When a customer calls us with a complaint about their water heater, usually it’s because the water is too cold. However, it’s possible for the water coming out of the faucet or showerhead to be too hot, which is concerning for a few reasons.
An overheating electric water heater is a sign of a malfunction and could lead to the unit leaking or breaking down. Common causes of water being too hot include a faulty thermostat, a stuck pressure relief valve, sediment affecting the heating elements, or a failing heating element.
Five Reasons Your Electric Water Heater is Overheating
- Faulty thermostat. When it comes to the temperature of your water heater, the natural place to start is the thermostat. The recommended temperature is 120°F, so make sure your unit is set accordingly and hasn’t been changed by mistake. Also, check the reset button to make sure the thermostat is working correctly, otherwise, it could be instructing the water heater to heat up higher than expected. If there appears to be a problem with the thermostat, have a plumber replace it.
- Stuck pressure relief valve. The pressure relief valve is a safety feature that opens to release water if the temperature or pressure inside the tank reaches an excessive level. If the valve breaks or gets stuck in the closed position, it could be a dangerous situation. Not only will you notice extremely hot water, but the trapped pressure inside the tank could cause the water heater to leak or burst. That’s why we recommend testing the pressure relief valve as part of the routine maintenance of your water heater.
- Sediment affecting heating elements. The water supply for your home likely has trace amounts of dissolved minerals (and if you have high levels, it’s called hard water). These minerals aren’t harmful to our health but they can accumulate inside the tank water heater, causing the heating elements to work harder than they should.
- Failing heating element. Another issue with the heating element happens when the component begins to die (ground out). Before it burns out completely, the element may get stuck turned on, which will overheat the water. Keep in mind that electric water heaters can have one or two heating elements. If one element dies in a dual unit, it can lead to consistent water temperatures and other issues.
- You have a faulty tempering valve or you don’t have one at all. The tempering valve mixes cold and hot water together to maintain a safe temperature. If the tempering valve is stuck in the open position or if you don’t have one at all, then this could lead to your water heating up too much. If your water heater is old, chances are you don’t have a tempering valve and it’s time for an upgrade. If you think you have one, call a professional to inspect it.
Electric Water Heater Maintenance Tips
To keep your electric water heater running smoothly and efficiently, it’s important to maintain your unit regularly. Here are some maintenance tips you can use to keep your electric water heater in good working order:
- Have the tank flushed at least once a year. Flushing the tank removes sediment build-up that can lead to problems with heating efficiency.
- Check and replace the sacrificial anode rod every three to five years. The anode rod prevents corrosion inside your water heater tank.
- Check and adjust the temperature of your water heater regularly, as this will help keep your energy costs down. The recommended temperature setting is 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Make sure all electrical connections remain tight. Loose or faulty wiring can cause fires and other safety hazards.
- Check the valves and pipes for signs of leaks or corrosion. Replace any parts that have become damaged or worn over time.
- Inspect your water heater regularly for any signs of wear and tear, such as rusting, leaking, or cracking. If any of these issues are present, contact a professional for repair.
By following these maintenance tips, you can help ensure that your electric water heater runs smoothly and efficiently for years to come. Don’t forget to schedule regular inspections with a qualified technician to keep your unit in top condition!
Electric Water Heater Repair And Installation in Evansville, IN
Electric water heaters have an average service life of 10-15 years, which is slightly longer than gas models (8-12) years. So if your water heater is showing the signs of any of the issues mentioned above, it’s important to consider how old the unit is. If it’s newer, then it makes sense to repair the faulty part. However, if the unit is older, then it might make more sense to replace the entire water heater.