Electric Water Heater Repair: 7 Common Problems and How to Solve Them

Do you have an electric water heater that needs repair? Knowing how to fix common problems on your own can save you a lot of time and money. Learn how to diagnose and repair seven common issues with electric water heaters below!

The purpose of an electric water heater is to warm cold water for use in the home. Without it, you wouldn’t have hot showers or be able to do dishes or laundry. Electric water heaters come in a variety of sizes, from small tankless models to large tank-style models. Each type of electric water heater works differently, but the principles behind them all are the same. 

Here are 7 common issues with electric water heaters that we typically see how to go about solving them.

 1. Tripping Circuit Breaker – If your circuit breaker trips during operation, this may indicate that your heating element is faulty or has become clogged with sediment buildup.  You must disconnect power from the water heater before attempting any repairs.  If you don’t know how or can’t do this, please call us or any reputable plumber.   Once disconnected you can start by checking the heating element for damage or corrosion. If necessary, you can clean the element using a wire brush and soft cloth. If this doesn’t solve the issue, then it may be time to replace the heating element altogether.

 2. Leaking – A leaking electric hot water heater could mean trouble if not addressed right away. The most likely cause of a leak is a cracked tank due to age or rusting caused by sediment buildup inside the tank itself over time. Additionally, loose connections may allow cold air into the system causing condensation which can also lead to leaks over time. Make sure all connections are tight before checking for cracks in the tank itself as well as any signs of rust which may need replacement if too severe. 

 3. Too Little Hot Water – This is a common problem that may require quite a bit of troubleshooting. If there isn’t enough hot water being produced, check your thermostat setting first as it may be set too low for optimal performance – especially if you’re using more than one appliance at once like a dishwasher or washing machine which will require more hot water than normally used when only taking a shower or doing dishes by hand.  Additionally, ensure that your pressure relief valve is working correctly as this could also be preventing adequate flow of hot water from being provided if stuck closed due to mineral deposits over time (it should open easily). Finally, check for any blockages in either cold/hot water lines such as trapped air bubbles which can act as an insulator – slowing down production of hot water significantly if left unchecked for long periods of time.

 4. Noisy Operation – An overly noisy electric hot water heater can be annoying but don’t worry – it’s not necessarily indicative of serious problems! Usually this type of noise happens when sediment builds up inside the tank due to hard/soft-water conditions over time which causes agitation and bubbling sounds when heated up quickly upon demand (this is normal). Try flushing out your tank annually with plain tap-water running through both sides (cold & hot) until clear – this should remove most sedimentation built up over months/years and reduce/eliminate excessive noise during operation again – though some minor amounts will always occur no matter what maintenance is done.

 5. Unusual Smell Coming From Tank – This usually indicates bacterial growth inside your tank caused by warm temperatures and oxygen – both essential ingredients for bacteria reproduction so make sure you keep your temperature setting around 120°F max (this also helps conserve energy!) Additionally, try adding some bleach into both sides periodically (about every 6 months) this kills off growth quickly while providing safe operation overall versus other store-bought bacteria killing solutions marketed towards ceramic tile cleaner etc… 

 6. Temperature Fluctuations During Use – This could indicate several things including poor insulation around pipes leading into/out from the unit itself or poor thermal protection within the unit’s wiring causing voltage fluctuations during peak demand times like early morning hours when multiple appliances are running simultaneously.  Check for any exposed insulation around pipes leading into/out from unit itself first before engaging deeper diagnosis methods such as using multimeter device on wires leading directly into main control board located inside unit   

 7. Reduced Hot Water Pressure Flow – This could be because of a clog somewhere along either cold/hot line going into/out from unit itself so check these thoroughly while ensuring supply pressure remains above 40 PSI at all times (this helps prevent further clogging downstream). Also check valves leading directly into main control board located inside unit as these can get stuck open/closed depending on age & usage patterns causing reduction in pressure flow even when everything else seems fine.