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Vaughn Water Heater

My Vaughn water heater is 20 years old and just recently started running out of hot water if I run two things at a time, such as the washer and a shower or dishwasher and wash dishes by hand. I know nothing about electronics, but was told by a friend who tested the elements with an ohmmeter that they "toned" as well as the lower thermostat, but the upper thermostat did not "tone". Does this make sense? Would I be running out of hot water if I had a faulty upper thermostat? Do you think I should just replace both elements since the tank is 20 years old?


  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Tone This:

    If it is a Vaughan standard dual element electric water heater, looking for a "Tone" isn't how I learned to do it. It takes a multi-meter and a "Amp Clamp" to check for current draw and a voltage meter. A "Wiggy" will do.

    Just because you have voltage doesn't mean you have amperage.
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    20 year old tank

    might be best to consider replacing the tank itself. 
  • heatpro02920
    heatpro02920 Member Posts: 991
    If I

    came to your house and you had a 20 year old electric water tank, I wouldn't even open up the panels, I would sell you a new one, what you pay to get that working is going to be lost money when that thing is leaking next month....

    Time for a new tank bud... Either Hit the Home Depot or call in a pro and get a price over the phone, so they don't have to waste a trip they can bring the tank with them. I do this all the time, I ask the customer how old the tank is, what make and model, fuel ect. If its 15+ I tell them on the phone, Ill come out and check it but its X amount, or I will have my guys bring a tank and its X amount but you save the first X amount for us going out and telling you you need a tank... Its a 90 minute job, and a $400 tank.... Now with the shark bite fittings and flex connections they have available a lot of customer opt to do electrical themselves... Gas people are still weary of...
  • WaterHeaterDude
    WaterHeaterDude Member Posts: 1
    Tank filled with sediment

    Your tank is running out of hot water because it is filled with sediment and deposits. Your water heater will run out of capacity as it fills up with sediment over time. Try to drain water from the drain valve on the bottom of the tank. If the flow of water is slow you have a lot of sludge build-up. Make sure to shut the power to the tank off when you do this. If it is plugged up try to route a small piece of wire through the spigot. It may take awhile to get it all cleaned out.

    If you water is flowing freely from the bottom and you still have lost hot water capacity you should change out your water heater elements - the upper and the lower one. It may take one hour to get it done and you will need to drain the tank prior to pulling the elements. GP Conservation can hook you up with new elements and they ship them all over the country. You can also get a new Vaughn tank from them if needed:


    Vaughn water heater last an average of 28 years, so you still have life left and there is no need to change it out. Draining a tank and changing out elements is standard maintenance that is long overdue on a 20 year old tank. No need to panic.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,335
    things to check

    Hello:  Yes, your heater is old, but if it's set up now so a leak won't cause damage to floors, walls or stuff, then keep the unit going.  I'd have a look at the elements, thermostats, dip tube and relief valve.  Your problem of reduced hot water are most likely a damaged dip tube or burned out lower element. 

    Do check or replace the relief valve.  A heater blowing up will just ruin your day.

    Yours,  Larry
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