Heating elements are designed to operate in water. The technical term used to describe a heating element when power is applied with inadequate or no water in the tank is “dry-fired.” Dry-firing an element raises the temperature on copper elements to a destructive point.
The expected life of a dry-fired copper element will be reduced to a point that it may fail completely in 30 to 45 seconds, or it may last several months and fail at that point. Operating in water, the tubing temperature of the element will not exceed the temperature of the water by more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit.; however, in a dry tank, the tubing temperatures may reach 1900 to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Dry-fired elements can be recognized in three ways:
Note: only number 3 would be evident on Sandhog Elements.