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

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Worked once then quit please help me!

Purchased and installed brand new rheem 40 gallon electric water heater. It worked great when first turned it on for about a day maybe a day and a half then no more hot water. Checked all electrical connections and all is correct. Have tested everything i can think of all testing says water should be gettin hot. Does not flip breaker at all. What am i doing wrong

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2 Answers

Hi @mimi29,

What is the model number of the water heater?

There are at least 3 different Rheem 40 gallon models that I could find, 3800/3800W, 4500/4500W and 5500/5500W.

Did you install it your self?

How did you test it?

Is there still water coming out of the hot water faucets even if is is cold?

Have you got an Ohmmeter and know how to use it?

If so switch off the breaker to the heater and then disconnect the power wires from the heater. - be safety aware

Connect the Ohmmeter to the heater and check if you can measure the resistance of the heater elements.

I don't know what the resistance value is but you should not measure an open circuit (OL on Ohmmeter)

If you do then both of the thermostats have opened and disconnected the heater elements. This would be very unusual unless the water temp in the tank was above the temp for either of the thermostats to turn the heater on. Either to heat the water in the lower part of the tank or the upper part

Here's a wiring diagram that may help.

Whilst it may not be for your model usually they're wired very much the same way.

Power for the lower element comes in on L2 > high temp contacts 3-4 > lower element > lower thermostat > upper thermostat operated 4-1 > high temp contacts 2-1 and out on L1.

Power for the upper element comes in on L2 > high temp contacts 3-4 > upper heating element > upper thermostat 2-1 released > high temp contacts 2-1 and out on L1.

There is only one element used at a time

If you don't know how to test electrical circuits then don't do it! Call an electrician

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I have 4500w i get cold water no hot test elements and thermostats they are working using 10/3 cable from breaker to water heater what should it look like



Not sure what you mean by "...what should it look like"?

Have you proved that there is power available at the water heater?

How did you test the elements and the thermostats?

If the thermostat terminals are accessible did you get power there? The same with the heater elements?


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or maybe the water heater is not good

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Rebecca will be eternally grateful.
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