Troubleshoot and Repair an Electric Water Heater

How to Troubleshoot and Repair an Electric Water Heater?

What happens when your electric water heater stops working? Do not worry; this is a common problem that can be easily fixed.

Electric water heaters are:

  • A staple in most homes.
  • Providing hot water for showers.
  • Washing dishes.
  • Doing laundry.

Here we will guide you through the troubleshooting and repairing process of an electric water heater, enabling you to get hot water running again in no time. More Info.

Troubleshooting the Problem

Before diving into any repairs, it is important to understand the problem first. Some common problems electric water heaters encounter include a lack of hot water, strange noises, and leaking. If your electric water heater is not producing hot water, check the circuit breaker, thermostat, and heating elements for any signs of damage.

If your water heater makes complex noises, it may indicate sediment buildup in the tank. Lastly, if you notice leaking, it might mean a crack in the tank or valve. Identifying the exact issue will help in addressing the problem in the best possible manner.

Necessary Tools for Troubleshooting and Repairing an Electric Water Heater

Before you start troubleshooting your electric water heater, you’ll need a few tools. Here are some of the essential tools you’ll need:

  1. Screwdriver
  2. Multimeter
  3. Wire cutter/stripper
  4. Pliers
  5. Element wrench
  6. Drain valve wrench

Turning Off the Power and Water Supply

Before starting any repairs, it is essential to turn off the power supply of the water heater for safety purposes. Depending on the unit, you may need to turn off the circuit breaker or switch off the power supply via the disconnect box.

Next, turn off the water supply that leads to the electric water heater. If you need help locating the valve, follow the pipe that leads to the water heater, and the valve should be nearby. Shutting off the water supply prevents water from flowing while repairing the heater.

Replacing the Heating Elements

If the heating elements of the electric water heater are not functioning, replace them. Wear appropriate gear and use a voltage tester to confirm the power supply is disconnected before you begin work.

Detach the heating elements, remove the old ones, and replace them with new ones. Ensure that the product is compatible with your specific electric water heater. Fill the tank with water, then turn the power back on. Turn the heater knob and check if the hot water is running again.

Replacing the Thermostat

Controlling the heating system of the electric water heater is the thermostat. If your water heater is not heating the water properly, check the thermostat. It might have malfunctioned and needs to be replaced. Some thermostats come attached to the heating element, while others come individually. Check the make and model of your unit, and then replace the damaged thermostat.

Flushing the Tank

If you notice strange noises, rust-colored water, or a lack of hot water, it might be due to sediment buildup in the tank. It would help to flush the tank to remove any sediment buildup at least once yearly. Wear protective gear and turn off the power and water supply of the water heater.

Attach a hose to the bottom of the tank, then turn on the hot water taps inside your house. Let the water flow through the tank and drain. Once the water is clear, turn the water and power supply back on, then turn on the heater.

Safety Precautions to Keep in Mind

Working with electricity and water can be dangerous, so taking the necessary safety precautions is important. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Please turn off the power to the water heater before working on it.
  2. Shut off the water supply to the heater.
  3. Drain the tank before attempting any repairs.
  4. Wear gloves and eye protection when working on the water heater.


Electric water heaters are simple devices that require regular maintenance and prompt repair. Troubleshooting and repairing issues in your electric water heater can be done by following these steps:

  • Understanding the problem
  • Turning off the power and water supply
  • Replacing heating parts
  • Flushing the tank

Even after that, if the issue persists, it is advisable to seek assistance from a professional electrician or HVAC technician. Now you can rest assured that you can quickly troubleshoot and repair your electric water heater easily.


Q: Can I repair my electric water heater on my own?

A: Yes, you can troubleshoot and repair your electric water heater independently if you have the necessary tools and knowledge.

Q: What if I don’t feel comfortable working on my water heater?

A: If you don’t feel comfortable working on your water heater, it’s best to call in a The Heating Cooling Doctor professional.

Q: How often should I flush my water heater?

A: You should flush your water heater once a year to remove any sediment buildup.

Q: How long do electric water heaters typically last?

A: Electric water heaters typically last between 8 and 12 years.