Tip & How-To about Water Heaters
If your electric hot water heater is not getting your water hot enough or your water is too hot then you can make the adjustment easily yourself. There are a few things that you may need to know to do this. I will go over where the thermostat(s) are located and also how to make the changes.
The first thing to remember is to make sure that the power is turned off to the hot water heater before you attempt to open any of the covers and make any adjustments.
The next thing is to locate the covers which are over the thermostats and the elements. There are two on most hot water heaters, one for the top and one for the bottom. One or two screws hold these covers in place. They will look like this when you look at the front of the hot water heater.
When you have the cover removed you will see that the top thermostat, reset safety control and the element look like this.
The bottom thermostat and element look like this.
If you need to reset the hot water heater you push the red button on the top thermostat in hard till it clicks. To change the temperature setting on the thermostat you need to take a screw driver and turn the dial to the desired temperature either higher or lower as you prefer.
The elements can also be checked by using and ohm meter and checking for resistance across the two terminals of the element. If you get no resistance or a high resistance the element is no good. A normal reading with most meters will be somewhere in the 8-25 ohm range. This even gives a bit of buffer for different meters and the possibility of them being a bit out of calibration.
For most people a simple adjustment of the temperature settings will be sufficient to give you the results you want. Remember that you may need to adjust the thermostat for both elements to get the desired result. Also remember that you can get a longer time before you run out of hot water if the water is hoter and you mix more cold into it. The downside of that is the chances for scalding are greatly increased with hotter water. If you have small children or elderly adults, think carefully about what very hot water can do to them.
For higher efficiency you also want to keep the water temperatures as low as possible to reduce the residual heat loss of the stored hot water.
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