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Old 04-07-2016, 01:12 PM   #1
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Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips needed


I have never messed with water heaters before, and now it looks like it may be time to learn. My hot water heater recently stopped putting out hot water. I am interested to learn how to fix this and/or troubleshoot the issue. If anyone can help me at all with some good starting points on what to look for, I'd appreciate it. Also, please give me some advice on safety precautions as well. I would like to learn about safety when dealing with electrical stuff anyways.

Also, I'm not in a huge rush. Looking to get the issue resolved within the next 2 weeks about. I think with some help with this forum, and some casual troubleshooting on a daily basis, that should hopefully be enough time to do it and have some fun while being safe. I'll also update this thread with more pictures as I get closer to a solution with the help from anyone here, then hopefully people can use this thread in the future for some tips.

Thanks in advance for any help
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Old 04-07-2016, 01:30 PM   #2
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Re: Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips neede


First thing to do is make sure your getting voltage at the WH.Check the breaker and then check at the WH.
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Old 04-07-2016, 02:23 PM   #3
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Re: Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips neede


Quote:
Originally Posted by amodoko View Post
I have never messed with water heaters before, and now it looks like it may be time to learn. My hot water heater recently stopped putting out hot water. I am interested to learn how to fix this and/or troubleshoot the issue. If anyone can help me at all with some good starting points on what to look for, I'd appreciate it. Also, please give me some advice on safety precautions as well. I would like to learn about safety when dealing with electrical stuff anyways.

Also, I'm not in a huge rush. Looking to get the issue resolved within the next 2 weeks about. I think with some help with this forum, and some casual troubleshooting on a daily basis, that should hopefully be enough time to do it and have some fun while being safe. I'll also update this thread with more pictures as I get closer to a solution with the help from anyone here, then hopefully people can use this thread in the future for some tips.

Thanks in advance for any help
Electricity can kill you.
Check power at WH by removing those 2 grey Inspection access plates and with the proper tool check to see that you have power. Be careful and know what you are doing or get help, before you do this. Electricity can kill you.
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Old 04-07-2016, 11:38 PM   #4
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Re: Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips neede


Thanks so much for the replies! I was doing a little bit of research on this issue and felt I would try a quick fix for now. I just flipped the switch at the breaker box to turn off power to the WH, I then hit the reset button behind those grey boxes on the actual WH, then flipped the switch at the breaker back on to give power back to the WH. Well now it works after hitting that reset button. I don't know if something is wrong with the water heater, which caused it to shut itself off, or if something else in my place could have tripped that reset button? But since I hit the reset button about 15 minutes ago, it has turned back on and I am getting warmer water now. I doubt that this is a permanent fix, but maybe I'll get lucky and it will work from now on.

Anything I should look for as to what caused this to happen? Thanks again for sharing your knowledge.
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Old 04-08-2016, 11:36 AM   #5
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Re: Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips neede


Quote:
Originally Posted by amodoko View Post
Anything I should look for as to what caused this to happen? Thanks again for sharing your knowledge.
Glad everything works for you now amodoko. Nice job.

Sometimes resetting it is all that's needed. However, I would keep an eye on it. If it continues to trip, I would start checking/testing the obvious things; Like the upper/lower thermostats, upper/lower heating elements and the safety limit switch, make sure they all check out good. Can all be checked out easily with a standard multi-meter. Depending on how old wh is it may be about that time. Just a preventative observation.

How old is the water heater? Ever been serviced/flushed/cleaned?
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Old 04-08-2016, 01:27 PM   #6
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Re: Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips neede


Thanks for the reply jmon! Okay, I will keep those things in mind to check out I have one of those free digital mulitimeters that Harbor Freight gives out all the time, so if that will work then I will test those things on the WH soon.

To answer your questions, the water heater is about 7 years old now. It has never been serviced, flushed, or cleaned. Just been sitting there untouched, ever since it was installed.
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Old 04-08-2016, 02:02 PM   #7
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Re: Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips neede


Thanks for that info.

Difinately time to service it imo. When you do decide to service it, you can check everything then. Maybe all thats needed is a good cleaning, flushing.
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Old 04-08-2016, 09:03 PM   #8
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Re: Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips neede


Awesome, thanks for letting me know. Sounds like a plan to me I will make sure to do the flush on it soon. Hopefully that fixes whatever issues it had. Thanks a bunch!
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Old 07-10-2016, 11:59 PM   #9
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Re: Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips neede


Just to give an update to this thread, I just got a bit sidetracked after it started to work again and ended up putting off draining the tank. Well, the water heater stopped working again. Serves me right, lol.

So this time I finally drained the tank. At first it wasn't draining so I just turned on the cold water pressure to "flush" it out, and then I realized I needed to release a valve on it so it could get air into the system to drain. So I re-drained/re-flushed it a second time by using the valve. So now it is drained properly.

I then allowed water back into the water heater and tried hitting the red reset button on the water heater once it was full, and it does not do anything. The last time I pressed it I actually don't think it did anything either even though it started working again magically. The reason I think that is because that red reset button has never clicked or anything when I push it in, so it may never have even been set off. Who knows.

But now after draining the tank and hitting the reset button (and turning it off and on at the breaker box), I can't get it to work again. What would be the next step to troubleshoot this issue? Is there a common thing I should just check or replace on the unit to fix this?

Thanks in advance for any advice! Taking cold showers every day makes me really miss my hot water, hahaha.
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Old 07-11-2016, 08:11 AM   #10
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Re: Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips neede


Your luck ran out. Time for troubleshooting now.

Go back and carefully reread entire thread. Good advice was given. Try to narrow it down with mulitimeter. There are plenty of step by step utube videos on how to check out components. Be very careful as some of these checks must be done with power on.

If no luck, or you do not feel comfortable doing them, time to call a sevice tech or plumber specializing in electric water heaters.

Last edited by jmon; 07-11-2016 at 08:13 AM.
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Old 07-11-2016, 08:57 AM   #11
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Re: Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips neede


http://www.water-heater-repair-guide...hermostat.html
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Old 07-11-2016, 09:07 AM   #12
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Re: Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips neede


Thanks joe. Nice link. That should give him a good starting point.

Excellent detailed instructions.
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Old 07-11-2016, 12:23 PM   #13
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Re: Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips neede


Thanks! You're right, I should have re-read the thread, my mistake. I will start checking things now on the water heater using the multimeter I have. I will get back to you guys once I find out any more information or if I possibly find the problem. I don't really mind trying to fix it myself as I kind of want to learn about it, and wouldn't mind saving some money either. And that link is great!!!! Will definitely be using it. Thanks again!
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Old 07-11-2016, 01:19 PM   #14
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Re: Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips neede


Take your time. My guess is a shorted element or defective thermostat.

That's why you need to check which component(s) failed so you don't waste money changing parts you don't need.

Keep us posted. Thanks.
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Old 07-16-2016, 12:37 AM   #15
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Re: Electric Hot Water Heater Not Working - No Hot Water - Troubleshooting tips neede


Hey guys, wanted to give you an update. I finally started to get around to messing with the water heater, and I used Joeís link that he posted. I have never really worked much with electrical stuff, so I used the link within the guide to test things with the power off. I used this link:
http://www.water-heater-repair-guide...hermostat.html

Anyways, when testing the thermostat and elements when off, I at first got some weird readings using my inexpensive multimeter from Harbor Freight. I was getting readings around 39 ohms. But after testing it over a period of time, I started to get more normal readings. Not sure why that is, but it was giving me weird readings at first. Maybe itís the multimeter, I donít know. Once things started to settle down, I followed the instructions in the link above to test things with the power off. My water heater has not worked for a few weeks now so the water is cold in the tank.

My first reading when testing the upper thermostatís terminals 1 and 2 (the 2 screws lined up vertically below the red reset button, as you may be able to see in the link and the picture from the link that Iíve attached below), I got a reading of 1.7 ohms (Iím supposed to get 0 but Iím guessing my reading is fine). If you look at the picture I attached, I labeled what I believe are terminals 1, 2, and 4 from the link.

My second reading on the upper thermostat was taken when I turned the temperature to the lowest setting. I didnít hear a click, but I donít have any hot water so maybe it only clicks if there is hot water in the tank. I then probed terminals 1 and 4 and got a weird reading, I got 17.3 ohms but I believe I am supposed to get zero. So not sure what is going on.

For the lower thermostat, I followed the instructions in the link and got a reading of 1.7 ohms, and was supposed to get zero. So Iím guessing this is okay too.

I then followed this link to test the heating element: http://www.water-heater-repair-guide...nttesting.html
For both the upper and lower heating elements I got readings of 17.3 ohms when I put the multimeterís probes in the screws to each heating element. Both lower and upper elements got 17.3 ohms. I believe that is okay? I then followed the instructions to check to see if the element was grounded. And it did not get a reading at all, which according to the instructions means that the elements are not grounded and fine in that regard.

So does this mean that everything is fine except the upper thermostat because I got a reading of 17.3 ohms when probing terminals 1 and 4? Or am I doing something wrong in my tests? Do I need to test the water heater with the electricity on? If I do have to, I am going to take my time and get extra tools to aid me in dealing with electricity so I can be safer. If I donít have to test it with the electricity on and can figure this out with it off only, then I will continue to do that. Can you guys maybe give me a bit more advice on what you think my next step(s) should be? Thanks again for any help.
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