1. Home

How to Troubleshoot and Repair an Electric Water Heater


1 of 9

Electric Water Heater Troubleshooting
How to Troubleshoot and Repair an Electric Water Heater

Electric water heaters have upper and lower electrical resistance heating elements.

Electric water heaters look similar to their gas fueled cousin. They both use an insulated storage tank jacket made of steel with insulation between the storage tank and the tank jacket to reduce heat loss of the heated water.

However, in an electric water heater, the water is heated using an upper and lower heating element as opposed to a gas burner used with a gas water heater. Think of it this way, a gas water heater uses a heating system like a gas furnace and the electric water heater uses a heating element like an electric oven.

Gas or electric water heaters are one of the most dependable appliances in our homes and the electric version of the water heater is tops in reliability. There are no moving parts to speak of and repairs, when needed, are easy to make.

In this tutorial I will walk you through some of the most common electric water heater problems you may experience and how to troubleshoot and repair them.

    Let's take a look at these problems and what possible causes and repairs you can try:
  • No hot water
  • Inadequate hot water
  • Water temperature too hot
  • Leaky pipe connection
  • Leaky water storage tank
  • Rust colored water
  • Rotten egg odor
  • Low rumbling or popping noise
  • Higher pitched whining
    NOTE: Before any troubleshooting is done on the water heater, make sure to prepare safely for the job by doing the following:
  • Shut off power to the electric water heater by turning off the circuit breaker or fuse powering the heater.

Promotional Feature: View this video series to learn how to take good care of your house.

  1. About.com
  2. Home
  3. Home Repair
  4. Plumbing Repair
  5. Water Heater Tutorials
  6. Troubleshooting an Electric Water Heater - Hot Water Heater Repair

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.