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Electric Hot Water System Trouble Shooting


Everyone loves a nice hot shower, and there is nothing more frustrating than going to work feeling limp from your cold shower. We have all experienced hot water supply issues, so today we walk you through the simple troubleshooting steps you can take to diagnose a problem with your electric water heater.

Not Enough Hot water

Possible Causes:

  • Temperature set too low
  • Damaged or faulty elements
  • Damaged or faulty thermostat
  • Water heater undersized for your needs

If your water is hot to begin with, but after a few minutes of a shower, or if you're the unlucky second shower of the morning and it goes cold, there are a few things to check. Try turning up the temperature on the thermostat CAUTION HOT WATER CAN CAUSE BURNS. Once you have given the water heater time to heat up, try running the shower for an extended period of time, and see how long the water stays warm, if it still doesn't stay hot for long enough you either have a faulty element or thermostat, or the hot water unit just isn't big enough use this help guide from Rheem to test what size water heater you need.

No Hot Water

Possible Causes:

  • Circuit Breaker or fuse issues
  • Electrical issue
  • Faulty thermostat or element

Possibly the only thing worse than a shower that goes cold to quickly, is a shower that was never even warm to start with, the usual culprits for this issues are electrical and unsafe for the home handy man to tackle, once you have checked everything in the fuse box to ensure that power should be getting to the unit, you then need to put down the tools, and call a licenced plumber. Do not attempt to repair these yourself as water and electricity don't mix.

Slow Hot Water Recovery

Possible Causes:

  • Temperature set too low
  • Thermostat no fitted correctly
  • Faulty thermostat
  • Grounded element

If it takes a long time for your system to heat up more water after a warm shower or bath, then try turning the thermostat up slightly, run the hot water again for the same length of time and time hot long it takes for it to get hot once again. If this doesn't fix the issue call a plumber in to check you hot water system for faults such as the thermostat or heating element.

Relief Valve Sporadically Releasing Large Quantities of Water

Possible Causes:

  • Water in the unit is too hot

The relief valve is design to release pressure that naturally builds up in hot water systems, if you notice that yours is frequently ejecting large amounts of water, then you probably have the temperature set too hot.

Water Heater Leaking

Possible Cause:

  • Faulty or Damaged Water Heater

If you ever see hot water coming out of your hot water system anywhere but the Relief Valve, immediately switch off the power at the switch board, do not touch the hot water! Electricity and Water do not mix. Immediately call a plumber to fix this issue

Safety Switch / Breaker Tripping

Possible Causes:

  • Wire shorted
  • Grounded Element
  • Water Leak
  • Grounded Thermostat
  • Undersized Breaker

If you safety switch / break continues to trip, there are a multitude of things that could be wrong with your system, all of which needed to be handled by a professional and can be extremely dangerous if not deadly if done wrong.

Over all hot water systems are complex pieces of equipment and should not be repaired or altered by anyone but professionals such as the local Brisbane Plumbers at Jetset Plumbing.
Whilst there are many different makes and model of water heaters out there, they all work on the same basic idea, and whilst they should only be repaired or serviced by professionals this guide can help you get an idea and a basic diagnosis of what may be the problem.

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