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 Water Heater Issue
Author: gifford814 (OK)

Hello, and thank you for your help in advance. Last week we moved in to a newly built home with a 50-gallon electric water heater. I am new to electric as the old house had a 40-gallon gas heater. The hot water runs out very quickly. When we give our kids baths upstairs, the hot water runs out after only 15 minutes, and that's with running it at around 90 degrees. It's extremely cold here right now, but I feel like there has to be something wrong. Any other ideas?

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 Re: Water Heater Issue
Author: packy (MA)

in just a few words.. the heater is too small.

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 Re: Water Heater Issue
Author: North Carolina Plumber (NC)

15 Minutes X 1.5 GPM = 30 gallons, the heater is doing all it can.

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 Re: Water Heater Issue
Author: bernabeu (SC)

three choices:

raise the heater to 100 - NO HIGHER if infants involved - my 'guess' would give 25 minutes

purchase 80 gallon heater or add a second 50 in parallel

install a mixing valve and raise the heater to 140, set output of mixer to 90 - not MY preferred solution, but code compliant

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Retired U.A. Local 1 & 638 ~ Measure Twice & Cut Once

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 Re: Water Heater Issue
Author: hj (AZ)

NINETY DEGREE water? That is almost 10 degrees below body temperature.

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 Re: Water Heater Issue
Author: packy (MA)

if you are running a fever then it is more than 10 degrees less.

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 Re: Water Heater Issue
Author: PlumberLoren (CA)

Does your 50 Gallon WH have 2 heating elements? If so top one could be defective and needs to be replaced. I believe the bottom element comes on first and then the top. Someone more familiar with electric will chime in if I am wrong. It has been a while since I have serviced an Electric WH. I am in San Diego and it is mostly gas out here.

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 Re: Water Heater Issue
Author: pbw (OH)

plumberlauren, I believe you're correct on both counts. & yes raise the tanks temp.

parents, be there with children so they don't get scalded.



Edited 1 times.

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 Re: Water Heater Issue
Author: hj (AZ)

The top runs first and then the bottom, so if the top one is defective you do not get ANY hot water, period. At 120 degrees, you mix SOME cold water with the hot so you effectively get more volume from the tank. At NINETY degrees, or even 100, you use ALL "hot" water so it will run out much sooner.



Edited 1 times.

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 Re: Water Heater Issue
Author: gifford814 (OK)

To Clarify, the heater itself has two elements. The top is set at 120, the bottom at 140. The manual said not to adjust the top. When I referred to 90 degrees, I only meant that I was not using very hot water for my toddler's bath, and it still ran out.

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 Re: Water Heater Issue
Author: Jimna (CT)

A 50 gallon electric water heater is pretty small for a family. Perhaps it is ok for adults taking fairly short showers. Also the performance depends on the temperature of your incoming cold water. You need a larger water heater or as others have suggested tandem water heaters. I don't have kids so I set my water heater to 130 and have plenty of hot water.

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