If you get your hot water supply from an electric water heater, you will probably need repair work done on the appliance at some point. An electric water heater comprises various components that sometimes act up long before the heater itself requires a replacement.
Fortunately, you can fix most electric water heater problems yourself, as long as you can tell what elements are bad and need to be replaced. Here are three common electric hot water problems and how to fix them.
1. Element failure
The heating elements are what convert electrical energy into the heat that makes cold water hot. If you are not getting hot water at all, or your water isn't hot enough, these elements could be faulty.
Before removing and replacing the elements, you will need to test them to determine whether or not they are the cause of the problem. To test the elements, you will need to remove the plate cover protecting them from outside elements. Once you have exposed the elements, perform a continuity test to verify if a current is flowing. You will require a multimeter with the appropriate voltage range to do this.
If current flows, then your elements aren't burned out. But if no current flows, you will need to remove and replace the bad elements. Use a heating element wrench to remove the old element and then screw the new one back in its place.
2. Faulty wiring
Electricity is supplied to the various components of your water heater through wiring. If any wires are loose, a short circuit may occur, whereas disconnected wiring will disrupt the normal flow of current in your hot water system. When repairing your broken-down water heater, check for any loose or detached wiring that may cause your hot water system to fail. If you see such wiring, retighten or reconnect it accordingly.
3. Bad thermostat
The thermostat in your water heater is what controls water temperature. If the water you are getting isn't hot enough or is too hot, chances are your appliance's thermostat has failed. Like heating elements, a thermostat needs to be tested before it can be removed and replaced. So, you will need to carry out a continuity test with a multimeter to establish if a current is flowing. If it isn't, pull it out by prying the sides of the bracket holding it in place with a screwdriver.
Thereafter, install the new thermostat and screw the plate cover back in place. If you are unsure about handling hot water repairs yourself, don't hesitate to contact a qualified electrician for help.