How to Replace a Water Heater Element: A Step-by-Step Guide
It is possible that a water heater element may need to be changed. It is not necessary to replace your water heater only because the heating element has stopped working; instead, you may repair or replace it. Although changing a water heater element may appear to be a challenging undertaking, the majority of homeowners are capable of doing this repair themselves. The likelihood that one or both of your water heater’s heating elements are malfunctioning is high if your water heater takes a long time to heat up, runs out of hot water, or fails to supply any hot water at all.
Replacing a Hot Water Heater Element
If your water heater is more than six years old, you may want to think about replacing it with a new one. 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. 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
Before rushing in and replacing your water heater’s heating element, make sure that the element is, in fact, the source of the problem. Sometimes, after replacing the heating element, it is discovered that the problem was not with the heating element in the first place. 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. If the breaker is in good working order, the next step is to examine the reset button on the temperature cutoff device.
It’s usually represented with a red button.
If you have access to a multimeter, you may verify the continuity of the element.
Using this brief video, you will be guided through the procedure step-by-step.
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 utilized on electric water heaters, which is vital to know. Gas water heaters heat water in a completely different way than electric water heaters.
Heating Element Style
There are two distinct types of heating elements: infrared and radiant. Screw-in: This is the sort of heating element that we will be discussing because it is the most prevalent. They are commonly found on all modern water heaters, and the element is secured in place with a screwdriver. 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.
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
Electric water heaters are equipped with two heating components. There are two elements: an upper part that is hidden behind the upper access panel and a bottom element that is visible from the outside. Typically, the lowest piece is the one that has to be repaired or replaced. As the sediment in your tank builds up, it will eventually settle in the bottom of the tank, where your lower element is located. The silt encircles the element, reducing its ability to perform its function. Eventually, it will either entirely fail or utterly short out on you.
Today is the day to fix your plumbing emergency!
Purchasing New Heating Elements
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. The new element’s voltage should always be the same as the voltage of the old element. However, if you want to lengthen the life of the element, you might choose a lesser wattage. You should keep in mind that the element will also produce less heat. Never replace an element with a higher wattage than the one you replaced.
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).
Types of Water Heater Elements
There are three different kinds of water heater elements. 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. The other, more expensive solutions should be considered if your heater is modern and you reside in a region where hard water is prevalent. Consider each of the following in further detail:
High Watt Density Heating Element
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. 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. The corrosion of high-wattage density components results in a reduced life cycle for the elements. You may anticipate that these elements will be the least expensive of the three types to be purchased.
Low Watt Density Heating Element
Those who live in places with hard water will benefit from low-wattage density components. Many are constructed with a fold-back design to provide more heating area. Despite the fact that they have a lower watt density, there is no reduction in efficiency. The lime scale build-up that is frequent in locations with hard water can be reduced as a result of this. 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.
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
A limited 5-year guarantee is provided on these high-end components. 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. 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. Lime life components are often the most costly element; yet, once installed, they will frequently outlast the life of the water heater itself.
It is offered in three different power ratings: 4500 watts, 5500 watts, and 6500 watts.
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
The following items are required: garden hose, water heater element wrench, voltage tester, new heating element with “O” ring
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. Check the voltage of the water heater to ensure that the electricity is no longer reaching the water heater. Due to the fact that you will be dealing with electricity and water, it is necessary that the water heater be switched off before beginning.
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. It is NOT necessary at this time to drain the tank
- Rather, it is simply necessary to check to see that the drain valve is not blocked. If your tank is blocked, you’ll need to deal with it first
- Otherwise, move on. Please do not empty your tank at this time. See the next section for instructions on how to replace a heating element without emptying your tank.
Step 3: Shut off the water supply.
- Close the cold water inlet valve on the water heater, which is often placed above the water heater, to turn off the water supply to the water heater. Allowing air to enter the tank will relieve the pressure in the hot water system. To accomplish this, turn on a nearby faucet. Only the hot water tap should be opened, not the cold. Make certain that the tap is left open.
Step 4: Remove the Access Panel Cover from the Access Panel.
- To remove the cover from the access panel, use a screwdriver to pry it up. The upper water heater element is housed within the upper panel. The lower element is housed in the lower panel, and there is normally insulation between the panel door and the thermostat itself. Set the insulation away in a cool, dry location
- The thermostat should be protected by a plastic casing. Remove the lid in a gentle manner. Check the cables with a volt meter to make sure there is no electricity flowing through them
- Examine the electrical wiring. Is there any damage to any of the wires? Is there anything that has melted? An element that has become overheated as a result of silt might cause damage to the wiring. It is necessary to repair any damaged wiring. Disconnect the two element wires from the heating element by loosening the screws that hold them in place.
Step 5: Disconnect the heating element from the circuit.
- To remove the heating element, use a heating element wrench. With a large mouth that fits over the exposed section of the element, it’s particularly intended for removing electric water heater elements from water heaters. Whilst the tank is still partially filled with water, loosen the element by rotating it in a counter-clockwise direction. The weight of the water will assist in keeping the tank in place. Drain the tank by opening the drain valve after you’re satisfied that you’ve been able to release the heating element. This might take anything from a few minutes to an hour, depending on the size of your tank. Remove the element from the equation. A rubber gasket, often known as a “O” ring, will be used to seal the tank. Make certain to remove the “O” ring that came with the element.
Installing the New Heating Element is the sixth step.
- Clear away any dirt or debris from the threads and gasket region of the replacement element before installing it. Attach the new “O” ring to the new element using the new “O” ring. NEVER EVER EVER EVER use the old “O” ring
- To install the element, gently put it into the tank and tighten it with the element wrench. Attach the two wires to the element and secure them in place by tightening the screws that hold them in position. Ensure that the wires are tight and will not slip by checking them twice.
Step 7: Fill the Tank with Water
- Drain the water heater by closing the drain valve. Turn the water supply to the water heater on. At this time, do not switch on the electricity. If the tank is not completely filled with water before turning on the electricity, the heating components will be damaged. Ensure that the newly installed piece does not have any leaks. Turning off the cold water supply and tightening the element will stop any leaks from occurring. Removing the element and repositioning the “O” ring may be essential in some cases. It is normal for water to begin sputtering out of the open faucet tap as the tank fills (left open in Step 3). The water is forcing the air out of the line as it flows through it. As soon as there is a consistent flow of water, the faucet may be turned off. Replace the plastic thermostat cover, insulation, and access panel cover with new materials. You may turn the electricity back on to the water heater once the tank has been fully refilled by flicking the circuit breaker back on. The fact that there will almost certainly be air in the hot water pipes means that it is not unusual for the hot water taps throughout the home to splutter. Fortunately, this will subside in a short amount of time. Open each faucet individually, if desired, until you get a continuous stream of water
- However, this is not necessary.
Take a look at the video
How to Replace a Heating Element Without Draining the Tank
It is feasible to replace the heating element in your water heater without having to drain the tank. Keep in mind, though, that it can be a little more difficult in some cases. If you’d like to give it a shot, the video below will walk you through the process. Take a look at the video
How To Replace A Water Heater Element
Please keep in mind that this content may contain affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, we may gain a small profit on purchases made via our links. The procedures necessary for both flange and screw-in models are almost identical, however screw-in models are more frequent and will necessitate the use of a specific instrument known as a water heater element wrench.
Turn Off the Power
Whenever you are working on a water heater, you should always cut off the electricity. Electric units may be turned off by turning the circuit breaker, however gas units will have a knob or dial to turn off the gas. If you are unsure whether or not your electric water heater is turned off, use a voltmeter to check the wiring before you start.
Drain the Tank
Close the cold water inlet valve, which is positioned on the tank’s top, and turn off the water supply. Connect a garden hose to the drain at the bottom of the tank and turn on the drain valve to allow the water to flow out. Even though you only need to drain the unit to a point below the heating element, it is a good idea to thoroughly cleanse the tank whenever you are performing maintenance. This aids in the reduction of sedimentary deposits in the tank as well as the extension of the life of all components.
Remove the Existing Element
Your water heater may be equipped with two elements: an upper element and a lower element. If this is the case, both components are changed using the same procedure. To begin, open the access panel and remove the plastic safety cover, if one is present, from the vehicle. Disconnect the wires from the element using a crimping tool. To save time, you may just disconnect the cables from both parts at the same time. An element tool, also known as a water heater element wrench, is a specially designed socket that fits over the hex end of the element and has a hole in the other end that will accept the shaft of a screwdriver.
It may be tough to turn elements that have been in place for a lengthy period of time.
After the element has been unscrewed from the unit, it will simply lift out of the unit. You will need to remove the four bolts that hold the flange element in place and pull the element straight out if your water heater has one.
Install the New Element
When changing a water heater element, be sure to replace the rubber gasket as well to avoid leaks in the future. Placing the gasket over the threads of a screwed-in element or around the base of a flanged element is recommended. Install the replacement element by reversing the procedure of removal and spinning the element in a clockwise direction while the gasket is still in place on the old element. Then use your water heater element wrench to tighten the component another 1/2 to 1 turn after it has been finger-tightened.
Refill the Tank
Drain the tank by closing the drain valve located at the bottom of the tank. Start by turning on the cold water intake on the tank’s top. Your water heater may make noises if you leave the hot water faucet turned on. This noise might be anything from a sputtering sound to a rattling sound as water is driven through the pipes. Allow the water to run until all of the air has been expelled from the pipes. Turn off the hot water faucet if it is still running.
Make sure to reconnect the wires to the new element(s), taking care to connect the proper wires to the same equivalent terminals as before to prevent shorting out the new element. Switch on the circuit breaker and have a look at the water heater. The plastic safety cover should be replaced, and the access panel should be closed if there is no evidence of leaking. Allow the water to heat for one hour, and then check to see that the unit is heating correctly and that there are no leaks in the system.
Watch the video below to learn how to replace the element in an electric water heater:
Remove Water Heater Element Without Element Wrench – STEP BY STEP
In most cases, an element wrench is required to remove the water heater element since they are reliable in virtually all situations. However, it is possible that the heater element has corroded or rusted, particularly if the heater element is old. Then you may have to resort to something a little more substantial, which brings us to the question of how to remove a water heater element without an element wrench. It is necessary to use a 38mm socket in order to remove the water heater element without the need of an element wrench.
- If you have the opportunity to do so, it is preferable to acquire an element wrench, which can be had for as little as four dollars.
- This recommendation also applies to portable water heaters that contain a tank, if they have one.
- Furthermore, because breaker bars are hollow steel pipes, they may be used to remove an element wrench from a heater’s socket wrench handle because they can fit over the handle of the heater’s socket wrench.
- In most cases, an element wrench should be used to remove the water heater element from the tank.
- In order to remove a recalcitrant water heater element that you have been unable to remove on your own, you must purchase a socket.
Without the use of an element wrench, how do you remove the water heater element? Method #1: Remove the water heater element without the use of an element wrench. Most socket sets include a 38″ socket, which is very common.
Step by Step How To Remove Water Heater Element Without Element Wrench
- We’ll need to use a voltage tester to make sure that no energy is still flowing to the water heater after we’ve turned off the circuit breaker. Using a hose, we can see if any sediments have stopped our drain valve. In order to remove the cover for the access panel, you’ll need a screwdriver.
The time required is 8 minutes. In a few simple steps, you will learn how to remove a water heater element without the need of an element wrench.
- Turn off the circuit breaker if necessary. Double-check to see that the circuit breaker at the electrical panel has been switched off before continuing. It is possible to establish whether or not power is reaching the water heater with the use of a voltage tester. When removing the element from a water heater, the most critical safety consideration is to ensure that there is no electricity present
- Otherwise, the element might be damaged. Installation of the hose Beginning with the hookup of the hose to the water heater when no electricity is available, proceed as follows: The goal of this step is to assess whether or not any sediments have accumulated and obstructed our drain valve at this time. Because of this, we do not have to empty our water tank when carrying out this procedure. Turn off the water supply. In order to accomplish this procedure, we must turn off the water supply valve. Turning off the water supply is as simple as closing the water inlet valve, which is a straightforward process that can be seen above the water heater and is accessible. By enabling air to enter the tank, we will be able to release the hot water that has been stored within the water heater. The final step in this procedure would be to turn on the hot water by opening the tap that is closest to the faucet. Removal of the Cover for the Access Panel It is necessary to remove the cover from the access panel. The screwdriver will be used to remove the cover from the access panel, which will be our technique of doing so today. On the thermostat of the water heater, there is also a clear plastic cover visible. It is necessary to remove this with care. At this point, it is necessary to examine the wiring as well. Is there anything that appears to be damaged or melted? We must understand that any broken wires must be replaced as soon as possible in order to prevent future harm. We will need to release the screw in order to disconnect the heating element wires from the heating element. Removing the water heater element without the use of an element wrench is possible. A socket can now be used in place of the standard element wrench in the following situations. a standard inch and a half (38 mm) will be used as the socket size
- Before putting in the new element, clean it well. It is now possible to clean and wipe the new element. It is necessary to take specific precautions in order to avoid contaminants and debris from being transported to our water heaters. The new “O” ring will be attached to our new heating element at this point. It is now possible to carefully place the element into its tank and tighten it with the element wrench once it has been joined with the “O” ring. It is not suggested that you do this process using a regular wrench. Adding Water to the Water Heater’s Storage Tank Closing the drain valve while also turning on the water supply to the heater are both recommended. At this moment, I do not recommend that the power supply be switched on soon after being disconnected. It is critical that we verify that our tank is completely filled before turning on the electricity. As of right now, a half-full container of water has the potential to cause harm to the heating element. To proceed to the following stage, you must visually inspect the freshly installed part for any symptoms of leaking. The water supply should be turned off and the element should be tightened until no more water is coming out. In certain circumstances, the “O” ring may also need to be moved
- However, this is not always the case. Replace the cover of the thermostat and turn on the circuit breaker. After the tank has been completely filled, the thermostat cover, the insulation, and the access panel cover can all be removed and replaced with new parts. As soon as we’ve finished replacing the covers, we’ll be able to turn on the water heater by turning on the circuit breaker once more. When we first turn on our taps, there will be an irregular flow of water as a consequence of the air trapped inside the water heater, but this is completely normal. In the end, the problem will be remedied within a short amount of time
It is possible that we will have some articles that I would want to propose to the readers. Repairing and Maintaining Your Foundation We have discussed the different types of foundations, what a foundation inspection is, and what should be included in a goodfoundation inspection checklist in this article. We might uncover foundation difficulties that cause us to question whether it is safe to live in a house with foundation problems and what is involved in foundation repair. Not only does the repair activity itself have an impact on our wallets, but it also has an impact on our credit scores.
Our team disaggregated these foundation repair expenses and calculated the cost per pier when footings or piers are used to stabilize a foundation that has settled.
Helical piers are preferred for residential real estate items, despite the fact that they are more expensive.
Our crawlspace is flooded, which can be problematic for the entire foundation if the problem persists.
So, what can we do to remedy the situation: What to do when the crawlspace is flooded or there are simplypuddles of water continually standing is described in detail, as is how to remove the water from the crawlspace as fast as possible and how to avoid the problem from occurring in the future.
As I explain in this post, I am hesitant to use lime powder to enhance the air quality in the crawlspace since I would only be using lime powder to avoid the risks associated with raw sewage beneath the house.
We talk about how much it costs to replace a sill plate and how to keep an outside sump pump from freezing because it happened to me once.
One of these methods is the Powerbrace foundation restoration method, which we will look into in this article.
In the articles, it is discussed how animals dig holes around foundations or when they are tunneling beneath concrete, such as beneath a concrete slab or between gaps in concrete footings, for example, In the context of basements, I show how to resolve hydrostatic pressure in the basement, which is a lateral pressure that is the primary cause of a basement wall that is bending, or that can be collapsing in or buckling, in the basement.
- While a minor inward slope in a basement wall is permissible, if the degree of bowing reaches a certain point, you must address the problem, which may entail incurring significant and often expensive basement wall repair charges.
- ConcreteI will discuss here the technique of concrete lifting or concrete elevating, which may be accomplished using mudjacking or slabjacking, respectively.
- FramingThis category contains a number of fascinating articles on the subject of framing.
- Many of these issues have an unintended consequence: sagging or sinking flooring.
- I also go into great detail about the differences between a mobile home water heater and a standard water heater, which you can find here.
- The Titan productportfolio, the Navien range, the Titan N-160reviews, which are the most acclaimed by our readers, and the Rinnai R94LSi are just a few of the water heaters that we have reviewed.
- We open a tankless water heater to demonstrate what it looks like on the inside of a tankless water heater, as well as how to protect your water heater from the impacts of hard water.
After the water heater’s useful life has expired, I will discuss the many choices available for disposing of it.
Pest Control is a term that is used to describe the control of pests.
My alma mater is Mackenzie University, and I work as an architect and designer.
Additionally, I am a filmmaker and have created a few short films in addition to my architectural work.
HomeQN is a blog where I write about house decorating and building foundations.
The objective is to train homeowners to do as much of their own work as possible, and when this is not feasible, to empower them with knowledge so that they can analyze service estimates and select the best service professionals for their situation.
How to Remove Stuck Heating Elements From a Hot Water Heater
Image courtesy of Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images & Stock Images Replacing the element in a hot water heater is typically a basic procedure. The screw-in type is the most often encountered. Excessive heat, silt, and corrosion can all cause the element threads to get bonded together. With a conventional wrench or vise grips, a trapped element will not be turned at all. Obtain a six-point socket set with a 1/2″ drive socket wrench to complete this task. The big socket wrench provides extra force, and the socket is snugly fitted over the heating element to prevent it from being accidentally turned off.
Breaker bars are hollow steel pipes that are designed to fit over the handle of a socket wrench.
Bend the wires that connect to the heating element out of the way. A rag should be placed over the thermostat below the heating element.
In a tiny cup, combine half vinegar and half water to make a solution. The solution should be dipped into a toothbrush and rubbed in between the seam of the heating element and one of the heating tank’s side walls. Using a generous amount of the solution, but without allowing it to leak excessively, Allow for a 20-minute resting period after mixing the solution.
Place the socket above the heating element and try to spin it in the opposite direction of the current. To get the heating element to start rotating, tap the handle of the socket wrench with a hammer a couple of times.
If the heating element would not budge, slide the breaker bar over the socket wrench handle to release it. As a safety precaution, have a friend hold the top of the socket wrench above the hot element while you crank the wrench with the bar.
Once the heating element begins to turn, remove the bar from the socket wrench handle and store it somewhere safe. The heating element should be turned as far as possible with the socket wrench until it is completely removed from the water tank.
How to Remove & Replace a Water Heater Element – PlumbingSupply.com
With these step-by-step instructions, you’ll have no trouble installing your new water heater element. The team at PlumbingSupply.com® is glad to provide replacement elements and to give you with the following information to aid you with removing your old element and replacing it with your new one.
How To Install Your Screw-In Immersion Element
With these step-by-step instructions, you’ll have no trouble installing your new water heater element! The team at PlumbingSupply.com® is glad to provide replacement elements and to give you with the following information to aid you with removing your old element and replacing it with your new element.
How To Install Your Universal 4 Bolt Flange Type Immersion Element
Installing your new water heater element can be a breeze if you follow these simple steps. PlumbingSupply.com® is glad to provide replacement elements and to give this information to aid you in removing your old element and replacing it with a new one.
Typical Electric Water Heater ConstructionWiring Diagram
Electric water heaters, in contrast to gas water heaters, which heat the water via the use of gas burners, heat the water through the use of a pair of upper and lower metal heating elements.
The heating elements of a water heater operate in a manner similar to that of oven heating elements, in that they heat up when electrical current runs through them. Using a separate thermostat, each of the heating components may be regulated independently.
Before You Begin
Despite the fact that replacing a broken heating element on an electric water heater is not very difficult, it is categorized as an advanced job since it takes both mechanical competence and a thorough understanding of electrical wiring concerns. Specifically, it entails three main project stages:
- Putting the heating element through its paces
- Removing the old heating element A new heating element is being installed:
Because of the electrical expertise necessary for this job, it is recommended that an electrician complete this work. It’s possible that you’ll be dealing with high voltage, so if you’re not comfortable with electrical work, you should consult with an expert to reduce the danger of damage. Heating components are not especially expensive, therefore it is possible that you will wish to replace both of them even if only one of them has been found to be defective. If one heating element fails, it is conceivable that the other will fail shortly after, and replacing both heating elements at the same time can help to avoid a second repair in the near future.
Kevin Norris’s The Spruce is a novel about a young man who grows up in the woods.
How to Test a Heating Element
You will need to be familiar with the usage of a multimeter in order to test the heating element of an electric water heater.
Turn off the Power
- Turn off the power to the electric water heater at the main power panel by removing the fuse that controls the power to the water heater’s circuit or by turning off the circuit breaker that controls power to the water heater’s circuit. Wait for the water in the tank to calm down, which might take up to two hours or longer. Important because the heating elements are regulated by thermostats, and hot water in the tank will alter the electrical flow to the heating components, making this a critical consideration. Open a hot water faucet and flow the water to make sure it is cold before continuing. The Spruce / Kevin Norris
- The Spruce / Kevin Norris
Expose the Heating Element
- Remove the access cover panel and the insulation protecting the heating element terminal block from the heating element terminal block. When you fold the insulation outward and away from the heating element, it will be more effective. The screw terminals where the circuit wires are linked to the heating element will be exposed as a result of this. To check for power, use a non-contact circuit tester to probe the wires. If the power has been turned off, unscrew the screws that are holding the wires to each of the two terminal screws and remove the circuit wires from the circuit. The Spruce / Kevin Norris
- The Spruce / Kevin Norris
Test the Heating Element
- To test the heating element, first set a multi-tester to the OHMs (continuity) setting, then connect the red lead to one screw terminal on the heating element and the black lead to the other screw terminal on the heating element, repeating the process. There is no electricity flowing through the heating element when the ohm reading on a digital multi-tester is zero, or when the needle on an analog dial is at infinity (does not move) when using an analog dial. This means that the heating element has failed and that it should be replaced immediately. If you are able to get an ohm resistance value with the multi-tester, this indicates that the heating element is not malfunctioning. It is possible that the problem is with the other heating element or with the thermostat for the upper or lower heating element. The Spruce / Kevin Norris
- The Spruce / Kevin Norris
How to Remove a Heating Element
The removal of the heating element can begin immediately after the heating element has been tested and found to be functional (see above).
Turn off the Power and Water
- You should shut off the electric water heater at the main electrical panel, if you haven’t already done so. To do so, locate and switch off the circuit breaker or fuse that powers the heater (see above). Shut down the cold water supply line that supplies hot water to the water heater. This shut-off valve is typically located slightly above the water heater, on the cold-water line that feeds into the water heater, and it might be difficult to locate. The Spruce / Kevin Norris
- The Spruce / Kevin Norris
Expose the Heating Element
- Assuming you haven’t already done so, remove the access cover panel as well as the insulation that covers the heating element terminal block. When you fold the insulation outward and away from the heating element, it will be less likely to catch on fire. Using a non-contact circuit tester, check to see that the power has been turned off. Remove the thermostat cover from the thermostat if it’s required to do so. Make certain that the connecting point that connects the thermostat to the heating element is disconnected. Remove the screws that are holding the wires to each of the two terminal screws and the circuit wires will be disconnected. The Spruce / Kevin Norris
- The Spruce / Kevin Norris
Drain the Water Heater
- To drain the water heater, connect a garden hose to the drain spigot on the water heater and run it to a floor drain to empty the water heater. Open the drain valve and let the water in the water heater tank to flow out. The Spruce / Kevin Norris
- The Spruce / Kevin Norris
Remove the Heating Element
- Remove a screw-in typeheating element by rotating it counterclockwise with a ratchet wrench and a 1 1/2-inch socket on the other end of the element. Some repair kits include a socket that is designed to accommodate the heating element. Remove the gasket that is used to connect the heating element to the water heater tank and set it aside. Remove the four screws that hold the aflange-type heating element in place in order to remove the element. Remove the gasket from the joint. After removing the mounting screws and gasket from the water heater tank, you may remove the heating element from the tank. The Spruce / Kevin Norris
- The Spruce / Kevin Norris
How to Install a New Heating Element
The replacement heating element may be placed immediately after the old malfunctioning heating element has been checked and removed (see above).
- Check to be that the replacement element has the right voltage and wattage rating for your water heater before installing it. On the flange or terminal block of the heating element, or on the data plate of the water heater, you should be able to discover this information.
Insert the New Heating Element
- Using a cloth, wipe out the area around where the gasket attaches to the tank to remove any debris. Install the replacement gasket on the heating element and then put the entire assembly into the water heater’s tank of storage. Tighten a screw-in-type heating element by threading it into the tank opening with a socket wrench in a clockwise direction until it is securely fastened. Insert the four mounting screws for flange-type heating elements and tighten them down firmly to secure the element. The Spruce / Kevin Norris
- The Spruce / Kevin Norris
Refill the Water Heater Tank
- Drain the water heater by closing the drain valve. Open the cold water inflow valve as well as the nearest hot water faucet at the same time. Allow three minutes for the hot water faucet to remain open after you have achieved a consistent flow of water. As a result, any surplus air and sediment will be removed from the lines. Keep an eye out for any leaks near the heating element. The Spruce / Kevin Norris
- The Spruce / Kevin Norris
Make Wire Connections
- Connect the black and white circuit wires to the heating element’s screw terminals by wrapping the wires around the terminals in a clockwise orientation. The wire that is connected to the screw terminal does not matter which one it is on. Tighten the screws all the way down, then tug on the wires to make sure they are securely fastened. The Spruce / Kevin Norris
- The Spruce / Kevin Norris
Reassemble the Cover Plate
- After reinstalling the thermostat cover, tuck the insulation back into its original position before reattaching the heating element cover plate to the water heater tank. The Spruce / Kevin Norris
- The Spruce / Kevin Norris
Turn on Power and Test
- Switching on the water heater’s circuit breaker will bring the electricity to the unit on. Allow the water to warm up for many hours before checking the temperature of the water with a probe. Make any modifications to the thermostat that are neccessary. The Spruce / Kevin Norris
- The Spruce / Kevin Norris
How to remove old water heater element
| Rusted water heater element
How to clean sediment out of tank
|1. With tank at least 1/2 full of water, twist counterclockwise with element wrench2. Soak element with WD-40 and try element wrench again|
|3. Let WD-40 evaporate, heat element with torch and try element wrench again.WD-40 is very flamablebe careful|
|Weight of water holds tank steadyslightly loosen element, then drain water from tankWhat if water heater won’t drain?|
|Use 1-1/2″ socket to remove elements||Cheap element wrench can slip off element1-1/2″ socket works betterBuy:Water heater element socket 1-1/2″ at AmazonHeating element wrenches at AmazonCamco heavy duty element socketTekton water heater socketDeep impact socketBreaker bars||Marathon elements are 1-7/8″|
|Element still stuck? Follow steps below|
|Break off plastic end of element|
|Drill two 7/32″ holes into element Keep holes within blue circleDo NOT drill holes if water heater full of waterHow to drain clogged water heater|
|Tap 1/4″ thread in each hole||Buy:T handle tap|
|1/4″ bolts into holesGalvanized pipe protects thread on bolts so they are good for next project|
|Pipe wrench to twist out elementReplace element with same wattage: check label on side of tank for correct wattage of new elementHow to clean sediment out of water heater|
|9 ways to save with a water heater||New water heating ideas||Compare 16 electric2 Gas water heater timers|
|Figure Volts Amps Watts for water heaterHow much does it cost to run water heater||How to wire off-peak water heater thermostatsand timer|
Why Does My Water Heater Element Keep Going Bad?
A broken or malfunctioning water heater is an unpleasant experience, especially when you’re in the middle of getting ready to take a shower or make a dinner. When the water pouring out of your faucets is chilly, the water heater is almost always to blame, according to the experts. It’s possible that the heating element in the unit has failed and will need to be replaced; this is something to look into. However, if your water heater element continues to malfunction, it’s critical to determine what could be causing the problem.
What Causes a Heating Element to Burn Out?
Electric water heaters are the only ones that rely on heating elements to warm the water in the tank. A burner is located at the bottom of a gas-powered device. As a result, if your water heater is electric, the element will come into direct touch with the water, which implies that any foreign objects in your water might be the source of the problem. However, it is possible that the wiring to your electric water heater is the source of the problem. Because power is supplied to the components of your unit via heavy gauge wires, a bad connection between the cables and the water heater might result in the element failing to function properly.
A wire that has fallen out of position or gotten broken can also be a source of concern, and it’s critical to have this problem addressed by a plumber as soon as possible. A hot wire might pose a safety danger, especially if it connects to the earth via the tank’s metal surface.
Due to the fact that an electric water heater is linked to an electrical socket in your house, a rapid spike in electricity might cause damage to the heater’s heating element. Power surges can occur during electrical storms or if the power provider encounters a surge on the opposite end of the line at the same time as the storm. Every electrical water heater has a voltage rating, and exceeding that value can result in the heating element being damaged or completely destroyed. It is possible to avoid this from occurring in your house by having surge protection installed by a professional electrician.
- If your heating element continues to burn out after a sudden and unexpected surge of power, you may want to explore one of the solutions listed above.
- Suppose it were to function without any water in the tank, it would be able to generate enough heat to completely burn up its core in a short amount of time.
- If air pockets develop in the tank, which is frequently the result of a failure to thoroughly bleed out the tank before filling it up, the element may be burning itself out owing to a lack of sufficient water.
- A plumber may inspect inside the tank to see if there are any air pockets that are creating the problem, and they can also check to see that the element is completely immersed in the water.
- In fact, the presence of mineral deposits in the water accelerates the death of this component since the process of heating the water leads the dissolved minerals to revert to their solid states, which speeds up the decay.
- A layer of silt can also form at the bottom of the tank due to the build-up of minerals in the water.
- As a result, it frequently fails sooner than expected, necessitating the need for replacement.
- This aids in the removal of the silt layer and the extension of the life of the various components, including the heating element, in the system.
Need to Replace Your Hot Water Heater Element?
You should leave the process of replacing the heating element in your electric water heater to an experienced water heater repair professional if you suspect that your water heater’s heating element needs to be changed. We at Arctic Air Home Services provide high-quality plumbing services and can diagnose and repair problems with your water heater, particularly if you are experiencing problems with the heating element.
Contact us now to learn more. We may be reached at (941) 757-8282 if you’re in the Bradenton, Florida region and would want to schedule service.
DIY Water Heater Testing and Repair
Occasionally, the heating elements on electric water heaters break long before the water heater itself fails, but changing them in a hot water heater is a simple Do It Yourself repair.
The majority of the time, replacing one or both of the heating elements will address the problem if your electric hot water heater is taking a long time to heat up, running out of hot water more quickly than it used to, or not delivering any hot water. Water heater repairs are simple, and replacement components are affordable ($8 to $20), and they are easily accessible at home centers, hardware shops, and appliance parts dealers across the country. How to test the heating elements, remove one if it’s defective, and replace it with a new one will be demonstrated.
If your heater is reaching its end of life, it may be more cost-effective to replace it than to repair it.
Other Causes of Water Not Getting Hot
Of course, there are a variety of additional factors that might contribute to a shortage of hot water. Before you begin testing the elements, double-check that the circuit breaker is not tripped and that it is in the on position. Press the reset button on the high-temperature cutoff, which is positioned slightly above the top thermostat, at the same time. Although resetting either the circuit breaker or the high-temperature cutoff may remedy the problem, the fact that they were tripped in the first place may suggest that there is an electrical fault with the system in the first place.
Assuming that the heating components are working properly, the thermostats or cutoff switch may be defective.
Video: How to Test Your Water Heater Element
- Turn off the power at the circuit breaker and remove the metal covers to reveal the thermostats and heating components under the metal covers.
- Pro tip: Check that the power has been turned off by tapping the electrical connections with a noncontact voltage detector.
Test the Wires
- Please keep in mind that if the wires are covered by metal conduit, the tester will not read the voltage. Take off the metal thermostat cover that is mounted on the side of the water heater, peel out all of the insulation, and place the tester in close proximity to the wires that go up to the top of the high-temperature cutoff switch.
Placing the tester against the metal water heater shell will yield results.
- Note: If the tester does not light up, it is okay to proceed with the testing of the components.
What’s Inside a Water Heater and How It Works
The vast majority of domestic electric water heaters feature two heating elements: one near the top of the tank and another towards the bottom of the tank. After entering the top, power travels to the high-temperature cutoff switch, and then to the thermostats and elements on each side of the unit. The temperature of the top and bottom components is regulated by two different thermostats. When the water at the top of the tank becomes too hot, the top element goes off and the bottom element takes over to heat the water.
Sign Up For Our Newsletter
Complete your do-it-yourself tasks like an expert! Become a subscriber to our newsletter! Do It Right the First Time, and Do It Yourself! Step number three.
Test Continuity for a Burned-Out Element
- Please keep in mind that you will need a continuity tester ($5 to $10) for this stage.
Disconnect the wires from the terminal screws using a wire cutter.
Attach the alligator clamp to one of the element screws using a hex wrench. With the tester probe, make contact with the other screw.
- Note: If the tester does not illuminate, the element should be replaced.
Test for a Short Circuit
- The alligator clip should be attached to one of the element screws. Touch the tester probe to the mounting bracket for the element
- Repeat the process on the other screw.
- It is important to note that if the tester light illuminates either time, there is a short. Replace the element with a new one
The Secret of the Red Button
Occasionally, both elements will pass the test, but you will still be unable to receive hot water. Try pressing the “high-temperature cutoff” button, which is situated right above the upper thermostat, to see if that helps. It may temporarily cure the problem, but if the problem recurs, the heating components should be checked. Step number five.
Remove the Bad Element
- Close the cold-water inflow valve
- Turn on the hot-water faucet in the kitchen
- And repeat. Connect a garden hose to the drain valve and turn it on to allow the tank to empty completely.
- Note: A water heater element wrench (available for $5 at home centers and hardware stores) is required for thread-in–type elements such as those shown below.
Remove the old heating element by unscrewing it using a heating element wrench.
- Pro tip: To spin the socket, you’ll need a long, robust Phillips screwdriver with a flat blade. To free the threads that have become stuck, use a cold chisel and a hammer to loosen the threads that have become stuck.
Install the New Element
- Insert the replacement element into the water heater and tighten it down with the heating element wrench if necessary. Reconnect the wires, checking to see that the connections are secure. Remove the insulation and metal covers and replace them.
Buying Heating Elements
Replace your heating element with one that has the same wattage as your existing one. For information on wattage if your old element isn’t labeled, look at the nameplate on the water heater, your instruction manual, or search online using the model number found on the nameplate. Heating elements are secured to the water heater with either a big thread and nut, as illustrated below, or with four bolts and nuts, as indicated in the diagram below. Most home centers carry the type we’ve shown, but if you’re replacing the four-bolt version, you may purchase an adaptor kit.
Low-density parts that are more costly are typically folded back.
Replacement of your old element with a low-density element will result in more efficient functioning and a longer service life.