How to Repair Electric Water Heater? – Step By Step Guide
Electric Water Heater provides hot water which is an essential part of our house. We use the hot water in our homes, in the kitchens for washing dishes, in the bathroom for a bath, and in the laundry, hence this makes the Electric Water Heaters a must need for us. Electric Water Heaters are similar to its alternate Gas Water Heater which provides hot water with the help of Natural Gas.
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. Low Heating or No Heating by your Electric Water Heater can be caused by many reasons. It could be due to faulty heating elements or parts that need to be repaired or replaced.
Watch: How to Repair Electric Water Heater?
Should You Repair & Troubleshoot The Problems of An Electric Water Heater?
We recommend that only a professional attempt to repair a water heater!
The first thing we do before proceeding to troubleshoot a hot water heater is, 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 done properly.
The service technicians always check the appropriate connection to your water heater from your home service panel and turn it off.
Check The Warranty Label
All Residential and Commercial Water Heaters come with a limited warranty life that may provide you with a warranty. Most manufacturers offer 6 years of warranty that covers the replacement of some elements, tanks, parts of Water Heaters. So you should check the service manual and warranty before repairing your electric water heater.
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 electric hot water heater repaired under the warranty. It may help you to avoid the repairing cost.
Of course, you can call Fischer Plumbing and we can usually repair or replace your water heater the same week you call, of course, our schedule varies, so call us sooner than later.
Now let’s proceed towards repairing the electric water heater.
No Hot Water
No hot water in the house is a common problem has seen with water heaters. A water heater that produces no hot water may not have enough power supply, may have a tripped limit switch or may have bad heating elements.
First, check for the 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 water heater’s breaker is still not tripped, we need to wait for 30 minutes for the water heater to recover and check for hot water. If there is still no 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 would not fix, no hot water heating issue, we 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 heater 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, spread out dishwashing, and doing laundry less often by doing larger loads. The good news is, this will save you money on your power bill from those troubles 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. Hot water that runs out quickly during a shower means its lower heating element is defective.
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 Too Hot Water Heater Temperature?
Here are the steps we follow to check the thermostat settings:
- Turn off the power of the water heater from the service panel.
- We 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 heating 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, and safety guard, the 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.
- Drain Tubes
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 your friends at Fischer.
- Drain Valve
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 these 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.
- Pipe Connections
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 then it should be fixed. This is often best handled by a technician.
- Inner Tank
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
If we 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 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
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.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO REPAIR OR REPLACE A PART OF THE WATER HEATER TANK?
What will be the cost of repairing or replacing part of the Hot Water Heater is a question that comes to the mind of every house owner who owns a Hot Water Heater.
Your Electric Water Heater unit has a few components that generally need repair or replacement.
- Heating Elements
- Anode Rod
- Dip Tube
- Pressure Relief Valve
Some other jobs may involve other parts repair, but mostly these are the components that usually break and need a repair.
(Note: The cost of the components can be different around regions.)
- Heating Element
If your electric hot water heater elements are defective and need repair, then it can cost you between $200 to $300 or more, it all depends on the size of the tank, the brand, the availability of parts, and how many hours we need to make the appropriate repairs. Most electric hot water heaters come with two heating elements that heat the water inside the tank. More often than not, repairing a hot water heater is not as cost-effective and replacing it.
The thermostat is one of the most essential parts of the Electric Water Heater, which helps to control the temperature. There are upper and lower thermostats installed in the water heater. The lower thermostat mostly helps to heat the water in the Tank, and if you have a big load of hot water, the upper thermostat takes the lead.
- Both thermostats need to work perfectly to complete the heating process efficiently.
Normally, the actual thermostat parts can vary between $20 to $80. If you call a professional plumber to fix the thermostat, then of course we need to charge you for labor to come out and repair the unit. This can range to anywhere around half the cost of a new hot water heater. (Remember, the repair and replacement costs vary depending on your current hot water heater.)
- Anode Rod
Anode Rod’s purpose is to attract the sediments and other corrosive elements like minerals present in the water. The anode rode takes the corrosion to itself to prevent the water heater from getting corroded. An anode rod lasts at least five years. Again the parts for an Anode Rod can cost you around $50 to $100. If you call a professional plumber to fix the thermostat, then of course we need to charge you for labor to come out and repair the unit. This can range to anywhere around half the cost of a new hot water heater. (Remember, the repair and replacement costs vary depending on your current hot water heater.)
- Dip Tube
A dip tube helps in emptying the cool water from the top of the Tank to the bottom. It is heated by the lower element. With time it can be damaged and can sprung water leaks. A damaged dip tube can make the water heater stops working. Parts for a dip tube can be $10 to $50 and again, labor will be your largest cost to replace this part.
- Pressure Relieving Valve
The pressure relief valve is a small part of the water heater, which helps to control or limit the pressure inside the water heater system. A damaged pressure relief valve can also result in leaking water. It can be a tough job to repair. We recommend calling a professional plumber to fix the pressure-relieving valve. The repair may cost you around $20 to $200 or more. Electric hot water heaters commonly have problems related to the power source. Below are the components of a Gas Water Heater with which you may have issues:- Thermocouple
– Pilot Light
– Gas Control ValveGas Water heaters are a little more complicated than electric water heaters, which a professional plumber will be able to handle.
Cost of Fixing or Replacing the Thermocouple
Thermocouples help to detect whether the pilot light is lit, and essentially, it just turns on the gas.
If the thermocouple gets damaged, then it won’t detect the pilot light, which may result in not releasing the gas. If a Gas Water thermocouple quotes working, then it will not be able to reignite the pilot light, and water will not get hot If the thermocouple is damaged, then replacing a new one will be the only option left. A professional plumber will cost at least $200 or more to replace the thermocouple.
WARNING: We always shut off the gas prior to replacing the thermocouple.
Cost of Fixing or Replacing the Pilot Light
Pilot Light produces a flame to ignite the gas burner. It’s a very small but important part of your Gas Water Heater. If you are having issues with the Pilot Light, it can be due to a temporary disconnection of the gas. It’s easy enough to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to turn it back on again.
If the pilot light doesn’t ignite, the problem could be due to a faulty thermocouple or gas control valve.
WARNING: Follow the safety instructions in the water heater’s safety manual before attempting any fix to relight the pilot light. Make sure the gas is turned off.
- Gas Control Valve
The valve plays an important role in the gas water heater. The valve controls the flow of the gas to the unit, which allows the pilot light to instantly ignite and release gas to the burner to temp up the water inside the water tank. It contains the thermostat and pilot light controls. We recommend that only a trained professional repair this part. WARNING: If the Gas Valve malfunctioned somehow, then the very first thing is to shut off the gas supply to the Gas Water Heater and call a plumbing professional.
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.