Electric hot water heater problems
In case your electric hot water heater is slow to heat, has no hot water faster than it used to, or doesn’t deliver any hot water at all, there is a 90 % chance that simply replacing one or both of the heating elements can solve the problem. The repair is straightforward, and replacing elements are inexpensive ($8 to $20) and readily available at home centers, hardware stores and appliance parts dealers.
We’ll illustrate how to test the heating elements, take away one if it’s bad, and put in a new one. Just keep in mind that water heaters have a typical life span of ten to fifteen years. If your heater is approaching old age, replacing can be smarter than fix.
Of course, there are some other possible reasons of a lack of hot water. Before you test the elements, check to ensure the circuit breaker is on and not tripped. Also press the reset button on the high temperature cutoff located just above the upper thermostat. Resetting either the circuit breaker or the high-temperature cutoff may fix the issue, but the fact that these people were tripped to start with may show an electrical issue. Once they trip again, test the heating elements.
If the heating elements are good, the problem may be with the thermostats or cutoff switch. Testing is difficult, but since they’re inexpensive about $20 for both thermostats and the cutoff switch you could just try replacing them.
You don’t need electrical experience to check and change the heating elements. But you do have to make very sure the power is off before you perform any tests or repairs of your hot water heater.
First, locate the circuit breaker in the main electrical panel that’s labeled for the water heater and turn it off. Next return to the water heater and test for power with the non contact voltage detector. Make sure the tester is working by putting the tip into an outlet to find out if has a power. The tester should indicate power by lighting up or beeping.
Now test the wires leading into the water heater. If they’re protected by metal conduit, the tester won’t read voltage. Instead you will have to take away the metal thermostat cover to the side of the water heater, pull-out the insulation and hold the tester near the wires leading into the top of the thermostat.
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