A Guide to Electric Water Heater Repair

Posted on October 20th, 2020 by carrolladmin

Hot water is a luxury that you don’t often think about until it’s suddenly gone. Waking up to find you are without hot water is never much fun, and panic may sink in at the thought of getting it fixed.

From leaks to much larger issues, a trusted local technician can help solve many common problems.

The ease of performing electric water heater repairs varies in complexity based on the problem, age, the model of your equipment, and several other factors. It’s important to keep in mind that an electric water heater’s average lifespan is about 12 years, similar to gas water heaters.

Read on to learn more about common problems associated with your electric water heater. You can fix many of these yourself, including:

To schedule an appointment or request an estimate, contact us online to get the hot water flowing again in your home or office.

Contact Carroll Plumbing

How to Troubleshoot Problems with Your Electric Water Heater

First, it’s worthwhile to go through simple diagnostics before spending money to have a plumber come out.

If your electric water heater isn’t working at all, you may simply have a flipped circuit breaker. Check your breaker box to make sure the switch hasn’t flipped. 

If the circuit breaker is working, another solution may be that the hot water cutoff tripped. You can reset it by pressing the associated button near the upper thermostat.

If these potential solutions are unable to solve the issue, we recommend contacting a reliable plumbing professional.

Common Electric Water Heater Problems 

Whether you’re looking into home improvement projects or replacing a water heater entirely, take a look at these five cost breakdowns that will allow you to make a more informed decision:

1. Heating Elements 

Often, problems with electric water heaters come from faulty heating elements. Your water heater will come with two elements — one located up high, and another down toward the bottom of your water heater.

The system runs an electric current through each element, causing them to heat and raise the tank’s water temperature.

An element may be burned out or shorted, in which case it will need replacement. A bad element could be the cause of a circuit breaker to trip. If you frequently have to reset the breaker switch, a burned-out element could be the culprit.

Plumbers use an electrical continuity tester to determine if one of your water heaters elements is bad. You can buy this device at most hardware stores for about $10.

Questions about your heating elements? Contact us for assistance.

2. Thermostat

If the heating elements are operating correctly, another cause may be a thermostat issue. Each electric water heater has two thermostats, one for each element. If one of the thermostats fails to work, the water will not heat as efficiently.

Typically, the lower thermostat handles most of your water heating requirements. When you need higher amounts of hot water, the upper unit kicks in. If either the upper or lower thermostat goes out, you may get colder water from the unit, especially on heavier water loads. In these cases, replacing the faulty thermostat is necessary.

For more information or questions about a thermostat, contact us online.

3. Anode Rod

Not all problems are due to mechanical issues, but rather from corrosion over time. If you notice rust on your water tank, it may be too late to repair the system, in which case you will need a replacement tank.

The anode rod prevents the tank from corroding, but it will gradually wear out. As such, it will need replacing every five years or so.

This equipment is relatively inexpensive. If you plan to get the anode rod replaced professionally, expect additional price increases.

Is your anode rod corroded? We’re here to help.

4. Dip Tube

Another problem that could lead to inadequate water heating is a bad dip tube. The dip tube transfers cold water from the top of the tank down to the bottom for reheating. If this equipment has worn out, the warmth of the water may not be as hot. In some cases, the dip tube may break off or rust away. 

5. Pressure Relief Valve

A final issue is the pressure relief valve. The purpose of this valve is to let out excess pressure, so if the tank’s pressure is too high, it will cause the valve to leak consistently. Extra water tank pressure could result from various problems, all of which are best handled by a professional.

It may be that the valve itself is faulty or has excess sediment buildup, meaning that you will need to replace it.

In need of professional help? Give us a call or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

Additional Factors To Consider 

When looking at how to repair an electric water heater, there are a few additional items you’ll want to take into consideration.

Price of Labor

Much of the range in prices listed above comes from variations in the cost of labor.

Professional plumbers cost about $45 to $150 per hour, and most repairs take a couple of hours to finish.

Make and Model

Another factor is the make and model of the unit. Parts for some brands of electric water heaters may cost more than others, which could result in some fluctuation in price.

Quality of Work

Often, the quality of the repair work is a reflection of the price.

The more experienced and better trained a repair technician, the more they’re likely to cost.

While this may deter some homeowners, the extra cost is often worthwhile if it means less risk of problems down the road.

Cost of Replacement

Ultimately, routine maintenance and minor repairs will help your unit last longer. This is important because the cost to replace an electric water heater can go up to $1400.

Keeping up on repairs can save you money in the long run.

Read More: Choosing The Best Water Heater Repair Company (Quickly)

Tank Water Heater vs. Tankless Water Heaters

As the name suggests, tank water heaters are useful for water storage, typically up to 40-50 gallons. On the other hand, tankless water heaters provide warm water only when you need it, without storing it for future use.

As for a cost breakdown, tank water heaters cost less than tankless and are typically easier to install. Tankless water heaters are known to last longer, with an average lifespan of about 20 years, but can cost up to twice as much.

Contact Carroll Plumbing & Heating to Help Solve Your Electric Water Heater Problems

Keep your water temperatures comfortable for your well-being and ensure that your equipment is functioning correctly. Maintaining a well-functioning water heater can be done with routine maintenance and check-ins. Electric water heaters are a great, energy-efficient choice for many homes and office spaces.

To get started on your repair, contact us online for an estimate or to schedule an appointment today.

Get an estimate on your electric water heater repair

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Carroll Plumbing & Heating came through for me in an emergency. I called for help when my home warranty company couldn't send out a plumber right away. I had a busted hot water tank in my attic and was leaking water through my ceiling. I had a real emergency and they came within 30 mins. The Techs got in my attic cut off the gas to the tank and water. Then they drained the water. It was a hard job due to the tight area in my attic. The were very professional and knowledgeable. The also wore their masks. I would recommend them to anyone. I give them an "A" plus. Thanks to them guys at Carroll.
Charmagne Richardson
Charmagne Richardson
Had a new kitchen sink installed today by Keith. Arrived on time, very professional and pleasant, A+ workmanship. Could not have been done better, and the cost was quite reasonable.
I had an issue with a boiler install (not done by Carroll). They came out, took a look, and had it working within 20 minutes. Highly recommend, especially Bruce. He's very knowledgable, friendly, and easy to work with.
Enzo Chiariello
Enzo Chiariello
I called them a few weeks ago for some issues in an newly purchased investment property (sink and shower not draining, water heater not working). Unfortunately the issue with the sink was more extensive than we thought but I appreciated that he cut to the chase and let me know up front. They have been incredibly flexible with scheduling since we have had to coordinate some other things in the process with contractors moving cabinets, etc. They are generally in and out without a trace which has been great, and I felt that the price was reasonable. I am pleased with them overall and plan to use them again for my investments and primary residence.
I have used Carroll’s for about 25 years, at two houses. They are quick to come, and always pleased with their work and service. Highly recommend!
M Borton
Called over holiday weekend w leaking sewage pipe. They advised cost would be high and suggested temporary water collection. Saved us money and earned our respect for their integrity. Made repair quickly after. Get service and workmanship.
Ben Hagen
Ben Hagen
Robert and Mike are great. Arrived on time and went right to work. I had another issue and they took the time to explain what I needed. I have more work to be done and plan to ask for them specifically.
Cat Momma
Cat Momma
Very reliable, knowledgeable, and courteous. We've done business with them for years and wouldn't call anyone else.
I have been a customer of Carroll Plumbing and Heating for over 30 years and would not go anywhere else.
Bill Fielden
Bill Fielden
I will never call anyone else again! They were so nice, super fast, and very efficient!!! Everyone from the receptionist to the dispatcher and the technicians. The manager even checked in on us!! Cannot say enough great things about this company!! Thank you so much!!
Jill Anderson
Jill Anderson
The guys from Carroll were prompt, professional, patient & reasonable. They diagnosed my problem, replaced the parts and were in & out within an hour. This was the first time I've use Carroll and I can guarantee there will be a second when the need arises.
Patrick Siewert
Patrick Siewert
Excellent Customer Service
Justin Bowman
Justin Bowman
Best plumbing, heating and cooling contractor in the metro area!
Jacob Ray
Jacob Ray
Excellent job and workmanship. We had an emergency issue that required a gas line replacement. They were on the spot, courteous, and professional. We never had to go a night without heat or hot water. I'll go back to this place for all of my heating and plumbing needs. Dustin is a great plumber and Bruce runs a tight shop -- personally making sure customers are happy.
Matt Gardner
Matt Gardner
Great service! I called them late Monday and they were at my house Tuesday morning the next day. Always have had a great experience with Carroll. Highly recommend them!
Randy Sklar
Randy Sklar
I called this morning due to my heat pump not turning on, they fit me into their busy schedule, great service, technician was extremely knowledgeable and friendly, definitely will be using them in the future for some plumbing needs, highly recommend them
Had an extremely poor experience with another plumbing company in Richmond and was sick of dealing with trying to get in contact with their "managers." My roommate found Carroll online and I called for an appointment. The receptionist that answered was very nice and seemed to know exactly who to send me to for immediate assistance, rather than have me play phone tag with multiple departments.A kind man named Bruce was over to diagnose the issue, walk me through the repair and how our aged heating system worked, and think of a creative solution that saved me over $500 off the total bill with a fair invoice that detailed the work demands and parts used--all in the same day. They may be a little pricey, but I was incredibly impressed with their speed, customer service, and attentiveness to the intricacies of aged baseboard radiators. I've never worked with any other home service companies who were willing to quote a new and innovative solution for a typically expensive repair. Keep up the great work!
TK Babington
TK Babington
Best plumbing company around :)
Brandon C. Adkins
Brandon C. Adkins
Carroll Plumbing & Heating has THE best customer service and response time of anyone I have ever used. I would highly recommend them!!!
I called this company due to an emergency that I had. My pipes burst and I had no heat or hot water and it was 14 degrees outside. Bruce was extremely helpful, kind and quick to solve the problem. They came out quickly, gave a reasonable estimate and stayed until they were assured the problem was fixed. Dave was a great help, along with the other gentleman who helped him. I will definitely use this company in the future and will recommend them to anyone with heating and plumbing needs! They are knowledgeable, have excellent customer service, and helped me out tremendously when I needed them. A+ job!
I called this company due to an emergency that I had. My pipes burst and I had no heat or hot water and it was 14 degrees outside. Bruce was extremely helpful, kind and quick to solve the problem. They came out quickly, gave a reasonable estimate and stayed until they were assured the problem was fixed. Dave was a great help, along with the other gentleman who helped him. I will definitely use this company in the future and will recommend them to anyone with heating and plumbing needs! They are knowledgeable, have excellent customer service, and helped me out tremendously when I needed them. A+ job!
Kimberly Earles
Kimberly Earles
The best customer service, honest, and fair pricing. I highly recommend them�
My Wife and I have been using Carroll Plumbing-Heating-Cooling for a variety of home plumbing (water and propane) "jobs" for approximately 4 years. Before describing our most recent experience, we wanted to share a summary of all the projects they have completed.

Our first experience with Carroll Plumbing-Heating-Cooling was during the total remodel of our kitchen and laundry room. This was an involved project since we completely changed the footprint of the spaces and therefore had to relocate all the plumbing. We were continually impressed with their professionalism, attention to detail and most of all - the daily communication on the progress/concerns and timeline updates regarding the plumbing related parts of the project.

Later, we decided to upgrade our conventional electric water heater to a Rinnai on-demand, propane-fueled water heater (including the installation of the required propane gas lines/connections, required valves). We consulted multiple contractors for bids and were pleased to see that Carroll Plumbing-Heating-Cooling were experienced installers/service providers of Rinnai on-demand water heaters and had competitive pricing for a "turn-key" project including the required Richmond City permits. We decided to go with Carroll based on our previous experience and were delighted again with the quality of their work, commitment to constant communication and competitive cost of the project.

Approximately 2 years ago, we again contracted Carroll to perform the plumbing related work; upgrades, etc. regarding the complete renovation of our main, full-bathroom. Their attention to detail in execution and communication with not only us but the other trades (tile, electrical, finish-work etc.) was impressive and refreshing.

Our most recent experience occurred during the week prior to Thanksgiving. On 11/19/2017, my Wife contacted Kim at Carroll Plumbing-Heating-Cooling regarding a problem we were experiencing (pipe-knocking/banging noises) after recently installing a new high efficiency washing machine. Kim immediately dispatched a plumber/Rinnai specialist and the identified the problem that day as a condition called "Waterhammering". The part was ordered and installed the next day at a surprisingly low cost.

Carroll has always satisfied our plumbing needs - we don't hesitate to call them when an issue or project arises.

Give them a call and experience their commitment to customer satisfaction yourself.
Carroll is the best HVAC & Plumbing company in town! Two years ago, I had 5 different plumbers take a look at a new water heater where the pilot was not remaining lit. All 5 incompetent plumbers (several whom has fancy commercials that air today) could not figure out the problem. The last plumber actually referred me to Carroll and I so glad he didn't allow pride to keep him from sending me to someone who knew what they were doing. A week before X-mas, Carroll came out, figured out the entire WH needed to be replaced (through warranty), and though they didn't install the old WH they handled the entire warranty process that included removing the old WH and installing the new one. The entire process was completed in 2 days. About 3 days after they installed it, there was slight condensation buildup on one of the pipes that concerned me and after calling, Carroll immediately came out and stopped it. Today, after turning the heat on for the 1st time since last winter, I noticed cooler air blowing. I called Carroll this morning and within a few hours the dispatcher had Jacob come by. Within a few minutes Jacob quickly diagnosed the problem (which was a closed valve that was mistakenly left off when they came out last time). Jacob was a peach and the dispatcher was very kind.
Tara Thomas
Tara Thomas
Carroll Plumbing was fantastic! They were able to get me an appointment the very next day after I first called and the technician (Kenny) that they sent out was efficient, friendly and explained everything thoroughly. We will definitely use Carroll for any future plumbing needs! I HIGHLY recommend them!
Christina Garnett
Christina Garnett
Carroll Plumbing came to our house within 24 hours of our initial call. Our technician, Dustin, was incredible. He was on time, polite, courteous and friendly. He fixed our shower, installed a new sink in our basement and replaced the main shutoff valve for our water. He was fantastic and we will ask for Dustin by name in the future. We have used Carroll Plumbing for over 15 years and were saddened when our former plumber retired. Fortunately, Dustin is absolutely top notch.
Blair Nelsen
Blair Nelsen
Carroll is always on pointe. They came today to fix a leaky and sticking shower. They had to take off 3 valve controllers to get to the problem and were very careful to keep all the trim and insides in great condition. I was worried about working on our expensive shower fixtures, but perfect job. They have done several fixes for me over the years - all great quality - so I figured it was time to give them the review they deserve.
George Smallfield
George Smallfield
Great team of guys...patient, pleasant and professional. Many Thanks!
Just the best in terms of product, service and follow-through!
I manage a business located down the street from Carroll Plumbing. We were having our internet upgraded and the contractor doing the work hit our water line. We were without water to our building at 3PM in the afternoon and were facing the possibility of having to close our business. I called Carroll Plumbing and they were over assessing the issue within 10-15 minutes. By 4:30PM our line was fixed and we were back up and running. I cannot thank Carroll Plumbing enough for turning what could have been a disaster into a tiny bump in our day.
Jackie Blosser
Jackie Blosser
Very thorough and personable, I've used their service for years on my HVAC units and recently had them replace my system, install new thermostats, and expand the ductwork. They are timely, clean up after themselves, always answer all of my questions and are never in a hurry. I will continue to use their services in the future.
Ryan Norwood
Ryan Norwood
Had a problem with a dripping faucet. Aragon from Carroll came out on a Sunday, quickly diagnosed the problem, fixed it, tested it and explained to me clearly what had happened. He was very friendly, on time, worked quickly, and used his boot covers while in the house. It was a great experience.
Neal Lappe
Neal Lappe
Great company to deal with if you need plumbing work. This most recent need for Carroll was to replace my 16 year old hot water heater. They called me to let me know they were running behind and then called me to tell me the plumber was on his way. After the hot water heater was installed, the plumber reviewed it operation with me. I will use Carroll again.
Elizabeth Long
Elizabeth Long
We came home from work in early spring to find our furnace not working. Carroll came out the next day to look it over. They performed a quick fix until the part that was needed came in. They were back the very next day (on a weekend), working hard to get it working. Everyone from the folks in the office to the technician who did the work were professional and very helpful.I highly recommend Carroll Plumbing and will surely call them first when I need any heating or plumbing work.
Tricia Stohr-Hunt
Tricia Stohr-Hunt
We are in the process of renovations on our 1932 home. Bruce, Jeff, and Jim have provided great service and technical expertise on boiler and hot water heater replacement, HVAC, and general plumbing. They and their assistants are on-time, courteous, friendly, patient, responsive, skilled professionals. We couldn't be more pleased!
My first encounter with Carroll Plumbing and Heating was in 2006, while working for a competitor of Carroll's. As I recall, I was intimidated and thought, "I would never be able to work for them (Carroll Plumbing and Heating, CH&H)". C.P.& H. does not just rip out and replace. This company specializes in repairs. Finding innovative ways of making difficult situations work in their favor, for the sake of the customer.
When I went to apply for a job, I was taken in and assigned to work with Tommy Hall. Tommy taught me so much about plumbing, I now can use his snarky remark of "I forgot more about plumbing than you know" when I talk to other plumbers.
Today, I own and operate a sewer and drain company in Massachusetts. Just yesterday, I was given such a complement and was reminded, I learned from the best.