Common Electric Water Heater Problems

Water heaters are probably one of the most appreciated, yet often forgotten mechanisms in your home. When something goes wrong with your heater, it quickly becomes a priority, as hot water is almost essential to your day-to-day life. Identifying the issue and fixing the issue can be simple when acted upon in a timely manner.  Our crew at Handyman Connection of Santa Clarita Valley has put together a list of some of the more common issues you might face with your electric water heater, and some ways for you to fix those issues. Check them out here, and good luck!

The typical electric heater has a large holding tank that holds between 30 to 60 gallons of water at a time. It usually has a cold-water intake, a hot water outlet, and a drain valve. Damage to any of the functions or parts to the water heater can cause problems or issues that can typically be identified fairly easily. Keep in mind that a typical heater lasts anywhere between 9 to 15 years. If your heater is approaching that lifespan, it may be time to replace the heater entirely.

In order to be sure of the issue and the best way to fix the issue, you’ll need to test the heating elements as usually replacing one or both of the heating elements will fix more common issues. Those common issues include the water heating slowly, not heating the water at all, or running out of hot water more rapidly than usual. There are two heating elements inside electric water heaters. There is one at the top of the tank, and one at the bottom of the tank. The top hold most of the hot water, and the bottom tank’s heating element will turn on if the top tank becomes full. Separate thermostats control these elements and they are never on at the same time, as they are completely separate parts of the water heater.

Before going to test, make sure that the circuit breaker is on, isn’t tripped, and is functioning properly. This can also be a factor when trying to fix a faulty electric water heater. If the circuit breaker is working properly, then you can proceed. You can also try resetting the high-temperature cutoff. The high-temp cutoff switch will basically turn off the entire heater if the temperatures get too high. If the switch isn’t working then as a result, no hot water will be supplied at all from the water heater. Therefore, by resetting the switch before doing any more extensive tests or repair work, you may alleviate your problem by simply resetting the switch.

If none of those fixes do the trick, test out the heating elements. Make sure the power is off, and check the power of the heater. You can test the heater with a non-contact voltage detector that measures power and voltage counts. You’ll also want to test the wires. If the detector doesn’t show any power, you can move forward testing out if the heating elements are burned out or a shortened element. There are a few ways to do this that require certain materials specific to both, however you’re always looking for power to be flowing through the elements.

If you have questions about how to test your heating elements, give our crew at Handyman Connection of Santa Clarita Valley a call. We specialize in all types of home maintenance projects, including repairs to electric water heaters.

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