If you get into your shower to wash and find your water quickly goes from warm to cold or never gets to a hot temperature at all, you will want to troubleshoot your water heater in order to get back that warm water you so desperately desire. When a water heater fails to retain warmer temperatures, there are a few scenarios that could be causing the problem. Here are some instructions to use to make repairs to your water heater.
Check With Others
Before you get down to business in testing your water heater, take a quick poll from others within your household to find out if anyone was using hot water. If someone was taking a shower in another bathroom, doing a load of laundry, or running the dishwasher, there is a chance all the hot water was tapped out and you merely need to wait an hour or so for it to reheat.
Check The Breaker
There is a chance the circuit breaker had tripped, causing your water to quickly turn cold because the heater is not turning on. Look at your circuit breaker panel and flip the switch back to an on position if it was off. If your power is out within your home, your water will not heat, so check by turning on a light to see if you still have electricity.
Check The Heating Elements
There are two heating elements in an electric water heater. One is located in the upper portion of the water heater and the other heats the bottom portion. For the most part, the bottom heating element does most of the work at heating water in the tank, making it the likely one to burn out from regular wear and tear.
As water is used, water from the top of the tank goes toward the bottom and will be reheated for the next time hot water is needed. The upper element will heat the water in the upper portion of the tank, and it is only used when an excessive amount of hot water is used within the home. Knowing this helps you realize which element is most likely in need of repair by the type of problem your water is displaying. Water that doesn't heat all the way at all signifies an upper element problem. Water that starts off hot but quickly goes to cold signifies a lower element problem.
To check your elements, turn off the circuit breaker to the water heater. Start by checking the bottom element, since it is the most used. Remove the access cover panel and move the insulation away from the element. Loosen the screws holding the wires in place and remove the wires. Use a multi-tester set on the ohms setting to test the wires. Do this by connecting the red lead to one wire and the black lead to the other. If the multi-tester has a reading of zero, the element needs to be replaced. If there is a reading of a numerical value on your multi-tester, the element is working. Continue by testing the upper element.
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