How to Maintain an Electric Water Heater

I’ve told a million  times that never gets old to me is that  the old symbol is the Omega symbol which  is an upside-down horseshoe yeah so I’ll  tell people on the phone turn to that  side down horseshoe alright so using my  multimeter I’m going to test the element  now for me to do this I’m going to touch  each lead to one of the screws on the  element and again we don’t want anything  but the leads going past this plane here  yes well with power off we can do some  different things but if we were checking  for power yes so powers off we roaming  the element and we’re getting 12 point 5  ohms on this one so this is a good  element right yeah and what are we  looking for on the element what’s that  what’s the range typically a good  heating element it depends on the  wattage and voltage but typically a good  heating element is going to read  anywhere from button 9 to 25 ohms okay  this 45 hundred watt elements typically  is going to read around 12 to 13 and  receive we’re getting twelve point six  and so this is a good heating element  okay now what you would typically see on  a bad heating else you can we’ve got one  right here that bad one if I was to go  test this you’ll see that.

I don’t get  anything my meter doesn’t change  showing that the element is open meaning  the filament is broken inside the  element so this is reading you to get on  a bad element or the numbers may be way  off okay and if the numbers are way off  what is that that means it’s a it’s  failed it means it’s bad but another  possibility is this and this is  something a lot of people don’t think of  talked about tools getting beat around  in your tool bag another possibility is  that your multimeter is acting up  exactly and so what I recommend anytime  I’m going to work on a water heater I  took  quickly carry a common replacement part  okay I’m working on electric water  heater I want to make sure I have an  element with me I want to make sure our  thermostats with me so sometimes if I’m  getting a wacky reading from a  multimeter a lot of times what I’ll do I  know this elements brand-new all right  what’s good I’ll check it I’ll pull my  meter or my element off the truck that I  knows good check it if I get a crazy  reading on it and I got a crazy russain  waiting yeah yeah I know something’s  probably going with my meter and that  one’s maybe good but typically you’re  most calmly calls for insufficient hot  water is going to be that the lower  element has failed if it’s a newer water  heater it could be the temperature set a  little bit low if it’s brand-new  installation that’s usually something a  customer is going to complain about  pretty early on  yeah and they need that that’s one of  the things.

When you determine what they  mean by not enough hot water or  insufficient hot water do they have not  enough or air is it not hot enough but  you know if you’ve determined that it  isn’t enough hot water then that’s  whenever you would go and you would do  the test that we just you know we just  did so we’re looking at the lower  heating element and we’re gonna check  and see if that Helen heating element is  bad so that’s what we were looking for  12.5 is what we got you know but you can  get anywhere between 9 and 25 ohms on a  typical heating element now another  thing about the heating element now  that’s something we need to be carrying  on our truck yeah anytime you work on a  water heater if I’m going to go out only  carry common replacement parts right the  good thing about a water and electric  water heater really is is that the  replacement parts you’re not out of a  lot of money ok because you guys think  if your cane around parts on your truck  you’re out money for the parts right  genuine do a war to claim or sell the  parts an electric water heater its parts  aren’t very expensive so it’s not that  much of an investment you typically find  electric heating elements pretty cheap  you might want to carry on a couple of  different common wattages and so just  for your area to make sure you you have  them they don’t take up a lot of room  thermostats it’s something a lot of  heaters actually take the same exact  thermostat okay

So I mean it’s good to have them and  that’s another thing to the thermostat  actually how we’re sensing tank water  temperature is we’re sensing it on the  tank we’re sensing the tank temperature  with that thermostat our way correct  we’ve got one over there let’s show you  some examples of some thermostats this  is a lower thermostat on an electric  water heater this actually has a bracket  that holds it right up against the tank  yes the way an electric water heater  heats water is this it has elements that  screw into the side of the tank that are  completely submerged in the water so  unlike a gas water heater to where we’re  heating the tank to heat the water right  an electric water heater the heat source is completely submerged in the water yes  was it very efficient I mean it’s it’s  whatever it’s creating it’s putting in  the water that’s putting almost 100% of  the heat into the water yeah which puts  a lot less stress on our tank because  we’re not super heating the tank but for  this thermostat to work properly it has  to fit up against the tank I’ll flip  this around you see it has a metal back  on it and has a little round indention  in the back of the thermostat that’s the  actual kind of like a probe it’s a  bi-metal disk right technology it’s been  around for years and years and years or  how it reads temperature and so this has  to fit flush up against the tank if it  doesn’t it’s not gonna sense water temp  yeah and that brackets there I mean if  you have to replace that make sure it is  against the tank because if it’s not  it’s not sensing that temperature it can  overheat the water heater correct it  should be snug against the tank you  shouldn’t be able to slide anything more  than maybe a business card behind it and  not usually they’re gonna fit firmly  against the tank all right well that was  insufficient hot water now we’ve got  another call that the other call that  would be typically taking which is a no  hot water call and I know with a no hot  water call.

We still have to do the same  kind of thing in the beginning talking  to the customer because we’re gonna need  to find out if you know what they mean  by no hot water I know that sounds silly  to say what do you mean no hot water I  mean it’s cold but you know you know  ahead I have somebody actually say that  you know I didn’t say they said they had  no hot water and I  talking to him and I was like I couldn’t  figure it out we went through everything  I mean we tested it every way possible I  just couldn’t understand what they were  meaning they had no hot water they  actually had no water at all but to them  they turn on the hot water faucet they  had no hot water yeah yeah I mean I mean  customers points of view are different  than you know you may be thinking one  thing but they’re thinking something’s  so totally different so we’ve got to  figure out what they mean no hot water  you know we always have to make sure our  definitions match exactly because it  could you can have hot water in the  kitchen but not in the bathroom and you  know so really talk to the customer and  figure out exactly what they mean when  it comes to no hot water.

So we’ve  determined that it is the water heater  it’s not it’s they got a cold tank well  and I’ll tell you an easy way to  determine that because you do want to  make sure if you have no hot water that  you truly have no hot water exactly the  easiest way to determine that is to  actually go to the water heater  neither touch the piping above it to see  if it’s warm or touch the relief valve  that’s screwed into the side of it and  if it’s cold that tells you the whole  tank of water right yeah yeah if that’s  always give me the telltale signs to  feel the the T&P valve because it will  be warm if that tank is warm so so we’ve  determined that if they have a cold tank  now we got to go out there and work on  it so what do I do when I’m as a service  technician I’m going to the house what  am i what do i do first well there’s a  couple things I always do first if it’s  an electric water here if they have no  hot water the first thing I check is to  break her in the fuse box okay because  if it’s turned on I want to turn it to  the off position remember turn off power  before removing these panels and  servicing the water heater okay so if  the breakers on I want to turn it off  typically if the breaker is off you  might want to contact electricians  something could be shorted out or  something could be going on okay.