Troubleshooting Rheem Water Heaters - Common Problems and Solutions (2023)

Rheem water heater troubleshooting lets you findpressure relief valvesome common problems or indicates that a professional repair or replacement is required. This guide to common water heater problems covers gas and electric models from Rheem, Ruud and other brands.

Before You Take Your Rheem Water Heaterpressure relief valvebelow it is worth remembering the potential dangers: burns from hot water or the tank, electric shock from electrical connections and risk of gas or carbon monoxide leakage from gas models. Only follow Rheem water heater troubleshooting steps that you know and are comfortable with. Calling a Rheem water repair technician is an inexpensive way to avoid serious injury.

Troubleshooting Rheem Water Heaters - Common Problems and Solutions (1)

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Rheem Water Heaters: Common Problems

Here is a list of the most common Rheem water heater problems to look for. Solutions that require multiple steps are below.

no hot water

A tripped circuit breaker will turn off an electric heater and gas models that use electricity.

  • Gas:Make sure the gas valve is closed. If you use propane, your tank may be empty. If the unit has a pilot light (see manual), make sure it is lit.
  • Electric:Most Rheem electric water heaters have two coils, so it's unusual to NOT have hot water. Check the circuit in the electrical box to make sure it hasn't tripped. If it is on, the circuit breaker in the box may have failed.

not enough hot water

If the water heater is new or you have just moved into a new home and are not familiar with the water heater's capacity, the unit is likely undersized. You are using hot water faster than you can. This problem is more common with electric models, as they don't heat the water as quickly as gas models.

  • Gas:If the burner is on but not getting enough hot water, the unit is too small, the gas valve is clogged with weather debris, or the temperature is too low.
  • Electric:If this is a new problem, then one of the two heating elements or thermostats is probably faulty.
  • Mineral deposits:There is another reason for this problem, and it applies to using very hard water. Mineral deposits build up in a tank, so within three to five years, especially if the tank is not drained regularly, mineral buildup can reduce capacity by as much as 15 gallons.

There is water on the floor

The water could be coming from a leaking tank, more common on older water heaters, a loose fitting, or normal discharge from the T&P temperature pressure relief valve.

Tools needed for work

This small collection of articles will help you troubleshoot your Rheem water heater and possibly make a repair.

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  • Your Owner's Manual:There is likely a section in the manual on troubleshooting your Rheem water heater that will address the issue you are having. If you don't have the manual, you can probably find it online by looking up the model name or number.
  • Flat head and Philips screwdrivers
  • electrical tester
  • tube tape:Make sure it is for water and not for gas.
  • small plumber wrench
  • bucket and towels
  • lighter style barbecue
  • Wrench for heating elements (electric models only):A wrench like this can be purchased for $9-$15 at home improvement stores and online suppliers.

Rheem Water Heater Troubleshooting

Here are some tips for troubleshooting your Rheem water heater or deciding to call a Rheem service company to handle the repair.

no hot water

All electric water heaters and gas heaters that use electricity:The first problem to fix is ​​a lack of power to the unit.

  • If the water from the hot water tap cools down, give a gas unit 15 minutes and apressure relief valve30 minutes to start producing enough hot water for you to notice from the faucet. However, if the water remains cold, it's safe to say the unit is not heating water.
  • If your electrical panel's circuit breaker is in the "Off" position, turn it to the "On" position. If it's halfway between the two, it fires. Turn it all the way to "Off", then turn it to the "On" position. If the circuit continues to disconnect, there is an electrical problem that must be diagnosed and repaired by a qualified technician.

Gas water heater:If your unit has a pilot light and it is not lit, follow the owner's manual instructions to relight the pilot using the grill lighter. If the unit has an electronic ignition and will not start, the ignition may need to be replaced. Since replacement involves the possibility of a gas leak if not handled properly, consider calling a repair technician for the job.

not enough hot water

gas water heater

If your gas water heater isn't producing enough hot water, try adjusting your thermostat to a higher setting. This may require a flathead screwdriver placed in the adjuster slot. The manual has detailed instructions.

Careful:It is recommended that you set your thermostat no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce the risk of severe burns from scalding. If the unit is still not producing enough hot water, is undersized for your needs, is partially filled with mineral deposits, or has a clogged gas valve. A Rheem technician can check the gas valve and clean or replace it.

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Electric water heater

If you are getting hot water and you can hear the unit getting hot, check the thermostat set point. Set it to a higher temperature, but no more than 120F. If the water is still hot but not hot or heats up very slowly, one of the heating elements or thermostats is faulty.

  • Use the electrical tester to test heating elements and thermostats. Electric current will not flow through a defective part. parts likethis rheem elementythis rheem thermostatthey are available online and at home improvement stores for under $15. Titanium items are available for around $50 if you want to reduce the chance of having to replace it again.

Replacing an element/thermostat

To replace an element or thermostat:

  • Turn off the 240V dual circuit at the water heater electrical panel.
  • When replacing a heating element, turn off the water to the water heater. Disconnect the pump circuit, if you have a well and a pump. Run a hot water faucet in a bathtub until the water stops flowing. This removes pressure from the water tank.
  • Remove the part from the packaging. Do the same with the key when replacing a heating element.
  • Use a screwdriver to disconnect the wires from the faulty element or thermostat.
  • Place some towels on the floor if you are replacing an item. Quickly loosen the element first with the wrench and then by hand. Quickly pull it out, insert the new element and manually tighten it. Then use the wrench to tighten until there are no leaks. Be careful not to over-tighten.
  • If you replace the thermostat, take a digital photo of the thermostat wiring before removing the wiring and the faulty part. Install the new thermostat. Please check the picture to make sure the wiring is correct.

To use:If you'd rather not have a little water leak from the tank while replacing the element, first drain the tank by connecting a garden hose to the threaded faucet near the bottom of the tank, run the hose to a floor drain or outside your house and illuminatethorn.

There is water on the floor

If this problem starts immediately after installing or repairing a water heater, it is most likely a loose connection. Disconnect power to unit, if applicable, and check all plumbing connections for water. Gently tighten all wet connections. The connection should be taped and tight, not too tight. If you replaced an electrical element, remove the cap and check/tighten the element if necessary.

If everything is ready

If everything is tight, the next step is to determine if the relief valve is leaking water.

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  • Place a bucket on the floor under the valve or hang a lightweight bucket and if there's only water in the bucket the next time you strain, you've found the source.
  • If your thermostat is set above 120F, turn it down to that temperature or below. Setting the thermostat too high will cause the water to expand and force the water out of the valve.

If the water keeps dripping

If water continues to drip or flow from the temperature/pressure relief valve, you can replace it with the following steps:

  • Purchase the correct valve for your model. Your manual should have a parts list, or you can find one online. CommonRheem T&P valves like this oneone costs less than $20.
  • Shut off power and water to unit and turn off well pump, if applicable.
  • Run hot water through a faucet for a few minutes or through a hose connected to the drain near the bottom of the tank. This should lower the water level below the valve location.
  • Open the relief valve to remove any remaining pressure from the tank.
  • Using a wrench, loosen the old valve by turning it left or right.
  • Wrap masking tape clockwise around the threads of the new valve and install, hand-tightening until snug.
  • Use the wrench to continue tightening a quarter to half turn.
  • Turn the electricity and water back on. Let the water heat up. If the valve is leaking because it's too loose, tighten it another quarter or half turn.

If no water comes out of a T&P fitting or relief valve, the tank is leaking. It's probably time for a new water heater.

caution notes

We have included several safety steps in this Rheem water heater troubleshooting guide to prevent burns and electrical shock. Here are additional caveats:

  • If you smell gas near a gas water heater, close the gas valve and do not light anything. Evacuate your home and call a repairman or the gas company.
  • Since deadly carbon monoxide (CO) is a by-product of burning natural gas and propane, it's important to install a CO detector near a gas water heater. If the carbon monoxide detector goes off, evacuate the area. Call 911 or a service technician immediately.

Rheem Water Heater Troubleshooting Summary

If you didn't find your problem here, or if these steps don't resolve it, a service technician can help. They can assess whether you can repair or replace your water heater. Replacement makes sense if the unit is more than 7 years old and the repair is expensive. Finally, if you were able to resolve your issue, sharing these Rheem water heater troubleshooting tips on social media may benefit others. They apply to any brand of water heater.


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