Is your electric water heater not working, and you don’t know why? Listed here are some problems you may be having and how to troubleshoot and repair them.
Let’s take a look at these problems and what possible causes and repairs you can try:
- No hot water
- Defective hot water
- Water temperature too hot
- Leaky pipe connection
- Leaky water storage tank
- Rust colored water
- Rotten egg odor
- Low rumbling or popping noise
- Higher pitched whining
NOTE: Make sure to prepare safely for the job before any troubleshooting is done on the water heater:
- Shut the power off to the electric water heater by turning off the circuit breaker or fuse powering the heater.
Problem 1: No hot water
- Shortage of power to heating elements (from either a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse handling water heater circuit).
- Defective electric thermostat
- Flawed upper electric heating element
- Exchange the blown fuse or reset the tripped circuit breaker
- Verify power is being provided to the electric water heating element thermostat.
- Check the upper heating element and replace if required
- Exchange thermostat or heating element if power is being provided to electric heating element thermostat
Problem 2: Defective hot water
- Water heater could be undersized for water heating demands
- Crossed cold and hot water connections from defective plumbing installation
- Flawed electric lower or upper heating element or high or low heating element thermostat. (Continuous lukewarm water during a shower is suggestive of a defective upper heating element, while short duration of hot water during a shower is suggestive of a defective lower heating element).
- Check that hot water demand does not surpass capacity of water heater. 75% of the water heater’s capacity should be hot water (e.g., a 40 gallon WH should be used for a demand of 30 gallons).
- Inspect for crossed connection in the water heater by turning off water supply. Afterwards, open a hot water faucet. If there is water flow, then there is a crossed connection somewhere.
- Make sure there is power and electrical continuity at the lower and upper heating elements. If needed, exchange the water-heating element. Be sure to clear the tank of any sediment beforehand.
- Check for power at upper electrical upper thermostat, if elements test successfully. Then if the power is successful, check lower thermostat, and replace if necessary.
Problem 3: Water temperature too hot
- Setting on the heating unit thermostat is too high
- Observe upper and lower heating element thermostat settings and lower if set too high. Normal setting is between 110 degrees F and 140 degrees F.
How ER Plumbing Services Can Help
Still unsure what is wrong with your water heater? Check out Part II of our water heater troubleshooting series here.
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