What to Do When Your Electric Hot Water Heater’s Not Working
Is your electric hot water heater not working? Don’t panic! There are a number of common problems that can arise with an electric hot water heater, some that can be resolved with a quick fix, and others that will require professional intervention. We use hot water in many different ways around the house, so any issue could result in stalling laundry, cleaning, or comfortable showers. Learn how to fix these common problems that lead to your electric hot water heater not working:
No hot water.
Are you not receiving any hot water in your home? Your electric hot water heater may not be working because of a power shortage or faulty parts. First, try resetting the circuit breaker to see if there was an issue with the power supply to the hot water heater. If this doesn’t solve the problem, call a professional to come out and test the heating element using a multimeter or multi-tester device.
Not enough hot water.
Is your electric hot water heater not working because it’s not giving you enough hot water? It may be undersized for the demands of your household, or it could be an issue with the plumbing installation. First, to eliminate the issue of size, check to make sure you’re operating within the 75% capacity rule of your hot water heater. For example, a 40-gallon hot water heater should be used to fulfill demands of 30 gallons maximum. If this checks out, look for crossed connections by shutting off the water supply to your hot water heater. Inside your home, turn on a hot water faucet. If water still comes out, there is a bigger issue with plumbing that requires a professional.
Extremely hot water.
If you’re experiencing water that is too hot, be sure to check the upper and lower heating element thermostat on your electric hot water heater. The normal setting should fall somewhere between 110 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, so anything outside of that range should be adjusted. This is a quick and easy fix that can be done on your own and does not require a professional.
From the valves to the actual tank itself, leaks can come from a number of places and lead to your electric hot water heater not working. To fix a leaky valve on your own, put a bucket underneath the overflow pipe and open the T&P valve to clear it of debris. If there is still a leak in the valve, this means you’ll need to call a professional to replace the T&P valve.
Leaks can also come from the heating element of the electric hot water tank. To fix this issue, turn the water and power off, and then attempt to tighten the bolts that mount the heating element. If this does not fix the issue, call a professional to replace the gasket. Perhaps the most time-consuming leak to fix is when it is coming from the actual tank, in which case you will need to call a professional to replace the entire tank.
One of the first signs of an electric hot water heater not working is a strange, rumbling sound. Often times, this noise is caused by the sound of boiling water from within the tank, a result of sediment build-up. To fix this problem, flush your hot water heater to remove the sediment.
Higher pitched noise.
Don’t hear a low rumble, but rather a higher pitched whine? This is also a result of buildup, but not the same kind. Scale material can build up on the electrical heating elements, leading to this noise. To get rid of that annoying sound, clean off the scale from the water heater tank and elements.
If your faucets are pouring out rust-colored water, it’s most likely due to corrosion within the glass-lined tank. The sacrificial anode rode, which is used to protect against corrosion, will need to be replaced. These replacement rods can be purchased from a plumbing supply store, or you can call for back-up by hiring a professional to complete this project.
Home maintenance can be a time-consuming process, but it’s necessary, especially when it comes to appliances like an electric hot water heater. Keep up with necessary repairs and replacements on your electric hot water heater to consume energy more efficiently, and therefore lower your monthly energy bill.