Your electric water heater may work reliably for years and then suddenly stop making hot water. It's an annoying inconvenience to be without hot water, so you'll want to get to the bottom of the problem fast. Here are four possible causes and fixes of a lack of hot water in an electric heater.
1. The Circuit Breaker Is Off
Remember, your electric water heater has its own circuit. The heater may not have any power even though the rest of your house has electricity. When your water isn't hot, check the circuit breaker first since flipping it back on could get the heater working again. However, if the circuit trips again, leave the heater off and call a water heater repair service because the heater might have an electrical problem that needs to be repaired.
2. A Heating Element Or Thermostat Is Bad
An electric water heater is different from a gas heater that has burners at the bottom of the tank. An electric heater has one heating element at the bottom of the tank and another at the top. Each element has its own thermostat controls. If any of these parts are burned out or malfunctioning, your heater might not make hot water, make lukewarm water, or run out of water too fast. A water heater repair technician can replace any of the parts that are bad to get the heater working again.
3. The Dip Tube Is Broken
A dip tube is a long tube inside the water heater that moves incoming water down to the bottom of the tank near the first heating element. This gives cold water time to heat up before it rises to the top of the tank and exits the heater. If the dip tube is cracked or broken off, the cold water enters the tank near the top and doesn't have time to heat up before it flows out of the tank. Replacing a bad dip tube is a simple water heater repair that can be done fairly quickly once the problem has been identified.
4. The Limit Switch Needs To Be Reset
Your water heater may have a built-in safety feature in the form of a limit switch that shuts the heater off if the water gets too hot. You can set the maximum temperature for the limit switch so you don't have to worry about being scalded by water that's too hot. If the switch trips, you can reset it by pushing the reset button. If the switch trips off again, that could be a sign the switch is bad or that there's a wiring problem that needs to be repaired by a plumber. Consider contacting a water heater repair service for more information.