Failure in an electric water heater can be the result of different components in the system malfunctioning. A water heater that presents problems requires repair services promptly to keep the issues contained, which is why the expertise of a certified contractor come in handy.

When your electric water heater is not producing enough hot water or fails to heat completely, you may be dealing with defective elements, which is a relatively common problem. However, before you can call in a professional, ensure that the switches are working fine, all connections are secure, and the circuit breaker is not tripped.

heating element problems

The Heating Cycle

A hot water tank contains two heating elements that perform heating roles separately and are connected by individual thermostats. In a hot water system, there is a tube that facilitates the supply of cold water to the bottom of the tank. One heating element is usually at the bottom and the other one a longer distance to the top.

When a tank is filled with cold water, the uppermost thermostat energises the corresponding heating element then shuts off when the water reaches the required heated temperatures. Power is then switched to the lower thermostat and element.

As you use the hot water in the tank, the amount goes down and triggers a cold water supply that subsequently cools down the lower thermostat, which in turn causes the corresponding element to heat. Looking at this cycle, it indicates that any defect in one of the heating elements means trouble for your heater.

Broken Elements

One reason water heater elements may be raising issues is breakage due to constant heating and cooling. Over time, cracks can develop on heating elements, which will greatly impact how well they conduct heating.

An expert in hot water tanks in Edmonton, like those from Capital Plumbing & Heating, can diagnose such a problem by measuring the resistance of a heating element and replacing it if it’s broken.

Faulty Thermostats

Damage to the thermostat is another cause of heating element failure in hot water tanks. A thermostat is responsible for setting the temperatures, which a heating element uses to conduct its role. When dealing with a faulty thermostat, a water heater tends to produce water that is too hot or not hot at all, making it necessary to get repairs without delay.

Sometimes, heating elements may be too old to function properly, thereby, demanding replacements. The same goes for thermostats.

Sources:
How It Works: Water Heater, popularmechanics.com
Electric Water Heater Element Problems, electrical.about.com