Sep 15, 2023 | Damage, Electric, Heating Element, Overheating, Sediment Buildup, Temperature, Thermostat, Water Heater

One of the most common issues with electric water heaters is that they can overheat. And well, that means you could end up with scalding hot water coming out of your sinks and showers! On top of that, if your water heater overheats for too long, it can cause some serious damage. If you ever find yourself in this situation, don’t worry! Your pals at Narrow Path Plumbing are here to help you out! We’ve put together the three most common reasons electric water heaters overheat:  


The thermostat for your electric water heater is super important for keeping the water temperature just right inside the tank. It acts as the control center that decides when to turn on the heating element so your water stays perfect. But sometimes, issues with the thermostat can cause overheating due to: 

  • Settings Being Too High: If the thermostat is cranked up too high, it’ll keep heating the water to that elevated temperature, even when it’s not necessary. Not only does this waste energy, but it can also make the water dangerously hot.  
  • A Malfunctioning Thermostat: Sometimes, a wonky thermostat might not read the water temperature correctly or control the heating element properly. This could cause the heater to stay on longer than needed, leading to overheating.  

To troubleshoot if the thermostat is the culprit, let’s start by checking if it’s set to the right temperature. If the problem persists, it’s a good idea to reach out to a professional who can inspect and, if needed, replace the thermostat for you. Don’t hesitate to ask for help! 


The heating element is the component that’s responsible for heating the water in your electric water heater. Just like any mechanical part, it can wear out over time. And when that happens, it might become a little less efficient, causing problems like overheating. Sometimes, a heating element can get stuck in the “on” mode, constantly heating the water, even when it’s already at the desired temperature. Another possible reason that leads to overheating is that as the heating element wears out, it starts losing its efficiency in heating water. To compensate, it might have to stay on for longer periods. 

If you suspect there’s an issue with the heating element, it’s a smart move to get some assistance from a professional. A licensed plumber can take a look and replace the element if necessary.   


Over time, sediment, which is mostly minerals and debris from your water supply, can accumulate at the bottom of your water heater tank. (That’s why it’s important to do regular maintenance!) Built-up sediment can be a bit of a troublemaker. It acts like an insulator, creating a barrier between the heating element and the water. This can cause some overheating issues because the poor heating element has a hard time transferring heat effectively. 

To deal with the insulating effect of sediment, the heating element goes the extra mile and runs for a bit longer, resulting in higher energy usage and the possibility of overheating. This means flushing the tank is necessary to get rid of the built-up sediment. Since it involves water and electricity, it’s a good idea to have a licensed plumber handle this task for safety reasons.  

In summary, dealing with an overheating electric water heater is a problem that needs your immediate attention. It’s all about preventing scalding, protecting your unit, and keeping your energy costs in check. By knowing the common causes of overheating and taking the right steps, you can ensure your electric water heater works safely and efficiently, providing a steady supply of comfortably warm water. So, if you’re facing overheating issues you can’t handle, feel free to reach out! We’re here to lend a hand! 

Call Narrow Path Plumbing today at (937) 623-2619, or schedule an appointment online now by clicking here! 

(937) 623-2619
Jennifer Newsome
Jennifer Newsome
We had a leak in our basement on a Sunday evening and Narrow Path Plumbing sent out Terry ASAP! He quickly found the leak, repaired it, checked all faucets to ensure good pressure. He cleaned everything up and it was like he was never even here. I appreciate this company sending out someone late on a Sunday and also doing such a great, fast and professional job!! Great job Narrow Path Plumbing!!
Mad MO
Mad MO
Have used Narrow Path for multiple jobs on multiple properties. They have always been extremely informative, punctual, and reasonably priced. I highly recommend them.
Vicki Singer
Vicki Singer
Mike & Terry remodeled 2 of my bathrooms along with the drywall finisher and did a beautiful job. Had multiple leaky shut off valves replaced & a kitchen faucet replaced. Had lines run so I could move my laundry up out of my basement & poor Mike had to run wiring through my attic on a 90 degree day. I was so worried he would have a heat stroke but he never complained once. Also had a whole house filter replaced & a valve replaced on my hot water tank by another plumber whose name I can't remember but they all were polite and did professional work.
Michael Brice Keller
Michael Brice Keller
The whole team was great. Joe, Glenn, Justin, Mike and Terry. Thanks for an awesome new bathroom addition
David Brown
David Brown
Josh S cleaned a tankless hot water system, repaired two toilets, and unclogged a drain in a little over an hour. He was professional, listened carefully, and was very personable. We have never had a bad experience with Narrow Path, and we highly recommend them.
Patricia Mullins
Patricia Mullins
Toilet leaking from the tank. Not good 😪. Enter Tom and Drey. I love these guys. New toilet replaced and new shut off valve. Everything is perfect now. These guys are a 10 star team. Polite, professional, clean and neat. Same day service at a reasonable price. Can't beat them. Highly recommend. Give these boys a bonus!!