Electric Water Heater: Fluctuating water temperatures
In an electric water heater, the upper and lower thermostats must fit snug against the side of the tank to sense and regulate the temperature correctly. Turn off the power to the water heater and remove the access covers to check the thermostats' positions. Adjust the thermostat brackets if necessary to keep the thermostats snug against the tank.
A failed thermostat or heating element in an electric water heater can also cause hot water temperature fluctuations. If water temperature fluctuates below the set temperature, check for failed heating elements and thermostats. If the water heater tends to overheat the water, find the cause of overheating. Replace any failed thermostats and broken heating elements.
Sediment build-up at the bottom of the tank can cause hot water temperature fluctuations. If it's been more than a year since you drained sediment from your water heater tank, now's the time to clear sediment from the tank. A broken dip tube that carries cold supply water to the bottom of the tank will cause temperature fluctuations. Replace the dip tube if broken. Some water heaters don't have a replaceable dip tube. If you can't replace the dip tube, replace the entire water heater.
Replace the water heater heating element
The heating element is the heat source inside an electric water heater. It extends directly into the tank, where it radiates heat energy to the water around it. If the heating element is not heating when activated, replace the heating element.
Replace the water heater thermostat
The thermostat constantly monitors water temperature in the tank. When the water temperature drops beneath the desired setting, the thermostat sends power to the electric heating element or gas burner to begin heating. If the thermostat isn't sending power to the heating element, replace the thermostat. In a gas water heater, replace the gas control assembly that contains the thermostat.
Replace the water heater drain valve
The drain valve threads into the bottom side of the tank and is opened to drain and flush out sediment from inside the tank. Replace the drain valve if it leaks or won't open to drain the tank.
If the drain valve on your electric water heater is leaking water, replace it following these step-by-step instructions.
If your hot water begins to smell like rotten eggs, replace the anode rod with a zinc-aluminum anode rod following the instructions in this repair guide.
If the water temperature fluctuates or you don't get enough hot water, follow these instructions to replace your water heater's thermostat.
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