We bought a brand new water heater back in November. Came home last night to no hot water. Check circuit breaker and it wasn't tripped. Turned it off an on anyway. Nothing. Hit reset button on thermostat, nothing. Check for electric current per manufacturers instructions and there was nothing. Put in a new circuit breaker. Still nothing. What else could it be?

  • 1
    Did you test (multimeter, voltage tester) at the water heater if there was power or not? Jan 24, 2019 at 19:11
  • Yes we used the Multimeter to check for power at the water heater...that is what I meant by "check for electric current".
    – Michelle
    Jan 24, 2019 at 19:21
  • Did you actually check the main two black and white wires that come from the panel or did you simply test for power at an element? Jan 24, 2019 at 19:51
  • I assume you mean the wire in the junction box on top of the water heater? If so, yes.
    – Michelle
    Jan 24, 2019 at 19:57
  • It is possible that the new breaker could be bad. That has happened to me before. Also check for a break in the wiring by disconnecting both wires from the breaker and wire nut them together. Then go to the water heater junction box and disconnect the two wires from the heater and check for continuity through both of the wires. Jan 24, 2019 at 20:03

2 Answers 2


Since this is brand new, and assuming you hit the red reset button on the UPPER thermostat, then it's most likely a loose wire somewhere. It might have been touching a terminal and worked for a while, but under load that loose connection over heated and burned away. One bad connection and the entire circuit is broken, so unless you know how to test for that, you can easily get a false negative reading. Here is what your entire circuit looks like.

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  • Do you mean a loose wire in the Junction Box? I can double check that when I get home tonight.
    – Michelle
    Jan 24, 2019 at 20:17
  • Anywhere in the circuit. Although Ground is not usable as part of a circuit, is it usable for testing purposes. So instead of testing line-to-line looking for 240V, test line-to-ground looking for 120V. If any wire that is supposed to be hot does not show as 120V to ground, that is the dead part of the circuit. Wherever you find that, work backward toward the breaker until you find the bad connection.
    – JRaef
    Jan 24, 2019 at 20:26
  • Seems quite unlikely, but it is a small possibility that both heating elements have went bad (open circuit). How many ohms do you measure across the water heater elements (nothing else in the circuit)?
    – peinal
    Oct 22, 2019 at 0:35

If no power at the junction box and you installed a new breaker did you verify there is power on the breaker? Most water heaters are double pole you should see 240v at the 2 wires coming out of the breaker. If there is no power there it can be a bad buss. I have seen this with 2 brands FPE stab lock panels made by federal Pacific and zinsco panels. If there is not 240 at the breaker check the main breaker, if you lost a leg I would expect you to notice other circuits not working but worth a check.

  • There is definitely power coming from the breaker, as the water softner unit is in the same utility closet and that is working. It is on a two-pole 30/30 circuit breaker.
    – Michelle
    Jan 24, 2019 at 20:16
  • Ok with power from the breaker and none at the water heater there may be a splice someplace. Are you sure the water softener is on the same circuit? I have installed a few but they were all 120v and I thought 15 amp branch circuits but my memory could be failing there. If they are on the same circuit you will need to find where the splice is a wire nut could have come loose or a broken wire would be what I would look for.
    – Ed Beal
    Jan 25, 2019 at 0:36

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