Electric water heater diagnosis & repair questions & answers - set#2:
These answers to frequent questions help troubleshoot and fix an electric water heater, calorifier, geyser that is not working properly or that's not heating water at all.
In this article series we explain how to test and repair an electric hot water heater that is not heating at all or is not producing enough hot water. We start with simple basic checks and then move to testing and replacing bad controls or bad water heater elements. The articles at this website will answer most questions about electrical water heaters as well as many other building plumbing system inspection or defect topics.
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These questions & answers were posted originally at ELECTRIC WATER HEATER REPAIR GUIDE - home
On 2017-05-25 by (mod) re: ok to run a water heater off of a lighting circuit or a light off of a heater circuit?
No, not if I understand your question correctly. The light to a bathroom light that is over a toilet would be typically a 15-Amp 120V or if you are in a country where power is distributed in 240V circuits, perhaps just a 7 or 8 amp circuit. An electric water heater wants to see an 30, 40, or even 50 amp 240VAC circuit depending on the heater size.
Also you cannot safely tap in the other direction: running a light fixture off of one leg of a 240VAC 40A circuit risks an electrical fire should the light wiring or fixture develop a short circuit, because it would be "over-fused" or not properly protected.
On 2017-05-25 by Irhan Perry
Can I tap the electric power from the toilet light to the water heater
On 2017-05-05 by (mod) re: water takes too long to get hot
If your water heater is starting with a full tank of cold water, it's normal fir it to take some time for the whole water tank to heat up;
If you're referring to taking a long time for hot water to get from the heater to your fixture, try insulating the water piping.
On 2017-05-05 by Ira
Got AO Smith water heater electric takes 5 plus minutes for water to get hot what should I do or check
On 2017-05-01 by Jennifer Anderson
My last post was incorrect I have to flip the circuit off and then back on. Sorry
On 2017-05-01 by Jennifer Anderson
In order to get my water heater to work I have to turn the circuit off and then back on. It's not flipping the circuit off I just have to manually turn it on and then off. What could be wrong
On 2017-04-24 by (mod) re: no hot water after installing a new heater element
If the electric water heater was turned ON, even BRIEFLY, before all air was removed from the system it's possible that the new heating element was toasted.
On 2017-04-24 by Tim
Getting electric to heating element but no hot water I put new element in it
On 2017-04-22 by (mod)
I'm not sure what those red and white pipes are for, where they originate, what they carry.
However IF there is a water discharge from the relief valve on your water heater that system could be unsafe and needs to be inspected and repaired by your plumber. Does the water heater's relief valve connect to a drain line that runs outside?
Search InspectApedia for RELIEF VALVE DISCHARGE TUBE to see details
On 2017-04-22 by William
I have a Rheem electric water heater in my attic. Out side of the house I have 4 pipes that come out. 2 red and 2 white pipes. I'm getting a good constant flow of water coming out of one of the red lines and some dippage out of 1 of the white lines. .I can find no leaks s on the water heater and the pan under it is bone dry. Has anyone an idea what may be going on with my Hester?
On 2017-04-19 by (mod)
Since a dishwasher has its own heating element, I'm not sure that your water heater was fixed. The problem could be the upper element, or the heater thermostat.
On 2017-04-19 by (mod) re: water leak and now no hot water
I'm puzzled too. Ask your electrician to confirm that the heater has power and that neither wiring nor controls were water damaged. Wet wiring is unsafe.
On 2017-04-19 by Becky
I had a water leak outside my house and now my hot water heater is not working. Any suggestions for troubleshooting this problem?
On 2017-04-18 by Brett
Replaced the lower element ran a load in the dishwasher and it was hot. After it finished I went to the sink to rinse some dishes and no hot water in any faucets. Went to bathtub and ran some water. No hot and water was slightly brown. Ugh
On 2017-04-09 by (mod) re: leaks at the relief valve on a water heater
The relief valve spewing tells me that the heater is dangerously hot - TURN IT OFF IMMEDIATELY until this problem is fixed, to avoid risking a dangerous explosion (Search InspectApedia for BLEVE to read details)
Now: it may be possible to set the thermostat temperature down to stop the trouble - if not I suspect it's the wrong thermostat or it's defective.
On 2017-04-09 by Dana
My mom's house burned down and she is reduced to living in a camper on her land that we purchased cheap. Some good Samaritans have gave her money and we have to work within the small budget to get her set up. The camper came with a small water heater that wasn't working, but is only 4 yrs old (stickers say 2013). But b/c of funds and the difficulty of completely removing it b/c of location.
We got it working by replaced the thermostat and heating element on a small (like 6 gal) water heater but the water is getting dangerously hot. Then we noticed the overflow pipe has spewd water everywhere under the trailer. We even replaced the pressure relief valve. We think that we can hear the thing constantly heating and never shutting off. We need to fix this before someone gets hurt. Could anyone tell me what you think the problem might be? There are only so many parts to replace on a water heater to begin with. After all this, I am optimistic that this is an easy fix.
On 2017-03-13 by (mod)
Check that the lower element is actually working.
Check the water flow rate - use a flow restrictor at your shower.
Search Inspectapedia using the search box just above, and find GET MORE HOT WATER to see more detailed suggestions
On 2017-03-13 by Phil Hiatt
Changed the elements but still run out of hot water in about 15 minutes. What else can I do to get more hot water??
On 2017-02-06 by jessica criado
This may seem like a dumb question...my qater heater is no longer giving me hot water. I dont even know where the breaker is to turn the electricity off or reset it? Where else can this breaker be?
On 2017-02-01 by (mod) re: is a leaky water heater repairable or not?
If leaks are at a plumbing fitting they may be repairable.
If leaks are at a temperature/pressure relief valve the heater is UNSAFE and risks a BLEVE EXPLOSION (search InspectApedia for that term to read details).
If leaks are elsewhere on the heater it's probably new-water-heater-time
On 2017-02-01 y Ozzie
Rusty hot water sipping from top of A.O. Smith Promax electric water heater
On 2017-01-28 by Lyn
I have a double wide. Lately within, 15 minutes after someone takes a shower the pipes below the house have blown apart. We know why they come apart. Someone Jerry rigged a compression fitting. So I believe it's the weakest point in our closed system. That's why it's blowing there instead of heater. My question is what could be the problem.
I know it's a pressure build up. But why? It's a 2006 Rheem so I don't think it even has a disintegrating dip tube. But also we get lots of white and green chunks in the faucets clogging it up. Which suggests dip tube. But what would be making it over heat and have high pressure?
On 2017-01-22 by (mod)
Check for fuel supply Anon.
On 2017-01-22 by Anonymous
Bajaj shakti geyser not lighting indicators nor heating water
On 2017-01-22 by Mindy
Had used electric hot water heater installed to replace prior that exploded at the seams. It worked for 2 days, then no hot water from kitchen or bathroom sinks, or shower, and very cold water in kitchen and bath sinks but no water at all from shower (water lines for shower are just past/connect to same delivery lines as sink in the bathroom wall).
Breaker didn't flip off, temp is set around 120-125, reset button pops/clicks when pushed, sounds like heater comes on. Hour later, the lower brass part of the water out line on top is fairly warm to the touch, but above & past that first few inches of pipe, nothing. I don't see any valves closed on the hot water line that shouldn't be; there is a small heater on in the uninsulated utility room to keep the pipes warm and they are wrapped on the other side of the wall under the house.
I can't buy another water heater. Besides not being able to afford cost+installation, I'm going to have to leave the house within a couple months and the bank will take it over, so I don't want to waste that money, but I haven't had hot water in a couple months except for the 2 days the replacement worked, and it's winter! The shower plumbing might have been knocked loose by possums or raccoons that managed to get in the access hole near there, but still cold water would or should be heard running out behind the wall if the faucet lever was turned on, wouldn't it?
Why would the water get heated but not leave the water heater and move out to the faucets? I leave one hot water faucet open a bit all the time, even though nothing comes out.
On 2016-12-14 by Dave Wilson
Electric water heater: changed element, got some hot water then no more
On 2016-11-29 by (mod) re: new heater element but no hot water
Check for power to the element. Then recheck the elemnt.
Did you turn on the heater when it contained air? That immediately destroys the element.
On 2016-11-29 by Brady
The element and the thermostat are both new and good with electrical flow. Why is my water not heating?
On 2016-11-21 by (mod) re: when to stop re-setting the electric geyser or calorifier circuit breaker
If you have to re-set an electric water heater breaker repeatedly then there's a problem to be found and repaired. It could be a failing control on the heater, a shorted wire, or even a bad breaker.
If your electrical panel is one of the trouble-giving brands like FPE, Challenger, and some Pushmatics or a few others I might suspect the breaker.
If the heater is wired with aluminum wiring there could also be corrosion and overheating and a fire risk at the heater or in the panel.
But most-common, I'd suspect a failing heater element or heater thermostatic control.
On 2016-11-2 by Tania
I have 5 months Giant electrical 40 G water heater tank. Lost hot water then I reset the Water Tank breaker. Was good for a day then it happens a few times again, need to reset the breaker again. What the first to check, bad breaker or tank defect? thank you, Tania
On 2016-11-12 by Pat
Water supply interrupted due to floods and storms. Was sorted 3days later, and now, a good 14 hours of water supply resuming, I STILL have no hot water. Please advise?
On 2016-10-31 by (mod) re: why water is sometimes hot, sometimes cold
There are a couple of possible things going on here Rebecca:
1. the thermostat controlling the water heater may be defective
2. the wiring could be defective or the heater could be mis-wired: for example if the two hot wires of the 240V circuit are not powered by an individual double-pole 240V breaker than you might have turned off just one of the two heating elements: your electrician can check to confirm that turning off the circuit breaker that powers the water heater indeed turns off power to the heater: if it doesn't there's a wiring or labeling error.
3. A well-insulated water heater will stay hot for quite a few hours (though 16 sounds like alot) after power is turned off. but if you'd run hot water during that time, with the heater off, it ought to have cooled down.
The system may be unsafe.
On 2016-10-29 by Rebecca
We noticed yesterday that our hot water was extremely hot just in the days time. We turned the breaker off to the tank but the pipes and water remained seriously hot 16 hours later. We have turned the thermostat down from 120 to 100,pushed the reset button and turned the power back on. The pipes started to cool down. We then turned the power off and was going to let the water in the tank completely cool down. The pipes started heating up again. What could be causing this to happen
On 2016-10-22 by (mod) re: help me fix my no-hot-water problem
In the article series linksat ELECTRIC WATER HEATER REPAIR GUIDE please see ELECTRIC WATER HEATER - NO HOT WATER for a detailed diagnostic procedure that ought to help you out.
On 2016-10-22 by Anonymous
Someone help me!! I have no hot water or heating! I have tried to turn them both on but nothing is happening!!! And tryed to re boost it
On 2016-10-22 by Amy
Why won't my hot water and heating turn on
On 2016-10-20 by (mod) re: put in new heater elements but I still have no hot water
Did you turn on the electric water heater before it was filled with water and all air purged from the system? If so the new elements probably burned-up.
On 2016-10-20 by Anonymous
I put two new elements on hot water heater I put a brand new thermostat on it and I still don't have no hot water what is wrong
On 2016-10-03 by Jayme
I have an htp hot water heater. It will not turn on and my house has no heat. Help?
On 2016-09-30 by (mod) re: do not turn on the electric calorifier (water heater) before it is full of water
A replaced element can have burned up instantly if the electric heater was turned on before it was filled with water; or a control, thermostat, or second element could be defective.
On 2016-09-30 by Gary
I have an electric water heater in my commercial building that is suppose to go to one offices kitchen, but you turn on the water and after two minutes it will get luke warm and then cold again. Now I know that the element was just replaced two weeks before I got the job and when I went up and looked at it for the first time it was only set on 85 but there was no change after turning up temp.
On 2016-09-14 by (mod) re: signs of a bad water heater element
Sorry to say it sounds like a failed bottom heating element in the water heater. I would also check the thermostatic control. If the heating element has failed for a second time in such a short. I would be looking for an external cause.
On 2016-09-09 by Erica
I changed the bottom element on my water heater about a month ago. It's been working great; high temperature water that lasts a long time. Now all of a sudden I'm having the same problem as before. Water gets somewhat hot but doesn't last long at all. What is likely to cause this?
On 2016-09-08 by (mod)
I sure hope that this new water heater is under warranty and that the installing plumber is willing to come by to diagnose and fix it.
Unless something odd happened such having power on to the electric water heater when the tank was empty of water (that'd burn up the heater electrodes) the heater ought to work for more than 2 weeks.
Before bringing in somebody, and PROVIDED you can change fuses without getting yourself electrocuted, I'd start by finding fuses that I could test or have tested so I knew they're good.
On 2016-09-08 by Ashley
Hello, I got a new hot water tank 2 weeks ago, it worked perfect until today it stopped given out hot water. I change the fuses, thinking it might of blew the fuse.. But still no hot water, any help would be great
On 2016-08-27 by (mod) re: replaced water heater parts but still no hot water
Did you turn on the heater before it was FULL of water or before all air had been purged from the system? IF so the new element may have burned-up. Test the heater elements for continuity.
Watch out: if you're not expert in electrical wiring, making a mistake can kill you or someone else.
On 2016-08-27 by No hot water.put nee thermostat. And new heating element
No hot water still. Put in new thermostat. And mew heating element.
On 2016-07-25 by (mod) re: buzzing noise at the water heater, ehen no hot water, lots of leaks
Water is leaking somewhere on your water heater and perhaps shorting the electrical components. If the leak is at a plumbing fitting it may be repairable. Leave the unit off until the leak has been found and thus the repairability question decided and either repair or replacement are done.
On 2016-07-24 by Wes
I noticed my A.O. Smith water heater was not heating the water as it always has, only a period of two days. I moved the conduit running into the unit and heard a buzzing noise so I immediately cut the power to the unit. There is some corrosion around the electrical input. After cutting the power I removed the electrical covers and there was a lot of corrosion and WATER. How does water get to the electrical hookup? Can it be fixed or do I need to replace?
On 2016-06-26 by Michael
I recently moved a working hot water heater to a different building and am not getting hot water. The reset switch has not tripped nor has the breaker. The inlet and outlet pipes are warm to the touch. The unit is a 40 gallon electric Westinghouse about 2 years old.
On 2016-06-23 by (mod)
Try the steps above: that's the best organized approach I've seen.
but first: did you turn it on before all the air was out of the heater?
On 2016-06-23 by Timothy Sutton
I just put in a hot water heater but my water is not hot what can be wrong
On 2016-06-17 by (mod) re: what to check if we have shorting water heater elements
I don't know, David, but I would check for
- a bad sacrificial anode in the water heater
- errors in electrical wiring, shorts, stray currents
- wrong heater element wattage being installed
- defective heater thermostat that's not shutting off the heating elements
- corrosivity index of the water supply
On 2016-06-17 by David Kettleburgh
We bought a house two years ago. All electrics replaced about two years before that. Hot water is heated electrically. Was OK for first 18 months after we bought house but suddenly bottom elements in hot tank have been corroding and shorting electrics. They only last five or six weeks - latest one fitted on 13 May and went today! They have been fitted by different plumbers, with good reputations. What is likely cause and cure please? Thanks!
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