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Old 03-08-2010, 10:12 AM   #1
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Replacement Water Heater Mystery

Hi folks,

I live aboard my 31-footer and replaced the water heater with a 10 gallon (electric only) GE water heater about six months ago. Its been working great--the former owner had put in a similar one (but 2.5 gallons) and showers just weren't long enough.

Here's the funny thing. Two weeks ago I relocated my trailer and now I seem to be getting much less water out of the heater. It runs out in about 5 minutes instead of the 10 I got at my old location. The oddest thing is that if anything the water pressure is lower at my new location (so there aren't more gallons/minute flowing out of the shower head).

I'd love any theories/advice. Thought those navy showers (pits and bits) were a thing of the past.
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Old 03-08-2010, 10:25 AM   #2
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Working theory: There is/was a big air bubble in the heater and it has allowed the upper element to burn out (which they happily do when not surrounded by water). Pull the upper element to see or check the continuity with an ohm meter.
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Old 03-08-2010, 10:30 AM   #3
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Good theory

One caveat: before plugging the electric on the trailer back in I ran the water on "hot" for several minutes to get the air bubbles out and get the system back under pressure. I only then plugged it back in.
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Old 03-08-2010, 11:06 AM   #4
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I don`t know of any 10 gal.120v heater having 2 elements,even the ones with 2 elements,if the top burns out ,it doesn`t heat,the top element heats up first,then the thermostat switches to the bottom,and heats up the bottom of the tank.If the bottom burns out then you run out of water too soon. Dave
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Old 03-08-2010, 12:44 PM   #5
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Here is a link to the exact model. The owner's manual specifies that there is only one heating element:

GEĀ® Electric Water Heater | GE10P06SAG | GE Appliances

Thanks all. Also worth noting that its not a weather change. Incoming water temperature, etc should be WARMER than the last few months as this March in Texas.
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Old 03-08-2010, 01:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seventythree View Post
Hi folks,




I'd love any theories/advice. Thought those navy showers (pits and bits) were a thing of the past.
Could be sediment build up reducing the amount of room in the tank. How to Flush a Water Heater | Video | Water Heaters | This Old House
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Old 03-08-2010, 01:38 PM   #7
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Quality of incoming power? Is the unit being fed through the conventional RV shore power extension cord - if so the outlet receptical at this location could be heating up from a high resistance connection - no warm spots anywhere in the wiring I hope...

The linked installation manual says thats 2000w of power and should have 10AWG wiring to the receptical - And if the new location is 1200 feet from the powco's transformer versus 120 feet at the old spot there will be a slight brown out effect from losses in the copper wiring. Are you fluent in Voltmeterese? You getting a solid 117VAC at the appliance when the line is under load?

Many many possibilities : )
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Old 03-08-2010, 08:29 PM   #8
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I suspect you have air trapped in the tank.

To correct open the lever on the safety pop off valve to let the air escape.
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Old 03-09-2010, 06:53 AM   #9
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I have to agree Wabbiteer,you are probably not getting enough amps there.Dave
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