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Thread: Is there anything wrong with my A.O. Smith heater?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Charleston, SC
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    Default Is there anything wrong with my A.O. Smith heater?

    Model Number: EES 52 917
    Brand: -major brand-

    I have an electric, 50 gallon, A.O. Smith EnergySaver water heater, model # EES 52 917, part # EES--52-M202172000, serial # ML02-2044931-917. It was in the house when we bought it (house built in 2003, we are not the original owners), so I assume it's the original one from 2003. I noticed a few months after we moved in that the hot water didn't get as hot any more, but it was still hot enough. My wife took a shower after me today and said she only had hot water for about 5 minutes and then it was freezing cold. I had hot water for my entire shower (maybe 10 minutes). I've been reading that you should drain the gunk out of your hot water heater at least once a year. I'm also assuming that since this house was a rental unit previously that it hasn't been done for awhile. So I drained it today after shutting the power and water to it off. There was some stuff came out of it, but nothing major. I take fairly quick showers and keep the water warm (not hot). Seems like there should've been more than enough water for my wife to get her shower as well, especially since she started about 20-30 minutes after I finished. I've been reading about thermomstats and heating elements going bad. When I turned the power back on, it sounded as though both elements were heating, and I have hot water again. Is there one thing or another to check first when you only get a limited amount of hot water from a 50 gallon tank? Thanks for any info!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    McMullen Valley, Arizona
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    Yes, usually when this happens its either a bad upper thermostat or upper heating element.

    When you first turn the breaker on to it, the top element should come on first, I use a volt meter to check for 220-240 volts at the upper element first. If you get that, then turn the breaker off and ohm the upper element, it should read 11-50 ohms.

    Jake
    Appliance Repair School 1987-1988
    Star Appliance Tech. 2 yrs. 1988-1990
    Wards Appliance Tech. 11 yrs. 1990-2001
    Sears Appliance Tech. 4 yrs. 2001-Oct. 2005
    Jake's Appliance Repair Nov. 2005-present

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  3. #3
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    Default

    Jake, thanks for the advice. I just checked the top element and got no reading off of it. I checked the thermostat leads and get the 240 reading from it. I also checked the bottom element, and it's showing good as well.

    Strange thing though, the top element sounds like it is working.

    Now to my next question. The elements that are in it are 4500 max. Can I used any brand of element from Home Depot or Lowes as long as it's 4500? Any brands that I should avoid, or are they all about the same?

    Thanks!

  4. #4
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    Middle Island ,LI, NY
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Retired USAF View Post
    Jake, thanks for the advice. I just checked the top element and got no reading off of it. I checked the thermostat leads and get the 240 reading from it. I also checked the bottom element, and it's showing good as well.

    Strange thing though, the top element sounds like it is working.

    Now to my next question. The elements that are in it are 4500 max. Can I used any brand of element from Home Depot or Lowes as long as it's 4500? Any brands that I should avoid, or are they all about the same?

    Thanks!
    Most are made by Chromalux so you should be fine.

  5. #5
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    Oct 2009
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    Charleston, SC
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    Thanks Icehouse. Last question (for now): Since I'm replacing one element, is it a good idea to just go ahead and replace both of them? Looking online, they don't cost too much.

  6. #6
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    McMullen Valley, Arizona
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    Yes, I'd say that would be the wise thing to do.

    Jake
    Appliance Repair School 1987-1988
    Star Appliance Tech. 2 yrs. 1988-1990
    Wards Appliance Tech. 11 yrs. 1990-2001
    Sears Appliance Tech. 4 yrs. 2001-Oct. 2005
    Jake's Appliance Repair Nov. 2005-present

    Look-Up & Order Parts

  7. #7
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    Now they come in 2 different lengths, 16 1/2" and 13 1/2"

    So measure it once its out so you get the correct one.

    Jake
    Appliance Repair School 1987-1988
    Star Appliance Tech. 2 yrs. 1988-1990
    Wards Appliance Tech. 11 yrs. 1990-2001
    Sears Appliance Tech. 4 yrs. 2001-Oct. 2005
    Jake's Appliance Repair Nov. 2005-present

    Look-Up & Order Parts

  8. #8
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    Oct 2009
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    Charleston, SC
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    Default

    Good info to know! Thanks!

  9. #9
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    McMullen Valley, Arizona
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    Your welcome.

    Jake
    Appliance Repair School 1987-1988
    Star Appliance Tech. 2 yrs. 1988-1990
    Wards Appliance Tech. 11 yrs. 1990-2001
    Sears Appliance Tech. 4 yrs. 2001-Oct. 2005
    Jake's Appliance Repair Nov. 2005-present

    Look-Up & Order Parts

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Charleston, SC
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    Default

    Another day, another question: I wrote the part number off of both heating elements today. The top one is RC02404524 and the bottom one is RC02804524. I did some research, and those numbers are listed as such: top and bottom heating elements for an A.O. Smith heater. I just went to Lowes, and they have a screw in, 4500W heating element. The part number on it matches the part number for the bottom element. The guy there said I can use that same element in the top based on that it's 4500W. He said the actual part number doesn't matter. I checked out Home Depot since they're right across the street from Lowes, and the ones they sell don't even have part numbers on them. So, is it ok to use these ones from Lowes for both the upper and lower? Also, I've been watching some "how to" videos on YouTube, and one guy says you should keep the lower element 10 degrees colder than the top element. Any truth to that?

    Sorry for all the questions, but I'm still very much a rookie at appliance repair. But, I am having fun learning to do stuff on my own!
    Last edited by Retired USAF; December 27th, 2010 at 02:50 PM.

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