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Troubleshooting Electric Water Heaters

Troubleshooting Electric Water Heaters
When an electric heater has problems, suspect the heating elements, their thermostats, and the high-temperature cutoff. The two heating elements (upper and lower), immersed in water, are controlled by thermostats which, along with the high-temperature cutoff, are concealed behind a panel on the side (insulation must be cut away for access after removing the panel). If the high-temperature cutoff has tripped due to water that's too hot, the solution may be as easy as pushing the reset button. High voltage and inaccessibility warrant a service call to adjust the thermostats, reset the high-temperature cutoff, or to replace any of these components of the heating elements themselves.
 
There is no hot water.
 
Check for:
  • The heater has no power.
  • The safety thermostat has quit working.
  • Defective heating thermostat.
  • Defective heating elements.
  • Accumulation of rust, scale, or sediment in the tank or pipes.
 
Remedies:
 
  • Check the fuse box/ circuit breaker.
  • If the heater repeatedly blows fuses call an electrician.
  • Push the reset button.
  • Test the heating thermostats and elements.
  • Test the thermostats and replace if necessary.
  • Test the elements and replace if necessary.
  • Drain and flush the tank and pipes.
 
The hot water supply is too low.
 
Check for:
  • Thermostat is set wrong.
  • The tank is too small.
  • Heat is getting loose in the pipes.
  • Defective heating element.
  • Leaking hot water faucets.
 
Remedies:
 
  • Turn the thermostat to a higher temperature.
  • Install a larger heater.
  • Move the heater nearer to the point of use if possible.
  • Insulate the hot water pipes.
  • Test the element then replace it.
  • Repair or replace the faucets.
 
The water temperature is too high.
 
Check for:
 
  • Thermostat is on the wrong setting.
  • Inadequate insulation around the thermostats.
 
Remedies:
 
  • Turn up the thermostat.
  • Add insulation around the thermostats.
  • Test the thermostat and replace if necessary.
 
There is a water leak.
 
Check for:
 
  • Defective gasket or seal on the element.
  • Defective safety valve.
  • The tank is rusted through.
  • Leaking plumbing connections.
 
Remedies:
 
  • Check and replace gasket or seal.
  • Check and replace the safety valve.
  • Buy a new water heater.
  • Call a qualified contractor.
 
The heater becomes unusually noisy.
 
Check for:
 
  • Accumulation of rust, scale or sediment in the tank.
  • Scale has formed on the elements.
 
Remedies:
 
  • Drain the tank and flush it out.
  • Remove the elements, soak with vinegar and then scrape off the scale.
 
Your hot water pipe is rusty or discolored.
 
Check for:
 
  • Accumulation of rust or sediment in the tank.
  • Scale has formed on the elements.
  • Corroded water pipe.
 
Remedies:
 
  • Drain the tank.
  • Remove the elements, soak them in vinegar and then scrape off the scale.
  • Have a plumber replace the pipes.

2 Comments to Troubleshooting Electric Water Heaters:

Comments RSS
Electricians Adelaide on Monday, September 2, 2013 5:05 AM
These post is written in very nice forms and provides all the necessary useful information regarding the troubleshooting electric water heaters which are very useful….Thanks for these post….
Reply to comment


Sylvester on Friday, April 11, 2014 1:01 AM
I agreed that is it always better to test your water before using for drinking purpose...its a nice post to aware peoples about water testing..thanks for posting this post..
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