In this article, we’ll discuss how homeowners can prepare themselves for electric water heater troubleshooting. The article will cover all aspects of troubleshooting as well as repairs to thermostats, Pressure-release valves, dip tubes mineral accumulation, heating elements among other parts.

Much like a car, electric water heaters are prone to being affected by different problems at different types, and without any notice most time. The problems could range from no hot water to strange sounds, rust colored water to strange smells among other things. But don’t worry just yet. If you face issues that hamper the functioning of your water heater, just refer this quick reference electric water heater troubleshooting guide and solve the problem yourself!

•   No Hot Water
1)    Test the circuit breaker box and try to reset it.

Just resetting the circuit breaker could actually restore your supply of hot water, especially if you have an old electric water heater.
1.    Test the reset button.
2.    Remove the cover of the top thermostat
3.    Using a volt meter check for current at the terminals
4.    By placing testers on L1 and L2 terminals look for current
5.    If you get current press the red-colored reset button

2)   Test for supply of current to heating element.

Sometimes, when the stored water doesn’t get heated, the problem is with the thermostat or the heating element.
1.    Test for supply of current to heating element
2.    No current = problem with thermostat
3.    If there is no current, you’ll need to cut the power from the breaker and de-wire the heating element
4.    Using an OHM meter, bring the leads in contact with the element’s screw, all at the same time
5.    No reading = bad element and replacement is required
6.    If you get a reading, you need to perform a second test
7.    Check every screw one by one by touching it and the side of the water tank with the meter
8.    If you get a reading, your heater’s element is passing current leading to shorting

3)    Test bottom components.

If the controls and the top heating elements are functioning properly, reattach the wires and test the bottom controls.
1.    Bring on the power and repeat the same checks you carried out above.
2.    If you find a non-functioning part, get it replaced.

Replacing a part is an easy swap process that requires removing and reconnecting the wires.

•   Strange Noises From The Water Tank

There can be times when you hear some funny noises coming from your electric water heater. Whenever you carry out electric water heater troubleshooting for this, remember that the noise could be because of the expansion of water due to regular heating and cooling in the tank, or it could be because of air in the water line.
1.    Water valves should be checked for leakage or bubbling
2.    Thermostat should be adjusted to ensure water doesn’t boil
3.    Try to tighten the water valve in an attempt to stop the noise
4.    If that doesn’t work, solder to tighten the seal

•    Rust Colored Water

Rusty water is a sign of two problems:
a) The heater’s inside lining has been destroyed by rust and needs to be replaced;
b) The problem could be due to your underground water table. For this you may install a water purifier for the main water supply line, and eliminate the rust colored water.

More importantly, before installing a water purifier, get the underground water checked for establishing any recent changes etc.

•   Strong Rotten Eggs Odor

If you remember school chemistry, you’ll know that sulfur is identified by its smell of rotten eggs. So next time you get strong rotten eggs odor, you should know that this is sulfur and that something is wrong with the water and not the heater. A water softener or a water purifier could help with this issue as part of electric water heater troubleshooting.

•    Water is Very Hot

For a problem of very hot water, check the power supply at the top element. If you find power at the top element, your top thermostat needs to be changed. If the same is the case for the bottom element, replace the bottom thermostat.

Also check if the thermostats are pushed firmly against the water heater tank.

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