American electric water heater error codes

American Water Heaters

These error code explanations can help you diagnose a problem with your American electric water heater. For repair how-to help, visit the PartsDirect repair help section, which includes repair help for water heaters, major appliances, lawn and garden equipment, garage door openers, vacuum cleaners and more. Search for your model number to find a complete list of replacement parts for your water heater.

Error Code
Condition
DIY advice
Green LED , 1 flash

Power applied before tank is filled with water

Check/Repair

Open the nearest hot water faucet, and fill the water heater until a steady stream of water flows out of the faucet. Once the water heater is completely filled, then shut off the faucet. Reset the heater. Turn the power off, then back on. Press the reset button on the control box. Wait 10 minutes.

Possible parts
2 flashes

High water temperature and shut down

Check/Repair

Turn the power off to the water heater and remove the control box cover. Using a multi-meter, check the ohm resistance of the upper and lower heating elements between the blue and yellow wire connections (upper element) and the orange and blue wire connections (lower element). The ohm resistance should measure between 5-25 ohms. Replace the element if it does not measure 5-25 ohms., If the heating elements are okay, remove the thermistor plug from the control board. Using a multi-meter, measure the resistance between the red wires in the thermistor plug, then measure the resistance between the two black wires in the plug. Open a hot water faucet and measure the water temperature. If the water temperature is between 80 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the thermistor should measure between 50k-20k ohms; 100-120 degrees should measure 40k-15k ohms; 120-150 degrees should measure 30k-5k ohms. If the thermistors and heating elements are within ohm specification, replace the control board.

How-to help
Possible parts
Heating element, Thermistor, Control board
3 flashes

Thermistors not operating correctly

Check/Repair

Shut off the house circuit breakers to disconnect electrical power from the water heater. Remove the control box cover and check the thermistor wire harness connection on the control board. Reconnect the wire harness plug if you find it loose or disconnected. If the wire harness connection is okay, unplug the thermistor wires and use a multimeter to measure resistance through the black wires that connect to the upper element thermistor. Next, measure the resistance through the red wires that connect to the lower element thermistor. Open a hot water faucet and measure the water temperature. If the water temperature is between 80 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the thermistor should measure between 50k-20k ohms; 100-120 degrees should measure 40k-15k ohms; 120-150 degrees should measure 30k-5k ohms. If you measure proper resistance through the thermistor circuits, replace the control board because the control board isn't detecting thermistor resistance correctly. If your meter measures infinite resistance through a thermistor circuit, check the wiring and repair or replace any damaged thermistor wiring. If thermistor wiring is okay, replace the thermistor.

Possible parts
Thermistor, Control board
4 flashes

Upper heating element failure

Check/Repair

Turn off power to the water heater and remove the control box cover. Inspect the yellow and blue wires connected to the relays for damage., Using a multi-meter, measure the resistance between the yellow and blue wires connected to the relays. The ohm resistance should be 5-25 ohms if the upper heating element is okay. If the upper heating element is defective, replace it. If the upper element and wiring are okay, replace the control board.

How-to help
Possible parts
Heating element, Control board
5 flashes

Lower heating element failure

Check/Repair

Turn off power to the water heater and remove the control box cover. Inspect the orange and blue wires connected to the control for damage., Using a multi-meter, measure the resistance between the orange and blue wires. The ohm resistance should be 5-25 ohms if the lower heating element is okay. If the lower heating element is defective, replace it. If the lower element and wiring is okay, replace the control board.

How-to help
Possible parts
Lower heating element, Control board
6 flashes

Lock-out condition

Check/Repair

The water heater stops working due to a malfunction in the control board. Reset the unit by turning off power and waiting 10 minutes. If the green light is still flashing 6 times after resetting the control, replace the control board.

Possible parts
Control board

Symptoms common to all water heaters

Choose a symptom to see related water heater repairs.

Main causes: water supply needs chlorine treatment, anode rod too reactive
Main causes: thermostat temperature set too high, thermostats need adjustment, faulty thermostat, shorted heating element
Main causes: thermostats need adjustment, water heater capacity too low, bad heating element, thermostat failure, excessive tank sediment
Main causes: lack of power, no gas supply, thermostat limit switch tripped, bad element, bad thermostat, gas valve failure, bad thermocouple
Main causes: broken heating element, thermostat failure, excessive tank sediment, tank size too small, burner valve assembly failure
Main causes: faulty pressure relief valve, water is overheating
Main causes: loose water pipe fittings, leaky drain valve, bad temperature-pressure relief valve, leaky heating element, cracked tank

Articles and videos common to all water heaters

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