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Home » Water Heaters » Do I Need an Electrician to Install or Fix a Water Heater?

Do I Need an Electrician to Install or Fix a Water Heater?

A man hand fixing a hot water system.

We often think of plumbers as tradesmen who lay pipe and repair leaks. So when there’s a problem with a hot water system, we may wonder if a plumber can help. Sure, they can connect a water heater to a home’s plumbing, but can they fix a leaky or malfunctioning water heater? Is an electrician necessary to fix a hot water system?

Let’s take a look at some common problems that happen with hot water systems and see how a plumber or electrician can fix them.

Leaky Fittings

Water heaters usually have two fittings: one where the cold water enters the heater and one where the hot water exits it. Any leak wastes water, but this type of leak can cause more extensive damage to the water heater. A plumber can replace these fittings for a relatively small fee.

Leaky Water Heater

If the water heater itself is leaking, it is probably corroded. This usually requires replacement. Whether your unit is electric, gas or tankless, it is highly recommended to have a professional do the replacement. Gas and electricity can both be dangerous. There’s no need to take unnecessary risks. Besides, there are a lot of ways a novice can botch an installation that would void the new heater’s warranty.

A plumber can securely and safely tie the new unit into your home’s plumbing. Most plumbers can also connect the new heater to your home’s electrical system or gas supply. Check on the plumber’s qualifications in these areas before hiring them.

Poor Performance

When a water heating system gets older, it may take longer to heat water, or it may not get the water hot enough. This can be caused by faulty heating elements, power or gas supply problems, a bad thermostat or other system malfunction.

Plumbers are trained to troubleshoot this type of problem. Of course, they can replace the unit if necessary, but they can also recommend a repairman if repair is possible and cheaper.

Electrical Problems

Electric water heaters may overload the electrical circuit that they’re on and regularly trip the breaker or blow the circuit’s fuse. In this case, you don’t need a plumber at all. You’d need an electrician to fix your hot water system.

An electrician can test the heater to make sure it’s not a malfunction causing the excessive power consumption. If the heater is good, he can replace the circuit breaker with one of a higher load rating. This is more complicated than it seems, because it may involve an upgrade of the wiring between the electrical panel and water heater.

In case you’re needing a new water heater, check out how much does a water heater installation cost.