How to Repair a Water Heater That's Not Heating
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How to Repair a Water Heater That's Not Heating

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  • Rated as EASY
  • 15 repair stories

Heater Element

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    If your electric water heater is not heating, it may be due to an issue with the heater element. Home water heaters typically have an upper and lower heating element. If your water is not heating, it is most likely because of a faulty upper heating element, whereas if some hot water is present but not much, it is most likely a problem with the lower heating element You can test the heaters with a multi-meter for functionality. Shut off power to the water heater and take off the access covers from the side of the tank. Push the insulation to one side to access the elements. Disconnect the two wires to each element, and set the multi-meter to R 1. Your meter should read between 10 and 20 ohms of resistance for either the upper or lower element. When testing between the terminals and the body of the tank, there should be no continuity. If you get different results, the element will need to be replaced, which requires draining the water tank. To repair your hot water heater element, first shut off the inlet water valve and use a hose to funnel out water via the drain valve. Drain the water until the level is below the opening of the element. Be careful when dealing with hot water. To avoid incidents, you can run a tap in your home to drain much of the hot water before draining the tank. Remove the element using a socket or element wrench. Ensure that the gasket is secured in place and the new element is tightened properly. Reconnect the wire to the element terminals, shut the drain valve, and fill the tank back up. Keep an eye out for leaks during this repair.

    Control Thermostat

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      If your electric water heater isn’t heating, there may be an issue with the control thermostat. This thermostat regulates the water in your hot water heater, normally between a range of 90 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Most home water heaters have an upper and lower thermostat, which should be set to the same temperature. To test each thermostat, first shut off power to the unit, then remove the access covers located on the side of the tank. Push aside the insulation and make sure the upper thermostat reset button has not been tripped. Make sure both thermostats are showing the same settings. Check for continuity using a multi-meter, if the water in the tank is below 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the upper thermostat for continuity between terminals L1 and T2 and the bottom thermostat between terminals 1 and 2. If there is no continuity below 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the thermostat is defective and needs to be replaced. Remove the wires and spring mounting bracket from the thermostat. Ensure that the new thermostat mounting bracket is firmly placed on the tank wall. For gas water heaters, the gas valve dictates the temperature. The valve assembly features a dial which allows you to control the temperature. When the pilot light is lit and you adjust the temperature but the water isn’t getting hot, the valve assembly should be replaced, only by a qualified technician.

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