Why Is My Electric Water Heater Not Working? 5 Reasons | Part I
Have lukewarm or cold showers become the norm in your household? Do you frequently burn your hands in the water coming from the tap? Or maybe your electric water heater has sprung a leak, is making noise, or produces rusty water that smells like eggs…whatever the case may be, your electric water heater is not working properly. Use the tips below to begin the troubleshooting process before you call an HVAC professional!
IMPORTANT: DO NOT begin troubleshooting your electric water heater until you have turned off the power via the fuse or the circuit breaker at RISK OF ELECTROCUTION.
1. No Hot Water From My Electric Water Heater
Before you turn off the power to your electric water heater, check to make sure the upper and lower thermostats and electric heating elements are receiving power and working. If they are not, check the associated circuit breaker(s) or fuse(s) to see if they have tripped or blown. In the case of a tripped or blown circuit breaker or fuse, you may simply need to restore the circuit breaker or fuse in order to restore your electric water heater. If everything is receiving electricity as it should but one of your upper or lower thermostats or electric heating elements is not working, you likely have a faulty upper or lower thermostat or electric heating element that needs replaced. If everything is receiving electricity as it should and appears to be working properly but you still have a problem, it may be an issue with your high-temperature limit. At this point, turn off the power to your electric water heater.
The high-temperature limit for an electric water heater is factory set and not intended to be adjusted. This makes it a bit difficult to get to. To access your high-temperature limit reset button, remove the access panel, insulation, and plastic safety guard from the upper electric heating element on the electric water heater. DO NOT touch any of the wires or electric terminals, but test them with a non-contact voltage tester to ensure they are not receiving any electricity. Press the red button above the upper thermostat to reset your high-temperature limit. Replace the access panel, insulation, and plastic safety guard. If this solves the problem and you are done troubleshooting your electric water heater, you are now free to turn the power back on.
An issue with adequate hot water could be related to the size of your electric water heater and not a maintenance problem. If your household demand for hot water is higher than 75% of the volume of your electric water heater, you may find yourself running out of hot water on a regular basis. Consider upgrading to a bigger model or decreasing your hot water demand by limiting showers, installing a low-flow showerhead, or spreading out your dishwashing and laundry.
2. Water Is Too Hot
If the water coming from your electric water heater is too hot, you could simply have one or both of your upper and lower thermostats set too high. They should both be set to the same temperature, somewhere between 110°F and 140°F. In order to change these settings, you will need to once again turn the power off to your electric water heater, test the wires, and remove the access panel, insulation, and plastic safety guard. Your thermostat settings can be adjusted using a flathead screwdriver. Depending on the model you possess, you may need to refer to the owner’s manual for the temperatures associated with the letters on the dial. If you can see temperatures, then you are ready to adjust without the manual. Once you are done adjusting temperatures, replace the access panel, insulation, plastic safety guard, and restore power to your electric water heater.
No progress? For more troubleshooting tips, stay tuned for Part II in our series, Why Is My Electric Water Heater Not Working? 5 Reasons. If you have an emergency and you need the help of an HVAC professional, give us a call at Moore Heating. We have been providing quality HVAC services to our Alaskan clients for over 30 years and we would love to get you the help that you need.