MIL?"

j/k

That sucks. I once tried changing a starter not thinking thru the significance of the 'fat cables'
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#4658381 - 02/06/18 07:23 PM Re: Learned the hard way fixing Electric water heater! [Re: ZZman]
ZZman Offline


Registered: 03/17/08
Posts: 5490
Loc: Michigan
All good now after buying an upper element and following proper procedure.

You could definitely tell by looks that the upper had failed. It was a different color and the element had changed shape.


Edited by ZZman (02/06/18 07:25 PM)
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#4658426 - 02/06/18 08:13 PM Re: Learned the hard way fixing Electric water heater! [Re: ZZman]
mk378 Offline


Registered: 09/27/15
Posts: 1332
Loc: USA
Yes they can totally melt down when dry fired.

Seen this happen on two neighbors with mobile homes. The typical mobile home water heater has the cold inlet simply a pipe in the side of the tank near the bottom. Hot water comes out the top as with a regular heater. During a power failure when the well pump stops, it is easy for all the water to leave the tank through the cold water lines.

When power is restored, the element will burn out before the pump can refill the tank. It does not take long.

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