Electric hot water system not working like it used to – or at all? It’s a tale as old as hot water systems themselves: you’re ready for a relaxing shower, only to be greeted by an icy torrent that sends shivers down your spine. Yes, hot water system issues are not just annoying – they can seriously disrupt the daily routine and trigger temper-tantrums all across the household. But here’s a little-known fact: when it comes to hot water system woes, electric models take the cake for causing more headaches than their counterparts. Why, you ask? Well, it’s a combination of their widespread use, intricate electrical components, and the need for regular maintenance that often goes unnoticed.

But let’s stop fretting, because we’re about to dive into the ultimate troubleshooting guide for those pesky electric hot water system problems. So, grab your notepad and keep that dry towel and body wash handy – because help is on the way!

Why is my electric hot water system not working? A progressive troubleshooting guide

Let’s take a progressive approach to resolving your electric hot water issue. Though it might seem daunting, especially when you’re faced with something like your hot water system not heating, there’s a chance it could be a simpler fix than you think, one you might be able to handle yourself. Of course, it could also indicate a need for a plumber or a new system, but let’s not jump to conclusions just yet.

1. Have you run out of water?

If you’ve got a storage-based system, the problem could be as simple as an empty tank! You might have a ‘boost’ button that can start to heat a new batch immediately, but you might also need to wait until the morning.

2. Check the power source

Your electric system isn’t going to do much without electricity! It’s frustrating when you encounter something like your electric hot water not working, but with a bit of luck, it’s not a serious power issue or a deeper wiring problem. Rather, it could be something as simple as a tripped breaker or a blown fuse that needs dealing with.

3. Can you adjust the thermostat?

Across the country, hot water systems are basically set at a pre-determined level in compliance with regulations. However, if you’re facing an issue with an electric hot water system not heating up, it could be as simple as the thermostat settings being set too low for a satisfying shower.

4. Is it a high-temperature cut-off?

Similarly, if you’re dealing with your electric hot water system not heating, it could be that the upper thermostat on your unit has a cut-off switch that has tripped due to excessive heat. Simply hitting the reset button might be the quick solution you need. After resetting, give the system some time to get going again.

5. Is your hot water system leaking?

When you notice moisture or water pooling around your hot water system, it’s a clear sign of a leak – and potentially a big problem waiting to unfold. Leaking hot water systems can range from simple issues like loose connections to more serious problems such as a cracked tank.

6. Low hot water pressure

Experiencing a disappointing trickle when you were hoping for a powerful, hot shower is not only frustrating but could indicate a problem with your hot water system or the plumbing. Here are steps to diagnose and potentially fix low hot water pressure

7. Check the heating elements

It’s very common for the heating elements to become coated with mineral deposits – or simply burn out. It’s possible to test them with a multimeter, but you may need help with that – especially if you find you need a replacement.

8. Is it time for a flush?

Part of your system’s normal maintenance regimen is a simple tank flush – which basically involves emptying the tank completely so that it can re-fill with fresh water.

9. The thermostat could need replacing

If you’re sure all the settings are right and your unit has power, it might be the thermostat that has seen better days. Replacing it will require a call to a licenced plumber near you.

10. Corrosion or tank damage

Perhaps you haven’t kept up to date with checking (and replacing) and sacrificial anode rod – the component that sits inside your tank with the express task of attracting corrosion away from your precious tank. Unfortunately, if the tank is badly corroded or otherwise damaged, the entire system will probably need to be replaced.

11. Which brand is your system?

We have some detailed guides for different hot water brands. So if you’re troubleshooting a Rinnai hot water system or trying to fix a Rheem hot water system dive deeper there.

12. Call a hot water plumber

Have you run through the steps? No success? Don’t panic: because Sydney’s favourite 24-hour hot water plumbing service is always just around the corner. Perhaps it’s an internal blockage, maybe it’s a complex mechanical failure, or perhaps it’s a super-easy fix – or maybe it’s simply time to explore your options for a shiny, brand-new hot water system.


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Expert advice for an electric hot water system not working

Remember, while some hot water fixes are straightforward, electrical systems can be dangerous – and there are plenty of regulations restricting what you’re allowed to do with your hot water system. If in doubt, give the friendly team at Rapid Service Plumbing a call – we’ll be right there! Inner West hot water, Sutherland Shire hot water, North Shore hot water and Sydney wide.