Rheem Water Heater Not Working – What To Do?

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Rheem water heaters are energy-efficient, durable, and deliver water quickly. But sometimes problems do occur that require you to troubleshoot before calling a qualified professional to repair. We researched on your behalf to help you out with these problems and how to solve them.

The reason your Rheem electric water heater may have stopped working is because of the following common problems that you can troubleshoot before calling a professional:

  • Strange noises
  • Brownish water
  • Foul odor
  • Leaking tank
  • Water is too hot
  • Not enough hot water
  • Water is not hot

Continue reading to learn in detail the common problems your Rheem electric water heater may exhibit. We'll also discuss how to troubleshoot each issue, when to call in a professional, and the cost of repairs.

A plumber working in a water heater, Rheem Water Heater Not Working - What To Do?

How To Troubleshoot Your Rheem Water Heater That Has Stopped Working

Your Rheem water heater has been giving you good service until it unexpectedly produces water that is too hot or water that is not enough. What do you do when you experience these and other problems?

It is important to note that before you repair an electric appliance, you have to switch it off from the main panel. Besides, it is better to call in a professional to carry out the repairs.

Homeowners who troubleshoot problems on their electric appliances are either skilled or experienced.

Below are some of the common issues that could make your water heater stop working and how you can troubleshoot them:

Strange Noises

Whereas your water heater may not be devoid of noise, it may produce strange noises you have never heard before. 

A rumbling noise may indicate sediment has formed and settled on the sides or bottom of the tank. The noise is produced when the water heats up and is pushed upwards through the sediment.

A popping sound is another strange sound that occurs when bubbles are created under the sediment as the water heats up. While these are not the only noises you may hear, do not ignore any other different sound that comes out of your water tank. 

To solve this issue, drain the water tank. If this does not work, you may have to replace the tank.

Brownish Water

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Brown or yellowish water coming out of your faucet is a clear signal that corrosion is already happening inside your water tank or in the water pipes.

There’s a component inside the tank called an anode. It attracts minerals in the water that corrodes the anode instead of your tank, thus protecting and prolonging its life.

However, with time it wears out and does not function as efficiently; and the sediments start to corrode the inside of your tank. In this case, the anode needs to be replaced, which is best done by an electrician.

Foul Odor

A foul odor like that of rotten eggs means there could be bacteria in your tank, especially as there are some bacteria such as Legionella that thrive in relatively warm water.

The solution for this is to set the temperature between 135 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, which will destroy all types of bacteria, including Legionella.

Leaking Tank

Water heater leaking water on to the basement floor

A leaking water tank is a signal that something is wrong. The leak could be coming from the water supply lines, the water heater nipples, or the drain lines.

The most serious situation is when a temperature and pressure release valve leaks. It shows there could be a much bigger problem, such as the overall pressure in the home being too high.

You can install a water expansion tank to reduce the pressure in the water heater and the water pipes, thus protecting your device against explosion.  

Find this expansion tank on Amazon.

Water Is Too Hot

Hand touching water pouring from a rain shower head to check water temperature

If you open the faucet and the water produced is extremely hot, then you could have mistakenly set the temperature too high, or the thermostat has malfunctioned. Solve this by setting the temperature lower or replacing the thermostat after confirming it is not working. 

When the pressure relief valve inside the tank is blocked, it causes the water to become hotter than it should or is set. This can be dangerous as it could lead to the tank exploding.

This valve releases the pressure that builds up inside the tank by letting out steam.

So, when it is blocked, you will hear the water boiling inside the tank. At this point, turn off the power from the main panel and call a professional.

Also, if lowering the temperature or replacing the thermostat does not stop the water from being too hot, call a professional electrician. 

Not Enough Hot Water

Your tank could be producing hot water but not enough of it. The problem could be that your tank does not meet the demand of your household needs because it is too small.

To address this problem, space out the number of washings you have in your house.

For example, wash the dishes and do your laundry at different times. In addition, lessen the length of showers and install low-flow shower heads.

Alternatively, replace the tank with a bigger one to cater to all the household needs.

Water Is Not Hot

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When the water is lukewarm or cold, the power may have tripped or one or both heating elements could have failed.

A water heater has two heating elements, one at the top and one at the bottom of the tank.

Allow a professional to check the circuit breaker to find out why it tripped, and to replace one or both heating elements.

How Do You Reset Your Rheem Water Tank?

Residential water heater

Do you know there is a red button on your water heater that you can reset if the tank stops working?

When your water heater suddenly stops producing hot water, look for the red button in your tank and find out if it has tripped.

The reset button is a very important component of the water heater because it interrupts the power supply as a result of a power surge, a damaged thermostat, or the tank has stopped working altogether.

So, if you just turned ON a faucet or shower and only cold water is running out, first check the circuit breaker.

Go over to the panel and if it is OFF, turn it ON. If it remains ON for some minutes, it should be a minor issue.

But if you find the breaker is in the ON position, switch it OFF and reset with the button in the steps provided below:

  1. Remove the metal panel on the tank, and inside, you will find some insulation.
  2. Remove the insulation to access the button.
  3. Push it inwards and then release it.
  4. Replace the insulation and fix back the panel.
  5. Switch on the power back.

If the reset button does not trip and power is back ON, then wait for it to heat the water again, which will take a few hours.

But if the reset button trips, then there is a bigger problem and you should call an electrician to have a look at it.  

Find below a video that shows in-depth how to access the reset button and how to reset it:

The Cost of Repairing A Water Heater

Wooden cubes foorming word COST and calculator

On a national level, the average cost of repairing a water heater is $587. Generally, this means that homeowners have in the past paid as low as $100 and as high as $1,300 for the repairs

The type of problem, however, dictates how much you will pay for repairs. For example, it would cost between $50 and $100 per hour for labor to replace a thermostat and may cost up to $1,000 to fix a leaking water heater.

An anode may cost between $20 and $50. A pressure valve costs around $20, and to hire a contractor to replace it would cost close to $200.

In Closing

Several common problems can interfere with the normal functioning of your water heater, such as the water becoming too hot or too cold, the tank leaking, or the water coming out is brownish.

You can troubleshoot some of these problems by resetting the reset button in your water tank. However, leave the more complex problems to your electrician.

Remember electricity is very dangerous, and it is safer to call a qualified electrician to handle the repairs.

Read our previous posts and understand in detail what causes the Rheem water heater to leak and how to stop it, and what to do when it blinks a red light:

Rheem Water Heater Blink Red Light

Rheem Water Heater Leaking - What To Do?

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