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Help diagnosing/fixing Hotpoint HE40M1A

No hot water + leaks + rust

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12 replies to this topic

#1 roomservicetaco

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 03:25 PM

Attached File  whtop2lores.jpg   172.14KB   12 downloadsI have a Hotpoint model HE40M1A electric water heater, 40 gallons, s/n HP1002B15060

Recently, the temperature of the hot water went down to the point where we could not take a shower any more. Turned off the circuit breaker to the water heater to take a look. Noticed that there was water dripping from 2 points - one on the copper input pipe and one on the copper output pipe. Also, there was water pooling around the junction where the hot water exits the water heater and connects to the copper output pipe. This junction also had a significant amount of rust.

See photos here: https://picasaweb.go...55/WaterHeater# (main one is also attached to this post).

Next, I removed the 2 covers (approx 6"x3") on the side of the water heater and found that the insulation on the top one was quite wet and there were rust stains all around both the top and the bottom covers.


Any ideas what the issue(s) are and what is the best way to repair?

Thanks.

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#2 Samurai Appliance Repair Man

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 04:23 PM

How old is this water heater? With that much corrosion, this looks like a disaster waiting to happen.

#3 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 05:13 PM

The Cold Water Dip Tube may have disintegrated, letting cold water in at the top, and exiting into the hot water output.
Check the temperature of the water out of the Drain Valve at the bottom of the tank.
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#4 roomservicetaco

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 08:32 AM

Thanks. The heater was in the house when we moved in ~7 years ago, so it's at least that old. According to this doc I just found - and if I'm reading it correctly - (http://www.inspectap..._Heater_age.pdf), it was manufactured in Oct of 2002 ("1002" in the s/n).

RegUS - if the cold water dip tube is disintegrated, would that also cause the leaks in the inlet and outlet piping? I presume I need to replace those parts as well, correct? Is there a repair manual, etc. that I can reference for info on how to work on the heater? Many thanks.

#5 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 10:12 AM

... if the cold water dip tube is disintegrated, would that also cause the leaks in the inlet and outlet piping?
... I presume I need to replace those parts as well, correct?
... Is there a repair manual, etc. that I can reference for info on how to work on the heater?

1) no
2) yes
3) no
.

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#6 roomservicetaco

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 10:25 AM

Thanks - will plan to repair the leaks in the inlet and outlet piping.

Is there a way to figure out why water is also leaking into the insulation on the side pieces?

#7 certified tech group 51

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 10:35 AM

I'm with the Samurai on this one...Fittings probably not tight/ threads sealed correctly way back at install...............For now, kill the power and get yer meter and check for continuity at the lower element, (disconnect one wire)..... Good ..bad???...you can start replace parts on this thing. but it may be one thing after another.....If you remove the wire connector lid , you will find the power leads in the water also......Prices are $300 for a new 50 gallon unit in this neck of the woods...........Do not know where you are located or the regulations. but , I would change the connectors to the flex-able style....Remove the old pieces from the 90 deg. out, install a 3/4" threaded X 3/4" sweat fitting and install the new flex lines, Measure from the bottom of the lines to the floor , take away about 6 inches...that should be the tallest height of you new tank......50 gallon tanks come in about 20 different sizes, there has to be one that will fit.........Use Sears as to view tank specs..............

#8 skintdigit

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 12:21 PM

Water leaking at the cold/in and hot/out fittings on the top of the heater will definitely wet the insulation between the outer jacket and the tank itself and wick it's way down inside the heater outer sheet metal jacket, into the fiberglass batting inside the two covers you've removed. If there is enough water, or if the plastic thermostat covers had been removed, this water could have caused a short in the wiring and tripped a leg of the 2 pole 30 amp. breaker, or gotten into the junction box on the top of the heater and done the same thing. Two pole breakers aren't always easy to notice when just a single leg trips. Turn the breaker off, turn the water supply off, open all covers and junction box lid, check both elements for continuity with one of the element leads disconnected, fix the water leaks, replace faulty elements, let everything dry out, then turn the water supply on FIRST, purge air from the heater by turning on a hot water tap inside the home, and THEN turn the breaker back on. You might also check to see whether the high limit temperature switch engaged. This is a small button on the front face of one of the thermostats....you may have one or two t'stats. Whatever you do, be careful...240 volts are present behind the covers and in the j-box.

SD

#9 roomservicetaco

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 11:16 PM

Thanks for all the comments. Will check continuity. Should I drain the tank of water before doing the continuity check and fitting repair (assuming that there is continuity and it's not just easier to buy a new one, as CTG51 suggests)?

#10 certified tech group 51

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 10:59 AM

Skindigit said a mouthful but all is correct.. :thumbsup: .........No need to drain the tank for continuity checks on the elements...... If you do it fast , you can change an element with out draining the tank, just have everything ready to reinstall after removing the old part.......... Depending on the $$$ most elements can be had for about $25 clams...Remember the labor is 'free'...keep us posted...

#11 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 11:08 AM

.. If you do it fast , you can change an element with out draining the tank,

if the water is not too hot ... :whistling:
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#12 skintdigit

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 08:15 PM

Fix the leaks, dry things out, and check continuity and high-limit first, IMO. No need to drain the tank or do any repairs at all until you're sure the tank itself isn't leaking. You can keep a water heater going a long time with occasional parts changes up until the tank rusts through(usually with a small pinhole leak for starters, but not always), then it's time for a new heater. If you're sure the tank is water-tight, then swap a component or two if you need to. If the tank hasn't been serviced in a few years, it has accumulated a lot of sediment in the bottom, so draining and flushing it wouldn't hurt. But getting the drain cock at the bottom of the tank to flow and then getting it to shut again afterwards can be interesting. I haven't ever swapped an element without draining the water to a level below the element in question.

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#13 roomservicetaco

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 12:17 PM

OK, so here's the latest.

The hot water heater is connected to the kitchen sink, dishwasher, and shower + faucet in one of the bathrooms. While I had the heater disconnected from the input and output lines, I noticed that when I opened the hot water faucet in the bathroom, the water would come out of the faucet (more than just what remained in the lines) and water would also come out of the water heater output line.

After 20-30 seconds, no more water would come out of the hot water faucet. However, if I then closed the hot water faucet, then opened the cold water faucet, let the water run, and then closed the cold water faucet, when I opened the hot water faucet, more water would come out of both the hot water faucet and the water heater output line.

I presume there is a leaky check valve somewhere in the faucet? Any other thoughts about how to diagnose what's going on and why?

W/r/t the water heater, I believe what happened is that water was back-filling into the water heater via the output line. This was causing water to leak out the top through the output line and soak into other areas of the water heater. The back-fill water was also mixing with the hot water, causing the output to be luke warm instead of hot.




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