Hot water heater diagnosis

My parents have an older house they bought recently that was added onto over the years by prior owners who weren't the most professional. Some hacky stuff was discovered, but up till now the hot water heater had worked fine.

Hot water goes out so they call a contractor, he finds the lower heating element is heavily corroded and says its time for a new tank, parents agree. A few things about the old tank and power setup: It went 2x30Amp circuit breaker -15 feet-> emergency shutoff (see pic) -> tank. While the old tank wasnt heating water it did have voltage running to it. I ran my non contact electrical tester over it and got the beeps. I barely know how to use a multimeter but I managed to find 120/240v on the upper/lower elements. So it had power but wasnt pulling amps.

About the attached pic: No idea what caused it but clearly that black wire on the right overheated and cooked off the insulation. After cutting back the wiring to where good insulation was and attempting to reinstall it I noticed the threads that screw need to go into were stripped or fricked in some way. Re-using that box without replacing the body there is asking for another overheating scenario.

Fast forward and the new tank is installed but it too has voltage but wont pull amps and heat water. I disconnected from that emergency shutoff box and direct wired to the new heater. Still not pulling amps. The breaker hasnt tripped all this time. It's clearly letting voltage through.

I dont know what I need to test here or how to best do it. I have basic hand tools and a multimeter, even if I don't know how to use it to its fullest. Help me PrepHole I dont want my parents to be without hot water over the weekend + however long it takes to find a decent electrician in TN.

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  1. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    This has since been cut back. There was good looking insulation just past this point and that shutoff box has been bypassed.

    Is it possible the circuit breaker has developed some kind of weird fault where it doesnt trip but allows voltage through but not real current? Maybe there's some kind of fricky voltage-detection circuit in the water heaters that cause them to not draw current under this scenario?

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      You shouldn't be running a water heater on 14/2

      This fault is indicative of a shotty connection to outlet though. Like a backstabbing or lose screw.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        >>You shouldn't be running a water heater on 14/2
        TY I'll look at upgrading that. It's a generic 55 gallon unit btw.

        >>This fault is indicative of a shotty connection to outlet though. Like a backstabbing or lose screw.
        If you're talking about in the pic remember that has since been bypassed. Unless you mean back at the circuit breaker box which so far remains unopened in this episode.

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          Looking at your first post too, yeah check both those wires in and out. You're lucky your houseplant burned down.

          That looks like white romex, which is 14/2. That should never have had a 20amp breaker on it... oh look it's actually a 30amp fuse. Holy shit of course the wire is cooked. All of that wire should be trashed if it's 14/2. 30amp wire should be 10g.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            >That looks like white romex, which is 14/2.
            this wasn't standard until recent, I have tons of 12/2 white romex running all over my basement

            • 1 month ago
              Anonymous

              Faur enough. He needs to check the actual size of the wires though and those are 30amp fuses so it better be 10g wire.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      >Is it possible the circuit breaker has developed some kind of weird fault where it doesnt trip but allows voltage through but not real current? Maybe there's some kind of fricky voltage-detection circuit in the water heaters that cause them to not draw current under this scenario?
      this entire thing tells me you know nothing about electrical, you should call a pro before you become the dumbass who does "hacky stuff" for the next owners to fix

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        If you know so much about electrical then explain to us then why a brand new water heater has failed to heat any water while voltage is clearly getting through.

        If you're going to criticize you could at the least try to be constructive.

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          >voltage is clearly getting through
          stop you moron, you're just making yourself look even stupider

          you want me to help? fine
          start by disconnecting the power and test the resistance of the heating elements with your little tike's my first multimeter and report back.
          what is the actual voltage going to the water heater? 120 or 240?

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            Resistance on the lower heating element was 12.7 ohms. The upper one I couldnt get a reading that made sense. It would generally be in the K ohms range and just keep climbing.

            The voltage is 241.

  2. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    >pulling voltage, not amps
    >breaker allows voltage, not amps

    Do not touch anything, you stupid motherfricker, or you gonna electrocute yourself, or someone else while they shower. That contractor sold you the heater, got his money and left your ignorant ass to McGuyver it into that old crusty ass boiler.

    Tou neither have the knowledge, nor the tools or idea on how to use those tools to diagnose wherein the fault lies with that burnt out installation. Not going to give you any advice, because I care about your parents. You can go suck on a live wite for all I care.

    Have an electrician come over and fix that shit properly.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      moron. He’s just saying what was indicated. You don’t need to be all high and mighty over semantics.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        Semantics gonna electrocute a fricker. I know that.

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          could we cool it with the anti-semanticism please

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            kek

            https://i.imgur.com/VwMDDZn.jpeg

            OP here.

            There's nothing written on the insulation. My wire strippers may have something to tell me the gauge of wire I'm dealing with. I'm strongly considering it.

            [...]
            Thank you for the illustration anon, that is how I was testing it.

            [...]
            I talked with the manufacturer and they agreed the upper element was bad. I suspect the contractor didn't fill the tank all the way and dry fired it. See attached.

            Getting a new one now. I'll make sure the tank is filled to bursting before re-applying electricity.

            [...]
            >>He ain't goina make it, anonbro. He's goina burn his momma's house down.
            Moma's house was like this for years (decades?) without burning down. The fault was clearly with the connection inside that emergency shutoff box. As I said above I'll run the idea by momma to replace that wire as well. It wouldnt be that hard, the breaker panel is like 20 feet from the water heater and only half the ceiling is finished with drywall.

            [...]
            I don't want to be part of the progressive future you advocate for.

            > it worked without burning down
            Then you touched it and noticed it was fricked from zero. Now you fix it. That's what you do. You are begging for a second chance and that's stupid. You don't go into a jump knowing your parachute was packed wrong. You fix that shit or you don't jump.

            Give that it's 20 feet of run, you have zero excuses. I don't care if you have to buy fishsticks. Use the previous wire to pull the new wire through. You're not running that hwh on anything less than 10g with a proper 30 amp double breaker. You'd be responsible for killing your mother. Boomers excepted. But then you lose the value of the house. She was going to reverse mortgage that fricker anyway and leave you with nothing but regret.

            Frick it, burn it down.

    • 4 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      What is it about this place that makes everyone turn into a bitter c**t? You guys are nastier than on /misc/. People come here asking for advice and the morons who never actually talk to humans lose their shit and need to call everyone names. Stop being so nasty, the world sucks enough as it is these days.

      • 4 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        While he was pretty coarse about it, he wasn't wrong at all. People need to stop fiddling with deadly shit and ending up dead all the time. I know a fair bit more about electricity and how it behaves, and I stay the frick away from tinkering with mains voltage. Sometimes it takes a firm hand to get a dumbass away from a horrible fate. Would you prefer he let you win a Darwin award?

        • 4 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          >diy board hostile to people looking to learn diy
          Yeah. No issues to see here. The world just continues to get shittier. Why should anyone care.

          • 4 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Alright, enjoy learning the effects of mixing water and sketchy wiring on your own. Then there will be nobody to complain about people telling you not to frick with it. The world will get smarter, and there will be less b***hing about muh fee fees.

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          >I know a fair bit more about electricity and how it behaves, and I stay the frick away from tinkering with mains voltage
          What you're saying is that you don't know frickall about electricity and how it behaves, because if you did you would feel comfortable working with mains voltage.
          Not everything that you don't understand is incomprehensible.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            You are correct, my understanding isn't that great, but it's a hell of a lot better than OP's who just fricks with it anyway.

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        if you look at archives from 3 or 4 years ago, the exact opposite was true. This board had the worst spelling and was much slower, but everyone was nice.

  3. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    what model # is the water heater?

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      The new one is a Reliance 6-40 EORS 110

      https://www.reliancewaterheaters.com/products/electric/6-40-eors-40-gallon-medium-electric-water-heater-6-year-warranty

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        >voltage is clearly getting through
        stop you moron, you're just making yourself look even stupider

        you want me to help? fine
        start by disconnecting the power and test the resistance of the heating elements with your little tike's my first multimeter and report back.
        what is the actual voltage going to the water heater? 120 or 240?

        ok so it's rated for 30 amps at 240 volts, so go to home depot and buy a roll of 10-3 romex, and a two-pole 30 amp breaker for your electrical panel, and run a line directly from your box to the water heater.

        don't frick around with any disconnect boxes or switches or anything, just go from the box to the water heater

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          figure out a model for the main breaker panel and then google compatible breakers

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          OP here.

          There's nothing written on the insulation. My wire strippers may have something to tell me the gauge of wire I'm dealing with. I'm strongly considering it.

          https://i.imgur.com/p2eDWnT.png

          forgot pic

          Thank you for the illustration anon, that is how I was testing it.

          you respond to literally the least important thing. how about all the other posts with genuine advice to fix your problem?

          I talked with the manufacturer and they agreed the upper element was bad. I suspect the contractor didn't fill the tank all the way and dry fired it. See attached.

          Getting a new one now. I'll make sure the tank is filled to bursting before re-applying electricity.

          Tbh given everything in the thread, the tank sounded like junk (worn out, rotted etc). No anode rod; left a long time ago, That's the reason why the lower element was so shot. Means the inside will be shot too.

          [...]
          Who peed in your cheerios then shat in your OJ, fricked your wife and stole your bank account?

          [...]
          Google: 'How do I install an electric hot water heater?' Read everything in 2-3 articles you intuitively believe are helpful. Then come back here, and start a thread.

          You skipped the first steps, so you come here sounding like a lazy ignorant bum.

          Do EXACTLY what has already been suggested. There's no evidence you made a NEW run of 10g from the main panel direct, as
          [...]
          this guy said. DO THAT.

          [...]
          He ain't goina make it, anonbro. He's goina burn his momma's house down.

          >>He ain't goina make it, anonbro. He's goina burn his momma's house down.
          Moma's house was like this for years (decades?) without burning down. The fault was clearly with the connection inside that emergency shutoff box. As I said above I'll run the idea by momma to replace that wire as well. It wouldnt be that hard, the breaker panel is like 20 feet from the water heater and only half the ceiling is finished with drywall.

          could we cool it with the anti-semanticism please

          I don't want to be part of the progressive future you advocate for.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        if element says 240v/4500w on it, then when you measure the resistance, it should read about 12.8ohms when you measure it, which tells you that the water heater is fine as long as the thermostat is set correctly (to 120F), and your issue is somewhere between the heater and main breaker panel rails

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          forgot pic

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          https://i.imgur.com/p2eDWnT.png

          forgot pic

          The heater is set to what appears to be the default of 140F

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            you respond to literally the least important thing. how about all the other posts with genuine advice to fix your problem?

  4. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    >Hot water goes out so they call a contractor, he finds the lower heating element is heavily corroded and says its time for a new tank, parents agree.

    Did the guy not test it before your parents paid him?

    >but wont pull amps... Still not pulling amps.
    How do you know? Did you actually measure it?

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      I hate motherfrickers like that. no need to replace the whole thing because ONE element is bad or corroded. as long as the tank isnt leaking and the thermostats are working properly... replace it, flush tank.. done and done

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        Tbh given everything in the thread, the tank sounded like junk (worn out, rotted etc). No anode rod; left a long time ago, That's the reason why the lower element was so shot. Means the inside will be shot too.

        >pulling voltage, not amps
        >breaker allows voltage, not amps

        Do not touch anything, you stupid motherfricker, or you gonna electrocute yourself, or someone else while they shower. That contractor sold you the heater, got his money and left your ignorant ass to McGuyver it into that old crusty ass boiler.

        Tou neither have the knowledge, nor the tools or idea on how to use those tools to diagnose wherein the fault lies with that burnt out installation. Not going to give you any advice, because I care about your parents. You can go suck on a live wite for all I care.

        Have an electrician come over and fix that shit properly.

        Who peed in your cheerios then shat in your OJ, fricked your wife and stole your bank account?

        https://i.imgur.com/8aHpqEV.jpeg

        My parents have an older house they bought recently that was added onto over the years by prior owners who weren't the most professional. Some hacky stuff was discovered, but up till now the hot water heater had worked fine.

        Hot water goes out so they call a contractor, he finds the lower heating element is heavily corroded and says its time for a new tank, parents agree. A few things about the old tank and power setup: It went 2x30Amp circuit breaker -15 feet-> emergency shutoff (see pic) -> tank. While the old tank wasnt heating water it did have voltage running to it. I ran my non contact electrical tester over it and got the beeps. I barely know how to use a multimeter but I managed to find 120/240v on the upper/lower elements. So it had power but wasnt pulling amps.

        About the attached pic: No idea what caused it but clearly that black wire on the right overheated and cooked off the insulation. After cutting back the wiring to where good insulation was and attempting to reinstall it I noticed the threads that screw need to go into were stripped or fricked in some way. Re-using that box without replacing the body there is asking for another overheating scenario.

        Fast forward and the new tank is installed but it too has voltage but wont pull amps and heat water. I disconnected from that emergency shutoff box and direct wired to the new heater. Still not pulling amps. The breaker hasnt tripped all this time. It's clearly letting voltage through.

        I dont know what I need to test here or how to best do it. I have basic hand tools and a multimeter, even if I don't know how to use it to its fullest. Help me PrepHole I dont want my parents to be without hot water over the weekend + however long it takes to find a decent electrician in TN.

        Google: 'How do I install an electric hot water heater?' Read everything in 2-3 articles you intuitively believe are helpful. Then come back here, and start a thread.

        You skipped the first steps, so you come here sounding like a lazy ignorant bum.

        Do EXACTLY what has already been suggested. There's no evidence you made a NEW run of 10g from the main panel direct, as

        https://i.imgur.com/6WNrH1W.jpeg

        [...]
        ok so it's rated for 30 amps at 240 volts, so go to home depot and buy a roll of 10-3 romex, and a two-pole 30 amp breaker for your electrical panel, and run a line directly from your box to the water heater.

        don't frick around with any disconnect boxes or switches or anything, just go from the box to the water heater

        this guy said. DO THAT.

        you respond to literally the least important thing. how about all the other posts with genuine advice to fix your problem?

        He ain't goina make it, anonbro. He's goina burn his momma's house down.

  5. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Its a water heater notva hot water heater dumbass

  6. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    OP here again, this is the element from the part# the support people gave me. Looks like the manufacturer may have installed the wrong one at the factory somehow? At the very least it's not the same design.

    • 1 month ago
      cranky_boomer

      >. Looks like the manufacturer may have installed the wrong one at the factory

      hardly. if the threads fit, and the element fits, and the volts and watts are the same, then it's a replacement in every way. Once you install it you will never lose sleep because the internal element has a different shape.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        Ok but clearly that "replacement" to

        https://i.imgur.com/VwMDDZn.jpeg

        OP here.

        There's nothing written on the insulation. My wire strippers may have something to tell me the gauge of wire I'm dealing with. I'm strongly considering it.

        [...]
        Thank you for the illustration anon, that is how I was testing it.

        [...]
        I talked with the manufacturer and they agreed the upper element was bad. I suspect the contractor didn't fill the tank all the way and dry fired it. See attached.

        Getting a new one now. I'll make sure the tank is filled to bursting before re-applying electricity.

        [...]
        >>He ain't goina make it, anonbro. He's goina burn his momma's house down.
        Moma's house was like this for years (decades?) without burning down. The fault was clearly with the connection inside that emergency shutoff box. As I said above I'll run the idea by momma to replace that wire as well. It wouldnt be that hard, the breaker panel is like 20 feet from the water heater and only half the ceiling is finished with drywall.

        [...]
        I don't want to be part of the progressive future you advocate for.

        is waaay longer, dispersing the same amount of heat over way more surface area.

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          I know nothing about water heaters but I'd put money on

          https://i.imgur.com/VwMDDZn.jpeg

          OP here.

          There's nothing written on the insulation. My wire strippers may have something to tell me the gauge of wire I'm dealing with. I'm strongly considering it.

          [...]
          Thank you for the illustration anon, that is how I was testing it.

          [...]
          I talked with the manufacturer and they agreed the upper element was bad. I suspect the contractor didn't fill the tank all the way and dry fired it. See attached.

          Getting a new one now. I'll make sure the tank is filled to bursting before re-applying electricity.

          [...]
          >>He ain't goina make it, anonbro. He's goina burn his momma's house down.
          Moma's house was like this for years (decades?) without burning down. The fault was clearly with the connection inside that emergency shutoff box. As I said above I'll run the idea by momma to replace that wire as well. It wouldnt be that hard, the breaker panel is like 20 feet from the water heater and only half the ceiling is finished with drywall.

          [...]
          I don't want to be part of the progressive future you advocate for.

          being a lower wattage rating than

          https://i.imgur.com/XBlF1PW.jpeg

          OP here again, this is the element from the part# the support people gave me. Looks like the manufacturer may have installed the wrong one at the factory somehow? At the very least it's not the same design.

          , and therefore being the incorrect element for the heater

  7. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    OP here again. Hot water is flowing. So weird that the tank (apparently?) shipped with a defective or incorrect upper element. Maybe it's the case that a smaller element meets the spec but barely wheras the aftermarket replacement part prefers the longer design for whatever reason. It seems better to use more material and spread out the heat but IANAE.

    Thank you all for the help and even the salty ass unproductive hate. It's how you know someone cares <3

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      ok now redo the wiring

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      >So weird that the tank (apparently?) shipped with a defective or incorrect upper element.
      Not really, no. Quality assurance is an expensive. Most companies gleefully cut expenses.

  8. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    >Hot water heater
    Why would you need to heat hot water?

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous
  9. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    >About the attached pic
    the 19f0's called and want their electrical box back.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      If you're trying to do hexadecimal, that's the year 6640.

  10. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >pic rel
    First thing I'm noticing is that these connections are dog shit. They need to be wrapped around the screw. This won't cause the problem you're experiencing, but it is very bad craftsmanship. Also, DO NOT do it yourself if there is any power going into that box.

    As for your actual problem.
    >I managed to find 120/240v on the upper/lower elements.
    Unclear exactly what you mean here. If you are talking about the box in pic related, and you're saying that the top has 240v and the bottom has 120v, then one of those fuses is blown. You can check them with the resistance setting on your multimeter. Look up how to do that.

  11. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Its a water heater not a hot water heater
    Why would you heat hot water

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      it's a heater. it produces hot water. therefore it is a heater for hot water. which normal people don't get their panties in a bunch when someone says hot water heater.

      I bet you get mad when I refer to my garden hose pipe.

      the weird thing is that sometimes I'm the grammar nazi and sometimes I'm the grammar nazi nazi. I guess I'm just whatever nazi the situation calls for. Kindof a renaissance nazi.

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Wouldn't a hot water heater be a water heater that is hot to the touch? Like the insulation amd burner is broke so you can't touch it.

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          I would call a plumber and an electrician anon. Unless it's gas fried and then I would run away. That sounds like an interesting situation. If you feel safe why not make a dedicated tread to discuss it.

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        wait a fricking minute. what sort of moronic AI thinks a hose is rigid and a pipe is flexible. I want my money back.

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        You know that the first letter of the first word of a sentence gets capitalized, right? Thought you might want to know.

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