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There is nothing fun about burning your skin under a blistering hot shower.
If the water coming out of your heater is too hot for comfort, overheating could be the issue.
So how do you prevent water heaters overheating and continue enjoying those long warm showers?
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Set The Heater At Moderate Temperature
Your electric water heater will overheat if the temperature is set too high. To rectify the problem, just set it at a lower temperature.
Normal settings range between 110- and 125-degrees. If you set it at 125 or higher, your water will be too hot.
This is not to mention the higher electricity bill you will be getting at the end of the month.
Also Read: How to Flush a Hot Water Heater -Easy Hacks
Even if you are sure that you set the correct temperature, there is always a possibility that someone else adjusted it by accident. If you know that your thermostat can go beyond 125 degrees, the temperature setting should be the first thing you check.
If yours is an entry level model, the dial for adjusting the temperature is mostly located inside the unit. Just open it up to check the readings.
Most tankless water heaters come with a digital thermostat display, so it is easy to tell the set temperature and adjust accordingly.
There are modern tankless water heaters that come with a safety function that detect any malfunctions and warn you before things escalate. If you are getting such a warning, be sure to act quickly before more damage is done.
If you are looking to replace your heaters, you may consider getting such advanced varieties. It is much easier to prevent water heaters from overheating, among other issues, since you get alerted.
A heater that lets you know when there is a problem will save you a lot of guesswork and resources in the long run.
For water heaters mounted outside the house, there is always a possibility that someone may move it, causing the overheating problem. This should be the first place you check if you are uncomfortable with your water temperatures.
Replace the thermostat
There is also a possibility that your temperature settings are right, but the thermostat is faulty.
Thermostat issues normally arise because of normal wear and tear. If you have had your water heater for years, it may be time to change the thermostat.
With a faulty thermostat, the elements will continue heating the water to a high temperature even when you have reduced it to your desired level. If possible, switch the thermostat off before you can get a replacement and hire a professional to fix it.
Also Read: How to test water heater element
It is important to note that unless you are an expert in this field, you are better off leaving the thermostat testing to the professionals. If your heater is still under warranty, the manufacturer will often consider it void if they see that you have tampered with the heater in any way.
Going forward, you have to ensure that your heater is maintained regularly. All parts, including thermostat, pressure valve, and elements should be checked and replaced where necessary.
Take care of accumulated mineral sediments.
Water, in most cases, have natural minerals dissolved in it. Even when you have a water purification system in place, some minerals will still pass through.
When these sediments get into your water heater, they tend to cluster at the bottom of the tank and accumulate around the heating elements. Even tankless heaters may have accumulated sediments around the heating elements.
Sediments at the bottom of the tank will make it harder for the heat to transfer from the layer to the water. This problem is prevalent in gas-powered heaters.
The more the sediments around the elements, the more the heater overworks itself. The overworking happens as it tries to heat the water to the temperature set by the thermostat.
This can only translate to more overheating just before the heater malfunctions. Whatever the type of heater, regularly checking for sediments is one way to prevent water heaters overheating.
Flush the elements in the tank and remove those around the element to take care of the overheating problem. Also, ensure that the heater is flushed out whenever you carry out routine maintenance.
This will not only prolong the lifespan of your heater but also ensure that it is running optimally. You can expect to have lower power bills and enjoy enhanced efficiency when there are no sediments inside your water heater, tankless, or otherwise.
Replace the pressure valve
The pressure relief valve is designed to let out excess steam from the water. This way, the tank cannot overheat.
When the pressure valve is broken, there will be a steam build up in the tank.
A steam build-up often causes overheating inside the tank. In extreme situations, the tank may burst.
It is important to get the valve checked immediately you note that your water heater is overheating.
Checking and replacing the pressure valve may require a professional, and this comes with a financial implication. However, the cost of service and a new valve is negligible compared to how much it will cost you to get a new tank for your heater.
Clear Discharge Pipes
You can prevent water heaters from overheating by simply cleaning the discharge pipes. The process is quite easy and doesn’t require specialized skills.
Lift the supply lever and let the water flush out the heater valve for a second or two. You will notice that any residue will be quickly eliminated.
When the discharge valves are taken care of, there will be enough water supply in your heater unit, so overheating is unlikely. The same applies if there is enough water escaping from the heater through the outlet valve.
In case draining the pipe takes more than a minute, you may need to call a plumber to check out the hot water system and ensure that every part is working properly.
To check any of the above valves, you have to open the outside housing to check for defects and faults. If you do not know where to look, call a professional and possibly the one who does your heater maintenance.
With a professional, you are sure to catch minor defects before things get out of hand. The valves may appear normal, but fixing that small leak may be all it takes to prevent water heaters overheating.
Final Thoughts On Preventing Water Heaters From Overheating
These are some of the ways you can prevent water heaters overheating. If any step looks too complicated, get a professional to fix the problem for you.
You may have to pay for the service, but this is the only way you can get a proper diagnosis of what is ailing your water heater.