Q:

How can you repair a hot water heater?

A:

Quick Answer

Owners can replace the heating element on an electric water heater to repair one of the most common problems that occur with these units, a lack of hot water. If the tank is leaking, it is beyond repair and requires replacement.

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Full Answer

Electric water heaters use one or two resistance elements to produce heat. If the lower element burns out, the tank continues to produce some hot water, but it runs out quickly. To fix the problem, owners must turn off the power and water to the water heater, drain the tank, remove the old element and replace it with a new one. New heating elements are relatively inexpensive and available at most home improvement stores.

Pressure relief valves that constantly dribble water require replacement. If the valve is constantly releasing large volumes of hot water, the tank could be overheating or the valve defective. With the water and power turned off, owners must remove the old valve and replace it with a new one.

Leaks are another common issue with water heaters. Tightening the knob on a leaking drain valve sometimes stops the leak. If the valve fails, it is replaceable. However, if the leak is from the tank, the only fix is to replace the unit.

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