How To Check Hot Water Heater Elements?

How to Test a Water Heater Element: Testing Water Heater Element

  1. Do you have the impression that the water coming from your heater is not as hot as it used to be, resulting in a less pleasurable shower time?
  2. Do you believe the heating element is nearing the end of its useful life?
  3. There is only one way to find out, and that is to learn how to test a water heater element, which takes some practice.
  4. Water heater elements are tested in order to determine whether or not your water heater requires a replacement heating element.
  5. The good news is that the procedure is not as difficult as it appears to be.

Turn off the water heater’s power source first, then access the element and measure the electrical resistance it has created.These are a few of the most significant procedures.Continue reading; I will go into further detail on how to complete each stage.

Things You Need for This Tutorial

Testing the heating element of your water heater does not necessitate the use of complicated gear, but it does necessitate a basic understanding of how water heaters operate. You will require the following materials to complete this guide.

Owner’s Manual

  1. One common misconception is that an owner’s manual is an unneeded piece of documentation that comes with the purchase of a new vehicle.
  2. Your water heater’s handbook, on the other hand, includes critical information about the device, including information on its heating element.
  3. You could even come upon the solution to the persistent issue of whether a water heater element can test okay while actually being defective.
  4. Manufacturers are aware of their products’ advantages and disadvantages, and they will advise you of what the water heater can and cannot achieve.
  5. Perhaps more crucially, the owner’s handbook outlines how to locate the water heating element, as well as where the bolts are that hold it in place.

With this knowledge, you can make an informed decision on which hand tool to use.The electrical properties of the water heater, such as its wattage, amperage, and Ohms, are also described in the handbook.You’ll need this information while you’re testing the water heater element.


  1. Digital multimeters are a vital tool for any do-it-yourselfer since they provide information on the voltage, current, and resistance values of the water heater.
  2. In this assignment, you will determine the electrical resistance of the heating element in Ohms by measuring it.
  3. I recommend investing in a high-quality multitester because it can be used on virtually any electrical component.
  4. Evaluating your water heater with it should increase your confidence in testing other electronic devices, equipment, and appliances in the future.

Other Tools

This lesson will need the use of a screwdriver. The type of screwdriver you need is determined by the screws that secure the metal cover to the heating element and the endpoint of the heating element. The majority of water heaters feature Phillips screws, which necessitates the use of a screwdriver with a comparable point.

Steps for Testing a Water Heater Element

Step 1. Disconnect the water heater from the electrical circuit breaker panel.

  1. I strongly encourage you to turn off the electricity to your water heater for your own safety and the protection of your family.
  2. Determine where you can find your electrical circuit breaker panel and whether or not the breaker that links to the water heater is operational.
  3. The majority of residences have labels for each circuit breaker, allowing users to disconnect only the equipment they wish to repair.
  4. To turn off the water heater, look for the breaker marked with the word ″water heater.″ If your breaker panel does not contain labels, it is advisable to turn off all of the breakers at the same time.

Step 2. Open the water heater’s access panel.

  1. In order to test a water heater thermostat and heating elements, you must get access to the water heater’s interior components.
  2. Check the side of your water heater for a rectangular metal cover that looks like this: Check to see if any screws are holding the lid in place and if so, remove them using the appropriate screwdriver.
  3. If there are no screws visible, you may have to pry open the metal cover from one side if there are none.
  4. Use a magnetic screwdriver to avoid losing the small screws when you are removing them from their sockets.

Step 3. Remove the insulating layer.

  1. The thermostat and heating components are both covered with a thick insulating layer, which is mostly made of fiberglass or cellulose fibers.
  2. Remove as much insulating materials as possible from the work area and deposit them in a container for reapplication once the job is completed.
  3. Check to see if the thermostat is also protected by a cover, which is often made of plastic.
  4. If there is a plastic cover, remove it.
  5. When removing the insulating layer, it is recommended that you use protective eyewear and safety gloves.

Step 4. Double-check there is no electricity running through the water heater.

  1. If you are positive that the circuit breaker for the water heater has been turned off, it is still a good idea to double-check before proceeding.
  2. I propose that you use a non-contact voltage tester to determine whether or not power is still flowing through your water heater during this phase.
  3. In order to detect minute electrical charges in any system, a non-contact voltage detector employs ultra-sensitive sensors, as the name implies.
  4. The device’s operation is as simple as placing the tester’s tip close (but not touching) the thermostat and heating element and pressing the button.
  5. If the voltage detector detects electricity in the water heater, it will either flash or produce a sound, depending on the type of the water heater.

If the detector returns a positive result, you may wish to turn off the electricity to the entire circuit breaker panel and retest the water heater to be sure.Fluke Corporation has produced an educational film that demonstrates the simplicity with which a non-contact voltage detector may be used.

Step 5. Locate the water heater heating elements’ endpoints.

Because the water heater element is located inside the water heater tank, it is not possible to examine it directly with a digital multimeter. The heating element, on the other hand, frequently has a terminus that protrudes outside of the tank. The majority of water heaters contain two heating components. As a result, you must identify two endpoints.

Step 6. Check your water heater’s electrical ratings.

  1. It is recommended that you examine the electrical ratings of your water heater before testing a heating element with a digital multimeter.
  2. Many water heaters have this information inscribed on a plate that is attached to the tank’s outside.
  3. Check the resistance (measured in Ohms) and wattage numbers of the water heater.
  4. To test the heating element using an Ohm meter, you must set the Ohm meter to the lowest feasible Ohm value in relation to the resistance rating of your water heater.
  5. As a general rule, you must set the digital multimeter to the Ohm setting, which corresponds to the rated Ohms of the water heater.

Listed below is a video from GalcoTV that demonstrates how to measure electrical resistance with a multimeter.

Step 7. Measure the heating elements’ electrical parameters.

  1. Get out your digital multimeter and plug the probes into the appropriate ports on the instrument.
  2. Turn on the gadget and set the Ohms value to zero.
  3. Make direct contact with the probes and the screw locking the heating element’s endpoint, and then verify the readings on your multimeter.
  4. You should notice numbers that are roughly comparable to the Ohm rating of the water heater.
  5. The most likely cause of a faulty water heater element is if the gadget does not return any value or if the reading is 1-Ohm or less.

You may also use a test light to check the water heater element if you don’t have a multimeter.Unfortunately, it just tests for electrical continuity and does not give you with any reference values or other information.It is recommended that you view this video from SparkFun Electronics if you are unclear about how to use a multimeter properly.

Step 8. Reassemble the water heater.

  1. After you’ve finished testing, you’ll be able to reinstall whatever you deleted.
  2. When replacing the water heater heating element, you may wish to cover the panel until you have the new unit on hand to prevent the element from being exposed to the elements.
  3. When it comes to changing the heating element in your water heater, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. If you replace the heating element in the water heater yourself, be sure you don’t violate any warranties in the process.
  5. The following video from Rheem on how to replace a water heater’s heating element should give you more confidence in your abilities.

Reconnect any cables that were disconnected from the terminal of the heating element.If there is a plastic cover on the thermostat, it should be replaced.Reapply the insulating substance (cellulose or fiberglass) to make certain that it is completely covered.Place the metal cover over the panel and fasten it with the screws to keep it in position.

Step 9. Test your water heater.

Turn on the water heater’s breaker switch at the breaker panel to bring the water heater to life and turn it on. The change in the quality of your hot water will take some time to become noticeable.


  1. How to test a water heater element is as simple as shutting off the water heater’s power source, gaining access to the element, and measuring the electrical resistance it produces.
  2. After that, you may decide whether or not to replace your heating element yourself or get a professional to do it for you.
  3. I hope you found this advice to be helpful in determining whether or not your water heater is operating at peak performance.
  4. Please consider sharing this lesson with your social media network as well if you have the opportunity to do so.
  5. If you have any questions, criticism, or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

8 Steps to Test Water Heater Element

  1. Have you noticed a significant reduction in the temperature of the water delivered by your water heater?
  2. If so, you’re not alone.
  3. Every home need hot water in order to do a variety of household tasks.
  4. When your water heater, on the other hand, generates lukewarm water that is incapable of serving the intended function, it may be really annoying.
  5. While a variety of factors can influence the efficiency with which your water heater operates, a malfunctioning element is one of the most common reasons of ineffective operation.

Despite the fact that experienced house electricians can diagnose and remedy the problem, hiring one can set you back anywhere from $75 to $250 in fees.As a result, it is necessary to understand how to inspect water heater elements and replace those that are problematic.With the help of a digital multimeter, we will demonstrate step-by-step how to test water elements without the need for any prior experience in electrical work in this article.

Tools Needed

  • When it comes to doing your water heater element testing, the following are some of the instruments you should have on hand: Hand gloves, a screwdriver, safety goggles, and a digital multimeter are all required.

Causes of Failure of Water Heater Element

There might be a variety of factors contributing to the failure of your water heater element, including:

a). Accumulation of Mineral

  1. As a result of the numerous procedures that they go through in order to provide hot water, water heater elements have a limited operating life.
  2. The deteriorated state of these elements is exacerbated if there are mineral deposits present in the water.
  3. The minerals are solidified as a result of the ongoing process.
  4. Lower elements may get encircled by mineral deposits in some instances, which may finally lead the element to fail.
  5. Turning down your water heater and flushing your water heater once a year is an excellent preventative action you may implement.

Learn how to flush a water heater by reading our prior post on the subject.If you are able to accomplish this, the sediments will be eliminated and the life of the components will be extended significantly.

b). Trapped Air Pockets

  1. All water heater elements must be operated with their heads submerged in water at all times.
  2. If the heat created by an element is not transmitted to the water, it might burn through the copper of the element.
  3. A bleed line on the water is required once or twice a year to remove trapped air and sediments from the tank.
  4. If this is not done, the trapped air, referred to as ″Air Pockets,″ will cause the upper element to burn since it is not immersed in water.
  5. This has the potential to cause the water heater to fail.

c). Malfunctioning Thermostat

  1. The thermostat’s job is to notify the elements when to heat the water at different temperatures depending on the temperature setting.
  2. When the temperature rises over a preset threshold, the high limit switch on the thermostat is activated, and the power is turned off as a result.
  3. A faulty thermostat will be unable to regulate the amount of heat provided to the water heater element, resulting in the element finally catching fire.

d). Power Surge

A abrupt rise in voltage, such as that induced by a power surge or lightning, can also cause an element to catch fire and burn. Each element has a certain voltage rating, and any voltage that is higher than the appropriate voltage will cause the element to burn.

e). Breakage of Heating Element

  1. When the heating element within the tank of an electric water heater malfunctions, there may be a loss of hot water.
  2. Perhaps the element will catch fire, resulting in the water slowly cooling down.
  3. If, on the other hand, there is simply cold water, this indicates that the second element has failed.
  4. Aside from these three possibilities, a tripped circuit or a blown fuse might also cause the heating element to trip.
  5. It is also expected that the fuse box would be checked in this respect.

f). Bad Wire Connection

  1. Electricity is delivered to the elements by high gauge cables.
  2. In the event that a wire falls off a terminal as a consequence of a faulty connection, an element may cease to function.
  3. Due to the inadequate connection, it is possible that other issues such as arcing will arise as well.
  4. You should pay close attention to anything that has the potential to harm your water heater element and take precautions to avoid it if possible.

Steps on How to Test Water Heater Element

The following are the methods to be followed when testing for the water element:

Step 1: Disconnect from the power source

  1. This is an extremely important phase in the testing of the water element.
  2. You can find the circuit breaker that links your water heater at the main electrical panel.
  3. Most of the time, it is located in the metal box that is fastened to the wall.
  4. The majority of electricians label each circuit breaker with the name of the device it powers.
  5. You’ve found the one that says ″hot water heater″ and you’ve turned that one off.
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If you are unsure of which circuit breaker is responsible for your water heater, simply turn off the entire power supply to safeguard your own safety.

Step 2: Open the metal box cover

  1. To open the box, flip the metal lid to the open position.
  2. In this location, you will observe the panels that are secured to the water heater’s side by means of screws.
  3. Depending on their size, most water heaters are equipped with one or two panels, respectively.
  4. Using a Philips head screwdriver, unscrew the metal plate from the wall.
  5. Make certain that the screws do not fall off and land in awkward spots throughout your property.

Step 3: Detach the insulation

  1. Depending on how old your water heater is, a layer of cellulose or fiberglass insulation will be installed behind the metal cover.
  2. Disconnect the insulation and place it to one side.
  3. While removing the insulation, make use of your safety gloves and goggles.
  4. Check to check if the thermostat is protected by a plastic cover.
  5. Pulling off the tab on the thermostat plastic cover will also allow you to remove it.

However, because some thermostats do not come with a detachable plastic cover, doing this operation is entirely optional.

Step 4: Confirm that the power is off

  1. You should check to make sure that the power has been turned off once more.
  2. Install a noncontact voltage detector next to the wire that connects the element to the thermostat to detect voltage fluctuations.
  3. The presence of a beeping sound or flashing lights from the voltage detector shows that the water heater is still connected to the electric source.
  4. As a precaution, make sure that the power has been entirely turned off before continuing with the task.

Step 5: Locate the endpoint of the elements in the open panel

A single or two elements will most likely be used in your water heater, depending on the size of your residence. Because they extend deep into the water heater’s open panel, you can’t see the elements themselves. You will be able to observe their endpoints, on the other hand. An element measures around 1 inch in length and is fastened to a plastic plate with the use of screws.

Step 6: Note the reading of your water heater element

  1. Set the multimeter dial to the lowest setting, which is Rx1k, which is resistances multiplied by 1000.
  2. You should pay attention to the base of your water heater tank.
  3. You will notice the wattage and ohms that have been imprinted.
  4. With a 3500-watt water heater, the multimeter will read 16, whereas a water heater with a 4,500-watt capacity will read between 12 and 13.
  5. You will receive between 10 and 11 cents for a water heater with a 5,500-watt element.

Step 7: Use a digital multimeter to read the water heater element

  1. One of the multimeter probes should be placed on a screw that is connected to the face of the element.
  2. This can be accomplished by untangling the loose end of the metal component.
  3. Because there are no terminals on the water heater element, you won’t have to worry about which one to test first.
  4. Make certain, however, that you are just testing the element itself and not any of the other electrical components that are connected to the element.
  5. Connect the prongs of the multimeter to the tip of the element screw with a crimping tool.

Verify if the readings on the multimeter correspond to the values listed above.If they do not, repeat the process.If the resistance is extremely low, such as 1 ohm, or does not read at all, this indicates that the water element is defective, and you should replace it immediately.This video will demonstrate how to use a digital multimeter if you are unfamiliar with the method.Click on the link to see the video.

  1. You should also double-check the reading for the second water heater element.
  2. There are some instances in which both pieces are defective and require replacement.

Step 8: Reattach the disconnected parts

  1. Reattach the wire to the surface of the water heater’s heating components.
  2. As well as that, cover the exposed panel with plastic and use the plastic to cover the thermostat.
  3. Tighten the replacement wire and reinsert the screws that had been loose.
  4. Reinstall the insulation and switch on the circuit breaker to complete the repair.
  5. If you replace a defective element, you will have to wait a few minutes for the water to get to a boiling temperature.

How to Replace an Electric Water Heater Heating Element

The process of replacing a water heater element is rather straightforward. You may learn how to achieve this by watching the video below.


  • Now that you’ve learned how to test the water heater element, you should be able to solve any issues that arise with this important piece of household equipment. Please keep in mind that you simply need to follow the following procedures: Turn off the electricity
  • To obtain access to the element, remove the metal cover from the element.
  • Remove the insulation from the ducts.
  • Using a multimeter, measure the resistance of the water element
  • and
  • If an element is defective, it should be replaced.
  • Assemble all of the pieces that were previously separated

Any specific questions you have about how to test the water heater element that have not been addressed in this article should be posted in the comment area below. Thanks for reading! Our team is here to assist you with any inquiry. Also, please feel free to forward this post to your friends on any social networking site you like.

7 Steps to Test Water Heater Thermostat

  1. It is possible that you may detect two thermostats on your electric water heater when you inspect it: one at the top and one at the bottom.
  2. Each of these devices regulates the temperature of two separate heating components.
  3. If you switch on the hot water faucet and only cold water comes out, this indicates that the higher thermostat has failed.
  4. However, if the water is hot at first and subsequently gets chilly, this indicates that the lower thermostat has been destroyed.
  5. You will, however, need to understand how to test a water heater thermostat in order to identify the defective device.

You’ll be able to correct the situation as soon as you finish this activity.Regardless of whether you have a propane tankless water heater or any other type, the thermostat is an excellent tool for controlling the temperature.But first, let us have a look at how a thermostat operates.

How Does A Thermostat Work?

  1. In most cases, an electric water heater has three primary characteristics.
  2. It is equipped with an electric heat source as well as a temperature control system and a switch to protect the device from excessive heat.
  3. A thermostat may be used to create hot water that can be used for a variety of applications.
  4. Consider that the degree of heat necessary for washing may differ from the level of heat required for bathing, for example: Furthermore, it regulates the amount of electricity that flows to another thermostat or heating element, among other things.
  5. An electric heater with a storage tank of at least 30 gallons is equipped with two heating components, each of which has a thermostat on the other end.

The primary thermostat is located on the top of the unit, which also has a high limit switch.The bottom one, on the other hand, is sensitive to any change in the temperature of the water.Both thermostats (which are installed on the same water heater) do not have the same set of capabilities.They even don’t work at the same time as one another.On the same wall as the top thermostat, you will find the high limit switch.

  1. It also features a button that prevents it from operating, particularly when the water temperature exceeds 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. This button can be used to reset the system to its default settings.
  3. To set the thermostat on a water heater, you must first adjust the thermostats on both the water heater and the furnace to equivalent temperatures.
  4. Alternatively, you may set the upper element to a lower temperature, letting the bottom element to operate first, so saving energy.
  5. Temperature regulation is handled by a single thermostat and heating element in water heaters with smaller tanks (up to a maximum of 30 gallons).
  6. They do, however, have a high limit switch, similar to the bigger water heaters.

How to Test Water Heater Thermostat

  1. It is also necessary to check the heating element on an electric water heater if you want to test a thermostat on it.
  2. This is important, especially as open and grounded heating elements result in inaccurate tests.
  3. To look for faults, you will need to use a screwdriver.
  4. You will also need to check the water heater thermostat with digital multimeter tools.
  5. Now let us get started with the following steps on how to test a water heater with multimeter.
  1. Make your way over to the thermostat terminals and check to see whether it is receiving electricity. It is possible that terminals 1 and 3 will show a reading of 240V if this is the case. However, if there is no reading, the power source should be checked. Examine the high limit switch for any signs of current as well.
  2. By turning the thermostat’s dial to the lowest position, you can disable the lower thermostat. After that, raise the temperature of the top thermostat to check for malfunctions.
  3. Connect the prongs of the multimeter to the terminal 1 and the blue wire of the heating element to test the voltage. This will assist you in determining whether or not electricity is being delivered between the upper heating element and the blue wire
  4. if the instrument reads 240V, it indicates that power is being supplied to the setup. After that, connect the prongs of the heating element to terminal 2 and the blue wire of the heating element. However, if there are no readings, this indicates that the thermostat is malfunctioning.
  5. Reduce the temperature of the heater to a lower setting. Adjust the dial on the top thermostat to the smallest setting possible while setting the dial on the other thermostat to the highest setting possible
  6. Return to the bottom heating element’s terminal 1 and the red wire that connects to it. Power should be detected by placing a probe on each of them. If the voltage reading is 240V, there is power in the setup
  7. connect the probes to terminal 2 and the red wire of the bottom heating element
  8. and test the system. If you are not getting any readings from your thermostat, you will need to replace it.

How to Replace a Faulty Thermostat on an Electric Water Heater

  1. Installing an electric switch to change the thermostat on an electric water heater is as simple as turning on the water heater.
  2. Knowing how to test a thermostat allows you to do the necessary repairs without having to empty the storage tank first.
  3. In order to avoid any potential mishaps, you must first cut off the power source and check the cables for voltage before proceeding with the work.
  4. You will need to adjust both thermostats on your water heater if you want really hot water.
  5. If the problem is caused by a single thermostat, it is advised that you replace the two thermostats because they are quite inexpensive to replace all at once.

It is recommended that you replace your present thermostat with a new one from the same manufacturer before making any changes.If you are unable to locate a suitable replacement from the same manufacturer, try for a similar item from another manufacturer.Don’t forget to include a non-contact voltage tester as well as screwdrivers on your shopping list.

Deactivate the Power Supply

  1. Switching off the circuit breaker that is attached to the water heater will turn off the electricity to the water heater.
  2. Water heater breakers are typically comprised of two distinct single-pole switches with a combined 30 amp rating.
  3. Some versions, on the other hand, have more amps.
  4. The panel that covers the thermostat and heating element of your electric water heater should be removed.
  5. It is possible that you may need to use a screwdriver on some versions since the panels are bolted together.

Make certain that you remove the insulation from the back of the panel without disturbing the wires in any way.To avoid electrical shocks, make sure there is no current flowing through the thermostat.It is possible to use a non-contact voltage tester at this point to verify the screw terminals and wires for continuity.

Pull out the Faulty Thermostat

  1. Take a photo of the thermostat’s connections.
  2. After you have learnt how to test a thermostat, you may use the illustration as a reference.
  3. If you are feeling creative, you may also produce a short sketch.
  4. Remove the thermostat’s screw terminals by unscrewing both of them.
  5. Then pull each wire on both of them out one at a time.

After that, unclip the thermostat from its connection clips and carefully lift it out of the thermostat chamber.To avoid damaging the clips, apply only the bare minimum of force.To avoid damaging the clips, apply only the bare minimum of force.

Set Up the New Thermostat

  1. Insert the new thermostat into the matching clips on the wall.
  2. Check to see that it is properly resting on the surface of the storage tank.
  3. Connect the circuit wires to the matching screw terminals on both sides of the board.
  4. Tighten the screws to secure them in place.
  5. Increase or decrease the temperature setting on your thermostat according to your preferences.

A flat blade screwdriver will be required in this situation.It is recommended that you set the temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add Final Touches

Replace the thermostat chamber panel as well as the insulation surrounding it. By resetting the circuit breaker, you may reconnect the circuit to its power supply once more. Allow for two hours of operation from the water heater, then check the hot water tap to verify whether the water is sufficiently heated

How to Troubleshoot a Defective Thermostat on An Electric Water Heater

Troubleshooting the thermostat on your water heater may appear to be a complicated task. This tutorial will assist you in doing this task without the need to consult an expert.

  1. To turn off the electricity to the thermostat, go to the circuit breaker and turn it off. Because it protects you from electrical shocks, this procedure is really necessary. A two-pole breaker will cause both breakers to trip at the same time if you are working with two breakers.
  2. Remove the two panels that protect the thermostat from the wall. Insulation that corresponds to the aperture is found beneath the cover. Remove the item and store it aside for later installation.
  3. The thermostat and heating element should both have a plastic panel on them. A button may be found beneath the panel. It should be pressed to confirm that it is in great working order.
  4. Keep an eye out for a ″snapping″ motion when you press the button. In the event that you experience any, turn on the power and allow it to run for a few minutes.
  5. Check to see whether there is no power to the unit, especially if you want to continue working on the equipment. Make use of a non-contact voltage tester to test a pair of wires towards the top of the circuit. If you don’t see any lights or hear any beeps on the meter, this indicates that there is no energy flowing through the thermostat.
  6. Even if you do not see any readings on the tester, continue to work on the machine as if there were power. Remove the plastic cover from the thermostat by gently pulling it out or unscrewing it. Avoid inserting your fingers too far inside the device in order to avoid potential mishaps.
  7. Remove the battery and connect it to a voltmeter with a minimum voltage of 240 volts on it. Place the test lead on all of the higher screws. Do not remove the lead. If you get a reading, it means that the power is switched on
  8. turn it off and check again later. There must be no electricity running through the device.
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Wrap Up

  • An electric water heater, like a tankless water heater, is equipped with a thermostat. Fortunately, just a few equipment are required for testing and repairing a malfunctioning thermostat, including a multimeter and a pair of screwdrivers. To solve this dilemma, you don’t even need to have any special abilities. All you have to do is follow these simple instructions. Turn off the electricity
  • When you test the device, make sure there are no difficulties. If there are, remove the present thermostat and replace it. In order to avoid any shocks while working, it is recommended that you periodically check the equipment for any current.

We really hope you found this information informative. If you have any remarks, please leave them in the comment section below.

How to Test a Hot Water Heater Element

  1. Article to be downloaded article to be downloaded Hot water heaters are essential household appliances because they heat water for use in sinks, dishwashers, washing machines, and showers, among other things.
  2. If the water in your house doesn’t heat up to anything more than a tepid degree, experiment with increasing the heat.
  3. However, if this does not resolve your problem, it is probable that one of the water heater’s heating components is defective or damaged.
  4. Before changing the heater elements, it is necessary to test them using a multimeter, which is a compact instrument that measures the electrical current flowing through metal.
  1. 1 Disconnect the circuit breaker that supplies electricity to the hot water heater.
  2. While you’re testing the element, the hot water heater must not be in use (must not be receiving electrical power).
  3. The electric breaker is a metal box that is around 1 ft 2 ft (30 cm 61 cm) in size and is mounted to a wall.
  4. Try looking for it in your home’s basement, laundry room, or huge storage closet, for example.
  5. To turn off the hot water heater, locate the breaker that is labeled ″hot water heater″ or that controls electricity to the room where the heater is located and flick it ″off.″ Remove power from all of the double breakers if you are unsure which one controls the water heater’s electricity (sets of 2 breakers linked together).
  1. 2 Remove the metal cover from the water heater so that you can view the thermostat.
  2. There will be a metal plate near the base of the hot water heater that you will need to remove.
  3. Remove the screws that hold the metal plate in place with a Philips head screwdriver and set them aside.
  4. The thermostat and heating components of the water heater may be found beneath the plate on the water heater.
  5. Place the metal cover and screws in a convenient location.

You can put the screws in a small bowl if you are afraid that they will roll beneath an appliance.

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  • 3 If your heater is equipped with insulation and a plastic cover, remove them. Many hot water heaters feature a layer of fiberglass or cellulose insulation behind the metal cover, which helps to keep the water warm. Take that out of the bag and put it away. Many heaters also feature a plastic cover over the thermostat to protect it from damage. This type of plastic cover is held in place by friction, and it usually has a tab on the top that you may pull to remove it from its position. Pulling up on the tab will release the plastic cover, which can then be pulled away from the thermostat. Not all water heaters are equipped with a protective cover made of plastic and insulation. If yours does not, proceed to the next step.
  • 4 Check the power using a non-contact voltage detector to ensure that it is turned off. Before you begin working on the hot water heater, double-check that the electric power in the room where the heater is located is turned off and unplugged. To check whether electrical current is flowing to the water heater, place the tip of a voltage detector on the wires heading into the thermostat. If the detector illuminates or beeps, this indicates that the outlet is operational. If the detector does not illuminate, this indicates that you have properly shut off the electricity. A non-contact voltage detector can be purchased at any hardware or home improvement store if you do not already have one.
  • The gadget is approximately 5 inches (13 cm) in length and has the appearance of a giant plastic pen. It comes to a climax with a metal prong at the end
  1. 5 Identify the ends of the two metal parts that are located inside the open panel on the right.
  2. Because they extend several inches into the hot water heater’s interior, the elements themselves are difficult to see.
  3. If you peek inside the open panel, though, you’ll notice that the base ends of the two metal parts have been exposed.
  4. Each metal base is approximately 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter and has a little plastic plate fitted into the center of it.
  5. The vast majority of hot water heaters for houses are equipped with two heating components.

Depending on whether you live in an apartment or a small house, you may just have one heating element in your hot water heater.

  1. 1 Set the ohms of resistance setting on your multimeter to the lowest possible value. A multimeter is a gadget that is used to measure electrical current and voltage. It will tell you whether or not current can flow through the elements of your water heater. Multimeters feature a plastic body that is 2 in x 4 in (5.1 cm x 10.2 cm) in size and two metal prongs that are joined to the body of the multimeter via wires. Multimeters are used to measure voltage and current. You should be able to see a dial on the body of the multimeter that regulates the amount of voltage the gadget is working at. Set the ohms meter to the lowest possible level. It is possible that various models have different lowest settings. Check if the tool is operational by tapping the two metal prongs. The gadget should be calibrated by holding the prongs together and moving the needle until it points to ″0.″
  2. If you don’t already have a multimeter, you can pick one up at a local hardware or home improvement store for a reasonable price.
  • 2 Disconnect one of the cables from the water heater element. Electricity is provided by two wires that travel from each element of a hot water heater to screws that secure the element to the heater’s base. Select the heating element that you’d want to put through its paces first. Remove 1 wire (it doesn’t matter which one) by unraveling it from around the metal element by locating its loose end and unwinding it from around it. It is vital to do this in order to ensure that you are just evaluating the conductivity of the element itself and not any other connected portions of the water heater element
  • otherwise, the results will be inaccurate.
  • The removal of the wire, which may be difficult if it is firmly wrapped around the water-heating element, may necessitate the use of a pair of needle-nose pliers.
  1. 3 To check for flow, place the prongs of the multimeter against the element screws.
  2. Placing the multimeter’s body on the ground at the foot of the water heater is recommended.
  3. Set the tip of one prong in the center of one of the screws holding the water heater element in place.
  4. In the same way, take the second prong and place it in the middle of the second screw on the water heater element’s second screw.
  5. No danger of electrocution exists since you have switched off the electricity to the hot water heater.
  1. 4 Check the resistance reading on the multimeter to see how many ohms it reads.
  2. In both digital and analog multimeters, there should be a dial or a digital panel that depicts the amount of resistance being measured.
  3. A well functioning element will provide resistance readings between 10 and 30 ohms on a micrometer, indicating that the element is functioning properly.
  4. If the needle does not move (or if the digital display reads ″0″), the water heater element is not functioning properly and must be replaced immediately.
  5. Even if the digital multimeter displays a very low value (for example, ″1″), this indicates that the element is not functioning properly.
  1. 4 Check the resistance reading on the multimeter to see how many ohms it is.
  2. In both digital and analog multimeters, there should be a dial or a digital display that represents the level of resistance being measured.
  3. A fully functioning element will provide resistance readings between 10 and 30 ohms on the micrometer if the element is functioning properly.
  4. Unless the needle moves (or the digital display displays ″0″), the water heater element is not functioning properly and must be replaced immediately.
  5. It is still possible that the element is not operating if the digital multimeter displays a very low value (for example, ″1″).
  1. 6 Reattach the wire to the water heater and cover the exposed panel on the back.
  2. As soon as you’re through testing or replacing the components, use your needle-nose pliers to tighten the wire that you removed back around the screw that it was originally attached to.
  3. Snap the plastic cover over the thermostat back into place, then gently push the insulation into place around the thermostat to complete the installation.
  4. Replace the metal panel in its original location and reinstall the screws that were previously removed.
  5. Tighten the screws in their holes until the metal panel is securely fastened to the wall or other surface.

Final step: Reset the circuit breaker so that electricity may again flow through the circuit to the room where your hot water heater is installed.


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Things You’ll Need

  • Small bowl (optional)
  • Needle-nose pliers (optional)
  • Philips head screwdriver
  • Non-contact voltage detector
  • Multimeter
  • Philips head screwdriver
  • Needle-nose pliers (optional)

During the heating process, the elements of a water heater are thick metal loops that get incredibly hot when electricity is passed through them. You may think of them as being comparable to the heating elements on your cooktop.

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How to Test a Water Heater Element

  • At a Glance Tools for Testing a Water Heater Element Included: Screwdriver, digital multimeter, and non-contact voltage tester (optional) are all tools you’ll need.
  • Step 1: Turn off the power.
  • Step 2: Remove the metal coverings from the windows.
  • Step 3: Remove the insulation from the house.
  • Step 4: Determine the location of the heating element
  • Step 5: Make sure the electricity is turned off.
  • Step 6: Use a multimeter to inspect the element.
  • Step 7: Assemble the water heater again.
  1. One of the most typical reasons for your water heater not to be generating hot water is a defective heating element, which is one of several probable causes.
  2. However, checking the heating element is one of the most straightforward diagnostic procedures you can perform on your own.
  3. It is not necessary to drain the tank or to interfere with any gas, water, or electrical lines.
  4. This Might Also Be of Interest to You: What is the procedure for turning on my water heater?
  5. To determine whether the heating element is to blame for your water heater’s problems before spending a lot of money on expert repair — or even complete replacement — follow these simple procedures.

Signs of a Bad Water Heater Element

  • Even if it is simple to test the element, it is a good idea to be familiar with the most typical indicators of a malfunctioning heater element in order to assess whether or not testing is even necessary. The following are signs of a faulty heating element: Lukewarm water
  • a little amount of hot water
  • no hot water
  • hot water runs out more quickly than normal
  • the circuit breaker for the water heater is continually tripping

Although the majority of full-sized home water heaters have two heating elements (one on top and one on the bottom), smaller water heaters may just have one heating element. When there are two elements in a water heater, each one performs a somewhat distinct function. As a result, based on the exact symptoms you’re experiencing, you can typically establish which component has failed.

Symptoms of a Bad Upper Heating Element:

  • There is no hot water.
  • The temperature of the hot water does not reach the setting on the thermostat

Symptoms of a Bad Lower Heating Element:

  • A small amount of hot water
  • the hot water runs out more quickly than normal

Testing the components won’t be a waste of time if you’re suffering any of these symptoms.

Tools Required

  • Screwdriver, digital multimeter, non-contact voltage tester (optional), and a pair of safety glasses

How to Test the Element

Step 1. Shut off the Power

  1. The fact that testing the heater element entails dealing with electricity means that you must first shut down your water heater to guarantee that you are operating in a safe environment.
  2. To accomplish this, you must first turn off the circuit breaker that supplies electricity to the water heater.
  3. Circuit breakers are placed in your home’s central breaker box, which is often found in the garage, basement, or beneath a stairwell.
  4. It is a 1-foot by 2-foot metal box with a breaker on each side.
  5. The electrician who wired your property should have clearly designated the breaker that serves your water heater, which should be located within the breaker box.

Flip the breaker that corresponds to your water heater to the ″off″ position by pressing the ″off″ button on the breaker.If the breaker isn’t labeled, you may either cut off the electricity to your entire house with the main breaker (which is normally placed at the top of the box) or turn off all of the double breakers, which are breakers that are linked together with another breaker.

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Step 2. Remove the Metal Covers

On the side of your water heater, there should be one or two metal plate covers to protect it from the elements. They are secured in place by two or more screws with Phillips heads, which are commonly found on these covers. They house the thermostat and heating element. These screws can be removed using a screwdriver or a power drill equipped with the proper bit.

Step 3. Remove the Insulation and Plastic Covers

  1. Most water heaters feature an insulating layer between the metal cover and the heating element, as well as a thin plastic barrier between the two.
  2. Rigid foam insulation or flexible fiberglass insulation are also options for insulation.
  3. You should be able to remove foam insulation by hand in one piece in most circumstances, but in certain cases it may be necessary to pry or cut it out.
  4. With a utility knife, carefully cut away any fiberglass insulation that has been trapped.
  5. It is common for the plastic shield to be clipped onto metal tabs on the water heater.

Following light to moderate pressure, it should pop out of the way and be removed.It is important not to damage any of these components, since they will be reinserted when your test has been successfully finished.

Step 4. Locate the Heating Element

  • The thermostat and heating element should be visible at this point in the process. The thermostat is typically rectangular in shape, with multiple electrical wires running through it and connecting to screws on either side of it. It’s situated just above the heating element, as the name implies. The heating element itself is contained within the tank. The visible piece is the approximately 1-inch square base (or ″end point″), which is held together by two screws that are connected to the electrical lines. You will be completing your test on these two screws, so pay attention to them. Additional Related Articles: Instructions on how to relight the pilot light on your water heater
  • Don’t Forget to Flush Your Toilet! The following is a 6-Step Guide for Flushing Your Gas or Electric Water Heater:
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  • When your water heater isn’t working, you’ll notice these seven tell-tale signs.

Step 5. Verify the Electricity Is Off

  1. Using a non-contact voltage tester or a multimeter, confirm that the power has been turned off.
  2. A non-contact voltage tester is a pen-shaped gadget that illuminates or emits a beep when it comes into close proximity to an electrically charged (″live″) wire or other live wire.
  3. In order to identify if the electricity is turned off, it only has to be put near the electrical cables that connect the thermostat and heating element.
  4. If it continues to light up or beep, this indicates that the cables are still live and that the energy has not been fully turned off.
  5. To conduct a test with a multimeter, set the dial to the alternating current setting, which is often represented by the letter ″V.″ The red probe should be touched to one screw, and the black probe should be touched to the other screw.

Any electrical activity should not be recorded in your logs.If you notice a figure between 110 and 130, this indicates that energy is still being supplied to the water heater.After moving the probes around, repeat the testing.Place the red probe on the screw where the black probe was previously located, and the black probe on the screw where the red probe was previously located.This will assist you in ensuring that you are receiving a trustworthy reading.

Step 6. Check the Heater Element With Your Multimeter

  1. Generally speaking, the functioning of a heating element is governed by the resistance present in the circuit, which is measured in ohms ().
  2. Adjust the ohms setting on your multimeter to the lowest possible value.
  3. Touch the center of one of the heating element screws with the red probe, and the center of the other screw with the black probe.
  4. When measuring resistance, it makes no difference which probe is in contact with which screw.
  5. In order to determine whether or not the heating element is functioning properly, your multimeter should read anywhere between 10 and 30.

You should replace your heating element if the reading is less than this (i.e, 0 or 1) since it indicates that your heating element is malfunctioning.If your water heater has two heating elements, repeat this procedure on the other heating element.

Step 7. Reassemble the Water Heater

  1. Irrespective of whether or not your heating elements are in excellent operating order, it’s time to reassemble your water heater.
  2. Replace the plastic cover over the heating element (if one is present), as well as the insulation, if necessary.
  3. Finally, re-energize the circuit breaker for the water heater.
  4. Depending on whether you changed a heater element or not, you may have to wait a few hours for the water to heat up before determining whether your repair was effective.

How to Replace a Water Heater Element: A Step-by-Step Guide

  1. It is possible that a water heater element may need to be changed.
  2. It is not necessary to replace your water heater only because the heating element has stopped working; instead, you may repair or replace it.
  3. Although changing a water heater element may appear to be a challenging undertaking, the majority of homeowners are capable of doing this repair themselves.
  4. A significant possibility that one or both of your water heater’s heating elements are not functioning correctly is if your water heater is sluggish to heat up, runs out of hot water, or does not produce any hot water at all.
  5. Learn how to identify whether or not your element need replacement and how to perform the necessary repairs yourself in this article.

Replacing a Hot Water Heater Element

  1. If your water heater is more than six years old, you may want to think about replacing it with a new one.
  2. Water heaters normally have a lifespan of 6 to 10 years, so if your heater is more than a decade old, you may anticipate it to begin having difficulties much sooner rather than later.
  3. As a bonus, because modern water heaters are more energy efficient than older models, you’ll save money on your monthly utility bills as well.

Checking Your Water Heater Heating Element

  1. Before rushing in and replacing your water heater’s heating element, make sure that the element is, in fact, the source of the problem.
  2. Sometimes, after replacing the heating element, it is discovered that the problem was not with the heating element in the first place.
  3. This can be accomplished by first checking to see whether a circuit breaker has been tripped or if the power has been mistakenly turned off.
  4. If the breaker is in good working order, the next step is to examine the reset button on the temperature cutoff device.
  5. The reset button on a water heater is placed above the thermostat in the access panel on the top of the water heater.

It’s usually represented with a red button.Following a successful reset, if the water heater trips again, the fault is most likely with your heater’s heating element.If you have a multimeter, you may check to see if the element is still operational.It’s easy to perform and the most reliable technique to determine whether or not your water heater’s heating element needs to be replaced.Using this brief video, you will be guided through the procedure step-by-step.

  1. Take a look at the video

Preparing to Change Your Water Heater’s Heating Element

The heating elements are sometimes referred to as immersion heaters since they are completely submerged in the water of the tank during operation. Keep in mind that heating components are only employed in electric water heaters, which is a critical distinction. Gas water heaters heat water in a completely different way than electric water heaters.

Heating Element Style

  1. There are two distinct types of heating elements: infrared and radiant.
  2. Screw-in: This is the sort of heating element that we will be discussing because it is the most prevalent.
  3. They are commonly found on all modern water heaters, and the element is secured in place with a screwdriver.
  4. Installed as a bolt-in element: There are various distinct designs for bolt-in elements, and if you have an older water heater, it’s probable that this kind was used.
  5. The element is held in place by four bolts that go through it.

If you wish to convert a screw-in element into a bolt-in element, you may purchase a universal adapter kit to do so.

Heating Element Location

  1. Electric water heaters are equipped with two heating components.
  2. There are two elements: an upper element that is hidden behind the upper access panel and a lower element that is visible from the outside.
  3. Typically, the lowest piece is the one that has to be repaired or replaced.
  4. As the sediment in your tank builds up, it will eventually settle at the bottom of the tank, where your lower element is located.
  5. The silt encircles the element, reducing its ability to perform its function.

Eventually, it will either entirely fail or utterly short out on you.Find a Local Plumber in your area.Today is the day to fix your plumbing emergency!

Purchasing New Heating Elements

  1. Purchase new heating elements with the same voltage, wattage, and type (screw-in or bolt-in) as the heating element you are replacing if you want to keep your existing system running efficiently.
  2. The new element’s voltage should always be the same as the voltage of the old element.
  3. However, if you want to lengthen the life of the element, you might choose a lesser wattage.
  4. You should keep in mind that the element will also produce less heat.
  5. Never replace an element with a higher wattage than the one you replaced.

The voltage and wattage of the element are normally stamped into the element, or they can be found on the nameplate of the water heater.If you are unable to locate it, you can always conduct a simple web search using the model number of your water heater (found on the name plate).Lastly, if everything else fails or you simply prefer to be more comfortable, you may remove the element and take it to your local hardware shop for disposal.

Types of Water Heater Elements

  1. There are three different kinds of water heater elements.
  2. It is possible that your water heater is reaching the end of its service life and that you will wish to replace it with the least costly high watt density element available.
  3. The other, more expensive solutions should be considered if your heater is modern and you reside in a region where hard water is prevalent.
  4. Consider each of the following in further detail:

High Watt Density Heating Element

  1. When it comes to water heater elements, High Watt Density Elements are the most popular and may be utilized in any replacement scenario as long as the wattage and voltage are compatible.
  2. In the majority of situations, a high watt density element will be the same type of element that was originally installed in your water heater.
  3. The corrosion of high-wattage density components results in a reduced life cycle for the elements.
  4. You may anticipate that these elements will be the least expensive of the three types to be purchased.
  5. Element with a High Watt Density from LASCO The screw-in base of the LASCO 40-1015 High Watt Density 1500-Watt, 120-Volt Electric Water Heater Element contains a 1-1/4-inch threaded hole for easy installation.

Low Watt Density Heating Element

  1. Low watt density components are particularly suited for use in locations with hard water because of their low power consumption.
  2. Many are constructed with a fold-back design to provide more heating area.
  3. Despite the fact that they have a lower watt density, there is no reduction in efficiency.
  4. The lime scale build-up that is frequent in locations with hard water can be reduced as a result of this.
  5. You can use a low watt density element to replace a high watt density element as long as the wattage and voltage are the same as the original element.

These components will, in most situations, be more costly than the high watt density ones indicated above.Element with a Low Watt Density (DERNORD) The DERNORD Foldback heating element has a low watt density and is ideal for small spaces.It is offered in two power ratings: 4500 watts and 5500 watts.

Lime Life Element

  1. A limited 5-year guarantee is provided on these high-end components.
  2. Lime life elements feature an ultra-low watt density and a high-quality nickel and stainless steel surface that prevents the accumulation of lime scale on the element’s surface.
  3. Because they are resistant to dry burning, these components are an ideal choice if you live in a region where water supply levels are inconsistent.
  4. Lime life components are often the most costly element; yet, once installed, they will frequently outlast the life of the water heater itself.
  5. DERNORD Element with Extremely Low Watt Density The DERNORD Ripple is a heating element with an extremely low watt density.

It is offered in three different power ratings: 4500 watts, 5500 watts, and 6500 watts.It is resistant to limescale buildup.

Necessary Supplies

  • You’ll need the following items in order to make changes to an element: The following items are required: garden hose, water heater element wrench, voltage tester, new heating element with ″O″ ring.

Replacing a Heating Element

Replacing the heating element in a water heater is a reasonably straightforward procedure. Keep in mind, though, that you will be working with both electricity and water, which are two things that should not be mixed in any way. If you are not comfortable with the situation, you should contact a certified plumber. Your first and foremost concern should always be safety.

How to Replace a Heating Element

Step 1: Turn off the electricity. Circuit breakers are located in the electrical panel and should be turned off. A voltage test should be performed in order to ensure that no electricity is being sent to the water heater. Because you’ll be dealing with power and water, it’s crucial that the water heater be switched off before you begin your project.

  • 2nd step: connect the drain hose to the drain valve Connect a hose to the drain valve and turn the valve to the open position. We don’t want to drain the tank at this time
  • we just want to check sure that the drain valve isn’t obstructed.
  • The first thing you’ll need to do is deal with the clogging in your tank.
  • Please do not empty your tank at

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