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Re: Share Your Home Electrification/Efficiency Improvements

Posted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:24 am
by dmacarthur
LeftieBiker wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 1:42 pm
I went for the cheap Mr Cool unit because it was the only one that came pre-charged for home installation by the purchaser. All the rest had to be charged by a certified HVAC tech - or at least someone with those tools. That was a job I'd never take on again. I did come up with a technique for cutting a large hole through a lathe & plaster wall without filling the house with dust, though.
Yup, any of the larger units are going to need to be charged, although if you buy and install yourself a local HVAC person around here will come and charge, probably most places where cash is still king....

Re: Share Your Home Electrification/Efficiency Improvements

Posted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:15 am
by SageBrush
dmacarthur wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:24 am
LeftieBiker wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 1:42 pm
I went for the cheap Mr Cool unit because it was the only one that came pre-charged for home installation by the purchaser. All the rest had to be charged by a certified HVAC tech - or at least someone with those tools. That was a job I'd never take on again. I did come up with a technique for cutting a large hole through a lathe & plaster wall without filling the house with dust, though.
Yup, any of the larger units are going to need to be charged, although if you buy and install yourself a local HVAC person around here will come and charge, probably most places where cash is still king....
Just a guess here ...
That the exorbitant HVAC installation fees are because they are dealing with regulated (and GHG nasty) refrigerant. I'm going to try and wait for more benign refrigerants to come to market (perhaps CO2, perhaps something else) to save money and not worry about pollution. It might even open up the heat pump market to DIY types

Re: Share Your Home Electrification/Efficiency Improvements

Posted: Sat Feb 27, 2021 11:12 pm
by LeftieBiker
Is this the topic where heat pump water heaters were discussed? I just had to take a "shower" using a corn boiling pot and a 1 cup measuring cup. Why? Because the Rheem water heater that we got for free after our fairly expensive Rheem electronically controlled unit failed...failed. No warning, and it's only about 3 years old. This is getting very, very tiresome. Can I borrow this topic for a while? I'll erase what I post later. I went over the thing with a test light, and:

* The breaker is working.

* The water heater is getting power on both 120 volt legs.

* The thermostat is getting power.

* The upper heating element is getting power and is energized - just not producing any hot water.

* The lower element is not getting any power from the upper thermostat block.

Do these things start the elements in a staggered way, so if the first one fails, the second one doesn't get energized...?

Re: Share Your Home Electrification/Efficiency Improvements

Posted: Sun Feb 28, 2021 6:21 am
by BrockWI
Yes the upper elements heat up until it hits a set temperature, then then it switches to the lower element to heat up the rest of the water. And if the upper is out it will never switch over to the lower as it never heats up enough.

My guess is your upper element has burned out. If you shut off all the power it is pretty easy to just do an ohm check and my guess is it will be open. In a pinch when this has happened to me I disconnected the upper and lower elements and then ran a #12 jumper from the upper element power leads down to the lower element (or if you can just swamp them at the block), basically turning the lower element on. It takes longer to heat back up but at least you eventually get hot water and it is still thermostatically controlled. I ran one of ours for a year or two with only the lower element.

They aren't to hard to replace, but you have to drain the tank down past the element and make sure it seals back up. I think we usually got about 10 years out of an element at our old house on well water. We have natural gas where we are now, had to replace that unit after 8 years, but we had 4 teen aged kids (who think hot water is endless and free) here at the time and it ran constantly, but I digress.

Re: Share Your Home Electrification/Efficiency Improvements

Posted: Sun Feb 28, 2021 6:44 am
by LeftieBiker
Cool! When I read you saying the upper element was out, I decided to ask if I could swap leads as you described. I'll do that tonight or tomorrow, and will check the element resistance. I can't remove the elements because this crappy old house has a combination of ancient shutoff valves that don't close all the way, and newer ones that failed outright. I was going to rebuild/replace a few of them, just when my health worsened. I think I'll have that eventual plumber who replaces the upper element also replace a few valves...

Many thanks.

Re: Share Your Home Electrification/Efficiency Improvements

Posted: Sun Feb 28, 2021 8:16 am
by LeftieBiker
One more question: there are two thermostats, one for each element (although the lower one seems to be overridden by the upper). If I change the settings on those, is it possible I can get the lower element to come on without rewiring it? I can do the rewiring - it just makes my housemate nervous.

Re: Share Your Home Electrification/Efficiency Improvements

Posted: Sun Feb 28, 2021 9:43 am
by BrockWI
If you could set the upper t-stat low enough, it might switch to the lower element, but I doubt you can set it low enough, but it is worth a shot.

Re: Share Your Home Electrification/Efficiency Improvements

Posted: Sun Feb 28, 2021 11:41 am
by LeftieBiker
So upper T-stat set to minimum, lower one left at 120F? I'll try that first.

Re: Share Your Home Electrification/Efficiency Improvements

Posted: Sun Feb 28, 2021 11:52 am
by BrockWI
Yes

Re: Share Your Home Electrification/Efficiency Improvements

Posted: Sun Feb 28, 2021 11:02 pm
by LeftieBiker
The lowest thermostat setting is 90F so I didn't bother trying that. It required rearranging or removing every wire but one, but I did get the lower element powered and working, and am about to take a at-least-warm shower. Thanks again. I wasn't sure that I'd managed to keep the thermostat the circuit, but after looking at the photos I took several times, I can see that even if the connection up top is a constant 240 volts, the thermostat for the lower element is trill in the circuit.

The weird thing is that the dead heating element on top tests ok. No short, resistance in the prescribed range (12.7) and since the element was powered, the high limit hadn't been tripped. Maybe it just got tired of its career...