My Electric Water Heater is Overheating!

While there are a handful of problems that homeowners can have with their water heaters, one of the most serious is when the water from your faucet is too hot. This can cause burning and scalding, and it is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately. Also, pressure problems within the water tank can cause damage to the unit and cause water heater leaks.

My Electric Water Heater is Overheating

Electric water heaters are not complex appliances. In most cases, when they are overheating, with some guidance, you should be able to determine the root cause of the problem. If you can’t do so, then reach out to a professional plumbing contractor like Baylor Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing for assistance.

Here are a few potential causes of an overheating water heater.

Temperature Setting

Your water heater has dial indicators that show you the temperature that the water is currently set at. If you have turned up the temperature too high, then your water heater will work harder to maintain that temperature. This can cause it to overheat. Check your water heater’s thermostat and make sure that it is set no higher than 120 degrees. If you find that it is, then turn it down to a lower setting. When you’re trying to find out why your thermostat is overheating, it is always a good idea to start with this step.

Heating Elements

Your home’s water supply usually contains some dissolved minerals that survived the purification process. When you heat water in your water heater tank, they may fall out of the solution and deposit themselves on the heating elements or at the bottom of the tank. This is called “scale” and it can insulate the heating elements, causing them to overheat. You’ll know that this is happening if you see a milky white substance on or around your heating elements. If this is the case, then you’ll need to clean off the scale. Otherwise, they may fail after a while.

While these steps may be able to help you fix the problem on your own, it’s always a good idea to call in a professional if you’re not sure what you’re doing. They can take a look at your water heater and help you determine the root cause of the overheating issue.


Your water heater elements have on and off cycles that are controlled by the thermostat. If your thermostat reset button malfunctions, then it may cause the elements to stay on for too long, causing them to overheat. Conversely, if the thermostat is set too low, then the elements may not come on often enough, causing the water in the tank to cool off and not be able to heat up properly. If you think that your thermostat is the problem, you should replace it as soon as possible. If you’re unable to do so, then you should reach out to a professional contractor for assistance.

Pressure Relief Valve

When your heater’s pressure relief valve fails or is stuck, then it can cause your water heater to overheat. This is because the pressure relief valve is designed to release excess pressure from the tank when it gets too high. If it’s not working properly, then the pressure can build up and cause the tank to overheat. This is a serious problem as it can cause the tank to rupture, which can lead to serious water damage in your home. It can also lead to injury to you or a member of your household. If you think that your pressure relief valve is not working properly, then you should reach out to a professional contractor for assistance.

If your electric water heater is overheating, then it’s important to take action immediately. These are just a few potential causes of the problem. If you’re unable to determine the root cause, then you should reach out to a professional contractor for help. Otherwise, you may be putting your home and your family at risk.

Do You Need Help With Your Overheating Water Heater?

If you need help with your overheating water heater, then reach out to the experts at Baylor Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We have over 30 years of experience helping homeowners with all their heating and cooling needs. We’re here to help you get to the bottom of your problem and find a solution that works for you. Contact us today at 812.425.8435 to schedule a consultation. We look forward to serving you.

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