How to Repair an Electric Hot Water Tank Heater

What You'll Need
Spare heating element

Hot water is a vital component of everyday life in the modern world, and if the heater of your electric hot water tank has broken, you have a couple of options. You can choose to call in a professional, at great expense, to fix the problem, or you can attempt to find a solution yourself. If you choose the latter option, then there are few repair tasks that you can do yourself without assistance, just follow some basic guidelines to get the job done quickly and without causing any damage.

Step 1 - Checking the Thermostat

The thermostat is one of the simplest parts of the electric hot water tank heater to check. In most electric systems there are two thermostats, one near the top of the water tank, and on at the bottom. You will need to unscrew the metal cover plates which protect these. When checking the thermostat near the top, look at the high-limit switch nearby. If this has been tripped by the water over-heating, switch it back on by pressing the red button on the thermostat. While you have the cover panels unscrewed, check the wiring for both devices to ensure that there is power to both. If you can find no power supply, you will then need to check the rest of the heater's electricity.

Step 2 - Checking the Circuit Breaker

If you have found that there is no power to your heater, look at the circuit breakers and the wiring. If any of the circuit breakers have popped out, then you will need to re-insert them and then turn the heater back on. Check the fuses to ensure that they have not blown. You will need to check the heating element, to make sure that it heats up when power is applied to it. If it is not heating, then you should replace that.

Step 3 - Replacing Valves

You should then check the dip tube at the side of the element. If this is broken, or is damaged, you can easily replace this. Look at the relief valve next. If this is dripping, then you will need to remove the other valves using your screwdriver, or a wrench if necessary. Examine these for blockages, and clean or replace if necessary. You may also have a problem with the water temperature becoming too high, which can be cured through adding an expansion tank by the inlet.

Step 4 - Solving Other Problems

If you are still experiencing problems with your electric water tank heater, then there are a few more solutions that you can try. A strong smell, coupled with leaks or dirty-looking water, suggests that you have a build-up of bacteria. The best solution to this is to add a water treatment solution which will get rid of bacteria. Thumps and bangs can indicate corrosion and scale inside the tank. Remove the anodes and replace, and change or clean the heating elements. This should solve your problems.