Most Common Reasons Your Electric Water Heater is Not Working

Cold water when you need hot (or worse, when you are expecting it) can be quite the shock. Last time on the Economy Plumbing Services blog we took a look at how to test heat elements in your water heater to help avoid that. In that same vein, this time we are going to look at some of the most common reasons for an electric water heater not working. 

And remember, if you think attempting to diagnose or repair your water heater is outside your abilities: Don’t risk it, give an expert a call. Tinkering with electric water heaters without know-how, confidence, and a bit of experience can lead to more problems down the line or worse!

Most Common Reasons Electric Water Heater Not Working Like it Should

Electric water heaters can have a number of different problems. Overheating due to sediment build up, corrosion inside the tank leading to rust looking water, water too hot, and more – all are possible problems with your water heater. Here’s what’s causing them and how to address the problem.

Temperature Troubles

Too hot, too cold, not hot at all, or anywhere in-between there are a number of different problems that could cause temperature issues.  You may have crossed connections, a faulty thermostat or heating element. The circuit breaker may have a blown fuse. If the water is coming out too hot the thermostat may just be set too high! A simple fix, set it between 110 and 140 (Fahrenheit, of course!) and you should be in business. Otherwise, most of these fixes will need a bit of electrical or plumbing know hot to get sorted.


Leaks are one of the most common problems with water heaters. We’ve written up a whole blog on leaking water heaters, so to put it briefly: turn off the power, turn off the water, find the leak. It may just be a loose connection, but it may be a broken temperature or pressure valve.

Internal Problems

There are a number of issues that might be happening inside the tank that can cause less than optimal performance. Rust colored water, hot water running out too fast, stinky water. All of these are caused by something malfunctioning inside the water heater tank. If your water has a rotten eggy smell, a sacrificial anode rod may need repalcing. If the water is rust colored it means the inside of your water heater is corroding.If any of these are happening you will want to call an expert to address it before the whole water heater needs to be replaced

Water heaters, whether electric or not, take some wear and tear on them through years of use. That’s just the facts. And with it come hiccups, malfunctions, and inconveniences but so long as you take precautions and keep an eye out you can keep those small problems from becoming disastrous! If you need help with your electric water heater today, feel free to give us a call and we’ll take care of you.

If Water Goes Through It Or To It, We Do It!

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