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Electric Water Heater Repairs

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Electric Water Heater

When an electric water heater fails to heat water properly, either the power to the water heater has been interrupted or there is a problem with the controls or heating elements.

Always shut off the power to an electric water heater before working on it. And never work on it if there is standing water pooled on the floor near the appliance. Shut off the circuit to the water heater and call a qualified water heater repair person.

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Perform these diagnostics:

1Be sure electricity is being delivered to the appliance. Check the main switch on the water heater and the circuit breaker (or fuse) that serves the water heater. If the circuit breaker has tripped, reset it by flipping it all the way to OFF and then back to ON.

Turn the circuit breaker off and then back on.

If a fuse has blown, replace it with a new fuse with the same rating. If the circuit breaker or fuse repeatedly blows out, call a qualified electrician to check and repair the circuit. Note that the water heater should not share a circuit with another appliance—it draws too much power when heating.

2Check the high-temperature cutoff in the water heater. Open the panel and push the reset button. If the button doesn’t make a clicking sound or you still don’t have power after pressing it, then your high-temperature cutoff is probably bad. Call an electric water heater repair person.

Electric Water Heater’s Components

3If there is any water inside the compartment, this could cause the thermostat to malfunction. Leaking water means that your water heater may need to be replaced. If this is the case, be sure to read the Water Heaters Buying Guide and related buying guide articles before making your purchase.

If these steps don’t solve the problem, you may have a problem with your heating elements. You can replace these yourself following the manufacturer’s instructions if you feel comfortable doing so, or call a water heater service professional.

About Don Vandervort
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Don Vandervort developed his expertise more than 30 years ago as Building Editor for both Sunset Books and Home Magazine. He has written more than 30 home improvement books and countless magazine articles. He appeared regularly on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert. Don founded HomeTips in 1996.

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  1. I have replaced both elements and thermostats.. Still no hot water.what else is there

    • Brenda – Are you sure you are getting power to the unit? Had the same issue and changed the top element. Still no go. Had power to the thermostats and power to each side of the lower element but nothing when check across the posts on the lower element. It was a new element but had an issue when purchased. New lower element and all’s fine.

  2. Today, I could get no hot water from my faucets. Everything looked fine on the unit, power, water supply, etc. Tapped on the outlet pipe and heard a noise, almost like a burb. Then had hot water again. Any suggestions.

  3. We lost power for 3 days because of the weather, now we have no hot water. I reset the fuse that wasn’t tripped, and I pushed the reset button. Still no hot water

  4. I have replaced the element and therostat and my hot water heater keeps boiling over out of the overflow

  5. Dear all, my instant water heater only give hot water only when I set the level to max (scale 8), other than that, 1-7 doesn’t heat up at all, and 8 is extremely hot… any idea? Thanks so much.


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