I am sorry you're feeling that it's beneath you to state your assumptions. In this case, since you brought it up, you COULD say a few different things. Would your answer be different if the hwh was electric vs. gas vs. oil? Then if so, you can state your answer based on electric or gas or oil. OR, you could say if it's electric, have you, can you, did you. OR, if it's gas, you can say have you, can you, did you. And so on. OR, you can take a shot at giving a GOOD answer by saying you'll assume it's electric because my answer would be different if it was gas or oil. Better yet, save yourself some typing if you're interested, and ask the guy to tell you what heats his water so you can directly answer his question. As an amature DIY I'd like to know if your answer MAY apply to all types of heat sources. Otherwise, it's left to me to decide what the guy has AND what heat source your fix/recommendations apply to. You see, YOU know what you're talking about, I don't. And maybe the guy doesn't know what you're talking about, maybe he does. But for me and anyone else that might search this bbs as you suggest a lot, it would be nice, it would be useful, it would be just like Christmas to see that the answer has some premis if the poster doesn't provide it.
You may feel that as a DIY I'm asking a lot. OK I'm ok with that. You are the man. Now, some of the questions you asked the Christine are legitimate ASSUMING they make a difference regarding her problem. If not, then you're just 'bothered' by MY questions. Get past my 'problem' and go ahead and state whatever reasonable assumptions you want to make. If, on the other hand you don't, then what are WE to assume? How about-
"I can better answer your question if you tell me the heat source. My answers are completely different depending on the heat source. I really don't want to do a lot of typing so I'll wait for your answer."
Or "Your problem sounds like your electical heat elements are 'beat'. So I'll assume you have an electric HWH ..."
See what I'm saying? Well I've beaten you up enough. I just hope you understand where us DIY are coming from. This is why I come here.