Electric Water Heater Repair and Troubleshooting


If you are having issues with your water heater you may be wondering if you should repair or replace it. Here are some tips to help you determine whether you are in need of water heater repair Gloucester VA or if it’s time to buy a new one.

Whether you need to replace your water heater or not will depend on its condition, age and your budget. Most of the time you won’t even be thinking about replacing your water heater until you end up with a gigantic puddle of water in your basement or sudden cold shower. Then you will need to figure out whether to replace or repair it.

It is a fairly obvious solution if you have a conventional storage-tank hot water heater that is coming to the end of its 10-13 year life span. New hot water heater models are as much as 20% more efficient compared to older ones and can also save you as much as $700 in total energy costs over the unit’s life. However, if the hot water heater is just a couple of years old, then you might be better off repairing it instead.

How To Diagnose Water Heater Problems

Conventional water heaters have a simple design. Cold water goes into the tank and then is heated by either a gas burner or electric element. The temperature is regulated by a thermostat, usually 120-140 degrees. Pressure builds within the tank as the water heats up. Hot water is sent out into the faucet by pressure caused when you turn a tap on.

There are very few moving parts on a water heater, so there are only a couple of things that can go wrong.

  • Valve sticks
  • Thermostat breaks
  • Heating element or burner fails
  • Circuit breaker trips on an electric heater
  • Pilot light flickers out on a gas water heater

It is fairly inexpensive to replace or repair these parts. However, if your tank is over 10 years old, or is leaking, then you most likely need to buy a new water tank.

Replacing Your Hot Water Heater

Over time, water heater tanks get corroded by water minerals reacting with steel. Whenever a water heater starts to leak, it cannot be repaired and must be replaced instead.

However, new water heaters are much more energy efficient. Foam insulation is injected between the outer shell and tank, which results in higher heat retention. Tanks also have new glass liners which makes them less likely to corrode. You may be able to save even more in energy costs by investing in a solar, heat pump or tankless hot water heater.