An important home appliance is a water heater; however, it’s easy to overlook this essential appliance, at least until there is no longer any hot water. When that happens, it’s usually a little late to think about preventative maintenance. That’s a good reason why one should contact our professional water heater repair service as soon as any sign of trouble becomes evident.
Before giving us a call, there are a few things you can check on your own.
DIY Fixes for Electric Hot Water Heaters & Troubleshooting
If you have an electric water heater that is slow to heat water, tends to not provide as much hot water as it did in the past, or that isn’t producing any hot water, then there’s a high likelihood that the problem will be fixed by having one or both heating elements replaced.
Typically, repairs for a hot water heater are fairly straightforward, and replacing a heating element is affordable ($8 to $20) usually, and they are commonly found at local hardware stores as well as through online appliance parts dealers.
A standard electric water heater for residential properties will have two separate heating elements; one located towards the top of the water tank and one closer to the bottom.
In the majority of water heaters, power enters from the top and runs down to the unit’s high-temperature shutoff switch; from there the power runs to the system’s thermostats and elements.
Elements at the top and bottom of the hot water heater will have separate thermostats. Once water at the tank’s top reaches the right temperature, the top element will shut off while the lower one continues to heat the cooler water located at the bottom of the tank.
In normal operating conditions, the heating elements at both the top and bottom should never be heating water simultaneously.
The “Little Known” & Hidden Red Reset Button
Sometimes, you’ll not have any hot water, but both of the heating elements will be fine when tested.
If there’s no problem with the heating elements, you should try pushing the unit’s “high-temperature cutoff” button (usually red), which you’ll generally find right above the water heater’s upper thermostat.
If this resolves your problem, but you end up with no hot water again, you can use a multi-meter to test the heating elements.
There are also some other reasons why you might not be getting hot water. Prior to going through the process of testing the water heating elements, check to ensure that the circuit breaker supplying power hasn’t been tripped.
Additionally, try pressing the red reset button located on the unit’s high temperature cutoff (when there is one) to ensure it is completely depressed.
This should be found directly above the top thermostat. When you reset the unit’s high-temperature shutoff or the circuit breaker, your problem may be resolved, but it’s important to keep in mind that you probably have an electrical problem based on the fact that you had the issue to begin with.
If after testing, you discover that there’s no problem with the heating elements, then the problem is probably with either the cutoff switch or one of the thermostats.
Testing these elements can be a bit tricky, but they’re fairly inexpensive, averaging about $20 nationally for both of the thermostats, as well as the cutoff switch, so replacing them is usually the easiest way to go.
When properly maintained, a water heater will typically operate for many years without a problem; however, as is similar with any type of major appliance, it’s not unusual for the occasional problem to occur.
If the current to your hot water heater is a problem, rest assured that experienced Phoenix Plumbers know how to resolve problems of this type.
We are experts in providing water heater repair as well as all types of service and we have combined experience of more than 100 years.
While a water heater that is malfunctioning can certainly mean a bit of discomfort for your family, it’s important to realize that the issue can be even more serious, it can actually expose you to a build-up of carbon monoxide or a potential explosion if the issue is due to poor gas burner ventilation.
When you give us a call for the repair of your hot water heater, our operator will start by asking for some information regarding the problem.
If you are located outside of our typical service area, we’ll let you know the charge for a service call, then we’ll schedule an appointment to come out and diagnose the exact problem.
During an appointment for diagnostics and repair, one of our experienced Phoenix Plumbers generally will provide the following:
- Inspection of your hot water heating system and a diagnosis of any problem
- Provide a recommended solution for water heater repair or, if needed, replacement
- Complete the necessary repairs or schedule an appointment to follow-up if parts need to be ordered
- Verify that all equipment is functioning properly and that it is safe to use
Upgrade to an Efficient Tankless Water Heater
When the time comes to replace your water heater, you might want to consider the benefits of a tankless water heater, especially if the reason you’re considering a new water heater is that your old one is rusted and leaking. If your family has 5 or more people, you have probably experienced a cold shower on occasion; this is fairly common when everyone is trying to get ready all at once.
If there are fewer than 5 people living in your home and your water heater holds 50 gallons or more, you’re probably wasting a great deal of money by keeping water heated all day, even when you aren’t using it. Adding a tankless water heater will usually be a larger upfront investment, but in 5 to 7 years, it will typically pay for itself.
Regardless of what type of energy your current water heater uses, there’s an efficient tankless water heater to suit your application. These tankless systems are available in:
- Liquid Propane
- Natural Gas
Size Example: Start with the assumption that the typical shower will require 2.6 gallons of water at an average temperature of 104° to 106° F. Additionally, let’s assume that the temperature of the water coming into the home is 40° and you need enough hot water for 2 showers running simultaneously, what is the temperature rise that you would need to provide enough hot water?
GOAL/ANSWER: To raise the outside 40° water temperature to a comfortable 105°. In order to accomplish this, you’ll need to heat a minimum of 5.2 gallons of water within 60 seconds. This means you’ll need a tankless heater capable of providing a minimum of a 60° raise in temperature with a per minute rate of 5.2 gallons.
What is a Tankless Water Heater’s Cost on a National Average?
On the low end, a low gpm tankless water heater would cost about $200, but a higher quality unit that has a longer warranty period will cost about $2500; the median average is approximately $1,500. With a little research, you’ll discover why there is such a large gap in prices for tankless water heaters.
Given that most plumbers are also licensed resellers for specific brands, you typically won’t be able to save any money by choosing to use a third party when purchasing your new tankless water heater. We would like the opportunity to provide you with a comprehensive estimate for everything that is needed so we can finish the installation in a single visit; however, in order to calculate what system is right for you, we’ll need some information.
How much heated water will you need to have on-demand at any one time? Will you need to be able to run 2 showers at the same time or perhaps a shower as well as a sink or dishwasher? Every home is unique in the required simultaneous water usage as well as average hot water temperature that is needed. As a baseline for estimating your hot water needs, we recommend using the figures of 2.5 gallons per minute for typical showers and 1.5 gallons per minute for your kitchen sink.
In another example, suppose you need to run 2 showers simultaneously, then you would need a tankless water heater that is able to deliver at least 5 gpm of hot water. If you’re running a washing machine and a shower simultaneously, then you’d need approximately 4.5 gpm from you water heater. In both of these cases, you should ensure that you buy a water heater that’s large enough to meet or exceed the maximum amount of on-demand hot water that will be needed.
Note: A tankless water heater is designed to heat only potable (drinking) water, and the water coming into the unit should never be pre-heated.
All repairs for hot water heaters are quoted on a convenient flat rate and will include parts as well as labor.