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The Electric Water Heater How to troubleshoot and repair it.

The electric water heater, how it works?
Why it fails? and how to fix it.
First thing to know and keep in mind.
Water and electricity are a dangerous combination.
It is always best, if you have any doubt in your ability to troubleshoot an electric water heater,
to have it serviced by a professional.
Please read and understand the following warnings.
This page has a large amount of text that needs to be read. it is in your best interest to take the time to read every word. If you are just looking to get an idea and are going to have a professional do the work, it is ok to just skim through but if you are planning on fixing it your self Please read and understand every word. At lease you will be alive to tell your friends how boring it is. If you are not willing to read and understand ALL the text
Please Have it done by a professional.

Click on the link below that best describes your problem

I only have 5 minutes of hot water and it gets cold.

I have no hot water at all

My hot water is too hot

I see water around the bottom of my water heater

My relief valve drips

My circuit breaker or fuse keeps tripping

None of the above describe my problem.

I have no hot water There can be many reasons for no hot water at all.

1 The circuit breaker tripped.

2 The limit on the thermostat has tripped.

3 The dip tube is broken at the very top.

4 The upper element is bad.

5 The upper thermostat is bad.

6 A wire is loose or broken.

7 Running toilets.

8 Dripping Hot water faucets.

9 A broken hot water line in the the slab.

Before you take any of the covers off of an electric water heater.


Warning just because you turned the breaker off, does not mean the power is off.

I have seen, more often then not, Circuit breakers and fuses marked wrong.

Even when they were marked by licensed electricians.

I have seen where a breaker or switch only turns power to 1 leg of the power off, leaving 1 leg still hot.

Most common mistake made is. "It's not making hot water so the power must be off!"

This assumption can cost you your life. the power must be checked with a power reading meter that can read 240 volts.

If you do not have one and do not know how to use one. Call a professional.

Your Family will thank you. Electric water heaters are the most inefficient heaters on the market, they cost the most over the course of the year and there recovery is the slowest of all other types of water heaters. If the time comes for you to replace your electric water heater.

You may consider other options for heating your hot water.

For example, If you have a hot water boiler or a steam boiler.

You can install an indirect water heater.
An indirect hot water heater is heated by the boiler. you can also use gas or oil fired water heaters.

Any of the above will cost more to install but will pay for its self in time. and in more hot water. There are many things that can go wrong with an electric water heater.

The same symptom can be caused by different things. for example If you are not getting any hot water. (You have water flowing out of all the hot water faucets but the water is not hot.) (if there is no water flowing out of any of the hot water faucets, when they are on, that is a different problem)

This could be because the circuit breaker has tripped.

It could also be the the safety button on the thermostat has tripped. It may also be that the top element has burned out. It may also be the thermostat is defective.

It may also be that you have a leak under your slab.

It may also be that you have a toilet that is running. It may also be that the dip tube has broken off right at the top of the inlet. It can also be too many hot water faucets dripping.

The same goes for not enough hot water, And the most common Complaint "Only 5 minutes of Hot water then its cold".

Below I will go through each step to help you troubleshoot what is going on with your electric water heater.

Note: depending on the age of the water heater and the hardness, and other elements that make up your water.

It may be cheaper and a better idea to just go ahead and replace your electric water heater.

Example. If you have hard water, And it turns out your lower element has burned out.

You may find that once you remove (or try to remove) the lower element, the whole bottom of the tank is full of lime build up and you can't get the old one out. or you can get it out but you cant get the new one in.

And even if you could it would just burn out again from sitting in all that build up.