How to fix a broken electric water heater

How to fix a broken electric water heater

What’s worse than starting your day with a clod shower because your electric water heater is malfunctioning and gave up on you? This may be my 13th reason why on a day where my mood is already down. Fear not because we are here and we’ll guide you to locate the issue and even fix it yourself. Most people think the worst when their electric water heater stops working, but it is usually just a minor issue that can be easily resolved.

Check your warranty

Before doing anything, locate your warranty and check if your heater is still assured and the contract’s conditions. This tends to be limited for both residential and commercial electric water heaters. The warranty will give you details about the tank like its serial number, model, and what parts can be changed for free or that you might get a discount on. Write down the details or take a picture if you are lazy like me and ring up the manufacturer if the tank is leaking or in terrible condition.

Problems and how to fix them.

Before checking or starting to work on your heater, be sure to shut off the power. This appliance is a high voltage one and can damage your body if it electrocutes you. So shut the power to the water heater or if you don’t know which wire it is specifically, just wish the power of the whole house.

1. The water is too hot

Yes, you can have too much of a good thing, most of us want a steam shower, but we don’t want the water to literally disintegrate our skin. Your water heater may be temperamental sometimes and you can easily fix this.



    • Check the thermostat setting. First, turn off the power and remove the access panel, insulation and safety guard from each eating element on the heater. Be careful not to touch any wires at this point. Use a non-contact voltage tester on the wires to verify that the power is really off. We don’t need a home alone 2 situations on our hands. Don’t run the risk of turning like Marv and getting electrocuted into a skeleton.
    • After that, check both thermostats setting; they should be at the same temperature. It is recommended to have them between 115 to 125 degrees Fahrenheit or 46 to 52 degrees Celsius. You can adjust the temperature to your liking with the help of a flathead screwdriver.
    • Replace the access panel, the safety guard ad the insulation for each element and then turn your heater back on. Voila, it is all fixed and you can shower with the water of your dreams.

2. There is no hot water.

This is the opposite of the first one and this one is a real downer too. This may be because of several reasons; it might be because it is not getting enough power, it has a tripped limit switch or the heating element is failing.

cold shower

cold shower


    • Check the heater circuit break to ensure that it hasn’t tripped. If it has, then switch it off, then switch it back on. This usually fixes the problem. If the issue is not the trip, then go ahead and check and reset the high water temperature on the heater.
    • To do so, first, switch off the breaks to the water heater. Then, remove the access panel for the upper heating element. Like before, remove the insulation and plastic guard and avoid any wires.
    • After that, press the red button and unlike Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s inators, this won’t auto-destroy your heater, but rather it will reset the water heater. The button is situated above the upper thermostat. After this, replace everything you removed previously and switch the power back on.
    • If this still doesn’t solve the issue, I advise you to call a technician who would be better positioned to help you.

3. Water leakage

This happens when the screws to your valve or plumbing connection are lost or if the get has corroded. Water leakage can cause severe damage to your property, so it is important to check your tank regularly for any leaks.


    • Inspect each element for looseness and tighten them with an element wrench if necessary.
    • A corroded tank cannot be repaired and must be replaced. To avoid further leakage before replacing it, turn off the water supply to the tanks and drain the tank completely. A sign of corrosion is when the water comes out rust-colored or has a foul odor.

4. Tank is making noise

Does your tank sound like a whining brat? The noise might be from the boiling water. Over time sediment collects at the bottom of the tank and this can cause the bottom of the tank to overheat, thus boiling the water.



    • The first solution is to try to drain it, follow the instruction above in number 3 to do so. If this doesn’t solve the issue, then it is time to buy a new tank.

Remember, it’s always fun and gratifying to do something with your own hands, but if it seems difficult or out of your wheelhouse, call a professional. Sound off in the comments section below and tell us if you will try any of these to try and fix your own electric water heater.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *