Hot Water Heater

gwflNovember 5, 2010

I have a 12 year old Rudd electric 30 gal. hot water heater that was losing it's ablility to keep the water up to temp. (115F). I would have preferred to just install a new one but decided to replace the elements and see how that worked. I live in Florida and have had the unit on a water softener 90% of its life, I also drain the tank every year and only get a half gallon of rusty water with very little sediment and no metal fragments so I felt the tank should be in ok shape.

Well at first the new (proper sized-4500 watts) elements seemed to do better but I still ran out of hot water rather soon. So, I decided to replace the thermostats to see how that faired. The first day was really great but then it was not keeping the water hot for very long again.

I'm wondering if there is a lot of normal variation in the water temperature or is the unit supposed to keep the water at the set temp. all the time.

I Don't think there's anything left to do or replace except the entire heater itself.

Any suggestions.


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12 years......replace it and be done, IMO. Get a 40 while you're at it.

"I'm wondering if there is a lot of normal variation in the water temperature or is the unit supposed to keep the water at the set temp. all the time."

Beyond a few nominal degrees, there should be no variation. Should keep at set temp. Of course allow for recovery time if you've used a lot.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2010 at 7:25PM
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Is it losing temp just sitting there or just when you are using water? If the temp drops fast when hot water is being drawn but then recovers when there is no usage, it could be a dip-tube problem.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 9:56AM
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Well on closer examination the tank is 40 gal. but I read the serial number wrong too and it turns out to be 14 years old and from that period of '93 through '97 where they used inferior plastic for the dip tubes. My fault for not being more through...had I known I would have replaced it immediately.

But now that I've replaced the elements and thermostats I plan to stick with it and replace the dip tube next week with the thought that it may have broken.
I've also learned to measure the temp. at the sink next to the heater and not from the kitchen further down line. Right now it's set at 125 and putting out 120 at the sink and the hot water down at the far end shower lasts about 10 minutes. Does that sound like normal duration?

Does anyone know how far from the bottom the dip tube should be? The length of tube I have would end up about 6" from the bottom...thinking of cutting it so it's about 12" up. Hopefully the old tube is still intact and that would tell me..of course if it is then I didn't need to replace it!!

I've already picked out a new tank but approaching this as a learning lesson for now...don't want to turn off the life support yet.


    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 8:14PM
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14 years....hope it's in a place where a leak can drain away freely without doing damage, because that's what's coming.

Otherwise, best of luck with your experiments.

In your shoes, I'd replace.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 10:23PM
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Well I opened up the cold water inlet to check and replace the dip tube if necessary and there was no dip tube at all, just the flanged end. Installed the new tube and fired her up and now have plenty of hot water and good duration.

Since unit is located in the garage and everything is raised off the floor (flood zone in SW FL) I'll just see how long it lasts from here on. At least now I've learned enough to to make a faster and more knowledgable decision when the tank does go.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 11:33AM
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