You’ve installed your new electric water heater and switched it on, and unfortunately, you have cold water instead of hot water. What might be the problem? Where do you even start? In this article, we’ll show you exactly what to do if your new electric hot water heater has no hot water.
If your new electric hot water heater has no hot water within a few hours, check to make sure it was installed correctly and has power. Also, ensure that the thermostat is set correctly (about 120-140°F). If your new electric hot water heater was installed correctly, there might be an issue with the heating element itself.
Read on for details on what checks you can make and what else might be the reason for the lack of hot water coming from your water heater.
What to do if your new electric hot water heater has no hot water
If your new electric hot water heater has no hot water, you’ll want to be sure you check on the following 4 things:
1. Check that there is electricity going to the water heater
Checking to make sure your electric hot water heater is connected to electricity is always the first thing to check. Use a good quality digital voltmeter to measure the AC voltage at the water heater terminals where the water heater inspection plates are.
Check that the electric circuit breaker to which the water heater is connected is switched on (not tripped) and if the heater has a low voltage disconnect switch, that it is switched on too.
Lastly, check that the water heater’s temperature limit control breaker has not tripped.
If it has, it will need to be reset before electricity can be supplied to the water heater elements again.
Make sure to ask yourself, “Is the voltage level supplied to meet the water heater requirements?“
Depending on the water heater heating capacity and model, its rated voltage rating may range from 208V to 480V.
What is the voltage rating of your electric water heater (Check the user manual)?
Compare this to the voltage at the water heater terminals. Your water heater may not be putting out any hot water if the voltage at the terminals is lower than expected or there is no power (voltage) at all.
2. Confirm the water heater’s electric wiring connections
If your electric hot water heater has no hot water, check that the wire connections at the water heater junction box are not only firm but wired according to the installation instructions in the water heater manual.
The water heater will not be able to heat water if there are loose wire connections at its junction box. Over time, these connections can become loose, and the wiring can fray making the connection unstable.
While the likelihood of this being the cause to your water heater issues is low, it’s worth checking, as fixing this issue will cost you much less than having to replace the entire appliance.
3. The Thermostat may be set too low
Check that the thermostat is set to at least 120°F. However, the default setting for most units is 140° F. If your heater is set to a lower temperature, this could be the cause of your hot water problem. Consult the water heater manual on how to check and make changes to the thermostat settings.
The electric elements are designed to heat water to the set temperature level.
If the thermostat is set too low, the water from the faucets will be cold. To adjust the thermostat, you’ll likely need a pair of pliers. Simply locate the thermostat (usually located somewhere on the front of the device) and adjust the temperature.
Make sure to do so carefully, as adjusting the temperature too high can cause the water coming out of your facet to become dangerously hot. Adjust the temperature little by little until you reach the desired maximum temperature.
4. The electric water heater may be faulty
It is possible, even for a brand-new water heater, that the device is faulty. It might be an issue with the heating elements, thermostat, or internal wiring. Though electric water heaters are expected to last for 10-15 years, there’s always the possibility of a manufacturing error.
If you are unable to identify the cause of your water heater problems, you can contact a technician certified in water heater repair. However, there are some simple checks you can make on your own.
If there is no issue with the water heater wire connections and thermostat setting then there’s probably an issue with the heater itself. If you are unable to determine a cause, even after calling a certified technician, it’s likely that you have a faulty device.
If this is the case, contact the supplier and go back and read the terms of your agreement to see if your device is under warranty.
Summary of what to do if your new electric hot water heater has no hot water
If your newly installed water heater is not supplying hot water, it might be one of several issues including loose or improper electrical wire connections, a tripped circuit breaker, or perhaps, the thermostat may have been set too low.
Always consult a qualified electrician if you feel uncomfortable making repairs yourself. Remember, water heaters can be extremely dangerous. The highly pressurized nature of the water heater’s tank can be susceptible to overpressurization. This may lead, in some extreme cases, to an explosion.
If you don’t understand how to address the problem, don’t be afraid to call for help.
gas water heater, not heating water
If you aren’t getting hot water from your gas-powered water heater, you may want to check the gas supply line. Go into the basement and see if you observe the smell of natural gas. Check to see if your gas water heater pilot light is on. Exercise caution, as gas hot water heaters have been known to explode in some cases.
Electric water heater troubleshooting
If you’re having issues with your electric water heater, check to make sure it hasn’t tripped the breaker or blown a fuse. These are the most common causes of electric water heater problems.
Where is the thermostat on my water heater tank?
Typically the thermostat is located on the front of your tank. It may be located under a plate to protect it from damage and weather.
How to repair an electric hot water heater
The answer to this depends on what the issue is. If you’re having problems getting hot water, you’ll most likely need to replace a fuse or ensure the heater is on its own electrical circuit.