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Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,677
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G
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... An indicator panel with 4 neons, for the elements, l1/l2 and the overload?

Green (lens) across the input voltage
Red across the over temp sensor
Yellow across each element.
For a couple of bucks you would instantly know the electrical status of the heater and with a simple flow chart you could diagnose the problem without ever opening a cover or getting out your meter.
I suppose you also need one between the thermostats if you really want to cover all bases.


Greg Fretwell
Joined: Apr 2002
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Perhaps you should send that to a WH mfg! Sound interesting....even a HO could 'see' what's wrong (or right)

Greg...you may become a rich inventor!


John
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 354
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pdh Offline
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Now I'll have an excuse to open the door to the closet where the water heater is located.

Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 404
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The Whirlpool we put in my parents' place has an indicator light on its control panel that is supposed to indicate under/over voltage, element and control circuit failure. However, it wasn't working too good when the circuit board basically melted... Not sure what happened with that one, took half the circuit breaker with it too.

Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 47
sbi Offline
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Originally Posted by noderaser
The Whirlpool we put in my parents' place has an indicator light on its control panel that is supposed to indicate under/over voltage, element and control circuit failure. However, it wasn't working too good when the circuit board basically melted... Not sure what happened with that one, took half the circuit breaker with it too.


The whirlpool you are talking about is known to have alot, of problems with their boards,
Bad part you can't even jump them out to get the water heater going to take a hot shower. IMO Whrilpool screwed up on this design. The board cost more than a new water heater


when in doubt jump it out
I happily work for slumlords
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 853
L
Member
"The board cost more than a new water heater"

The only answer. This adds cost. In a world of $1.99 as opposed to $2.00.
Very simple.

Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 917
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N
Member
Whirlpool gas "Flamelock" water heaters are the subject of a class action lawsuit, so not surprised that electric WH's are a problem too.

Joined: Jul 2004
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G
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There is no reason an electric water heater needs to be complicated. Basically you have a tank, 2 thermostats and 2 elements with a mechanical TPS valve to keep it from blowing up if something goes haywire.
The only trick is figuring which of the 4 electrical parts is bad when you have a problem. Poking around inside is dangerous for the unskilled but if you just kept an eye on the lights when it failed you would have the information to make this a "one part" call when you called someone (most of the time) and keep the service time to a minimum. Everyone wins with that.
I have a mystery problem as we speak and that is why I got to thinking about this. I know it is a bottom element failure but that could be either thermostat or the element.
I know I can probe 2 points to figure it out but I am trained to do this sort of thing and have the appropriate probes.


Greg Fretwell
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 402
J
Member
The water heater at work has 3 LED. One for each element to indicate if they are operating.

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Cat Servant
Member
Oddly enough, I just worked on a commercial GAS water heater that had something like what you suggest ... to troubleshoot the electronic igniter, and various other safeties.

In this instance, the troubleshooting chart kept leading me to the new damper ... opening it up, we found that the factory had failed to connect a wire. Oops.

I think the key word here is 'commercial.' From my observations, homeowners only see one thing: the price tag. That's the first problem.

The second problem is that many water heaters - General Electric most notably - are made by a generic water heater manufacturer. In such instances, the only way things will change is if a premium brand has some new feature that allows it to start grabbing up market share .... at which time the copy cat does what he does best: follow the leader.

The convenience of the service tech is way down the list of priorities for these folks.

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