Electric Water Heater Troubleshooting

Common Electric Water Heater Problems and Solutions

  1. No hot water
  2. Not enough hot water or water not hot enough
  3. Water too hot
  4. Fuse blows or breaker trips repeatedly
  5. Temperature-pressure relief valve leaks continuously
  6. Drain valve leaks
  7. Heater wet or dripping
  8. Insulation wet
  9. Hot water discolored
  10. Hot water smells bad
  11. Water heater noisy

No hot water

Possible CauseProcedure
Heater disconnect switch offTurn switch on
Fuse blown or circuit breaker trippedReplace fuse or reset breaker
High-limit temperature cutoff faultyTest temperature cutoff
Thermostat faultyTest thermostats
Element faultyTest element

Not enough hot water or water not hot enough

Possible CauseProcedure
Heavy household demand for hot water or
cold incoming water slows recovery time
Stagger use of hot water or install larger water heater
Washing machine mixing valve or shower
combination valve faulty
Check for hot water in the toilet refill tube
Call for service
Thermostat control set too lowRaise thermostat control settings
High-limit temperature cutoff faultyTest temperature cutoff
Thermostat faultyTest lower thermostat
Sediment in tank slows recovery timeDrain and refill tank
Heating element faultyTest heating element
Loss of heatInsulate tank and hot water pipes

Water too hot

Possible CauseProcedure
Thermostat control set too highLower thermostat control settings
Thermostat improperly mountedReposition lower thermostat
High-limit temperature cutoff faultyTest temperature cutoff
Thermostat faultyTest thermostat
Heating element faultyTest heating element

Fuse blows or breaker trips repeatedly

Possible CauseProcedure
Wire in heater loose or brokenCheck heater wiring
House wiring faultyCall electrician

Temperature-pressure relief valve leaks continuously

Possible CauseProcedure
Relief valve unseatedPop spring lever to reset valve
Relief valve faultyReplace valve
Thermostat faultyTest thermostat

Drain valve leaks

Possible CauseProcedure
Valve loose or faultyTighten valve handle
Replace washer or valve

Heater wet or dripping

Possible CauseProcedure
Tank leaksHave water heater replaced

Insulation wet

Possible CauseProcedure
Leak around elementTighten loose element
Change gasket

Hot water discolored

Possible CauseProcedure
Sediment in tankDrain and refill tank
Anode rod deterioratedReplace anode rod
Tank interior corrodedHave water heater replaced

Hot water smells bad

Possible CauseProcedure
Magnesium anode rod reacts with sulfurous hot waterReplace with aluminum anode rod
Have water heater replaced

Water heater noisy

Possible CauseProcedure
Sediment in tankDrai and refill tank
Temperature-pressure relief valve faultyTest valve
Mineral scale on elementClean or replace element

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