As it turns out, my optimism about the improved water heater efficiency was short-lived. The next day, I went to shower and ran out of hot water! I came downstairs, and the water heater had no power. My first thought was that the circuit breaker flipped. However, that was not the case. I thought maybe it was a wiring issue. So I turned off the breaker and rewired the water heater connection. I turned the breaker back on and still nothing.
Then I thought, maybe there is some kind reset switch. A little internet research uncovered that yes, there is indeed a reset switch. Our water heater is a Rheem Performance Series Electric Tank water heater, and the Rheem website had tons of useful information. Our water heater has a feature called ECO which is an overheat cutoff. The reset button is located behind one of the two jacket panels. I turned off the power, removed the jacket panel and insulation, and there was a large red button with RESET printed on it. I actually laughed because the button was absurdly large and easy to see, once I got the panel off. I was expecting one of those ridiculous resets that you have to push with a pen or something.
Anyway, I pushed the reset button and it made a satisfying click, like when you reset a GFCI outlet. I turned the power back on, and the water heater came back to life. However, within a couple of days, the water was super-heating again. A little more internet research and I started to think that either the thermostat or one of the heater elements was damaged.
However, during my perusal of the documentation on the Rheem website, I discovered that we have a two-year, in-home-repair warranty on the unit. So I called Rheem, and spoke to a very nice representative. I told her what was wrong, and she said, “We’ll send someone out to run a full diagnostic and repair it.” And that was it! The repairman showed up Friday, ran a diagnostic, checked everything out, and determined that the upper heating element had failed. He removed it and installed a new one. In the photo above, the upper element is the new one that he installed, and the lower element is the one that he removed, which was completely charred. He figured that the tank was not completely full when we turned the power back on after reinstalling it, and it toasted the element. There was no charge, we didn’t have to do any of the work ourselves, and the water heater now works perfectly. So I can breathe a sigh of relief!
It was so easy getting service from Rheem, with no questions asked other than model number, serial number, and our address. They have definitely earned my repeat business!