Should You Fix Your Electric Water Heater Or Replace It?

Construction & Contractors Blog

If you awoke this morning only to discover that there was not hot water for your shower, then your home's hot water heater is not functioning properly. Before you go out and purchase a new water heater, you should first identify the root cause of the problem. By determining the cause of the failure, you can ascertain if your should fix or replace the water heater.

Here in the information you need to determine the cause of your water heater's problem and whether you should repair or replace it:

Hot Water Heater Electrical Problems

One of the most basic problems that your home's electric water heater can have is a loss of power due to a breaker flipping from a power surge. When a breaker flips, then the water heater's elements are no longer able to heat the water.

To determine if this is the cause of your home's lack of hot water, you should view the breakers in the power panel and see if the one dedicated to your water heater is turned off. If the breaker is off, simply switch it back on.

Sometimes breakers will flip if there is an arcing problem between the hot water tank and its elements. If the breaker flips back off as the water heater begins to heat the water back up, then you need to replace the elements in the water heater to solve this problem.

Hot Water Heater Element Failures

All electric hot water heaters contain at least one submerged heating element. Larger water heaters generally have either two or three heating elements, because they have a larger tank of water that they need to keep hot.

Since the heating elements are electrical components that are in constant contact with water, they are prone to scale growth and mechanical failure as the water heater gets older. As the water is heated in the tank, calcium and other minerals that naturally occur in water can build scale on the elements and cause them to arc and fail.

If your water heater has power going to it from the panel, but the water is cold, then the heating element is the most likely culprit for the problem. You can purchase replacement water heater elements at your local hardware store. The broken element can be screwed out and replaced with a new element. This process requires draining the tank using the water outlet valve at the bottom of the water heater's tank.

Hot Water Heater Tank Failures

If there is water leaking from the tank of your home's water heater, then there has been a breach of the structural integrity of the tank's metal. You cannot weld or fix the tank, so your water heater will need to be replaced with a new one.


Now that you know for sure what the problem with your home's hot water heater is, you can make the right decision for repair versus replacement. If you have additional questions or need help troubleshooting the problem with your home's water heater, then you should contact a quality plumbing contractor in your local area.


29 September 2015

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