Who Can Replace The Immersion Heater Plumber Or Electrician?

Are you confused about what tradesperson should fit an immersion heater in your hot water tank? We answer that in this article and also cover some other FAQs like:

  • Can plumbers replace electrical parts such as immersion heater elements?
  • What are the signs that my immersion heater is broken?
  • And much more.

If the immersion heater does not have a fault or requires electrical wiring repair, a plumber can replace the immersion heater element. Nevertheless, an electrician can also replace the heater element while diagnosing the problem. If the immersion heater is not leaking, the electrician is the best choice.

Do I need a plumber or electrician to fix an immersion heater?

Most water heaters in the UK have a backup heater in the form of an electric heater immersed in the water, aka the immersion heater. There can be 1 or more immersion heaters in a tank.

Over time the immersion heater can become heavily coated with the scale from mineral deposits in the water, which reduces its efficiency rendering it useless.

The immersion heater is one of the few jobs a plumber can tackle alone but if the immersion heater is not working, is the scale build-up on the heater element or a faulty circuit?

The plumber can only swap like for like and not make a judgment call to say you may have an electrical problem.

Use an electrician.

How long should an immersion heater last?

It depends on how often you use the immersion heater. Most homes directly take their hot water supply from the central heating hot water boiler.

A combi boiler provides hot water and central heating hot water independently, making it perfect for the warmer months when central heating is not required.

If you use your immersion heater as the primary source of hot water in your home, you can expect an immersion heater to last less than 5 years.

Clearly, it depends on the brand of the electric heater tank and the elements, some will fail sooner, and some will last longer than 5 years.

How do I know if my immersion heater is broken?

This is why you need an electrician.

To accurately diagnose the fault, you will need a multimeter to test the resistance between the two terminals, also known as ohms Ω.

Then test between the terminals of the thermostat for a resistance reading. The resistance should read at 20 ohms Ω if the heater is working fine. If the water is cold, and the heater element is working but switched off, it should read 1-ohm Ω.

These tests are outside a plumber’s training and should only be carried out by a qualified electrician.

Why would an immersion heater stop working?

The main reasons are the heater element is covered in scale, which has reduced its efficiency to zero. The heater element is old and worn, causing it to fail.

Or the problem could be else wherein the circuit like a faulty thermostat or a problem within the circuit wiring.

Why is my immersion heater tripping?

Only your electrician can give you an accurate answer through a thorough diagnosis.

Your water heater is part of a circuit, and if the heater element is old worn and has failed, it will cause a fault in the circuit, causing the breaker to trip out.

When immersion heaters age, they have had huge expansion and contraction that can result in the heater element case cracking, which exposes the internal electrical component to water, hence the reason for constant tripping of the RCD.

Where is the reset button on the immersion heater?

You will need to remove the top cover to the immersion heater element. Inside, you will see everything is crammed in, so use caution when trying to reset the trip on your immersion heater.

You can see a circular component between the terminals with a small round button on the top. Press this button, and it should click.

If you hear the click, your immersion heater is reset and should be working.

Do immersion heaters use a lot of electricity?

If your immersion heater is working efficiently, it uses moderate power to heat the 3Kw heater element.

Prior to the recent price hike in electricity prices, an average immersion heater would cost around 50p per hour to run.

Again, on average, assuming the immersion heater is working efficiently, you will need to leave it running for a couple of hours to heat the water to an acceptable level.

So, you can safely say it’s a minimum of £1.00 per day or £360.00 per year.

How do you replace an immersion element?

  • Disconnect the immersion heater electrically by switching off the breaker. Remove the wires noting which are live and neutral and where the earth is terminated.
  • Turn off the water supply to the tank and drain the tank down. You can do this by opening the hot water taps around the house. When the water stops, the tank has been drained.
  • Loosen the element, and there will still be water in the tank’s base, so be careful not to spill the water from the tank.
  • Find the drain point on the base of the tank and drain. You will need a hose and bucket.
  • When fully drained, remove the old heater element and replace it with a new element. Smart the gasket with a jointing compound to ensure a good seal.
  • Carefully screw the element, do not cross the threads and do not overtighten. It’s an immersion heater, not the titanic
  • Make the electrical connection remembering where the wires are terminated.
  • Fill the tank and switch on the breaker. Job done.

Who should you call a plumber or an electrician?

It may be one of those occasions when you need both tradesmen to work together; However, in most cases, if the immersion heater needs to be replaced, you should call the electrician in the first instance to check if the circuit is not at fault.

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