How do I troubleshoot an electric water heater?

Trying to troubleshoot an electric water heater can be difficult. Electric water heaters have 1 or 2 metal heating elements. These elements get hot from electrical resistance. The incoming cold water is directed to the bottom of the tank via a dip tube. The lower element does the majority of the heating, while the upper element will only kick on when there is a high demand for hot water.  If you are getting no hot water or running out of hot water fast than more than likely the lower element is shot. You can test for continuity using a multimeter set to Ohms. I have had elements test good that were bad so this test is not 100% foolproof.

To replace an element in your electric water heater you need to turn off the power at the main panel (always verify the power is off with a tester!). Use the shut off valve on the cold side inlet to turn off the water. It may be necessary to turn the water off at the house main or meter if this valve doesn’t work. Finally connect a hose to the valve at the bottom of the water heater, open the valve and drain the heater. Sometimes this is easier said than done. Your electric water heater needs to be flushed periodically to remove the sediment that otherwise builds up and eventually engulfs the lower element causing it to fail prematurely.

If you need us to troubleshoot an electric water heater for you CALL NOW 386-774-8080

David Barsano
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