How To Change Element In Hot Water Heater? 3 Easy Steps!

In this article, we’ll understand the steps on how to change element in hot water heater. If your heating element fails, maybe you need to change this part in your water heater. If you are hesitant to conduct this task, please ask a licensed technician to help you change the heating element.

On the other hand, if you have done this before and have knowledge of water heaters and their function, you can quickly follow these steps right away and finish this job smoothly. 

how to change element in hot water heater

A defective heating element will affect the performance of your water heater as this is the main component that delivers heat to the water. But, to determine if the heating element causes the malfunction, you can check its continuity by using a multimeter. 


Checking The Heating Element

Check the continuity with a multimeter before you jump to conclusions that your heating elements are defective. There are digital multimeters that you can use conveniently in checking the continuity of elements or components, which beeps based on the resistance of electricity.  Meanwhile, suppose your digital multimeter does not support the sound settings, or you have an analog multimeter. In that case, you can check it by calibrating to calibrate. Set the dial into the lowest setting of ohms resistance, and touch the ends of leads by touching each other to read the zero.

The zero ohms of resistance determine there is no continuity between the elements, your tips. The heating elements have continuity of 10 to 30 ohms of resistance, and if your multimeter does not move, it means that your heating element is defective or shorted. To check, turn off the power source, open the access panel, detach the insulation pad and the protective cover, then remove the attaching wires. Touch leads on each terminal to the second terminal to indicate. Are you ready to discover how to change element in hot water heater? Read on. 


Steps To Change Element In Hot Water Heater

Learning how to change elements in hot water heater will help you set your heater back again. If you have not purchased a heating element for your water heater and are confused with the type and size, you can check your manuals for it. Changing heating elements can be performed by anyone, but carelessness can lead to physical injury or loss of life. If you are confident that you can handle this, let’s start, my friend.


Step #1. Turn off the power supply

Only electric heaters support heating elements located at the upper and lower part of the tank along with the thermostat. Turning off the power supply of appliances or devices is essential, especially when troubleshooting. Do not attempt to change heating elements if the power is turned on or plugged in, as it can cause electric shock. Note that the human body is a good conductor of electricity, which is why it’s not safe to perform any troubleshooting if the electric source is open. 


Step #2. Drain water

After turning off the electric supply, you need to drain the water from your tank. If only the upper heating element is defective, you can drain the water halfway or under the upper access panel. If you remove or change the lower element, you need to empty the tank. Removing the water will help you access the panel easily.  To start, turn off the water supply and attach the garden hose to the drain valve.

Run the other end of the hose outside or in areas where you can drain the water freely. Flip the relief valve to eliminate the air pressure. If your heater has no relief valve, open the nearest hot water faucet, and leave it open. Open the drain valve to drain water. After draining, close the drain valve, detach the hoses and close the relief valve or hot water faucet. 


Step #3. Remove and change the heating element

Draining the water may take some time, but it is quicker to remove the heating element and change it. Loosen the access panel to the heating element by loosening the screws. Remove the access panel, then flip or remove the insulation pad and protective plastic cover. Loose the screws to remove the wire connecting to the heating element, unscrew the heating element by using the heating element socket and turning it counterclockwise, then pull the heating element slowly.

Get your new heating element and place it in place, then tighten it by using the heating element. Attach the wires in the terminal, and flip or return the protective plastic cover and insulation pad. Reinstall the access panel and attach it firmly. You can implement the same process in removing and changing the upper or lower heating element. ANext, you set your heater back in place, you can now turn on your water heater! Go to the water supply, turn it on, fill the tank, and turn on your heater. You may also want to read about how to clean a heating oil tank.



It’s A Wrap!

Viola! Now that your question about how to change element in hot water heater is answered by this article, you can decide who will perform the process. If you find yourself suitable and can carry out the steps carefully, it’s good for you, as you will learn how to troubleshoot if your heating element needs to be removed or changed. Click on these links to read related articles; know how to install a gas hot water heater and why does my hot water heater keep tripping.

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