Are you having issues with your electric hot water system? An electric water heater not heating correctly can be a major frustration. But before calling in the pros, it helps to understand what could be going wrong with your electric hot water heater and hot water system. This allows you to troubleshoot some common problems on your own potentially.
Electric hot water systems heat water using electric heating elements. Issues like a faulty heating element, faulty thermostats, sediment build-up, and insufficient water pressure can prevent hot water from properly flowing from your electric hot water system. Knowing how to check for problems like heating element failure and low water pressure can help you diagnose what is wrong with your electric hot water heater.
Troubleshooting an electric hot water system by checking for issues like heating element problems, thermostat failure, and low water pressure can potentially identify an easy fix before resorting to professional repair. But some problems, like a complete heating element failure, require parts replacement by a qualified technician, as they know the common issues and have experience with many hot water brands. Recognising common signs of electric hot water system problems allows you to take steps toward hot water flowing again.
Why Is My Electric Hot Water Unit Not Heating?
First things first: what is an electric hot water system? We’re mainly talking here about the ones you’re undoubtedly familiar with – a tank-based system that heats water with heating elements that heat and then store the water for when needed. But while it may sound simple, quite a few things can go wrong – and in many cases, inevitably will. So, let’s do some troubleshooting on electric hot water heaters.
1. Failed heating element
When this happens, or the electric element is on the way out, you may notice your hot water heater not heating properly. The good news is that it can be replaced and, depending on the hot water system brand and model can be surprisingly cheap. The same is true for faulty thermostats, too.
2. Tripped breaker
If you’re really lucky, all that’s happened is that your hot water heater has tripped its breaker or switch – and this can happen for several reasons, some of them quite serious. In minor cases, a nuisance trip can be resolved simply by heading to the meter box and flicking the switch back to ‘on’.
3. Out of the water
If your family is sizeable, but your storage tank is small, you might run out of stored hot water! In that case, the heating cycle might not start again until the nighttime, and even if you can hit a ‘boost’ button, it will take some time for the new cold water to be heated enough for a satisfying shower. You may need to consider upgrading the size of your hot water system.
4. Water leak
If a valve or a plumbing connection is leaking, that can easily be fixed by a hot water plumber. But if the hot water tank is leaking, oh dear – it’s probably rusted or otherwise damaged beyond repair.
5. Corroded anode rod
Did you know a key protective feature of your storage tank is a sacrificial anode rod? It’s a metal rod that sits in the water and attracts corrosion – so that all those minerals and sediment from the water corrode the rod rather than your precious tank. After a while, the rod will be completely corroded and need to be replaced stat – so if your water is discoloured or smells funny, get it checked out.
Electric Hot Water Not Heating?
But we’ll be honest: plenty of other things could also explain why your electric hot water heater is not working properly. So if your unit is getting old, making odd noises, has reduced your shower to a trickle because of low hot water pressure or is otherwise simply not right, the easiest thing you can do is call Gold Coast Plumbing Experts.
We’ve repaired, serviced and replaced hundreds of electric hot water systems all over the Gold Coast region and beyond, and we always provide our 100% workmanship guarantee on everything we do. Contact the Gold Coast hot water repair specialists today for same-day service, fast repairs, inspections, flushes, full system replacements, and much more.
Electric Hot Water System FAQs
How can I tell if the upper heating element in my electric water heater is broken?
Check the water temperature coming from the hot taps. If it is cooler than normal, around 50°C, the upper heating element may be broken and need replacement by a qualified technician.
What should I do if I notice water leaking from my hot water heater tank?
Leaking tanks often have a broken lower heating element or a crack. Consult an emergency plumber to inspect the water heater tank and heating element and advise if replacement is needed.
Why does my electric hot water heater make rumbling noises?
Strange rumbling noises from a hot water heater usually indicate a failing heating system. Have a technician inspect the water heater to determine if the entire unit needs replacement.
How can I keep a constant supply of hot water with an electric tank water heater?
Adjust the thermostat to 50°C, insulate pipes, fix leaks immediately, and drain sediment to improve efficiency. Or install a tankless system for endless hot water.
What causes rusty or discoloured water from my electric hot water heater?
Rusty hot water is usually due to the corrosion of the anode rod inside the tank. The emergency plumber can replace the anode rod to keep water clear.
Why is the hot water temperature fluctuating at different taps?
If the water heater tank’s temperature relief valve has failed, it can cause fluctuating hot water temperature. Have a technician inspect the relief valve and heating elements.