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Hot Water Heater Repair
The upper themostat.
The test below will be performed with the power on. Both elements do not heat at the same time.Starting with a tank of cold water, the upper element will heat the water in the top half of the tank. When the upper thermostat is satisfied the upper element will shut down and the lower element will begin heating.
- Turn the water heater power off. Remove both access panels, insulation and plastic safety covers.Check to ensure that the reset button has not tripped.
- Use a small screwdriver to set the upper (top) thermostat temperature to the highest setting. Set the lower thermostat temperature to the lowest setting.
- Turn the water heater power on.Check the two wires above the reset button to be sure their is voltage coming into the water heater.This water heater is 240 volts.Voltage at the elements on this water heater should be 240 volts.
- Place the multimeter probes on the upper element contact screws. If you do not have power at the element the thermostat needs replacing. If you do have power its time to check the lower thermostat.
Test water heater thermostat (lower)
- Set the upper thermostat temperature to the lowest setting.You should hear the thermostat click off as you turn the dial.If you don’t hear it, give the water time to heat up and then continue.Set the lower thermostat temperature to the highest setting.
- Check the lower element for voltage. If you have power at the element allow the water to warm a bit.
- Lower the temperature on the thermostat. You should hear it click off. The thermostat is good.
- If you do not have power at the element go to the next step.
- Test the lower thermostat for power. Place one multimeter probe on the top contact screw and the other probe on the water tank. It should read 120 volts. If you do not get a reading replace the upper thermostat. It is not sending power to the lower thermostat. If you have power go to the next step.
- Place one meter probe on the lower contact screw and one probe on the water tank. You should have 120 volts, if not, replace the lower thermostat
Replacing a hot water heater thermostat – Step be step guide for replacing an electric water heater thermostat.
How to test a heater element
Visit water heater element testing for more information on grounded elements.
- Turn the water heater breaker (power) off. Remove the access panels, the insulation and the plastic safety cover.
- Remove the wires from the heater element. Test for resistance. If there is no conductivity, the element needs to be replaced, if you have resistance reading the element is good or fused (step 3)
- To check for fused element: measure conductivity between each terminal screw and the water tank; if you get a reading on either screw, replace the element. The elements are good if there is no conductivity.