How to Fix Electric Hot Water Heater
LESLIE: Now we’re heading on over to Delaware to chat with Ruth, who’s having an issue with water heating. Tell us what’s going on.
RUTH: Our water heater is – I’m guessing it’s around 12 years old. And whenever I use the hot water, it doesn’t seem to last very long. And so a couple months ago, maybe 6 months ago, my husband and his friend – and his friend, I guess that’s what he does for a living. They emptied the water heater, they put two new elements in. But in my opinion, it’s still doing the same thing, like it didn’t – to me, it didn’t change the length how long the hot water lasted.
TOM: And this is an electric water heater?
RUTH: It’s not gas; it’s electric, yes.
TOM: And so, when they replaced the elements, they tested both elements to make sure they actually work?
RUTH: I’m not sure if they did that. I don’t know. He said they put new elements in. I’m assuming they – I mean I guess I could ask them later if they did that.
TOM: Because here’s the thing. When you have a water heater that’s electric and it runs out of hot water quickly, it’s usually because one or the other of the two elements burn out or the control circuit breaks down so they don’t actually come on. So, what you do, as a technician, is you run a continuity tester on these coils. And it’s a way of determining whether or not they’re working or not.
Electric coils for a water heater is just like a light bulb: either works, doesn’t work; there’s no in between. And so, the first thing I would do is check the continuity on both of these coils to make sure they’re both physically working. Because what you’re describing, to me, sounds like one is not and that could be the whole source of the problem, OK?
TOM: Ruth, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.