If your hot water faucet is running, but the water turns cold, then most likely it is either a thermostat problem or a heating element problem.
A thermostat is a temperature controlled device which measures the water temperature and switches on the electric heating until the water in the tank reaches the required temperature and then turns off the heating. It is an important safety device, as well as energy saving, because if it did not operate, then the water in the tank could continue to heat up to boiling temperature. Obviously boiling water coming out of a bath or kitchen faucet is dangerous, and shows the importance of the thermostat operation. Because of this safety factor, thermostats are designed to turn off in case of failure, which may be the cause of your cold water.
Have your plumbing technician check the temperature setting to ensure that the temperature is set for 120 degrees. There is a reset button to be pressed, and the temperature setting can then be re-checked. If all appears to be in order, then your technician will disconnect power to the tank, and check for loose wires or bad connections. Operation of the thermostat can be tested with an electrical test set, and the device replaced if required.
If the thermostat checks out, the next item to be checked is the heating element. This is a large rectangular heating element which is inserted in the side of the tank, and directly heats the water as electricity is passed through. The element can be tested by first disconnecting power, removing a side access panel, undoing tank insulation and then removing the element and its sealing gasket. An electrical multimeter can then do a continuity test to check if the element is burnt out. Most likely our technician will have a spare element in the truck, so it can be replaced without delay.
As always where there is a mixture of electricity and water, make sure that you call a qualified plumbing expert to perform the work safely. Don’t take a chance with wet electrical wiring and contact We Know Plumbing any time to get the help you need.
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