Why You Should Not Replace a Water Heater Switch On Your Own

Posted on 13th April 2022

Water heaters have become an essential appliance in every household. When a water heater stops working, the problem arises at the water heater switch more often than not. Especially if the water heater in your HDB, apartment, condominium or landed home is from a reputable brand.

You may want to replace the water heater switch on your own to save money on an electrician. However, please do not attempt to remove and install a water heater switch unless you understand the risks involved and the correct procedure for our local electrical standards. Electricity is dangerous and can cause permanent damage to your body or even death. In doubt, always contact an electrician to replace your water heater switch.

When a water heater switch stops working, we have to continue our day-to-day life without a functional water heater. Life without a water heater can quickly become frustrating as most of us are accustomed to having access to warm showers on demand. Most people can agree that there is nothing better than a warm shower after a long and tiring day out.

Risk of electric shock

When you attempt to replace a water heater switch on your own, you risk an electrical shock. Electrical shocks are dangerous because electrical current flows through your body and has the potential to burn your skin, damage the nervous system, and cause cardiac arrest.

An electric current flows through the live wires in a heater switch when the circuit is energised. The live wire can transfer the current to your body if you touch it. When working with a water heater switch, the water in the bathroom or kitchen increases the risk of electric shock. An electrical services technician can neutralise hazards and de-energise electrical wires to work safely on a water heater switch.

Fire hazard

Water heater switches handle more current than a standard light switch. The unit of measurement for current is ampere (A). Each switch has an ampere rating to denote how much current it can handle. A water heater requires so much more current than a row of lights that water heater switches have a 20A or above rating, while standard switches have a 10A rating.

With more current flowing through the switch, an improper installation, loose connection, or wire corrosion would result in significantly higher levels of electrical resistance at the contact points than a standard switch. This resistance dissipates power as heat energy and has the potential to melt or burn the switch. This heat can start an electrical fire.

Improper installation

An improperly installed heater switch can result in a short circuit. A short circuit may cause one or multiple circuit breakers to trip. You may not be able to reset the circuit breakers until the fault has been resolved. This will cause you to lose power to some or all electrical circuits in your property.

An improperly installed heater switch can cause stray voltage on conductive surfaces of the water heater to go undetected. This is dangerous as coming in contact with an energised surface can cause the current to flow through the human body.

Safety concerns

A broken water heater switch may be a symptom of a more significant problem. A water heater switch may fail because of improper wiring or electrical connections. Even after installing a new heater switch, these wiring issues can persist and continue to be electrocution or fire hazards. Some HDB water heater switches may not be properly installed, especially if the property is old. An electrician would be able to identify these issues and propose solutions to rectify them.

The following examples are a few safety must-haves for a water heater.

  • A water heater should use a double-pole switch instead of a single-pole switch to safely isolate the circuit when the switch is in the off position.
  • The heater should be connected directly to the electrical circuit and not a three-pin plug in a wall electrical socket or extension cord.
  • The heater should also be on a standalone electrical circuit to prevent current overloading.

What you should do next

If you have a water heater switch that has stopped working and you are not familiar with replacing a water heater switch, have an electrician replace it for you. Electricity is dangerous, especially in areas that tend to be wet, as water is a good conductor of electricity. Do not attempt electrical repairs or installations without a thorough understanding of the safe and proper procedures.

Repairs.sg is an electrical services company that replaces and installs hundreds of water heater switches each year. When you choose our water heater switch replacement service, we ensure that your water heater circuit utilises the correct wires and is safe to operate. Call or WhatsApp us for electrical advice and to book an appointment today.