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Repair guides and support for gas and electric hot water tanks, boilers and household heat exchangers.

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no power in lower element?

I can't seem to get power to the lower element of my electric hot water heater the top one reads fine but the bottom one does not

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@chanda you checked teh wiring going to your hot water heater? You checked the fuses to those lines? What is your household voltage 110V (North America) or 220/240 (Europe)? What make is your HW heater?

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Yeah, your lower element is broken, you just need to buy a new one and replace it. But you have to make sure to buy the right one. If you have no idea of how to choose the right element, this article may be helpful.

https://suplumb.com/how-to-choose-the-ri...

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So I just put a new element in causetop read 240 bottom 110 so figured lower element was bad baught new one right on looked on water heater and now lower one reads nothing have checkedbreaker there fine any help!

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Chosen Solution

Check the wires running power from the top element to the bottom one. They sometimes burn out.

Be sure to check the reset button/limit switch located above or near the upper element.

I use this webpage to test my water heater:

http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-test-...

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New thermostats, new bottom element. Wiring checks out okay. 110 v to the lower red wired line but no voltage to the black wired line.

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Same here Top is fine and makes hot water

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Most Helpful Answer

The upper and lower elements take turns heating the water, you will never have power to both at the same time. The upper one heats the water in the upper part of the tank first. Once it reaches the set temperature, it will shut off and then send power to the lower element. So, give the upper one time to heat up before checking the lower one. To check the lower one, I set the upper to the lowest setting (so it would shut off quickly) and then had power to the lower one. Once I knew it was working I re-set the upper one to the desired temperature.

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I have one doing the same thing replaced everything but top element don't get hot enough to turn bottom element on

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Same here. What did you do?

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Thanks. Finally an explanation on why the top element alone burning out can result in zero hot water even though there's a healthy lower element there. And confirmed by the Whirlpool wiring diagram. Lower element is powered by the thermostat-open leg of the upper element. They tell you if you have no heat, it's probably the top element but no explanation of why unless you peruse the wiring diagram.

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Thank you man! Your response was very helpful!

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If each element is on a separate thermostat the one connected to that element may be bad or the element itself may be.

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That's what we thought, and we changed all that to new, but with no luck.

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@jrbryant so you have a water heater where the bottom element is not working? You checked the power? What make and model is our water heater? What else have you checked?

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It's an AO Smith electric water heater, 40 gal I think. Less than 10 years old, no deposits found in tank, no corrosion on elements. Power checks okay, top element 220v. Lower element shows no voltage.

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John Bryant, You really should have posted this as a new question, instead of a comment in an answer a year old to get answered by more ifixit volunteers. On a duel element residential water heater, both elements do not heat at the same time. The link below may be able to answer you issue.

http://www.water-heater-repair-guide.com...

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Top has power, used a voltage meter, lights up, replaced bottom thermostat and element and voltage light don't light up

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If your hot water tank is only producing lukewarm water and both the elements read right and you set the temp to the hottest it can get you probably have a leak somewhere. Make sure you have no running water in your or outside of your house and go check the meter and see if its spinning and if it is you need to go into your crawl and find your leak.

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Chanda will be eternally grateful.
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