Home Improvement

How to troubleshoot, test, repair an electric water heater?

To detect a fault with your water heater, you may need to test several elements of it. In this article, we are going to explain the breakdowns that you may encounter and how to fix them.

  1. How does an electric water heater work?
  2. What failures are found on a water heater?
  3. The search for a fault on the supply of a water heater
  4. How To Repair Your Water Heater Yourself?

How does an electric water heater work?

The operation of your water heater is quite simple. It is a kind of large thermos bottle in which cold water arrives, is heated by an electric resistance and sent in pipes to your taps. The resistance can be simple, plunging, or else engaged in a sheath which protects it from direct contact with water (soapstone resistance).

The walls of your water heater are made up of several insulating layers to conserve heat, but also to delay corrosion of the tank. It will be damaged more quickly if your water is “aggressive”, and less if your water is rich in limestone and magnesium. By cons, in the latter case, the resistance and the tank may scale up further.

What failures are found on a water heater?

If the hot tap water comes cold, it is very hot or even boiling, the failure of your water heater is electric. However, if the hot water tap stops running, the water heater itself leaks or the safety group no longer works. There is a hydraulic failure. In this case, you will need to call a water heater installer.

The water is cold

If the water flowing from the hot tap is cold, the resistance of your appliance has not heated up. To deal with this failure, we advise you to consult our diagnosis: “Why is my water heater no longer heating?”.

The water is too hot

The water in your water heater is too hot, it even turns into vapor when the tap is opened, which causes a flow in the safety group of your appliance? In this case, the malfunction probably comes from its thermostat.

To verify that the problem comes from the thermostat and that your water heater is new, you can first remove the cover of your appliance. The thermostat may simply be set incorrectly, so you can decrease the setting and then check it a few hours later.

If, on the other hand, your water heater is older, the thermostat may be defective, to find out we recommend that you test it. First, you have to cut off the power supply and then disconnect the thermostat. Then take a multimeter in the Ohmmeter position and put the two tester’s tips on the input contacts (the connection pads for the power wires).

You can now measure the continuity, the contacts must be closed and the resistance zero. You can try to heat the thermostat rod with a lighter to verify that it trips properly. You can do this on both input contacts. If the thermostat does not cut the circuit, then you will probably have to replace it.

The water heater trips the circuit breaker

This type of failure can be due to a short circuit in your water heater, i.e. an insulation fault in the resistance of the latter. To find out you can first remove the cover of your device if you notice traces of rust or traces of significant humidity you will certainly need to replace your water heater. If you are in this case it is possible that the tank is pierced and that it starts to leak.

Under the hood everything is correct, you can now test the insulation between the resistance and the casing of your device. For this, you must use a multimeter in the Ohmmeter position. If the resistance value is less than 250,000 Ω, there is indeed an insulation fault. In this case, you will have to change the resistance. When you test your resistance and it displays a measurement close to zero, it means that the resistance is short-circuited, you will then have to replace it.

The search for a fault on the supply of a water heater

Does your water heater no longer heat water? This malfunction can also be due to a fault in the power circuit of your device. There are two types of connections that are possible: you have the water heater permanently powered and the one that is supplied during off-peak hours.

How To Repair Your Water Heater Yourself?

Like any device, a water heater can be damaged if not properly maintained. In this case, you must repair your water heater. Otherwise, it dispenses dirty, smelly, extremely hot or cold water. Simple gestures are enough to make it functional. In the event of a hydraulic failure, the intervention of a professional is necessary to repair the water heater. To repair your water heater yourself, here are the steps to follow

Make sure it is a water heater electrical failure 

It is easier to correct an electrical failure than a hydraulic failure. This problem is manifested by confusion regarding the water supply. Instead of dispensing hot fluid, the damaged shower tray supplies cold water or vice versa. Very often it sends a flow that burns the skin. In this case, you have to be very careful and act as quickly as possible. Check immediately if it is the cumulus that is causing the malfunction. It may be that the thermostat of the device is incorrectly adjusted or that a button has inadvertently moved. To correct this, simply turn off the electricity, adjust the temperature level, and then turn the hot water tank back on.

If you have not been able to solve the problem in this way, no doubt it is necessary to replace the thermostat. To ensure this, you must disconnect the connectors, then connect the end of a tester (multimeter) to the regulator contacts. If there is continuity, you will have to change resistance. But be careful, because handling an armored component has nothing to do with handling soapstone.

The electrical failure can result from a water leak. The fluid that comes into contact with the electrical circuits causes the circuit breaker to blow. However, the jump can be explained simply by the use of a contractor during off-peak hours. In any case, you will have to control the display of the counter. To do this, put the shower tray in forced operation, and check if the electricity consumption is not increasing.

What to do in the event of a hydraulic failure

This is a hydraulic failure if the safety group or the tap does not work. Sometimes the problem is characterized by a leak in the tank or the seals. A simple replacement of these elements will settle it. Also, the deterioration is noticeable if it affects the safety device. If the latter leaks, it must be changed as a whole. Regarding the water supply, if there is an interruption, this could imply that the pipe is engorged. You can unblock the damaged pipe yourself with an air cleaner, or call a professional.

To avoid inconvenience, empty your hot water tank fairly regularly, then proceed with its descaling. The scale that is present inside this tank can cause the total immobilization of the components, which affects the proper functioning of the plumbing. Remove any dirt to extend the life of the device.

The last tip, prefer the models of water heaters equipped with anticorrosion at the time of purchase. These cumulus clouds distribute healthy and constantly clean flows.

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