Electric Water Heaters

Review the section on gas water heaters in the Plumbing section as most of the discussion there will apply here as well. Also, review and follow the manufacturer’s timetable and instructions for your electric water heater and learn about draining several gallons of water from the bottom of the water heater. This should be done frequently as it helps remove the build-up of mineral
Electric water heater anatomy
deposits from the water, increasing the life of the tank and saving energy. Avoid setting the temperature of the water heater too high. 120 degrees should be max. Higher settings can waste energy dollars and increase the danger of injury from scalding. Hot water takes a bit longer to arrive at sinks, tubs, and showers that are farther from the water heater. To shorten the waiting time, water heaters can be equipped with a re-circulator pump that keeps hot water available at the fixture at all times.


  • Drain the tank if it is being shut down during periods of freezing temperatures.
  • Keep the area around a water heater clear of stored household items.
  • Never use the top of the water heater as a storage shelf.
  • Keep the temperature setting at 120 degrees max.

Common Troubleshooting

  • If you discover you have no hot water, check the breaker, the temperature setting, and the water- supply valve before calling for service. Refer to the manufacturer’s literature for locations of these items and other troubleshooting information.


  • 1x per year: Drain several gallons of water from the bottom of the water heater spigot to remove sediment that may have developed on the bottom of the tank.
  • 1x per year: The heating elements in the electric water heater will require periodic cleaning. The frequency can vary in part by the quality of the water in your area. Refer to the manufacturer’s literature for step-by-step instructions and drawings or contact an authorized service company.