Sometimes water heater may fail due to a number of reasons. Water heater malfunctioning is evidence when the heater tank makes some strange gurgling or pinging sounds, fails to heat the water or when you see water puddling or dripping near the heater. If you see any of these sign you heater, it is time to repair the heater.
Inviting a professional Plumber in Bel Air Maryland can mean waiting for days without hot water and parting with good amount of money. Consequently, you can troubleshoot and solve the Water Heater Repair yourself.
Common Hot Water-Heater Problems:
If an electric hot water heater takes longer to heat water than before or does not heat the water, there is high chances that the heating elements is malfunctioning. If you the heater element and find out to be working well then cutoff switch or the thermostats is likely to be the cause of the problem. Replacing the heating element is easy and the parts are available at affordable prices.
Testing the elements:
Switch off the power and remove the cover to check the heating element and the thermostats. Use a non-contact voltage detector to touch the electrical connection to make sure that the power is off. Check the tester to make sure that it is working well by placing the tip in a powered outlet. If the tester produce a beeping sound or light up, the it is working well.
Now it is time to test the heater. Start with testing wires leading to the water-heater. If the wires are cover by a metal conduit, uncover it by removing the insulation and holding the tester just above the high-temperature cutoff switch. Remember to test both wires.
Testing burned-out element:
Burned-out element can be tested using continuity tester, which is available in the market for about $7. The tester basically includes light bulb, battery and two wires. Touching the wires to a continuous-circuit should light up the light. You can also find a water heater tester that is designed specifically for testing the water heaters. If you have a volt-ohm meter and know how to use it, you can use it instead of a tester.
The element for testing is normally hidden under two metal cover, plastic covers and insulation. Remove all these to allow you test the burn-out element. Start with the continuity test to find check whether the element is not working. Electricity does not pass throughout a burned-out element. To do that, you may have to disconnect the connection from the terminal screws and connect alligator clip to the terminals while touching the other terminal. In case the tester light up, then the circuit is complete but if the light does not then it mean that the element is not working properly.
Testing short circuiting:
Short circuiting can also result in malfunctioning. To test short circuiting, clip the alligator clip on either of the element screws ad touch the tester probe on the mounting bracket. Do this for both element screws while checking if the tester lights up. Tester light-up show a short circuit.
Replacing an element:
First drain the water and ensure that the socket is off before unscrewing the malfunctioning element.. You can use a long study screwdriver to unscrew the bad element. You may need to loosen the bad element using a cold chisel and a ball peen hummer.
Once you have successfully removed the bad element, you have to install a working heat element in place. Put the working element in place and tighten it using a wrench before reconnecting the wires. Close the valves before filling the tank with water before you switch the circuit breaker.
What would I do if find the element is good?
If the test reveal that the heating element is working properly, then it is very likely that the thermostat is faulty. Testing a thermostat is a little bit complicated we recommend just replacing the whole thermostat. You can replace the thermostat while the tank is filled with water but make sure that the power is still off. The thermostat is normally held in place with a metal clip, so all you need is to install the newly acquired thermostat and transfer wires to the right terminals.