How to Repair Electric Water Heater? – Step By Step Guide
Electric Water Heater is an important home appliance used for heating water in homes. It is built with an insulated storage tank made of strong steel inside that helps to keep the water warm, which later you can use for personal and household work.
Electric Water Heaters are similar to its alternate which is Gas Water Heater that also provides the water but with the help of Natural Gas.
But what to do when a water heater needs repair? Sometimes we tend to ignore that hot water heaters work 24/7 to keep up with our household's needs until they stop working and spring a leak or stop heating water.
Generally, your Electric Water Heater can have problems like low heating or no heating that are caused by a variety of reasons, it could be due to faulty heating elements or parts which need repairing or replacement. Additional problems may be due to wrong settings, high home water pressure, or not focusing on regular tank maintenance.
In this article, we will talk about reasons that can damage your hot water heater and you will learn about water heater troubleshooting.
We recommend that only a professional attempt to repair a hot water heater!
The first thing we do before proceeding to troubleshoot a hot water heater is, we will turn off the power to the heater's circuit. The electric water heater is a high voltage machine and can be dangerous to touch if it is not power cut properly.
Our service technicians always check the appropriate connection to your water heater from your home service panel and turn it off.
CHECK THE WATER HEATER WARRANTY LABEL
All Residential and Commercial Hot Water Heaters come with a limited warranty life. Most manufacturers offer 6 years of warranty that covers the replacement of some elements, tanks, & some parts of the Water Heaters.
Check the water heater tank for the rating plate, which contains the model & serial number. These details will help you to determine the registration date and warranty that you can claim to get your hot water heater repaired under the warranty. It may help you to avoid some cost of repair.
How to Troubleshoot & Repair Electric Water Heater
To fix a water heater you have to troubleshoot the different issues you are facing and repair it accordingly.
NO HOT WATER FROM YOUR ELECTRIC WATER HEATER?
Why is my hot water not working? The most common complaint has seen with water heaters is they don't provide hot water at all. This problem happens differently with the Electric and Gas Water Heaters. Firstly, look at what type of water heater you have so you can follow the troubleshooting steps.
- If you have a Gas-Powered Water Heater that is not heating the water at all, then the issue is possibly related to the gas. Check its pilot light if it's gone out. This usually happens by the gas valve, the natural gas supply, or, more likely, the thermocouple located next to the pilot light.
- If your Electric Water Heaters is not heating the water at all then the issue is likely with the heating element. You can try to replace one or both heating elements with a small effort using a screwdriver. The replacement of the heating elements is inexpensive and can be purchased from a hardware store nearby.
- Check for the water heater's circuit breaker located in the service panel to make sure it hasn't tripped. It's often hard to spot a circuit breaker, so we always shut off both breakers for the water heater and turn them back on.
If a breaker is tripped, then this will reset it and if the heater's breaker is still not tripped, we need to wait for 30 minutes for your water heater to recover and check for hot water. If we don't get any hot water, we may need to reset the high-temperature limit switch located on the upper thermostat.
We follow these steps when resetting the water heater temperature:
- After turning off the water heater circuit breaker from the service panel.
- We use a multimeter to make sure there is no power running to the hot water heater.
- Then we open the access panel for the upside located heating element of the water heater.
- Remove the plastic safety guard with precaution.
- Press the red color high-temperature reset button located above the thermostat.
- Re-install the safety guard, insulation, and access panel.
- Then we turn on the heater's circuit breaker.
- Even if that did not fix the hot water heating issue, then we have to test each heating element and replace it if necessary.
INSUFFICIENT HOT WATER SUPPLY
If your water heater is not producing sufficient hot water according to your needs, this could be because it's either too small of a water tank or the heater is on its way out.
How do we troubleshoot the issue?
There should be at least 70% of the water present in the water heater. The demand for the hot water heater should be under the percent of hot water capacity. To balance the demand and supply, you can limit the usage of hot water by installing restrictors over showerheads, faucets, taps, spreading out dishwashing, and doing laundry less often.
The good news is this will save you money on your power bill from those teenages that drain the entire water tank! Here is a list on Amazon of water restictors, we can install these for you if you need our help.
If your water heater unit produces less hot water according to its capacity, then it might have an issue with one or two of the heating elements. If a water heater is supplying adequate hot water or rises and falls in the water temperature, it indicates a defect in the upper heating element.
WATER TEMPERATURE IS TOO HOT
Another common water heating issue that, your water heater scalding temperature, which can be harmful. It is likely due to the wrong thermostat temperature settings or a malfunctioned thermostat.
How We Fix High Hot Water Heater Temperature?
Here are the steps we follow to check the thermostat settings and to maintain the water heater temperature:
- Turn off the power of the water heater from the service panel.
- Remove the water heater access panel, insulation, & plastic safety guard.
- Check both the thermostat for temperature settings set or if it has got any fault using a voltage tester. The default heating settings of both the thermostat should be equal and in between 115 and 125 degrees.
- Configure the appropriate temperature on the thermostat.
- Re-install the insulation, safety guard, & access panel.
- Power on the water heater again from the service panel.
YOUR WATER HEATER SPRUNG A LEAK
Any water leakage from the water heater needs to be addressed immediately. This is a clear sign of fixing the water heater immediately, or it needs a replacement. Otherwise, it will become a mess in a given time.
Water leaks are likely caused due to leaking valves, hoses, or cracks in the tank. Most of the time when the water heater leaks, repairs don't work and the unit needs to be replaced.
How to Identify where your water heater leaks?
There are some Water Heater Leak issues that are not expensive.
- Check the drain tubes; if there is any water dripping, then it's possible that the spring in the valve is corroded and the valve is not closing properly. Additionally, check to see if there's any water leaking around the threads.If it's a slow continuous leak, then it's best to replace the relief valve. If the relief valve opens intermittently or even daily, then it's most likely due to normal water pressure expansion. This can be fixed by installing a diaphragm-type expansion tank on the cold water supply line. In these cases, it's best to call a professional plumber.
- The drain valve can also be a reason which is used during regular maintenance to drain and flush the Tank. The valve is often made of plastic which can crack over time. It's recommended to install a brass drain valve as they are the most reliable.First, check if there is any water inside the outlet. Now check around the valve if any water is coming out of the threads, then replace the drain valve.
- Water can also leak out of the cold supply inlet and the hot water outlet pipes. First, check the threaded connection into the Tank. Now check each connection between the pipes. If there's any water leaking then it should be fixed.
- If you didn't find water to be coming out from any connection, then it could be the inner Tank. Remove the door cover; if the insulation is wet, then it's possible that the inner Tank has rusted out. At this point, it might be best to get a new tank installed.
WATER DISCOLORED OR SMELLS BAD
The least common problem is if water from your water heater is discolored and your faucet water is a yellow, brown, or red type of color or has unusual odors. If the water heater is smelling like rotten eggs, it's likely due to the bacteria growing in the water heater, which is harmful.
This could also happen when your water heater tank has become corroded from the inside or the water pipes in your home are an issue and you need a repipe.
How to Fix the discolored water or unusual odor from the water heater?
To fix this issue we may need to replace the anode rod in the tank, which replaces the magnesium. An Anode Rode can be purchased from a general hardware store nearby. Replacing an anode rod inside the Tank can be tricky, and for that, you will need professional help.
WATER HEATER TANK MAKING NOISE
Is your water heater making unfamiliar noises? Sometimes the water heater makes disturbing noises which could be due to the sound of the boiling water. The calcium and lime are formed in the bottom of the burner in the hot water tank, and as the hot water tank heats up, those calcium build-ups can make a sound like making popcorn.
The most common reason behind the noisy water heater is the sediment that has started collecting at the bottom of the water heater tank. The noisy sound is caused due to the hot water bubbles up through the sediment in the bottom of the Tank.
How to Fix the water heater tank making noise?
You can drain the Tank to get rid of the sediment, or you can try to clear the Tank using a decent calcification on it would be a definite solution to fix the noisy water heater tank. We don't recommend either of these solutions, chances are you need a new hot water heater.
Who to Call to Repair of Electric or Gas Hot Water Heater
When you need to keep your hot water heater working in top form, feel free to call us at Fischer Plumbing. Our technicians have a cumulative 40+ years of professional experience working on the major brand of water heating systems. They can quickly diagnose problems and apply effective solutions. When one of our experts is on the job, you can be confident that the job is done right.