What else can cause an Electric water heater to run out of hot water.

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Topic Author
KrabbyPatty66
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:20 pm

What else can cause an Electric water heater to run out of hot water.

Post by KrabbyPatty66 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:22 pm

Have a GE Electric Water that's about 5 1/2 years old.

Recently while taking showers, the hot water would run out in about 5 or so minutes and now have to crank the dial to the hottest setting to squeeze out every last remaining bit of hot water.

The shower is nice and hot for the first 5 minutes and then every minute that passes it gets colder and colder until there is no more warm water left.

It was never like this before.

Used a multimeter and going through with GE support determined that there was an issue with the upper and lower thermostat. The upper and lower heating elements are okay and producing a good reading on the multimeter.

I swapped out both the upper and lower thermostat and the hot water in the shower is still running out after 5 minutes.

I'm not sure what else could be the problem.

I'm afraid now i'll have to shell out considerable money for someone to come take a look at it. :(

forgeblast
Posts: 341
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:45 am
Location: PA
Contact:

Re: What else can cause an Electric water heater to run out of hot water.

Post by forgeblast » Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:37 am

Could be deposits on the elements causing it not to heat up. They recommend draining it once a year but I have never done that.

mgensler
Posts: 98
Joined: Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:17 pm

Re: What else can cause an Electric water heater to run out of hot water.

Post by mgensler » Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:05 am

You could have a broken dip tube. If so, the incoming cold water is being pulled off the top.

User avatar
flossy21
Posts: 502
Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 2:04 pm

Re: What else can cause an Electric water heater to run out of hot water.

Post by flossy21 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:29 am

Years ago I was helping a buddy troubleshoot a problem with a hot water heater in a rental house he owned. Basically a 2 element hot water heater. The elements tested OK with the meter; ie - they showed continuity on the meter so the assumption was that the elements had not rusted through and the loop was maintained.

We ended up pulling the elements. The top element was fine. Just a little crusty but certainly operable.

The bottom element was partially buried in rusty scale that had settle to the bottom of the water heater. We ended up fashioning a hose attached to a shop vac with some duct tape and snaked that into the empty bottom element hole. The hose/vac combo allowed us to suck all of the rusty scale out of the bottom of the water heater.

We installed a new bottom element and everything was back to normal.

I suppose something like this could be your issue?

pindevil
Posts: 76
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2014 11:04 am

Re: What else can cause an Electric water heater to run out of hot water.

Post by pindevil » Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:37 am

Sounds like a bad heating element. As mentioned, there are two elements and most likely only one is working.

User avatar
fishandgolf
Posts: 530
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 2:50 pm

Re: What else can cause an Electric water heater to run out of hot water.

Post by fishandgolf » Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:55 am

flossy21 wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:29 am
Years ago I was helping a buddy troubleshoot a problem with a hot water heater in a rental house he owned. Basically a 2 element hot water heater. The elements tested OK with the meter; ie - they showed continuity on the meter so the assumption was that the elements had not rusted through and the loop was maintained.

We ended up pulling the elements. The top element was fine. Just a little crusty but certainly operable.

The bottom element was partially buried in rusty scale that had settle to the bottom of the water heater. We ended up fashioning a hose attached to a shop vac with some duct tape and snaked that into the empty bottom element hole. The hose/vac combo allowed us to suck all of the rusty scale out of the bottom of the water heater.

We installed a new bottom element and everything was back to normal.

I suppose something like this could be your issue?
+1

Exactly the same problem I encountered years ago. Top element was fine, bottom element was covered with calcium deposits. I didn't have a water softener so that may have contributed to the cause.

Here is how I fixed the problem, which occurred every 12-18 months:
Rather than replace the lower element, I removed it, chipped off the calcium deposits, (was rather easy to do because it was soft so it came off easily). I then used shop vac to remove lots of calcium deposits from the bottom of the unit. Then reinstalled the lower element. :sharebeer

TIP...... :!: just replacing the lower element with a new one, might not last very long......here is why. The bottom of the unit might be full of calcium deposit chips that break off from the element while in operation. What was actually happening with mine, is that those chips started to break off and fall to the bottom, eventually covering the element, causing it to malfunction

This is a given, but make sure to lockout AC power and drain water heater to perform this task... 8-)

Good Luck! :sharebeer

ralph124cf
Posts: 2395
Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2014 11:41 am

Re: What else can cause an Electric water heater to run out of hot water.

Post by ralph124cf » Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:53 pm

fishandgolf wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:55 am
flossy21 wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:29 am
Years ago I was helping a buddy troubleshoot a problem with a hot water heater in a rental house he owned. Basically a 2 element hot water heater. The elements tested OK with the meter; ie - they showed continuity on the meter so the assumption was that the elements had not rusted through and the loop was maintained.

We ended up pulling the elements. The top element was fine. Just a little crusty but certainly operable.

The bottom element was partially buried in rusty scale that had settle to the bottom of the water heater. We ended up fashioning a hose attached to a shop vac with some duct tape and snaked that into the empty bottom element hole. The hose/vac combo allowed us to suck all of the rusty scale out of the bottom of the water heater.

We installed a new bottom element and everything was back to normal.

I suppose something like this could be your issue?
+1

Exactly the same problem I encountered years ago. Top element was fine, bottom element was covered with calcium deposits. I didn't have a water softener so that may have contributed to the cause.

Here is how I fixed the problem, which occurred every 12-18 months:
Rather than replace the lower element, I removed it, chipped off the calcium deposits, (was rather easy to do because it was soft so it came off easily). I then used shop vac to remove lots of calcium deposits from the bottom of the unit. Then reinstalled the lower element. :sharebeer

TIP...... :!: just replacing the lower element with a new one, might not last very long......here is why. The bottom of the unit might be full of calcium deposit chips that break off from the element while in operation. What was actually happening with mine, is that those chips started to break off and fall to the bottom, eventually covering the element, causing it to malfunction

This is a given, but make sure to lockout AC power and drain water heater to perform this task... 8-)

Good Luck! :sharebeer
This a good fix.

To prevent the problem in the future, since you clearly have very hard water, flush the tank every six months. This is very easy, just attach a short length of garden hose to the lower drain on the water heater, just long enough to reach to the nearest floor level drain (or outside, or into a bucket). Turn off the cold water inlet, then turn on the water heater drain and turn the cold water inlet to the water heater back on. When your drain water runs clear, turn the water heater drain back off. Some water heaters will need a screw driver to operate the water heater drain valve, others have a handle.

In addition, every few years it is a good idea to replace the anode. There are many brands and styles of anodes. You tube is your friend here on techniques for replacement. This MAY give your water heater another two to four years of life. Some electric water heaters are cheap enough that it is not worth bothering with.

Ralph
Last edited by ralph124cf on Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 22959
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: What else can cause an Electric water heater to run out of hot water.

Post by dm200 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:02 pm

mgensler wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:05 am
You could have a broken dip tube. If so, the incoming cold water is being pulled off the top.
Yes - this is a common occurrence

Post Reply