Insufficient hot water and damaged heating element

by P.J
(Toronto Ontario)

As the title says, my Bradford White electric water heater does not produce hot water... actually the upper heating element, when removed, shows a visible melted sheath, which is beyond the repair.

Why did it happen and how to prevent from future failures?


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Feb 26, 2016
limited water
by: Anonymous

I have hot water for about 5 minutes, then it turns warm. Have to continually turn the hot water faucet to a higher position to maintain as much hot water as possible til it runs warm. Approx. 5 minutes. Is this a sign of one element bad?

Feb 08, 2015
dry-fired elements
by: Peter

One of the main reasons for the problem "no hot water" and damaged heating element is the dry-fired elements.

The heating elements are designed to operate properly only if fully submerged in water. Otherwise, the heating element gets very hot, the copper sheathing becomes soft and starts changing and breaking - soft element is easy to bend. At the end of the element, the plastic sleeve starts melting also. Even if the heating element is partially submerged, and exposed to the air, the dry-fired problem occurs.

In order to check is the heating element dry fired, test the element.

First, turn the unit off. Provide an access to the heating elements and disconnect the wires. Use the continuity tester by placing one probe on each element terminal. The heating element is broken if the test shows continuity, so the element must be replaced.

After removing the old, and installing the new heating element, make sure that the storage water tank is full of water this time.

Keep in mind that dry-fired heating elements are not covered under the manufacturer warranty.

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