Tip & How-To about Water Heaters
If you have an electric water heater and it is not making any hot water then you have a problem. The good news is that electric water heaters are not that hard to troubleshoot and there are not a lot of things that can go wrong with them. I will go over the things that can give trouble and how to fix them.
First off if you have some hot water but not as much as you did when it was new then you probably have a bad bottom element. Only the top element is working, so you are only getting about 1/3 of a tank of hot water, replace the bottom element and you will be good again.
If you are making steam, then you have a bad thermostat. While you are making the steam out the relief valve, check to see which element is working. The easiest way to do that is to see which element has 220v on the two screws on the element. That thermostat at that element is bad. Replace it and you will stop the sauna.
If you have no hot water then check the red reset button directly above the top thermostat. You may have to push very hard on it to get it to reset. If the reset is tripped then you have a bad thermostat. Finding out which one can be tricky and timing is important to catch the bad thermostat in the act.
No hot water can also be the result of the top heating element going bad. If the top element goes bad then the top thermostat will never get enough heat to trip on the bottom thermostat. Therefore you will get no hot water. Dual element hot water heaters for residential use, do not ever run both elements at the same time. Only the top OR the bottom will be energized at a time.
This all there is to checking an electric hot water heater. If you are having problems go through this list systematically and you will find your problem and be able to fix it.
For a diagram of how a typical electric hot water heater is wired, check out this tip.
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