Last night my electric water heater stopped working and I'd like to figure out whats wrong with it before going off and calling a repair service.

What are some things I can do to troubleshoot this? So far I've:

  • Did a quick check and it isn't isolated to a single room.
  • Checked the water heater for leaks, but everything appears normal.
  • Checked the breaker and it was not tripped. I also flipped it off and back on and that also had no effect.


I broke out my multi-meter and did some further testing:

  • I tested the breaker itself. It is working properly.
  • I tested the heating elements for resistance. Both read ~12/12.5 ohms
  • No power is going to either element (actually, there is but its < 1v)

3 Answers 3


A few things to check:

  • First check the boiler - is it heating water? Does your hot water tank contain hot water? If not, it could be the heating element, a fuse or part of the heater circuit.

  • If you have a timer controlling the boiler, check it is working- does the relay trigger as it should?

  • If that is all working but you aren't getting hot water to your rooms, next check your zone valves to see whether they open and close correctly.

  • Can you hear your water pump?

  • Have you tried bleeding your radiators?

  • Do you have thermostats in the house? Check they are working- usually a click as they trigger at the set temperature.

  • +1 for the failed element, that's the most likely issue. The rest of the answer probably doesn't work for someone in Florida, boilers/radiators are rare in warmer climates.
    – BMitch
    Mar 13, 2012 at 12:13
  • +1 as well as this got me started in the right direction. I am in FL and most of that doesn't apply, however I did some tests on the elements themselves and it appears like they aren't receiving power. This is most likely an issue w/the element or the thermostat. I'm still guessing though.
    – Mike G
    Mar 13, 2012 at 12:31

There may be several reasons due to which a water heater can stop working and the first most reason may be it is serving from several years or may it's parts have stopped working. Second reason may be the improper supply of electricity.

  • Please don't add self promotional links to your answers. See the faq
    – ChrisF
    Jan 15, 2013 at 11:37

The above answers are all correct. However, if you try everything suggested but still have the same problem, next step is to change all supply line with 4.0mm cable to the boiler. If it fails, replace the possible elements to the boiler with news ones or to replace it with a new boiler.

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