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50 gallon State WH fixed (with Randy's help/parts)  Rate Topic 
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 Posted: Tue Dec 3rd, 2019 03:45 am
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RocKKer60
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I have a friend with a 50 gallon Electric water heater, just about out of warranty. Their complaint was anytime anyone turned on water while a shower was in use the water went cold. I suggested I look at the hot/cold water inlet/outlet nipples because on mine I noticed steel nipples were used and rust had built inside them (I'm a DIY homeowner). I suggested we change the anodes and add the ball flush valve too. I also sent Randy a an email about the cold water issue and he suggested I check for a cross connection. None was found. While removing the hot water dielectric nipple, I noticed it had a plastic flapper in a plastic insert inside the nipple (for a heat trap I'm assuming). The pipes in/out of the WH are 3/4, with this restriction it was choked down to maybe 3/8, this severely restricted the flow which was causing the cold water/shower issue.

On this WH the T&P valve was plumbed to the top so after I removed the side plug, I relocated it there. I installed a magnesium anode in the now empty top hole, changed the dip tube to a curved one, replaced the drain with bigger ball valve drain and added the combo anode to the hot side (all ordered from this site).

I used the bolt method to help with removing the super tight original nipples, had to buy a longer pipe wrench, and a cheater pipe to remove the side plug (for the T&P valve. This one needed the 7/8 hole saw to allow the new dip tube to be installed as well. This is in California, so earthquake straps are installed, I left the water in it for added weight to loosen the super tight nipples but wished I had left the earthquake strap on because once I put those back on I was really able to get some torque on 'em and remove them!

This is the second WH that I have changed over, neither leaked and both should last a long long time.


I do have one question, this one is an electric (2 x 4000 watt elements) WH, I noticed the wires coming from the top thermostat to the bottom thermostat had overheated and were burnt, as a test, I found I was able to tighten the screws holding the wires to the top thermostat a bit (the bottom connections were normal looking). Under the assumption that because the wires were a little loose they had heated up, I cleaned the connection points and wires really well with a wire brush and scotchbrite and re-connected everything being sure to tighten the screws well. Was that a good assumption? Or is there something else that needs to be done?

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 Posted: Wed Dec 4th, 2019 04:26 am
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eleent
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Hello,  Two things.  The shower valve in your friend's house is likely not a pressure balancing type.  If it were, it would adjust for differing water pressures and give a pretty consistent temperature. Might be good to change it to prevent the fall risk associated with moving to get away from water that's too hot or cold.

About your question; is there a chance of your posting a photo of the overheated wiring? One possibility is that the lower element is partly shorting out and drawing too much current. That can only be checked with an ammeter. If the burning was only around loose screws, than your work likely solved it.
Yours,  Larry

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 Posted: Wed Dec 4th, 2019 01:38 pm
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Averygin
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How often does the wiring shorten out like that, Eleent?

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 Posted: Wed Dec 4th, 2019 06:05 pm
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eleent
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Hi, It's an element problem rather that a wiring problem, and it's quite common.  What happens is that water leaks through a corrosion pinhole into the element.  When the element turns on, being wet internally, forms steam and splits the element sheath. The internal nichrome wire then can short out more or less to the damaged sheath. Another, indirect way to test is to use an ohm meter to test for any leaks to ground. This is done by setting your meter to 1000 ohms and measuring between each screw and the steel flange of the element, which would be ground. The power must be off and the wires unhooked! The meter should show zero continuity.

Yours,  Larry

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 Posted: Thu Dec 5th, 2019 03:08 am
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RocKKer60
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Sorry no pics, I cleaned it all up.

Yeah the pressure balancing valves is a good idea, I'll bring that up to them.

The screws were loose but I don't know if it was because of the heat or like that from the factory. I will take a look at the connections this weekend and do the test you suggested Larry.

Just looking at if I had to replace the elements, there seems to Rheem premium resistored stainless steel, copper and just the shiny elements. I have no idea what this one comes with, but until I find that out (beyond the price and obvious metal difference) is there a difference between them?

Last edited on Thu Dec 5th, 2019 03:17 am by RocKKer60

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 Posted: Thu Dec 5th, 2019 03:28 am
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eleent
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Hi and yes there are differences in elements. The normal factory element is often a copper clad, high watt density element. This is just a straight unit. In hard water, a low watt density element is better.  That type looks more like a long element that got folded in half. A step up from there is clad in stainless. This type should have a better warranty against burning out. When you have the lower element out, it might make sense to hook up a piece of 3/4" copper or PVC pipe to a shop vac and use it to remove as much sediment as you can get to. That could help your new element last longer. :D

Yours,  Larry

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 Posted: Thu Dec 5th, 2019 03:34 am
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RocKKer60
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OK thanks for that, I'll bring those differences up to them!

I did flush it until no more sediment came out the big drain valve, all the sediment that did come out was the Aluminum/zinc anode corrosion. You think I should still plan on vacuuming?

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 Posted: Thu Dec 5th, 2019 03:40 am
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eleent
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Hi,  About vacuuming, I'd have the vac ready, but just have a look into the tank with the element removed and you'll know if further cleaning is worth it. I know that it would save time to change the element with the tank full of water, but in this case it will make changing the element a bit less exciting and you'll have the option of more cleaning if needed. :cool:Yours,  Larry

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 Posted: Thu Dec 5th, 2019 03:42 am
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RocKKer60
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Thank you! Will look at the tank while it's empty!

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 Posted: Sun Dec 8th, 2019 06:34 am
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RocKKer60
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There was no leakage to ground from any of the elements. I changed the elements because they looked cruddy. Pic attached. I've read it's not good to have a "bridge" of minerals on the base of the element. I replaced them with SS Rheem brand elements. I should have done that at the same time I changed the anodes, (next time I will).

After 2 weeks of use the wire that was overheated still looks just like after I cleaned it.

Attachment: IMG_20191207_221424.jpg (Downloaded 4 times)

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