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Tips for Troubleshooting a Broken Electric Hot Water System

Thermann electric hot water system

Worried your electric hot water system isn’t performing as it should? Hot water is one of the necessities homeowners rely on throughout their everyday lives, from a hot shower in the morning to washing the dishes after a family meal. When hot water systems begin to have problems, it’s a great inconvenience for everyone.

Hot water heaters spark various issues beyond just a cold shower. They also reduce your home’s energy efficiency and are a potential safety hazard.

Today, we’re going to take a look at some general troubleshooting tips. We’ll also discuss your options and possible solutions, particularly how to decide whether your money would be better spent on repairing your electric water heater or buying a new hot water system altogether.

Hot to tell if your electric hot water system stopped working

Worried your hot water system isn’t working as it should be? There are a few tell-tale signs that will indicate if there is a problem with your hot water heater, including:

  1. Inconsistent water temperature – This can range from no heat at all, water being hot one minute and freezing the next, or the need to adjust the thermostat constantly.
  2. Your system is making strange noises – Hot water systems are usually quiet but make some noises, like a low hum or even a bit of noise when starting on a cold day. If your electric hot water system makes continuous hissing, banging, or clunking sounds, it needs to be fixed right away.
  3. Rust-coloured water – Your water should be clear, and any cloudy, murky, or especially rust-coloured water is a sign your water heater is reaching the end of its life. It’s a sign your heater’s water tank has begun to rust.
  4. Water leakage – Any hot water system leaks may be the result of corrosion or a faulty valve or pipe.
  5. A foul odour – Strange smells in your water or your system must be checked ASAP. Trust your nose on this one.
  6.  Low water pressure – This could become apparent through a low or inconsistent flow.

If you notice any of the above, you should call a hot water repair specialist to check the issue to see if your system needs repairs or replacing. While many problems are merely inconvenient, some can be dangerous, so it is best to have someone with plumbing or hot water unit experience check your system.

Tips for troubleshooting a broken electric hot water system

If your hot water isn’t working, there are a few things you can check before you call a plumber…

  • Check if your water is turned on all the way.
  • Consider when you had your last hot water system maintenance and whether you’re due for another.
  • Check that your system isn’t overheating.
  • Check for leaks. Leaks are not only a tell-tale sign all is not right with your system; left unattended, they can cause further damage.
  • Reset your electricity. – Check your safety switch to see if the power is out in your house.

When is it better to replace instead of repair an electric hot water system?

The critical factor when deciding whether a replacement is better than a hot water system repair is the age of your system and whether the repairs will make a long-term difference. It is worth checking your warranty if you are experiencing a severe issue or failure on a relatively new machine.

Most hot water systems, even when impeccably maintained, have an average lifespan of 8-12 years.

If your electric hot water system is over a decade old, parts like heating elements, valves, pipes and even the storage tank will start to wear. Repairs are a good short-term solution, but in all honesty, if your system is at the end of its lifespan, you’ll need to repair it again shortly. Specific issues, like a corroded storage tank, indicate your system is beyond repair.

If you own a Rheem electric hot water system, check out our post on how long Rheem hot water heaters should last.

Cutting your losses and buying a new electric hot water system could make more business sense. Plus, your days of cold showers will be over for good.

The plus side is in the decade since your last purchase, there have been a lot of innovations and improvements to new hot water systems. From solar hot water systems to tankless systems, this is a chance to upgrade your hot water system by buying a more effective system with lower running costs.

Tips for maintaining your electric hot water system after it’s repaired

Maintenance is a vital part of expanding the lifespan of your electric hot water system, and regular services are an important part of this. Hot water specialists can ensure your heater is running smoothly and find any potential issues, parts that need replacement or minor repairs that need to be taken care of.

If you find your problem early on, you minimise the damage and the amount it costs to fix. Remember, hot water technicians know this stuff like the back of their hands, so while they’re over servicing your units, you can ask if they have any specific tips.


Whatever your hot water needs, Same Day Hot Water Service has got you covered!  We assist with various plumbing services, including hot water system repairs, installations, replacement parts and services. We offer all the top brands and models on the market, including Rheem, Rinnai, Aquamax, Thermann, Vulcan, Stiebel Eltron, Dux and more. Along with years of experience and know-how, our team of experts pride themselves on their customer service and are happy to answer any queries you may have.

We sell hot water systems all over Australia and service and install them in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Central Coast, Newcastle, ACT and Perth. Check out our range of hot water systems today to get your hot water running better than ever.

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