Water Heater Repair Instructions
GE, Rheem, Rudd, Kenmore, A.O. Smith, State, Rinni, American




I Have No Hot Water, How Do I Troubleshoot My Bradford White Electric Water Heater  

Troubleshooting and repairing your own Bradford White electric water heater only takes a few minutes, and can save you hundreds of dollars in service calls and plumbing repair bills. The main symptoms of electric water heater problems are; no hot water, not enough hot water, slow hot water recovery, overheating and loud or unusual noises. Each of these issues has its own cause and repair requirements. We recommend calling a professional; however, you can repair most hot water heater problems yourself. Remember, if you think your water heater is still under warranty, or you are not sure, call the 1-800 number on your Bradford White electric water heater and ask for parts free. 

1.      Make sure the main electric circuit breaker(s) or fuses are in their “On” position inside the home’s main electric panel. If a breaker(s) looks to be half on and half off, close the breaker and open it rapidly. If the breaker does not stay in the on position, replace the water heater breaker(s) and/or inspect the wiring from panel to heater. We recommend contacting a licensed, bonded and insured electrical contractor to troubleshoot the problem.  In some cases, a bad breaker is a sign of trouble within the wiring system or water heater itself.  

2.      Testing the Bradford White Electric Water Heater Thermostats   

a.      Turn off all circuit breakers and/or disconnect the fuses. Remove the thermostat cover plate(s) with a Phillips screwdriver. Turn the power back on.  

b.      Check for incoming power using a voltmeter. Set the meter to read 250 Volts. Touch and hold one lead wire to each of the top left and right screws of the top thermostat (or top two screws of the lower, if only one thermostat is present.) The meter should read approximately 210 to 230 volts of electricity. If no voltage is present with the breakers and fuses on, contact an electrician. 

c.       Turn on all the hot water faucets in the house until the water runs cold. This will ensure that the thermostat(s) will call for heat.  Turn the faucets off. 

d.      Place one lead of the voltmeter on the top left thermostat screw and one lead on the second screw down on the right side of the thermostat. There should be 210+ volts of power. If not, turn the power off to the heater and push in firmly on the red reset button in the middle of the thermostat. You should here a click (but not always.)  

e.      Turn the power back on and check for voltage again. If no power, or limited power- fewer than 210 volts are present, check the top water-heating element for proper operation. If full power is present, but you still have no hot water after an hour or two, replace the top heating element. If no voltage, replace the thermostat.  

3.      Testing the Bradford White Electric Water Heater Heating Elements  

a.      Turn the power off to the water heater; remove the cover plate(s). 

b.      Test for incoming voltage with your voltmeter. Do not proceed until you verify that no voltage is present. 

c.       Loosen the two screws on each side of the heating element with a Phillips screwdriver. 

d.      Wearing heavy, electrical certified gloves remove each wire from the heating element and bend it slightly back out of the way. 

e.      Set your multimeter to the Ohms position

f.        Place one lead on each screw of the element. The Ohm or resistance should read 12 to 16; averages are 13 to 14. If the reading is below 12 ohms of resistance, replace the water-heating element.  

g.      Reinstall the element’s wiring. 

h.      Turn the power back on and test the circuit again. Reset your voltmeter to 250V. Full power should now be present. Turn the power off and replace the front cover(s).  

i.        Turn the water heater power on and wait an hour or two to check the hot water temperature at several faucets. The recovery time of an average Bradford white residential elect water heater is around 22 gallons an hour. It may take a while to reheat, depending on the size of your unit;  

20 gallon 1 hour 

30 gallon 1-1/2 hours 

40 gallon 2 hours 

50 gallon 2-1/2 hours  

60 gallon 3 hours 

80 gallon 4 hours 

120 gallon 6 hours 


Links to More Information about Bradford White Water Heater Repair 

Bradford White Water Heater: FAQs-Answers and Frequently Ask Water Heater Questions 

Listed here, you will find answers to common water heater questions.