Troubleshooting Your Hot Water Heater


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Dear Natural Handyman,
My situation is this: My electric water heater is not working. I get 240V at the heating element and also at the thermostat. What test can I perform on the heating element or the thermostat to determine which is faulty without removing them?

Dear JG,
If you are getting electricity at the heating elements, then the elements are most likely burnt out. To test them, first turn off the electricity. Now you must isolate them by disconnecting them from their thermostats. Set your voltmeter to continuity test, or if that's not an option, set it to test resistance. If you test zero resistance, or if the continuity test reads open circuit, then the element is bad. This is the same test you would use on a kitchen stove burner or oven element.

If they do prove to be inoperable, chances are you have been heating your water with one heating element for a while, since it would be unlikely that both would fail simultaneously. You should notice a dramatic increase in the speed and efficiency of your water heater after the repair.


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