The availability of hot water is a necessity for any household. Whether it’s for more comfortable baths, a hot drink, or washing the dishes, everyone in the house depends on a steady supply of heated water.

Hot water systems are obviously the most convenient appliances for this, mainly because they provide hot water within seconds through their stellar heating mechanism. However, many factors can lead to the breakage of these units, which can be a big nuisance that could affect your daily routine.

How do electric hot water systems work?

Electric hot water systems operate via an electric current that passes through one (or, in some models, two) metal heating elements that heat the water when the temperature falls below the settings indicated on the thermostat. Typically, they are structured so that the metal component sits inside the tank. A separate thermostat operates the element(s) for accurate control of the water’s temperature.

Water heaters are made up of a thermostat, temperature and pressure relief valve, drain valve, and anode rod. They are insulated to ensure heat remains inside and electric models are, of course, plugged into a source of power.

Watt density is also an important concept to understand how this device generates heat. It refers to the amount of heat that is generated per square inch. There are low, medium, and high watt density models for heaters, and you will find shorter or longer heating elements depending on which you choose. Manufacturers typically supply heating elements depending on tank size, replacing or repairing them if it fails to heat water efficiently and effectively.

What causes breakage in electric heating elements?

There are several reasons why your electric heating elements might break or cease to function. Here are some common causes you may encounter:

Disruptions in electric current

Blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers and damaged circuitry.

If tripped circuit breaker may warrant testing of the circuit. Regardless, get in touch with a reliable electrician to ensure you don’t risk injuring yourself by taking on an electrical repair you may not be equipped to do.

Build-up of sediment

A coating of sediment usually covers heating elements depending on one’s location and the water condition in the plumbing system. It’s important not to let this coating thicken up to the point where the heating elements cease to be effective in transferring heat to your water supply.

Too much sediment will cause your water heater to burn out. The bottom element is particularly prone to sediment build-up as particles that come from the heated water tend to gather and settle at the bottom of the water heater tank.

Dry fires

Dry firing is one of the most causes of burned-out heating elements and eventual water heater breakage. It refers to when hot water taps aren’t opened while the water tank is being filled during installation. This causes air pockets to form at the top of the tank. The upper heating element will come into contact with this hot air pocket, which will result in the melting of its copper wire, damaging the heater entirely.


The water heater is one of the most crucial parts of any household, but also one that’s often forgotten. Make sure you stay on top of maintenance and understand how to identify issues if you want to enjoy warm showers without concern. Some basic knowledge about the device will ensure you’re equipped to maintain it and extend its lifespan.

As life gets busier and busier, keeping an eye on your water fixtures and their heating mechanism may not remain a priority. Breakages and damages to your water heater are expected due to the reasons above and other causes. By calling the right electrical service provider, you’ll have your heated water running again in no time.

Are you looking for home electricians on the Gold Coast to help you with your electric hot water repairs? We at Reefcosa Electrical offer excellence in electrical services, including hot water repairs, all across the Gold Coast. We are a team of professional electricians that specialise in repairs and installations for homes, commercial properties, and even for rural customers. To view our other services, visit our website today!

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