Troubleshooting Rheem Electric Water Heater

The Rheem electric water heater is a commonly chosen option among homeowners. Nonetheless, similar to any other household appliance, it may encounter difficulties occasionally.

It’s not uncommon to notice your Rheem electric water heater giving you too hot or insufficient water. In this case, you may need to troubleshoot it before inviting a professional to repair it.

If the troubleshooting process rectifies the problem, you’ll have saved money that could have been paid to the professional.

However, the success of the troubleshooting process will depend on your handling skills.

Keep reading to find out the common Rheem electric water heater issues and how to troubleshoot them.

Troubleshooting Rheem Electric Water Heater

Troubleshooting Rheem Electric Water Heater

Troubleshooting your Rheem electric water heater entails identifying the problem and applying the available solutions to fix it.

The most common problems with Rheem electric water heaters are:

  • Too hot water
  • Bad odor
  • Insufficient hot water
  • Leaking tank
  • Cold water
  • Strange noises
  • Brownish water

It’s worth noting that you must disconnect your Rheem electric water heater from power before troubleshooting it.

Working on any electric appliance without disconnecting it from the power source is dangerous as you can be electrocuted.

Below are the issues that affect Rheem electric water heaters and how to troubleshoot them:

Too Hot Water

If you notice that the water from the faucet is too hot, two things could have happened:

  1. There is a problem with the thermostat, or
  2. You set the heating temperature too high

To troubleshoot this problem, check the temperature. You might have mistakenly set it too high, and that’s why the water is coming out too hot.

If the water temperature is okay, then there is a problem with the thermostat. Check the thermostat by opening the access panel and ensuring that the wires are not loose.

If the wires are okay, follow the procedure below to check thermostat settings:

  1. Remove the access panel and the insulation
  2. Check the temperature on all thermostats. They should be at the same temperature of between 115 to 125 degrees
  3. If there is temperature variation, use a flathead screwdriver to adjust
  4. Return the access panel and the insulation
  5. Connect the heater to power and test the water

If the problem persists, call a professional. There might be a more significant issue with the thermostat that only an electrician can fix.

Bad Odor

If you notice a bad smell coming from your electric water heater, chances are there are bacteria in the tank.

Some bacteria like legionella can survive in hot water.

The solution for foul odor is to kill the bacteria. Turn the water heater up to between 135 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wait for the heater to heat the water at that temperature for 30 minutes. All bacteria including legionella will be dead.

After 30 minutes, turn off the water heater and allow it to cool. Once the water has cooled, flush the tank completely.

Insufficient Hot Water

If you notice that your Rheem electric water heater is not providing enough hot water, the problem could be your tank.

The tank could be small and unable to meet the demands of your household.

To troubleshoot this problem:

  1. Space out your washing activities. For instance, after washing dishes, give the heater some time before doing laundry.
  2. Limit the length of showers.
  3. Install low-flow showerheads to reduce the amount of hot water used.
  4. If you have a dishwasher, only run it when it’s full.

Alternatively, install a larger tank if you want to maintain your water use activities as usual. Go for a tank that will serve your entire household conveniently.

Leaking Tank

Leaking tanks are a result of broken valves or plumbing defects. There might also be an issue with your tank or drain lines.

Leaks indicate either loose heating elements or corrosion. Troubleshooting begins by inspecting the tank for loose heating elements and corrosion.

Use an element wrench to tighten any loose heating element.

You must replace your tank if it’s corroded. Corroded tanks are a safety hazard as they can explode.

If you can’t find the source of the leak, call a professional to help you.

Cold Water

If your heater is not producing hot water:

  • It could not be getting power
  • It might have tripped
  • The heating elements may have failed

To troubleshoot the problem, check if the water heater’s circuit breaker has tripped. Switch off then on.

If the circuit breaker is okay, reset your Rheem water tank using the procedure below:

  1. Turn off the heater’s circuit breaker in the access panel
  2. Disconnect the access panel from the heating element
  3. Remove the safety guards and the insulation. Be careful not to tamper with terminals and wires
  4. Look for a red button above the upper thermostat and press it
  5. Fix the plastic safety guards, the insulation, and access panel as you found them
  6. Turn on the circuit breaker in the access panel

That should solve the problem. If not, test the heating elements and replace them if they are not working.

Strange Noises

It’s normal for Rheem electric water heaters to make some noise. The water sloshing around the tank is usually the cause of the noise.

The only time you should be worried about strange noises is when they are too loud or strange.

Some of the strange noises you may hear are:

  • Rumbling noise: This indicates the presence of sediments in the tank. These sediments are formed from minerals in the water. The solution is to flush out your tank.
  • Popping noise: This is usually caused by the formation of bubbles below the sediments due to temperature changes. Popping noise will be solved if you flush or drain the tank to remove the sediments.

You’ll have to replace the tank if the strange noises persist after draining.

Brownish Water

If you notice brownish or yellowish water from the faucet, it’s an indication of corrosion in the tank or water pipes.

The sacrificial anode in the water tank attracts minerals that corrode the tank. Thus, these minerals corrode the sacrificial anode instead of corroding the tank.

The sacrificial anode wears out with time and fails to function. As a result, the minerals start corroding your tank.

The best way to solve this problem is by replacing the anode. This is a technical exercise that needs an expert.

Call a professional plumber and inform him about the brownish water. He’ll check the anode and replace it if necessary.

The Cost of Repairing a Water Heater

How to repair electric water heater

The cost of repairing a water heater varies depending on the part you want to be fixed. However, a complete water heater repair costs between $596 and $762.

Specific issues will determine how much you pay in purchases and labor costs. For instance, replacing a thermostat will cost you between $50 to $100 hourly in labor.

On the other hand, a leaking electric water heater may cost up to $1,000 to fix.

Always consult your professional plumber on how much the repairs will cost.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my Rheem water heater not getting hot?

Your Rheem water heater may not be producing hot water because it’s not getting power.

Furthermore, you may be getting cold water because your heater has tipped. Check to see if the circuit breaker is on.

What is the most common problem with electric water heaters?

Water leaks are the most common problem with electric heaters. Leakages are a result of corrosion in the tank.

Final Thoughts

The best way to troubleshoot Rheem electric water heater is by first identifying the problem’s cause. If you know the problem, you’ll target its probable causes and get it solved.

Remember to disconnect your Rheem water heater from power before troubleshooting it. Contact a professional to check the heater if your troubleshooting efforts fail.

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