Hot Water Heater Elements – Replacing Water Heating Elements
Replacing Hot Water Heater Elements-
A faulty element can be the cause of no hot water. But before you replace the element, test it with a continuity tester. Below are the steps to take when replacing hot water heater elements:
1) Turn off the electric power at the main electrical service entrance. Turn off water supply to the tank.
2) Attach the alligator clip of the tester to one electric terminal of the element. Then touch the probe of the tester to the other electrical terminal of the element. The tester should light. If not, suspect a broken wire or a faulty heating element.
3) Open a nearby hot water faucet to start draining the tank. Then open the tank’s drain valve to dram the remaining water. With the power and water turned off, remove the bolts holding the thermostat bracket and the element in the heater. Let the thermostat hang by the connecting wires. Then replace the old element with a new one of the same size, setting a brand new gasket in position, replacing the wires, and replacing the bracket and bolts. Be sure to repack the insulation around the thermostat and replace the access door.
4) Turn on the water and fill the water heater tank. When the tank is full of water, turn on the power. Do not turn on the power until the tank has been filled with water.
Hot Water Heater Elements – A Short Circuit?
No hot water could indicate a short circuit in the heater instead of a malfunctioning element. Test it this way:
1) Turn off the power of the water heater at the main electrical service entrance.
2) Remove the access door and the insulation around the thermostats.
3) Fasten the alligator clip of a continuity tester to one terminal of the element. Touch the probe of the tester to a bolt holding the bracket/element in position. If the tester light goes on, there is a short circuit and the element usually must be replaced.
A short could be caused by a loose wire in the element coming in contact with metal. If water leakage is the problem a fuse/breaker can blow/snap and the water in the heater will overheat causing the high-temperature cutoff to come on. Most likely you will have to replace the heater.