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Electric Water Heater Not Working

Dear Mr. Electrician:  I woke up today to find my electric water heater not working.  How do I repair my electric water heater? Answer:  When you find an electric water heater not working there are several steps to take to find the root cause and make repairs to the electric water heater.  NOTE: Some text links below go to applicable products on Amazon. If you see water dripping from the water heater tank, it is time for a full water heater replacement.  Tanks cannot be repaired, only replaced.  When you do replace the water heater, I recommend that a pan be installed under it to prevent future flooding.  An electric water heater should have a plastic pan while a gas or oil fired water heater should have a metal pan under it. Several things could cause the electric water heater to stop working.  A tripped or bad circuit breaker, or even a loose electrical connection will prevent the electric water heater from operating.  A disconnect switch at the water heater location could be off or gone bad.  The controls on the water heater itself could have tripped to the off position or gone bad.  And lastly one or more of the electric heating elements in the water heater could have burned out. All of these symptoms are easy to check and test for however it means working with live electricity.  If you lack experience working around live electrical circuits, I suggest calling in a professional electrician. The sequence of operation of a standard residential electric water heater with a tank is as follows:  With a tank full of cold water the upper heating element turns on first.  When the water temperature rises to the level that satisfies the upper thermostat the upper heating element will shut off and power will then go down to the lower heating element thermostat. The upper thermostat has a built-in double throw switch that goes forth and back between upper and lower heating elements according to upper water temperature. The lower heating element will stay on until the temperature reaches the lower thermostat setting and then will shut off. When you turn on the hot water faucet in your home, hot water comes from the top of the tank, travels the pipes and flows out the spout or shower head.  When that happens cold water enters the bottom of the tank and lowers the water temperature there. The lower heating element will heat that water until the water in the upper part of the tank starts to cool.  At that point the upper heating element will come on and the lower heating element will go off. The lower heating element tends to die sooner than the upper element.  With only the upper heating element working you would still get hot water, but the stored hot water in the tank would get used up much faster than with both elements operating as designed.  If the upper element dies then the lower element will not be able to turn on. Regular draining of the tank according to...