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Electric Water Heater Repair

Updated on August 27, 2009

Electric water heater repair is one of those subjects that most people never think about until its too late. The minute the hot water ceases to flow, there is pandemonium as suddenly a whole host of household conveniences stops being available to all who use them on a daily basis without giving them another thought.

So what can you do whn your hot water suddenly takes a turn for the colder? There are some basic things you can check yourself, of course. But when there's nothing obvious that might be causing your hot water failure, then it may be time to call in a qualified hot water heater specialist. Here are some helpful tips that you can put to good use for just such an occasion, that may help you get through this major inconvenience. Then, if all else fails, we can show you what to do next.

Water Heating Failure Checking

It's always a good idea to run through the common sense things that might be causing your sudden lack of hot water. So let's look at what you can check on first of all.

First thing to check is that your electric hot water heater plug has not blown a fuse. This is a fairly simple one and all it involves is unplugging the electric water heater and swapping the plug fuse for a new one, then plugging it back in again.

If that doesn't cure the problem, or your electric water heater is connected directly into the electricity supply, you should check your main fusebox to see if the relevant fuse hasn't tripped out. If one of the switches is in the "down" position, and it'll be a high value fuse probably of 20 amps or thereabouts, then reset the fuse by switching it toi the "up" `position. If it trips out straight away, there may be a more serious problem.

Check on the age of your electric hot water heater. They do have a limited lifespan and if you live in a hard water area, that is if your water contains a higher than average level of calcium, then its possible the heating element has completely furred up and is no longer working. This will call for a replacement, which a competent handy man can change, although for safety's sake,  it is a job better done by a professional plumber who deals with electric water heaters.

Repairing a n Electric Water Heater

Repairing an electric hot water heater is not something that an unqualified person should attempt to tackle. This is one of those jobs that may be done by at least an extremely competent handy man, although there are dangers that need to be addressed and associated consequences that may affect your home insurance should anything go wrong.

You can buy a replacement hot water heating element for your electric water heater, repair it yourself and be back in business soon enough if you know what you're doing. But remember that you'll be dealing with two elements that do not go together very well. Water and electricity! If one connects with the other, death or serious injury may result if the person conducting the repair is not acutely aware of the dangers and has taken sufficient precautions to ensure that doesn't happen.

Safety First:

Here's a quick, although by no means comprehensive look at safety first when dealing with any electrical appliance that can come into contact with water.

  1. Empty the water heater of all water. This takes a while, so do this first
  2. Shut off the electricity supply at you home's fusebox
  3. Shut off the water supply to the house
  4. When the water is drained out, remove and inspect the heating element
  5. Insert the new element and replace all seals and tighten all screws securely to prevent leaks
  6. Turn on the water supply
  7. Allow the water heater to refill
  8. Switch on the electricity supply

If the water now heats up, you've solved the problem. If not, then you may need to replace the whole water heater. This is a job for a professional plumber and not something that should be undertaken by anyone not qualified.


Submit a Comment

  • Authorite profile image

    Authorite 8 years ago from UK

    That's right! The more people who realize they can save money by repairing instead of replacing, the less junk for our landfill sites too!

  • Place Kick profile image

    Place Kick 8 years ago from North Carolina

    You posted some good information, when a hot water heater goes out the first thing people do is throw it out and spend money to buy a new one and its money wasted because most the time it an element or a build up of hard lime in the tank which can be fixed with a lot less money than a new one.