It’s a nightmare scenario. It’s 31 degrees outside in the middle of February. You are shaking with chills. You go to the bathroom to take that morning shower and melt your muscles in the warm, soothing flow of the piping hot water. But you turn the knobs and, instead of the luxurious heat, you are bombarded with an icy rain that feels like it has fallen from the clouds of the planet Neptune to turn you into a block of ice.



To test your hot water heater — make sure it’s working right and replace components if it’s not (or call an professional to help you) — here is a handy primer.


First, check to see if the circuit breaker is flipped or if any fuses are blown. If so, replace the blown fuses and wait about an hour for the water to heat up. If nothing’s happened, proceed to the next step.


Kill the electrical panel power, remove the fuses, lock the panel, and tell everyone in the house (or apartment complex) that you are going to work on your water heater circuit. (You don’t want the circuit to go off while you are dealing with it!)

Next, remove the access panel and clear away the insulation, so that you can get a better look at the controls and heating element. Then scan the high temperature limit switch, thermostat, and heating element for obvious problems, such as remnants of a fire or broken components.

For the next 30 to 40 steps, check out online primers, like water-heater-thermostat-to.

Or, save yourself the hassle by connecting immediately with the East Bay general contracting and heating/air specialists at B.A. Morrison.

Our service professionals are experts at dealing with complicated furnace and air-conditioning equipment installation and troubleshooting.

We can also help you if you need emergency help with your hot water heater. (And, really, what doesn’t qualify as “urgent” when the hot water heater goes down?)

B.A. Morrison is a Better Business Bureau accredited business (rated A+) and a Super Service Award winner from Angie’s List 2010. Learn more at, or call us immediately for help with your heater at 510-538-9817.


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