Shower head with steamy hot water produced by Electric Water Heater

3 Reasons Why Your Electric Water Heater May Be Overheating


Most people use electric water heaters on a daily basis to supply their homes with hot water for drinking, cooking, and bathing. These appliances work by heating water with electricity and then storing the hot water in a tank until it is needed. Electric water heaters can provide many years of reliable service with proper use and maintenance.

If you’ve noticed that your electric water heater has been running hotter than usual, it’s essential to figure out why for your family’s safety. Sometimes, it may be a simple issue you can fix on your own. While in other cases, it may be a more severe problem that requires the help of a professional.


Your electric water heater might be overheating due to one of these reasons:


1. The thermostat may be set too high. 

The thermostat monitors the temperature of the water in the tank and will kick on the heating element when the water falls below a certain degree. If the thermostat is set too high, it could cause the water heater to overheat.

Electric water heaters are best kept at a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything below that can lead to bacteria growing inside your water heater. To adjust the thermostat, simply turn it to a lower setting and wait for the water to cool down to the desired temperature. Consult the owner’s manual or contact a professional for assistance.

2. The heating elements may be damaged. 

Another reason your electric water heater may be overheating is that the heating elements are damaged. Over time, the heating elements in electric water heaters can break down and become less effective. This can cause the unit to overheat and shut off prematurely.

To check if the heating element is damaged, simply remove it from the tank and test it with a multimeter. If it’s damaged, you’ll need to replace it. If you suspect your heating elements may be the problem, contact a licensed technician for help.

3. There could be sediment build-up in the tank. 

If there’s sediment build-up in the tank of your electric water heater, it could lead to overheating. Sediment can insulate the heating elements and prevent heat from escaping, which causes the unit to work harder and eventually overheat.

You’ll need to flush out the tank to remove the sediment build-up to fix this problem. This job is best left to a professional since it involves working with electricity and water.

If you have a growing family or use a lot of hot water, the solution may be as simple as upgrading to a larger unit. A smaller water heater will have to work harder to keep up with demand, which can cause it to overheat and shut down.

Contact Maxwell Plumbing and Heating for a free consultation to determine if your electric water heater needs to be replaced. With our help, we can get to the bottom of the issue and ensure that your electric water heater is safe to use.

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