Residential Electric Water Heater Troubleshooting Guide
There are many times when a water heater will stop working and you will get no hot water and either have to call a plumber or water heater service tech to repair the hot water heater or you can learn how to troubleshoot the unit, so you can find out what is wrong with it and then buy the replacement parts.
There are several common parts on a water heater that will go bad over time and these parts are known as the heater element, water heater thermostat, fuses and breakers and the high limit switch. The problem with repairing water heaters is that the parts can be expensive depending on which one goes bad, but the good news is that there is only a few things that can go bad or actually will so the time it takes to troubleshoot an electric water heater will be short compared to a gas fired water heater or even an oil fired one for that matter, since the other two have a lot more mechanical parts as well as electrical components.
The best way to figure out what is wrong is to do some water heater troubleshooting which will let you know what is wrong with the heater. You will then be able to decide if its worth repairing. Sometimes its just best to replace the water heater.
There are also many brands of water heaters including names like Rheem water heaters, State Water Heaters and of course Bradford White water Heaters, but the nice part is most electric water heater have common parts that will fail. Sometimes no matter what brand of water heater you buy, or what the price of the water heater was, you sometimes end of with defective parts that are fully covered under your warranty.
Taking a few minutes and troubleshooting your electric hot water heater can save you lots of money as well as time because you won’t be guessing what parts are broken, only to find out that what you had guessed was broken really was not, resulting in you being stuck with an expensive part that you don’t need and still no hot water.
Problem: “I have No Hot Water”
There are several things that can leave you with a “no hot water” situation. You could have a bad upper thermostat, bad elements, no electrical power to the water heater or possibly a high temperature limit switch open.
If you find yourself to have one of the symptoms of a no hot water situation and have read the causes then you will want to replace the part that you found broken or defective such a bad thermostat, a bad element, or even no power to the water heater for some reason like a tripped circuit breaker.
Problem: “I have Don’t Have Enough Hot Water”, ” My Water Heater Isn’t Hot Enough”
If you are experiencing a shortage of hot water from your heater or even insufficient hot water, there may be a few things that could be wrong. Things such as thermostats that are set to low, sediment or lime deposits in the tank that have built up or possibly the water heater is just to small for the application or job.
Before you right away think that your water heater is completely damaged you should think about the last time you had your water heater cleaned and if you can’t remember you could just have a build up of lime or sediment and you just might need a cleaning. Also remember sometimes you will also need to adjust the thermostat from time to time. If your experiencing a lot of hot water loss you may have a bad element.
Problem: “I Have Really Slow Hot Water Recovery”, ” My Water Heater does not Re-heat Fast”
Usually slow hot water recovery or when your water heater takes a long long time to get the water hot again it will usually mean your elements are bad.
If your elements are bad you will want to make sure to take down the model number of your water heater and the make as well so that the supply house can identify the replacement water heater element easily for you.
Problem: “I Have Water Dripping From My Water Heater Relief Valve”, “My Water Heater Is Dripping”
The water heater relief usually goes bad when you have excessive water pressure or when you use it to blow the air out of the heater on fill up and then some sediment gets stuck in the valve body or gasket causing the seal to fail.
If you are experiencing a leaking or dripping relief valve then you will simply just want to replace it with the exact type that was in there, this is very important. Make sure to show your old safety valve to your water heater replacement part dealer before just replacing or buying one.
Problem: “I Have A Water Oder From My Hot Water Heater”, “My Water Heater Smells”
If you are experiencing an Oder in your water and you think its from the water heater you may be right. This happens when there are sulfides in the water.
Removing the Oder from your water heater that is caused by having sulfides in the water can be corrected by replacing the aluminum anode with a anti-sulfide anode. Companies like American water heaters make a replacement anode specifically for this called the KA90 anode.