How to Repair an Electric Water Heater

AirPoint technician performing diagnosis on electric water heater

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Repairing an electric water heater can be a simple task if you know what to look for and have some basic tools at your disposal. The following guide will help you identify and fix common issues with your electric water heater.

Step 1: Turn off the power

AirPoint technician turning off power at the circuit breaker.
Always turn off the power before working on your electric water heater to ensure safety.

Before working on your electric water heater, it is important to ensure your safety by turning off the power at the circuit breaker or fuse box.

Step 2: Check the thermostat

AirPoint technician testing a thermostat for continuity.
Use a multimeter to check the thermostat for proper functioning.

If your water heater is not heating water or is overheating, the thermostat may be faulty. To test the thermostat, use a multimeter to check for continuity. If the thermostat is not functioning properly, it may need to be replaced.

Step 3: Inspect the heating elements

Close-up of an electric water heater's heating elements.
Inspect and test the heating elements for damage or malfunction.

If your water heater is not heating water at all or is only providing lukewarm water, the heating elements could be the issue. Check for signs of damage or corrosion. Test each element with a multimeter for continuity. Replace any faulty heating elements.

Step 4: Examine the wiring

AirPoint technician examining the wiring of an electric water heater.
Check the wiring connections and replace any damaged wires as necessary.

Inspect the wiring of your electric water heater for any loose or damaged connections. Tighten any loose connections and replace any damaged wires.

Step 5: Check the pressure relief valve

Close-up of a pressure relief valve.
Test the pressure relief valve to ensure proper operation and prevent leaks.

A leaking pressure relief valve can cause the water heater to underperform. To check the valve, lift the lever and ensure that water flows freely. If the valve is not working correctly, it may need to be replaced.

Step 6: Flush the tank

AirPoint technician flushing an electric water heater tank.
Flush the tank regularly to remove sediment and maintain efficiency.

Sediment buildup in the tank can lead to a decrease in efficiency and performance. To flush the tank, turn off the power, close the cold water supply valve, and open the pressure relief valve. Attach a hose to the drain valve and run it to a suitable drain. Open the drain valve and let the water flow until the tank is empty. Close the drain valve, open the cold water supply valve, and let the tank refill. Turn the power back on once the tank is full.

Step 7: Inspect the anode rod

Anode rod removed from a water heater.
Inspect and replace the anode rod if necessary to prevent corrosion.

The anode rod is crucial for preventing corrosion inside the tank. Check the anode rod for excessive corrosion and replace it if necessary.

Step 8: Look for leaks

AirPoint technician inspecting a water heater for leaks.
Carefully examine your water heater for any leaks and repair or replace damaged parts as needed.

Inspect your water heater for any leaks. Pay close attention to the connections at the top and bottom of the tank. Repair or replace any damaged parts as needed.

Trust AirPoint To Fix Your Electric Water Heater

By following these steps, you should be able to identify and repair common issues with your electric water heater. If you are not comfortable performing these tasks or the issue persists, it is recommended to consult with a professional plumber for further assistance. Companies like AirPoint, a Carrier factory authorized dealer and NATE certified in Toronto, can provide you with reliable services. AirPoint’s high level of expertise has earned them the HomeStars Best of the Best 2023 award, along with a 5-star rating on Google and HomeStars. You can trust that their technicians, fully certified by TSSA, HRAI and CSA, will handle your electric water heater issues with professionalism and skill. Remember to always prioritize safety and work with a reputable company to ensure the proper functioning of your electric water heater.

For a quick-fix guide on how to fix your electric water heater, watch this video by HOME DIY

Step-by-Step Guide: Efficiently Repair Your Electric Water Heater in No Time

Electric Water Heater Repair FAQs: Answers from the Experts

Get more answers to your questions about your broken electric water heater from the experts at AirPoint

There are several reasons why an electric hot water heater may stop working, including:

a. Faulty heating elements b. Malfunctioning thermostat c. Tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse d. Loose or damaged wiring e. Sediment buildup in the tank f. Leaks or corrosion

Yes, many issues with electric water heaters can be repaired. Depending on the problem, repairs might include replacing heating elements, fixing the thermostat, or flushing the tank. However, if the issue is severe or the water heater is old and inefficient, it may be more cost-effective to replace the unit.


One of the most common problems with water heaters is a lack of hot water or inconsistent water temperature. This issue can be caused by faulty heating elements, a malfunctioning thermostat, or sediment buildup in the tank.


To reset your electric water heater, follow these steps:

a. Turn off the power to the water heater at the circuit breaker or fuse box. b. Locate the reset button (also called the high limit switch) on the upper thermostat of the water heater. c. Press the reset button firmly. If it clicks, it means the water heater has been reset. d. Restore power to the water heater and wait for it to heat up.

Resetting an electric water heater typically takes only a few minutes. However, it may take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour for the water in the tank to heat up to the desired temperature after the reset.


Signs that your hot water heater may be broken include:

a. Inadequate hot water supply or inconsistent water temperature b. Unusual noises coming from the water heater c. Leaks around the unit or connections d. Discolored or foul-smelling hot water e. A tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse

If you experience any of these issues, it's essential to have your water heater inspected by a professional to determine the cause and implement the necessary repairs or replacements.

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