Water Heater Issues - PLEASE HELP!

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Mandee, Dec 4, 2008.

  1. Mandee

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    Okay, so I have lived in this apartment with my mother for about three months. The first night we spent here, I woke up the next morning and took a shower... I was not impressed. I do not take extremely hot showers, but I do like my water to be warm. Five minutes into my shower the water was ICE COLD. I adjusted the temperature as high as I could get it, but this didn't help. The water remained freezing. Since then, I've had the same problem each time I take a shower. I give the water heater plenty of time to heat the water up before I take my shower, so I don't know what the problem is.

    I have a GE Smartwater water heater.
    Serial # GE 0407R17584
    Model # GE 40M06AAG
    MFG Date - 04/2007
    Capacity - 40 gallons
    240/208 Volts
    Electric (not gas)

    I looked on the GE website and it says that for 2 people with one shower, a washing machine, and no dishwasher that a 40 gallon tank is suitable. So, obviously that's not the problem. It seems pretty new too... it looks like it's in good condition (no one has beat it up or anything) and it's only a little over a year and a half old.

    Our water bill is covered in our rent, but we pay the electricity. Do you think that maybe the apartments have done something to the water heaters so that they stop pumping out hot water after 5 minutes to keep people from taking long showers (so that they have a lower water bill)?? Is this even possible or am I a complete conspiracy theorist? lol.

    Never in my life have I had a problem like this. I'm used to taking 10+ minute long showers. I love showers... they are how I relax. I cannot wash my face, wash my hair, condition my hair, wash my body, shave both legs and my coochie and my underarms all in just five minutes. I have tried. I always end up with one leg unshaven and frozen feet from standing in cold water. (Yes, that's another issue, the water does not drain quickly in our tub even though we have a hair catcher to keep the hair out and we have used drain un-clogging solutions to clean it out) Sometimes I'll stand there and try to put up with the freezing cold water while I quickly shave the other leg, but it is very unpleasurable.

    You're probably thinking that my mother and I should complain to the apartment manager. Well, the truth is, he probably wouldn't do anything. These are crappy apartments in a crappy area, and you'd probably laugh if you saw them. When we moved in, we were washing clothes for the first time here and when my mom turned on the dryer the vent hose fell down. She told the manager and he acted like we had broke it. He said we should take pictures of everything that is broken or torn up before we move in... well... we had just moved in like that day. He was acting like it was OUR fault. His maintenance man (who my mom and I think has a major drinking problem because we've seen him throwing up in the public trashcans on several occassions) finally came and fixed it just this past week (we've been here since the first of October!).

    The remote-controlled gates on the entrances to our under the building parking garage have been broken for quite a while, too. They advertise this complex as having a guarded parking garage. It is only guarded during office hours (9 to 5) when Mel or Mike happen to be downstairs in the office. There are no security cameras, and no night guards. Anyone can just wonder in there off the street. My mom and I are afraid to go in there at night because we're afraid a bum will have wandered into there and will be trying to camp out there. We're also afraid someone might hide under our car and try to attack us.

    Anyway... I'm ranting too much. I'd like to know if anyone has any advice or knows anything about how I can fix the water heater so that I have hot water for longer periods of time. I tried to look online to see if our model had been recalled, but I couldn't find any information on it. Maybe I just wasn't looking hard enough.

    I'd really appreciate any positive information or feedback you could provide.

    Thank you! =)
     
  2. ZOS23xy

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    Is there a reset button somewhere on the computer? Or the fuse box to the whole apartment? Try that.

    And call the 800 number again to request if they have a part you can replace.
     
  3. Principessa

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    I am not a plumber but I do have some ideas. :biggrin1:
    Water Heater Blanket
    Get a shower massage. When I had standing water issues in my last apartment after snaking the tub and trying Drano, that worked.
    The same thing helped in my current shower because there was an energy efficient, low flow shower head. It for some reason controlled the temp of the water. So getting rid of it gave me nice, hot, high pressure showers. :smile:
     
  4. Mandee

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    A computer on the water heater? I don't think it's that modern... what are you talking about??

    I don't think they would send us a replacement part... I don't even know if it has a warranty. We didn't buy it... it belongs to the apartment complex.

    Oooh... that water heater blanket looks like a good idea! I just mentioned it to my mom and she nodded her head like she knew what I was talking about (she should go buy one!). lol.

    Wow... that shower massage looks nice!


    Thank you both for your advice! =)
     
  5. Scrufuss

    Scrufuss New Member

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    Take showers in the managers apartment until it gets fixed.
     
  6. devron

    devron New Member

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    If it's just your apartment with the problem, my guess is that it's probably a faulty heating element or it's wired as 110v and not 220v.
     
  7. RedScrotum

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    Buy the maintence man a bottle of booze and have him come and drain the water heater for you. it may have too much sediment at the bottom. it's worth a try, but don't try it yourself.
     
  8. Penis Aficionado

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    Mandee,

    I believe most modern water heaters have two heating elements (these are the things that make the water hot). If one of them went out (or were removed), you would probably have about 5 minutes of hot water, if that, with a 40-gallon tank. So, that's something to check.

    But that's mainly useful if you're going to fix it yourself. What you really need to do is find out your rights as a tenant in the state of Nevada, and proceed accordingly. In Texas, landlords are required by law to provide sufficient hot water for bathing, and Texas is probably the most pro-landlord, anti-tenant state in the country. There is probably a tenants' rights organization in your state that has a website, and you can look up what the law says about hot water.

    To get the landlord to fix it, you'll probably have to put a complaint in writing and wait a certain period of time. Then you may have to send another letter. But at some point you can probably hire a plumber to fix it yourself, and deduct the cost from your rent.
     
  9. Penis Aficionado

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    Devron, you beat me to the punch!
     
  10. mindseye

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    Penis Aficionado is exactly right: I've dealt with this symptom before, and I'm 99% sure that's what's going on.

    There's a heating element at both ends of the tank. If one element goes out, you'll get a little hot water, but as the water continues to drain, the rest of the water is cold.

    It's *easy* to fix if you want to do it yourself: drain the water heater first, then unscrew the bad element and screw in the good element. The part will run you less than $20 at a Lowe's or Home Depot.

    If you're inclined to do this sort of thing, get a small voltmeter ($10) so you can test the elements for continuity before you replace them.
     
  11. Mandee

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    lol.. but that would mean going down two flights of stairs, walking to the other side of the building, and then up another flight of stairs... in my pajamas! lol :tongue:

    Ohhhh... so how do we fix this?

    How do you drain a water heater? We live on the third floor of an apartment building and we're in a middle unit... only one of our walls (the front one where the door is) faces the outside... we are surrounded by apartments on the other three walls... would he have to have a long hose reaching all the way from our laundry room (where the heater is) all the way through our living area and out the front door... and then down to the ground?

    Yeah, one of my friends who used to live in Reno said that they are supposed to fix things within one week of a complaint being filed. There are only 48 apartment units in this complex.. surely they aren't fixing something every day. I don't see why it took him so long to get his lazy ass over here. We're probably going to move out when our lease is up this summer... so I'll just suffer with it until then. No reason to hire a lawyer and do legal crap just so I can have hot water.
     
  12. B_gagger

    B_gagger New Member

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    Did you explore turning up the temperature control setting on the heater? Also, there may be a temperature limiter set too low on the shower handle assembly that needs adjustment.
     
  13. Mandee

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    Thanks Mindseye...

    I am now convinced that that's probably what the problem is. However... with the location of our apartment (being on the third floor of a building), draining the heater would not be an easy thing to do, and our landlord would probably not be too happy with us for doing this!

    I think we should move back to Oklahoma where you get more for your money (housing-wise). We have rented some really nice 3 bedroom homes with big yards for less than what we're paying here for this crappy studio apartment.
     
  14. devron

    devron New Member

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    mindseye gave you the basics, other than it being a good idea to turn off the power to the tank before draining and removing the possibly faulty element. If you get hot water for a little bit, it's probably the top one that needs replacing.

    It's not really hard to do, but as you mentioned with getting rid of the water, it can be a pain in the ace.
     
  15. Jovial

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    I don't know much about water heaters. It sounds like you get some hot water, so it's heating, but you don't have a lot. I wonder if there is air trapped in it. I know that can happen to water tanks, but not sure about water heaters. Is there a valve on top or something? Maybe someone else knows if I could be correct.
     
  16. B_mylipswet

    B_mylipswet New Member

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    In your mind until you meet me eye to eye if you d
    Hello Mandee,
    Before you try to fix anything..first ask a neighbor if they also have the same problem. Should you find out they do then you can rest assure that the owner not the manager is the one to address this issue to. Go over the managers head and speak to the owner. Secondly, I wouldnt try to repair anything without written consent, it seems you will only leave yourself vunerable in a situation like this. If you get no response from the owner. Go to your local courthouse for updated information on current tenants rights. There they should have plenty of information on what is best suited to do as well as proper legal counsel to assist you in the future. Generally if you can't afford an attorney they will appoint someone exclusively geared to handle cases such as your own for the indigent. Good-luck
     
  17. Jovial

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    It sounds like the other people are probably correct about the heating element, so I guess my theory doesn't hold water.
     
  18. pasarefun

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    Draining the waterheater is usually needed on a gas heater. You have an element out - there is a RED reset button on the thermostat that will pop out if it need to be reset. Otherwise, the element needs to be changed. A handyman could easily check it using a meter. It's a simple fix to change it - drain the tank below the suspect element and remove it with a wrench. Then just take the dead one to a appliance repair place. Also have the info from the plate on the heater with voltage, wattage. Take the costs off your rent!
    Or get the manager to fix it... It's really his problem. As stated above, the law states that you must be provided hot water unless it something you did (like not paying the electric bill).
     
  19. CALAMBO

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    mandee...the guys are very much correct...unless it is leaking......but really this a landlord problem...do not tackle this yourself...a mis step and your downstairs neighbors will be your enemy...
     
  20. kalipygian

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    40 gals is the standard size for a house in this country, it should be adequate.

    Another possibility is that the inlet and outlet pipes are connected backwards. The cold is supposed to be connected to an internal pipe that extends inside to close to the bottom of the tank. The hot outlet draws from the top of the tank. If this is the case, you will get some hot water, maybe 15 gals, then cold.

    There are also supposed to be anti-siphoning check valves on the connections.

    An insulating blanket will save you some electricity in hot weather, but doesn't relate to your problem.

    What is the water heater thermostat set at?

    Unless there are valves to isolate the water heater, you cannot disconnect anything, or remove one of the elements without water at @30lbs pressure spraying all over the place.
     
    #20 kalipygian, Dec 4, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2008
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