why my water heater is not working

How to Troubleshoot and Repair an Electric Water Heater?

You don’t have to call the professionals or pay for a new water heater if your water heater stops working. Depending on the issue, DIY electric water heater repair may be an option. To diagnose your water heater problem, you will need to have some knowledge.

The electric water heaters are similar to their gas-fueled counterparts. Both use an insulated steel storage tank jacket, which is made from insulation. This jacket acts as insulation between the tank jacket and the storage tank to reduce heat loss. The heat source is what makes electric water heaters different from gas ones. An electric water heater heats the water using electric heating elements which extend into the tank. Gas water heaters use a gas burner to heat the water below the tank.

A failed heating element is one of the biggest problems with electric water heaters. This causes little or no heat production. It is an easy part to replace and is inexpensive. You can also have your hot water heater stop working if you do not maintain it properly, or high water pressure.

Here are seven problems and solutions that you might encounter when trying to repair your electric water heater yourself.

Before you start: Make sure to read the warranty

Before you begin to fix your hot water heater problems, make sure that the warranty is valid. Limited warranties are available for both residential and commercial hot-water heaters. Every tank has a rating plate that includes the serial number and model. These numbers will indicate the year of the tank’s manufacture and can be used to determine if the tank is covered by a prorated warranty. This could include a free replacement tank or part or a discounted price.

If you notice signs that your water heater is failing, take a photo or note the information and call the manufacturer. However, most manufacturer warranties do not cover labor.


Electric water heaters, which are 240-volt appliances, are dangerous to use when the power is on. Turn off the power source to your heater’s circuit (breaker box) before you inspect any electrical components. To verify that the heater is on, use a non-contact voltage tester.

The Spruce

No hot water

Water heaters that do not produce hot water may not be receiving power. They might also have a tripped limit or one or more failing heating elements.

How to Fix

To make sure the circuit breaker of the water heater is not tripped, first check it in the service panel. Switch it off if the breaker trips.

If the heater’s fuse does not trip, or if the heater is on, reset the high temperature limit.

  1. Turn off the breaker for the water heater circuit from the service panel.
  2. The access panel to the water heater’s upper heating element must be removed.
  3. Take off the insulation and the safety guard. Be careful not to touch wires or terminals.
  4. The red button, the high-temperature cutoff reset switch located above the thermostat, is pressed.
  5. Replace the safety guard, insulation and access panel.
  6. Turn on the circuit breaker for your heater.
  7. If this doesn’t resolve the problem, check each heating element and replace it if needed.

Inadequate hot water

Your water heater may not be producing enough hot water to meet household hot water needs. You should ensure that the household’s hot water demand is not greater than the heater’s capacity.

How to Fix

Hot water should be 75 percent of the water heater’s capacity. A 40-gallon water heater can be sized to provide hot water for 30 gallons. If you have a high demand, limit the length of your showers and install low-flow heads. Also, spread dishwashing out to other times of the day, rather than doing them all at once.

Your heating element may have failed if your unit suddenly produces less hot or larger amounts of water than usual. An inefficient upper heating element can cause a constant supply of warm water while showering. A defective lower heating element is responsible for hot water running out rapidly in a shower.

Water Temperature is Too Hot

Over-heated water can cause frustrations that are almost as severe as having too little hot water. This could be because one or both thermostats on your water heater are set too high.

How to Fix

Check the thermostat settings

  1. Turn off the water heater from the service panel.
  2. The access panel, insulation and safety guards that cover each heating element of the water heater must be removed. Do not touch any wires or electrical terminals.
  3. Use a non-contact voltage tester to test the wires for power.
  4. Both thermostats should have the same heat setting. The recommended temperature is 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Use a flathead screwdriver to adjust the temperature to your preference.
  6. Set the thermostat at the same temperature.
  7. For each element, replace the safety guard, insulation and access panel.
  8. Turn on the circuit breaker for your heater.

Water Leaks

Leakages in water can be caused by leaky pipes and connections. However, they may also be due to tank problems. Leakage of water can cause serious damage to your home. It is essential to fix the problem immediately.

How to Fix

Water heater tank leaks can be caused by corrosion or loose heating elements. Check for any loose elements and tighten them if necessary with an element wrench.

It is impossible to repair a corroded tank and it must be replaced. To stop the leaking, turn off the power supply and water supply to your water heater.

Bad Odor or Rust-Colored Water

Your water may have a yellowish, brownish, or reddish hue to it when it comes out of your faucet. This could indicate that corrosion has occurred in your hot water heater tank or pipes. If your water smells like rotten eggs or brown, it could indicate that there is bacteria in your hot water heater tank.

How to Fix

It is possible to need to replace anode rods in the tank. This usually requires professional plumbing services.

Tank Making Noises

Is there a clicking or popping sound coming from your water heater Is it a low-pitched or popping sound? Perhaps it’s a high pitched whine. It could be boiling water. The tank’s bottom can become too hot due to excessive sediment buildup. This causes the water to boil.

How to Fix

To get rid of sediment, drain the tank. If this doesn’t work, it might be necessary to replace the tank.

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