The heating elements are important parts of an electric water heater. If they malfunction, your water can be too cold or too hot. Water heaters usually have two heating elements with one being close to the bottom of the tank and the other being closer to the top.
Each element has its own thermostat that tells the element when to turn on and off. Here's a look at what happens if an element or thermostat malfunctions and what a residential water heater repair service might do for the problem.
A Heating Element Can Short Circuit
If a heating element short circuits, the element runs constantly. That can make your water dangerously hot, so you'll want this problem fixed right away. You may even want to shut your water heater down until the problem is solved so the heat and pressure don't build in the tank.
In addition, a heating element can go bad and not operate at all. In that case, your water may not be very hot since it takes two heating elements to heat up your water. If the plumber expects a problem with the heating element, they can test it with a multimeter. If the element is malfunctioning, it can be taken out and replaced.
Putting in a new heating element is easy since the part is easy to access. It's behind a door on the side of your water heater. Your plumber opens the door and unscrews the old element, pulls it out, and then puts a new one in. As long as a bad heating element was the only thing wrong with your water heater, your water should be back in the normal temperature range as soon as the water heats up again.
A Thermostat Can Go Bad
The thermostat for an electric water heater element is behind the access door and right above the heating element. If the thermostat is malfunctioning, the plumber may press the reset button first to see if that solves the problem. A thermostat can supply continuous power to a heating element and make the water too hot, or it can not supply power at all and make the water too cold.
Since the heating elements are separate from each other, a bad element or bad thermostat won't affect the other heating element in your water heater. Even if the other element is working fine, your water probably won't be warm enough to be comfortable. Therefore, you'll want a bad thermostat fixed as soon as possible.
The plumber can fix a problem thermostat by pulling it out of the side of the water heater and putting the new one in its place. Replacing a thermostat in an electric water heater is a fairly easy water heater repair since the part is so easy to access.