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Water Heater help needed

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Hi, guys, You helped me with a Samsung side by side a year ago. Hope you can help me with

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 11-08-2009, 06:23 PM
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Default Water Heater help needed
Model Number: Unknown 50 Gal   Brand: -brand-   Age: 1 - 5 years   

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Hi, guys, You helped me with a Samsung side by side a year ago. Hope you can help me with a Bradford White, I think it is, electric water heater. 50 gallon, dual element, dual thermostat. Keeps popping the breaker on the upper/main thermostat. I replaced that. I checked resistance of the upper element for both continuity, wire to wire, and short to element sheath and heater housing. Didn't check the lower element, will have to tomorrow, since the kids told me last night that it is still popping. Now I am assuming that that reset is an electrical breaker, correct? It is not related to the snap disks. Those are thermal switches, so if I have tripping trouble, I must have an electrical problem. The double 30 breaker in the panel does not trip. Ah, well, maybe tomorrow will tell the tale. Cheers, George


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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 11-15-2009, 09:24 AM
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Water heaters are not too complicated. If both elements came on at the same time the breaker would flip off every time. Too big of a load. So the bottom one comes on first and when it is satisfied the the top kicks on and finishes the job. If you had a bad bottom element the breaker would flip immediately.
If the top was bad the breaker would flip after the bottom has satisfied. That tends to make people think the breaker is weak so they end up replacing it first. If it was me I would first determine if any of the elements are open or shorted to the tank. If both were ok I would replace the bottom thermostat since it carrys the most load and is the easiest to replace. If the problem persisted I would replace the top thermostat and possibly the breaker. But I am a retired person with limited income. If I had the money I might just replace all that stuff if the tank looked to be in good shape.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 11-15-2009, 04:09 PM
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Sublime,
Thanks. I'm a retired person, too.

I replaced the top thermostat. Metered the elements for continuity between feeds, 14 Ohms, no leak to the shell, thought it was OK, next day my kids told me it tripped again.

Went to a local old time plumber's supply house, old man about 80, and he told me that the bottom thermostat did most of the work. Bought one from him, about 4 bucks more than HD, but you don't ask a man for advice and then go buy the part from Home Depot. Installed that one and they are back in warm water.

Expense wasn't all that much, total. Complete set, both thermostats and 2 elements could have been had for 31 dollars. Camco brand. So I would have spent 5 bucks more buying that than the 2 pieces separately.

Thanks for your reply.

Cheers,

George
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