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r_benner

7 y/oBradford White M-2-50S6DS 50 Gal Elec. Water Heater Dying?

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r_benner

a couple weeks ago, I noticed shower water temp not "settling" and hot water running out during the 2nd of back-to-back (aprx 15 min) showers so I drained and inspected both elements. Top looked ROUGH but still tested for continuity, bottom didn't look as bad. I ordered OEM elements from R.C. as well as the OEM thermostat kit. Installed all and quickly learned NOT to put 240 volts to the unit until completely full... burned up the top element but had a generic spare.

As mentioned, it is now 7 years old but the one on my 1st house lasted 25 years with no yearly flushing. I only began flushing this one maybe 3 years ago but assumed the 1/4 cup of sediment that I see would only affect the tank integrity. I like to set the thermos to where full hot from kitchen sink will not come close to scalding but still slightly too hot for hands after a few seconds. I read somewhere to set the top thermo slightly hotter than the bottom so I left the bottom as set from the manu and increased the top only slightly. 

seems like the water temp stays "settled" better now but still, the second bather of back-to-back showers has to increase temp the whole time until it tops out after 12-15 min. It's a 20 y/o 4k sq foot 4 bed/3.5 bath home with only two living in it but this will not do when house guests come for a stay in may.

For you pro techs, what am I missing here please?

 

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Need appliance parts? Call 877-803-7957 now!

16345Ed

Based on the manufacturer's suggested service life, the life expectancy of a water heater is about 8 to 12 years. That varies with the location and design of the unit, quality of installation, maintenance schedule and water quality.

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Jedi Appliance Guy

It would be a lot easier to amp check those elements in the future rather than pull and inspect them. The elements will pull about 16 to 18.something amps. It's wired for non simultaneous operation, so only one element will heat at a time. You've basically replaced everything except for the dip tube and the T&P valve. A bad T&P would be pretty obvious. You'd see the water leaking somewhere. Bad dip tube is pretty rare but it happens. One sure sign would be bits of plastic in your dishwasher fill valve and the hot side of your washing machine fill valve. I don't recommend you pull and inspect them but you can keep an eye out for diminished flow of hot water on your washer.

I would set both thermostats the same and try for at least 120 degrees. I know. They're not marked so put them in the middle an d go from there. As far as flushing your tank, others may disagree, but I'm a firm believer in "if it ain't broke, don't fix it, or fix it till it is.

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REM Appliance Repair

Check the dip tube that sends the cold water to the bottom of tank. It may have broken off and is shorter now causing cold water to come in closer to the top of water heater.

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r_benner
On 4/24/2018 at 7:50 PM, REM Appliance Repair said:

Check the dip tube that sends the cold water to the bottom of tank. It may have broken off and is shorter now causing cold water to come in closer to the top of water heater.

Thanks! That just might be my problem but I'm not sure the tube in my unit is meant to be serviceable. There's no access to the anode rod without removing the top cover and I think that's the case with the dip tube as well. Only the threaded portion of the cold inlet nipple is exposed above the cover. Maybe I need to contact Bradford White to see if this is the case but while I'd love to save the cost of a new heater, at 7 y/o, if I have to re-plumb the relief valve and expansion tank to get at it, I may just  buy a new heater.

 

I bet this is the problem though... 

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r_benner

Nope... Managed to get the dip tube out with a pipe wrench. Looks fine.

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Jedi Appliance Guy

You pulled and inspected your dip tube...

Wow!!

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sh2sh2

Is the problem only in the shower? Could be a problem with the mixing valve if u have a single control shower

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tech7

Dip tube deterioration was a huge problem with all brands a while back. Replaced many under mfg. warranty. Same symptoms .

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Jedi Appliance Guy

So. You have the upper thermostat set hotter than the lower thermostat. Heat rises. As you use hot water, the hot water leaves the tank from the top. Cold water enters the tank down the dip tube and mixes with the water that is already colder than the hot water that has left from the top. You're wondering why the water gets cooler after you've only used about half of the water in the tank. Set both thermostats the same. And set them for 120 to 125 degrees. Any colder and you'll use more from your tank and it won't last as long.

As far as I can tell you've either replaced or inspected everything except for the T&P aka the pressure relief valve. It either discharges onto your garage floor or outside your building somewhere. It couldn't hurt to make sure it's not leaking. If you tug on the lever on a 7 year old T&P you'll probably make it start leaking and have to change it. So don't tug on the lever. 

I would measure the temperature rather than go by what it feels like. This reminds me of my bird Angel. She always seems to like her shower hotter than I like mine. I was worried she might get burned or something. Then one day I said "hey Google, what is the body temperature of an umbrella cockatoo?" The answer was 106 degrees. No wonder she likes it hotter. Who knew?..

Angel Showering Angel Taking a Shower

 

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Budget Appliance Repair

Looks like she's really into her showers!!!!!   That's so cute.

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r_benner
On 4/29/2018 at 9:32 AM, sh2sh2 said:

Is the problem only in the shower? Could be a problem with the mixing valve if u have a single control shower

Good point! I did read of this possibility last week but had accepted defeat and never tested... I guess we'll be taking showers in one of the other bathrooms to verify before purchasing a new heater.

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r_benner

UPDATE:

 

Unless it could be the anode rod, (only thing I did not check/replace) I hereby accept defeat...

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Jedi Appliance Guy

:wallbash:it's not the anode rod.

Are you still setting your upper thermostat hotter than the lower and wondering why the water gets cooler after 1 shower?

Do you own a multimeter or clamp meter or a thermometer?

While the pictures of Angel taking a shower are cute, the point is you can't go by what it feels like.

If the water in your tank isn't hot enough, you'll use more from your tank instead of mixing it with cold at your fixtures and it won't last as long. 

A bad lower element will make you run out of hot water too soon but you check it first with a meter before you replace every part on your heater and some of them twice and then think about replacing the anode rod. 

If it ain't broke don't fix it, or fix it till it is. Your last one lasted how long?

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r_benner
15 hours ago, Jedi Appliance Guy said:

:wallbash:it's not the anode rod.

Are you still setting your upper thermostat hotter than the lower and wondering why the water gets cooler after 1 shower?

Do you own a multimeter or clamp meter or a thermometer?

While the pictures of Angel taking a shower are cute, the point is you can't go by what it feels like.

If the water in your tank isn't hot enough, you'll use more from your tank instead of mixing it with cold at your fixtures and it won't last as long. 

A bad lower element will make you run out of hot water too soon but you check it first with a meter before you replace every part on your heater and some of them twice and then think about replacing the anode rod. 

If it ain't broke don't fix it, or fix it till it is. Your last one lasted how long?

Water is indeed hot enough. Just gradually fades midway through 2nd back to back shower. I began this whole thing suspecting tha bottom element. Both tested positive for continuity, tank drained, wires off. Tested okay for 240 vt to top/btm thermos. Testing thermos shown bottom one POSSIBLY faulty (but could have been mistaken...) so I just replaced with new kit. Made sure new ones were flush against the tank. Upon re-filling tank I learned the hard way not to turn on power until COMPLETELY full.... Popped the top element, ordered and installed two new ones.

From there, I did take your advice and set the temps the same. Mine have no degree settings, just "needles" set from the manu at 6 o'clock. Our human thermometer doesn't read high enough and our meat thermo starts at 140. At the manu's setting, water is plenty hot. just shy of painful with no cold blended in. I also tried raising both thermostats midway between manu's setting and max adjustment. Painful/burning until blending in cold. (maybe mid way on shower valve) Thought I had it but sure enough, second back to back shower faded to where I had to eventually have the valve all the way hot.

This is when I pulled the dip tube. Looked perfect. I realize this was the long way around but this is where I am. Thanks a LOT for hanging in here trying to help. I just don't know what else to try...

 

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REM Appliance Repair

Your first shower isnt 45 min to a hour long is it? LOL  The only time to replace a water heater is when the tank goes. Other then that it can be repaired. Unless parts are no longer available. After running hot water wait until top stat calls for heat take a amp draw reading. Give it some time to heat then turn down stat at top and see if the bottom kicks in. You"ll hear it click. Take that amp draw reading. If the bottom doesn't come on then bad stat or wiring is wrong. Ive seen that happen before. The wiring can be a little tricky. If stats got replaced before and someone used a different type but tried to wire the same as the old one it could have gotten screwed up. A anode rod wont cause it to run out of hot water. It only stops corrosion.

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r_benner
1 hour ago, REM Appliance Repair said:

Your first shower isnt 45 min to a hour long is it? LOL  The only time to replace a water heater is when the tank goes. Other then that it can be repaired. Unless parts are no longer available. After running hot water wait until top stat calls for heat take a amp draw reading. Give it some time to heat then turn down stat at top and see if the bottom kicks in. You"ll hear it click. Take that amp draw reading. If the bottom doesn't come on then bad stat or wiring is wrong. Ive seen that happen before. The wiring can be a little tricky. If stats got replaced before and someone used a different type but tried to wire the same as the old one it could have gotten screwed up. A anode rod wont cause it to run out of hot water. It only stops corrosion.

your second sentence! I really needed to hear that. This unit IS discontinued by Bradford White and when I ordered new OEM thermos from R.C., they DID look slightly different but I wired them exactly as the diagram on the door display. I'll try to perform your test over this weekend. I can tell you, I've heard the bottom thermo click on while increasing the setting though. Click links for pics.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/kn0qDV5ZJY2inEmA3
https://photos.app.goo.gl/K92vWXf7tH5ySsd8A
https://photos.app.goo.gl/t95zk5x4zwEQ6Wet8

 

 

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REM Appliance Repair
Posted (edited)

It looks OK but they don't show the exact set up. But do the amp draw to see if your getting current to both elements. Although you hear the bottom stat click that doesn't mean the top stat is sending the voltage to it. I don't see the correct numbering on the the top stat as shown in drawing. You have to use the diagram that came with the new stats to make sure of any changes.

Edited by REM Appliance Repair

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Jedi Appliance Guy

Get an amp probe aka clamp meter that also has leads for voltage.  One that also does temperature with a type k thermal couple will make a nice addition to your tool collection. Here's a somewhat inexpensive one from Lowe's. It doesn't do temperature. I use a Fieldpiece sc640. 

https://m.lowes.com/pd/Extech-Digital-600-Volt-Clamp/999990452

Imagine clamping your meter around a wire to see if an element is working or not. Show us your meter and we can continue. You can show us a link to one you're thinking about getting if you like. 

 

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r_benner
On 5/6/2018 at 9:11 AM, Jedi Appliance Guy said:

Get an amp probe aka clamp meter that also has leads for voltage.  One that also does temperature with a type k thermal couple will make a nice addition to your tool collection. Here's a somewhat inexpensive one from Lowe's. It doesn't do temperature. I use a Fieldpiece sc640. 

https://m.lowes.com/pd/Extech-Digital-600-Volt-Clamp/999990452

Imagine clamping your meter around a wire to see if an element is working or not. Show us your meter and we can continue. You can show us a link to one you're thinking about getting if you like. 

 

I have an Uncle-in-law who is a retired electrician. Checking w/him to see if he has one to loan. (theme from Jeopardy)

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r_benner

I think we got it guys! I asked my neighbor who is a big cheese electrical engineer with our EMC if he had an amp probe I could borrow. He brought it over and we tested everything. We got super tweaky with the thermostat settings determining I was setting them to low.

While I still don't like the temperature at any sink with no cold blended in, the higher setting does allow a couple consecutive long showers or one or two shorter ones then a laundry wash set on hot.

Thanks for following along. I almost gave up and bought a new unit but you guys convinced me to keep trying. 

 

Best,

Ron

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