Instructions on how to replace an electric water heater thermostat. Find out how it works, problems associated with the thermostat failure, and how to avoid the issues.
Every electric water heater is equipped with one or two thermostats to control the flow of electrical current, sent to another thermostat or heating element.
These are known as upper and lower and they control the upper and lower heating elements. If the electric water heater is not producing any hot water or the temperature is not as requested (set), some testing needs to be performed to determine which thermostat is bad.
Furthermore, the thermostats will allow one heater to work in a simultaneous mode so they heat water at the same time or non-simultaneous mode. Water heaters thermostats are surface mounted and are firmly attached to the side of the tank. Any looseness will affect the normal operation.
These are designed to sense the heat of hot water and through the tank surface, set the temperature and by using the ECO feature or high limit switch (if applicable) protect the unit and the user from extremely high temperatures.
The hot water temperature inside the storage tank is factory set at 120 F as the safety precaution, so by using the dial, you can easily change the output temperature. If you increase the temperature setting above the factory pre-set temperature, there will be a danger of scalding injuries and heating might not be economical. The time needed for scalding burns or serious injury is as: if the temperature is set on 120 F it takes more than 5 minutes to produce injuries, for 140 F less than 5 seconds and for 160 F about half a second.
Water heater thermostat replacement procedure applies to either the lower or upper element.
Electric water heaters are usually equipped with the two thermostats: lower and upper one. The upper one has the high limit which is non-adjustable and must be reset manually when it trips. If the hot water inside the heater increases to an extremely high temperature the high limit switch is triggered, it interrupts the heating so it requires manual reset.
When selecting the location for the electric water heater, it is important to provide an adequate clearance between the thermostat and surrounding elements so the thermostat can easily be used for temperature change, replaced if broken and cleaned as part of the regular maintenance.
Words of caution
Do not perform any work on the thermostat or water heater with the power ON. Always make sure that the breaker is in OFF position. It is recommended to contact a professional for the thermostat replacement.
As said before, this guide is for homeowners who are capable of doing DIY home projects. The guide provides some useful tips that will help you learn how to replace an electric water heater thermostat, identify and solve problems that can affect the proper heating.