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 orcontact 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