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Why Does My Electric Water Heater Keep Turning Off?

Estes Services 

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Hot water in your home helps you clean dishes, wash clothes, and enjoy warm showers. When your electric water heater starts turning off suddenly and unexpectedly, you want to get it figured out right away. In fact, you may wonder, why does my electric water heater keep turning off?

In this article, we will answer that very question by exploring eight common reasons why your electric heater water heater might keep turning off. Keep in mind that, if your electric water heater is within the typical lifespan of a water heater of its kind and has been working well up until this point, it could be a simple fix; however, there could be other signs that indicate a more serious problem. Discover more in the sections below.

Electric Tank vs. Tankless Water Heaters

Tank water heaters are standard in most homes. A heating element at the base of the tank heats the water to a designated temperature and stores it in the tank until hot water is needed. If the water cools down or if the hot water is used and replenished with cool water, the unit turns back on to heat the water to the designated temperature. This style of electric water heater typically lasts for eight to 12 years.

Tankless water heaters, on the other hand, offer hot water on demand and last for about 20 years. This style of electric water heater rapidly heats cold water as it passes through a series of heated coils. Because the unit only heats water when you need it, it's a more energy efficient choice. It's also more expensive to install.

In this article, the eight (8) reasons why your electric water heater might keep turning off are geared toward tank-style water heaters. If your tank water heater is reaching the 10 or 12-year mark, it may be time to replace it, but if you've only had it for a few years, make sure to thoroughly investigate the problem before you decide to buy a new one. It may end up being a simple fix.

8 Reasons Your Electric Water Heater Keeps Turning Off

  1. Electrical Issues:

The most common reason for an electric water heater to turn off is a tripped circuit breaker. Check your home's electrical panel to see if the breaker for the water heater has tripped. If it has, reset it. If it continues to trip, there may be an electrical problem that needs professional attention.

  1. Faulty Thermostat:

The thermostat regulates the temperature of the water in the tank. If it's not functioning correctly, your heater may turn off prematurely or fail to heat the water to the desired temperature. Replacing a faulty thermostat can resolve this issue.

  1. Overheating:

Some water heaters have a reset button that can trip if the water heater overheats. This can happen if the thermostat is set too high or if there is insufficient water flow through the tank. Lower the thermostat setting to prevent overheating.

  1. Sediment Buildup:

Sediment can accumulate at the bottom of your electric water heater's tank over time. This can insulate the heating element and cause it to overheat, which can cause the heater to turn off automatically. Flushing the tank to remove sediment can help prevent this problem.

  1. Faulty Heating Element:

A malfunctioning heating element can also cause the water heater to turn off prematurely. You can test the heating elements with a multimeter to check for continuity. If one or both are faulty, they may need to be replaced.

  1. Wiring Issues:

Poor or damaged wiring can disrupt the electrical connection to the water heater, causing it to turn off. Inspect the wiring and connections for any issues and repair or replace them as necessary.

  1. Water Leaks:

Water leaking into or around the electrical components of the water heater can lead to automatic shutdowns. Inspect the tank and connections for any signs of leaks and address them promptly.

  1. Age of the Water Heater:

As water heaters age, their components may deteriorate, leading to frequent shutdowns. If your water heater is old and experiencing multiple issues, it may be more cost-effective to replace it with a new one. Remember, tank water heaters typically last for eight to 12 years.

If your electric water heater keeps turning off, it may be time to search for a replacement, but that's not always the answer. If it's a faulty thermostat or tripped circuit breaker, you may be able to fix it yourself. Other electrical repairs might require a professional, but they can still save you from replacing your unit.

Armed with these tips, you can better understand the common issues with your electric water heater and get hot water flowing back into your home.

Schedule Water Heater Consultation Today

Well, there you have it. We explained some of the reasons why your electric water heater may keep turning off. If you are having trouble with your water heater, scheduling service today is best. We can help properly diagnose your water heater and decide what the next step is, including water heater repair or replacement.

No matter your water heater needs, our Atlanta plumbing experts can help. Since 1949, our locally owned and operated family business has been proudly serving the greater Atlanta area.

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