Tip & How-To about Heating & Cooling

How to repair an Electric Water Heater that Fails to Heat Water

If your home has an electric water heater that is not working properly, start your troubleshooting here When an electric water heater fails to heat water, either the power to the water heater has been interrupted or there is a problem with the controls or heating elements. Perform these diagnostics:

1) Be sure electricity is being delivered to the appliance. Check the main switch on the water heater and the circuit breaker (or fuse) that serves the water heater. If the circuit breaker has tripped, reset it by flipping it all the way to OFF and then back to ON.
If a fuse has blown, replace it with a new fuse with the same rating. If the circuit breaker or fuse repeatedly blows out, call a qualified electrician to check and repair the circuit. Note that the water heater should not share a circuit with another appliance—it draws too much power when heating.
2) Check the high-temperature cutoff in the water heater. Open the panel and push the reset button. If the button doesn’t make a clicking sound or you still don’t have power after pressing it, then your high-temperature cutoff is probably bad. Call an electric water heater repairperson.
3) If there is any water inside the compartment, this could cause the thermostat to malfunction. Leaking water means that your water heater may need to be replaced. If this is the case, be sure to read the “Storage Water Heater Buying Guide” and related buying guide articles before making your purchase.
If these steps don’t solve the problem, you may have a problem with your heating elements. You can replace these yourself following the manufacturer’s instructions if you feel comfortable with this type of repair, or call a water heater service professional.

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Why no power to pump?


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How to troubleshoot electric water heater - Water Heater Timer

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Jan 01, 2016 | Water Heaters

1 Answer

I have a Reliance 501 electric water heater. There are two panels. In the top panel is a red "reset" button. On two occasions this button has popped and turned off the unit. I have pushed the button and reset it and the unit heats the water and works fine. Why would it turn off and what is the fix for this. Thanks.


ECO reset button trips when thermostat senses high heat event over 150 degrees F, or when upper or lower thermostat is defective. There are other causes: if tank access covers and insulation are missing, and when element is shorted to ground in center of element so that element continues heating through one leg of 240V circuit after thermostat turns off.

Ordinary tank-type electric water heater is fully repairable by homeowner using generic parts from hardware store or home center.

1) Replace upper and lower thermostat for about $28, and if problem persists, then do troubleshoot shown in step 2 below.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-replace-thermostat-on-electric-water-heater.html

2) Take 30 minutes and troubleshoot before replacing any parts.
Troubleshoot requires cheap multimeter from home center.
Install battery in multimeter.
When testing voltage, rotate multimeter dial to 240 or 250 or 277 VAC.
When testing continuity or elements, rotate multimeter dial to ohms (upside down horseshoe symbol is ohms)
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-troubleshoot-electric-problems-with-water-heater.html

Jan 13, 2011 | RELIANCE ELECTRIC WATER HEATER

1 Answer

I have a Rheem Electric water heater Model#71-52DB. It has no power and not heating when it does have power.


You need to troubleshoot water heater and electric going to water heater.
Troubleshoot takes about 45 minutes.
Typical electric water heater tank is fully repairable by homeowner using generic parts from home center or hardware.
Links below walk you through the steps:

http://waterheatertimer.org/Test-electricity-to-water-heater.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-troubleshoot-electric-problems-with-water-heater.html

Buy $5 multimeter from Lowes or Home Depot or Ace:
Install battery in multimeter.
When testing voltage, rotate multimeter dial to 240 or 250 or 277 VAC.
When testing continuity or elements, rotate multimeter dial to ohms (upside down horseshoe symbol is ohms)
Image of Multimeter

Jan 12, 2011 | Rheem 40 GAL ELEC TALL Water Heater 6YR SC...

2 Answers

We just bought a new water heater and it's not heating up water.


The heating element was bad. It's hard to believe that a brand new water heater would have a burn element, but that's the problem. I replace the heating element and its started working properly.

Dec 01, 2009 | Whirlpool Water Heaters

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