The following electric water heater repair guide helps you diagnose the potential problems, troubleshoot a thermostat and even explain how to replace the heating element.

Note that your water heating equipment is one of the fixtures in your home which needs regular maintenance and occasional repairs.

It’s actually the last part which homeowners dread – what if you need to pay a huge amount for a parts replacement, or maybe you need to replace the entire water heating unit?

Although such a scenario is possible, it is still recommended that you try checking whether the problem is a minor or a major one.

You might just save yourself a few hundred dollars if it ends up that the only problem with your water heating equipment is a valve that needs to be replaced.

Electric Water Heater Repair: The Basics

The first thing that you need to do when trying to repair your electric water heater is to self-diagnose the problem. Could it be that the connection was simply unplugged, and you need to plug it back?

Another obvious solution is to change a thermostat that cannot be reset. Or maybe you just need to remove some sediment left on the tank, by draining out some of the water until it runs clear.

If you or the handyman determine that the problem lies on the heating element itself, then may be quite costly to repair. It is a more viable solution to replace the entire water heating unit rather than having the heating element fixed.

Also, whether you have an electric or gas water heater, there are some maintenance steps that you need to do, including draining the heater at least twice a year to get rid of the sediment.

You should also test the relieve valve annually.

Testing the Equipment If There Is No Hot Water At All

After learning about the basics of electric water heater repair, let us now go into some specific scenarios.

What are you supposed to do if someone from the bathroom shouts “Who used up all the hot water?”

If nobody’s ‘guilty’, then there could be something wrong with the water heating equipment itself.

Here’s what you need to do if this is the case:

1. Check if electrical power is being supplied to the heater.
2. If you have a water heater timer, check if the ‘on’ switch is lit.
3. Check if the high temperature cutoff switch needs to be reset.
4. Check if the problem lies with the upper or lower heating elements failing.
5. Inspect if the water heater is leaking.

How to Troubleshoot a Thermostat

If the thermostat fails to work, then follow these steps:

1. Turn off the power source of the heater and warn family members to not turn it on.
2. Unscrew and remove the access panel of the water heater.
3. Test the thermostat using a multimeter.
4. If you find out that the problem lies with the thermostat during your tests, replace it by following the instructions in your owner’s manual.

Testing & Replacing the Heating Element

Yet another problem that you may encounter is a need to test and replace the heating element. Here’s a quick list of the solutions for this:

1. Turn off the power source of the heater and warn family members to not turn it on.

2. Remove the access panel, disconnect one of the element wires and use a multimeter to test the heating element. If the tester displays anything but the open circuit symbol, it is the one which needs to be replaced. You can perform the same test with both the upper and lower heating elements.

3. Replace the damaged heating element with the same rating, model and shape following the owner’s manual instructions.

Again, remember that replacing the heating element may end up being more costly than upgrading your electric water heater to a newer model – so always make a comparison of the costs.

As you can see, there are a multitude of basic troubleshooting steps which can be done from your end if you have a problematic water heater at home.  By following these electric water heater repair tips, you can save yourself from the trouble and costs of hiring a professional to do the repairs for you.

Just keep in mind that if the issue seems to be more complicated than these scenarios, it is a much better option to seek the help of a professional.

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