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, stuck pressure relief valve, sediment affecting the heating elements, or a failing heating element.
Four 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 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.
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.
At Baylor Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc., we can help you make the best decision so you can enjoy perfectly warm water – without busting your budget. To schedule an appointment, call (812) 425-8435.