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Old 02-25-2021, 12:00 PM   #1
Leoskeys
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Default Hot water heater repair needed -Alton

Hi, we have a Bradford White hot water heater, roughly 7yrs old. It’s stopped providing hot water, so think the heating elements stoped working. Reached out to a local company that services and installs them, but they will only service what they have installed. We don’t know who installed it originally, (no sticker with contact info on tank).
I know it may not be a huge challenge to repair myself, but I prefer not to experiment!
Anyone know a plumber in the area that will service things like this that they haven’t installed?
Ironically having same issue with one of our mini-split Fujitsu’s that is not working properly.
Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-25-2021, 12:25 PM   #2
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Default Why?

Why are you heating your hot water?
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Old 02-25-2021, 01:19 PM   #3
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Welcome to the lakes region.

Please let us all know if you find an honest and reliable plumber.
If you are from Mass, pay your regular plumber a little extra for travel time.
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Old 02-25-2021, 02:33 PM   #4
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Thanks Motörhead, we are NH folks, and have had our Lake House in Alton for nine years. Seems we may need to consider replacing the water heater, as we have one that’s 16years old in the main house and 7 years old in our guest house. The 7yr old stopped working ironically, the 16yr old working fine. But you know Murphy’s law(?) says that if we only repair/replace the broken 7yr old then the 16yr old will die a few days/weeks later.
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Old 02-25-2021, 03:13 PM   #5
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Default contact Bradford White

Try contacting Bradford White and customer service may possibly help find a plumber or instruct you as to your problem and how to repair. I had a heater not heating and a call helped me to find and do the necessary repair.

Bradfodwhite.com

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I am a retired workaholic and continuing aquaholic
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Old 02-25-2021, 03:22 PM   #6
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Default Jay Brittain, Gilford

Have been a customer of his for years. cell: 603-520-7713. I do know that he is quite busy, as he is a sub for some GC's, but he fits repair work in as best he can.
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Old 02-25-2021, 04:51 PM   #7
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Replacing a heating element is pretty simple repair. Videos on YouTube. Tools: 1-1/2" socket, Philips screwdriver. With power off and the lead wires disconnected, a simply continuity test with a basic VOM will tell of the heating element is open circuit. Lowe's and most local HW stores will have replacement heating elements. It is usually the top element that is toast if no hot water at all. Then drain the tank enough to remove the old element using the large socket.

If it is only the heating element that is shot, this is a basic handyman/woman job. So a licensed plumber may be an overkill. I assume that you checked the circuit breaker to make sure that it is not tripped.
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Old 02-25-2021, 06:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slickcraft View Post
Replacing a heating element is pretty simple repair. Videos on YouTube. Tools: 1-1/2" socket, Philips screwdriver. With power off and the lead wires disconnected, a simply continuity test with a basic VOM will tell of the heating element is open circuit. Lowe's and most local HW stores will have replacement heating elements. It is usually the top element that is toast if no hot water at all. Then drain the tank enough to remove the old element using the large socket.

If it is only the heating element that is shot, this is a basic handyman/woman job. So a licensed plumber may be an overkill. I assume that you checked the circuit breaker to make sure that it is not tripped.
The amount of helpful information that can be found here is truly amazing, however, based on the OP's post, I bet the bolded statement above, alone, leaves him feel even less inclined "to experiment".

We don't all get the lingo or have ever used the tools.

good luck, Leo!
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Old 02-25-2021, 07:00 PM   #9
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In a standard electric HWH, the other thing that can go wrong is a failed thermostat. I've had that happen. There are two, upper and lower, one for each element, and only one element is powered at a time. From a totally cold tank, the upper tstat turns on its element to heat water in the upper portion of the tank, for quick availability of a limited amount of hot water. When that tstat is satisfied, it turns off its element by switching power to the lower tstat. The lower tstat will provide power to its element until satisfied, at which time it turns off its element's power.

After enough hot water is drawn, the lower element gets power first. With continued use of hot water (eg. teenager or wife using it), eventually the upper tstat senses loss of hot water in the upper portion of the tank and switches power from the lower tstat to the upper element.

So, if you have some hot water, but it runs out fast, then likely the lower element or tstat has failed. If there is no hot water at all, even briefly, then either the upper tstat or its element has failed. As Slick said, you can disconnect power to an element and do a continuity test to see if it has failed. But you also can test a disconnected tstat for continuity from hot power side in to element side out.

If an element tests OK but its tstat has failed, the fix is even easier, as no draining of the tank is required and about the only tool needed is a screwdriver. When buying a new tstat, make sure to get the right one (upper vs lower), as they are different. BE SURE TO DISCONNECT POWER TO THE HEATER BEFORE FIDDLING IN THERE, OR YOUR HEIRS MAY GET THE PROPERTY SOONER THAN EXPECTED!!
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Old 02-25-2021, 07:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEEPONLY View Post
The amount of helpful information that can be found here is truly amazing, however, based on the OP's post, I bet the bolded statement above, alone, leaves him feel even less inclined "to experiment".

We don't all get the lingo or have ever used the tools.

good luck, Leo!
Wow, I simply suggested that a handyman/woman could do the job and that a licensed plumber may be an over kill. OK we see that you are not the handyman that he should call
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Old 02-25-2021, 08:50 PM   #11
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The hardest part of changing elements is draining the stupid tank :P

But yeah,, only do if you feel comfortable,, else hire someone.
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Old 02-25-2021, 10:07 PM   #12
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The hardest part of changing elements is draining the stupid tank :P But yeah,, only do if you feel comfortable, else hire someone.
It truly is simple. The hardest part is wrestling the element from the plastic packaging!

Heating elements are pretty standard, so before starting to turn a wrench, I've walked into the hardware store with a cellphone picture of the element. (Buy the element, about $13.)

If you don't have one already, buy a fat cheap-looking $8 1½-inch "socket". Turn off the circuit breaker, (or, if fused, remove the fuse), remove the wires, and unscrew the element and pull the piece out. To finish, reverse the process, fill the water heater with water, flow it out at a "hot water" faucet to free it of air, and flip the circuit breaker back on.

Our water heater was newly installed in 1992, and the only repair has been replacement of the element—twice.

Element pictured below—by cellphone—before removal.
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Old 02-25-2021, 10:31 PM   #13
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My hot water tank is a 40-gallon low, wide size which fits under the kitchen counter, in the corner. Is on its' third heating element that I get from Heath's Hdwe in Centre Harbor for about $15-each. For about $8 Heaths has a large steel socket designed for remove/install electric 220v heater elements as they waste away over time and need replacing ...... standard procedure.

What I do is to use a similar diameter black rubber stopper, same size as element thread diameter, and simply unscrew the old element, fast place the rubber stopper/cork into the hole to stop the water, and then remove stopper and install new element.

Not much water gets out if you go fast, maybe one quart, so's placing some old towels on the floor is good. Is much faster and easier than draining down entire tank which usually makes a wet mess, despite all effort.
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Old 02-26-2021, 12:00 AM   #14
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Assuming it is an electric water heater...

Has the breaker tripped?

At the panel the breaker could have moved just a little bit and not look tripped.

Move the breaker all the way out from the center of the panel and then all the way back in.

Breakers do not trip without a reason.

Assuming the water heater and the mini split system are fed by the same panel...

Check that breaker in the same way.

Could the real problem be inside the breaker panel?
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Old 02-26-2021, 03:46 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Slickcraft View Post
Wow, I simply suggested that a handyman/woman could do the job and that a licensed plumber may be an over kill. OK we see that you are not the handyman that he should call
Well- You said that replacing a heating element was a pretty simple repair.
I'm sure the OP made it clear that experimenting with this type of thing is not his forte.
No, I am not the handyman he should call, but neither are you the bastion of information it would seem he could relate to (or is that to which he could relate?).

So, all the suggestions aside- how goes it, Leo???
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Old 02-27-2021, 01:56 AM   #16
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It's no big deal replacing the 220v element. Just make sure the power is OFF, unscrew the element using the $8 element socket tool which fits perfect, remove the old element, PRESS A BLACK RUBBER STOPPER, correct size, into the hole to plug up the water, and take old burnt-out element to hardware store to match it with a new $15 element.

About one quart water pours out fast while unscrewing the old element, so's you cover the floor with old towels.

Both Heath's and Aubuchon have a selection of black rubber stoppers for about $2, and you want about a 1 1/2" wide tapered stopper that gets pressed into the opening while's you drive to the store to find that correct replacement, heating element.
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Old 02-27-2021, 05:22 PM   #17
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You need some trouble shooting, you might be having an electrical issue. If you know how to use a volt meter make sure you are getting voltage to the water heater and split. If not, then find some one who can check it for you.

I'd be a little leery of changing the element in a 7 year old tank, they don't have that long of a life and by the time you buy the element and have it installed it might be only a little more money to put a new tank in.
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Old 02-27-2021, 06:27 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leoskeys View Post
Hi, we have a Bradford White hot water heater, roughly 7yrs old. It’s stopped providing hot water, so think the heating elements stoped working. Reached out to a local company that services and installs them, but they will only service what they have installed. We don’t know who installed it originally, (no sticker with contact info on tank).
I know it may not be a huge challenge to repair myself, but I prefer not to experiment!
Anyone know a plumber in the area that will service things like this that they haven’t installed?
Ironically having same issue with one of our mini-split Fujitsu’s that is not working properly.
Thanks in advance.
This kind of attitude sux. What plumber won’t install a water heater. That’s cake money. Anyone who is a plumber or electrician up here that wants to work and actually shows up to work would make a killing up here.
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Old 02-28-2021, 09:34 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by JEEPONLY View Post
Well- You said that replacing a heating element was a pretty simple repair.
I'm sure the OP made it clear that experimenting with this type of thing is not his forte. No, I am not the handyman he should call, but neither are you the bastion of information it would seem he could relate to (or is that to which he could relate?). So, all the suggestions aside- how goes it, Leo???
Anyone will become a handyman, when the price of a replacement water heater is seen!

Below is a typical water heater element (removed), although some will have physical damage or appear "wilted":
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Old 03-01-2021, 06:54 AM   #20
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With the eight dollar socket and breaker bar handle specifically designed to fit, it unscrews good.

Best to just quick stick a rubber cork stopper, about 1 1/2" diameter into the hole, then go to local hdwe store for replacement.

Draining the tank to do this is a big messy waste of time. Just plug it and run to hdwe.

You knows, I can do this with one hand tied behind my back while blind folded, and I'm about as smart as a moose with the brain worm disease! .... :

Just compare a new in-the-package element diameter, all the same, to the big rubber cork stopper, at the hdwe store, to get the correct size stopper, which is key to a no-leak rubber stopper. U gotta get the correct size stopper.
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Old 03-01-2021, 12:26 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ITD View Post
I'd be a little leery of changing the element in a 7 year old tank, they don't have that long of a life and by the time you buy the element and have it installed it might be only a little more money to put a new tank in.

Replacing an entire water heater will certainly solve the problem but that is an expensive dart to throw - considering a replacement element is a 20 dollar part at most and 15 minutes worth of effort to replace.

It will take longer to drain the tank than to replace the element(s). The wiring is simple and if there is any doubt killing the main to the house will ensure you have no power running to your heater.
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Old 03-01-2021, 06:47 PM   #22
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Quote:
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Replacing an entire water heater will certainly solve the problem but that is an expensive dart to throw - considering a replacement element is a 20 dollar part at most and 15 minutes worth of effort to replace.

It will take longer to drain the tank than to replace the element(s). The wiring is simple and if there is any doubt killing the main to the house will ensure you have no power running to your heater.
The issue I see is that a Bradford water heater 7 years old is getting close to the end of it's life unless it is one of the stainless variety. If it is indeed the heating elements.
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