How To Tell If Element Is Bad In Water Heater? 5 Easy Steps!

Do you know how to tell if element is bad in water heater? Well, first, you need to prepare a screwdriver and multimeter, then use the former to remove the covering necessary for reaching the heater’s element, and run some tests using the latter equipment.

This is an effortless task that you can do yourself without calling a friend. Unless you want to repair it, you need to call a professional if you discover that it is broken. Take note that you are dealing with an electrical appliance. Thus, it would help if you were extra careful in performing the task. 

how to tell if element is bad in water heater

You may be wondering why the water heater in your home does not produce hot water of good quality as before. It is justifiable that you think something is wrong with it. Corresponding measures must be taken so that you and your household will not be interrupted while taking a bath or doing chores in which you need to use hot water. A broken water heater element is a good suspect with such a problem. My friends, there are more things that you should know, so without further ado, let’s start!


Steps To Tell If Element Is Bad In Water Heater

Before the testing, you may have observed some symptoms that make you think the element’s condition is terrible. These include lukewarm water, quickly running out of hot water, and tripping the circuit breaker. We already have shortly answered our central inquiry above, which is how to tell if element is bad in water heater? We will tackle it with in-depth instruction to perform such a task. Don’t worry, dear friend; the steps will not be complicated if you want to learn how to keep on scrolling. 


Step #1. Disconnect heater from the power source

In doing tasks with electrical appliances, this step is crucial for safety. To do this with the water heater, you need to find where the water heater’s circuit breaker is located. This breaker is typically situated in the basement or garage and is one by two feet in size. It is to your advantage if the electrician who installed your water heater has labeled which of the breakers is the one for the water heater. Once you find it, flip it to the side, indicating the off power. 


Step #2. Remove the necessary coverings

Using your screwdriver, first, detach the metal coverings located on the side of the water heater. Upon removing such surfaces, you will see that these cover both the heating element and the water heater’s thermostat. However, suppose after detaching the metal covers, you still know another covering layer. In that case, that is an insulation type. Then your water heater might have a plastic shield and insulation in the form of flexible fiberglass or rigid foam. If its form is the latter, you can quickly move it with your bare hands. If it is the former, you will need to cut it with a utility knife. Be sure not to damage these, for you will reattach them again.


Step #3. Find the heater’s element

After doing the necessary removal of the coverings, you must now be seeing the thermostat along with the heating element of the water heater. Below the thermostat, there you will find the heating element. However, you must note that the heating element’s visible portion is just its endpoint since its body is inside the tank. Nonetheless, that end portion is enough for you to do the test. Attached, two screws have wires running through them. 


Step #4. Check the element with the multimeter

You may determine the functionality of the heater’s heating element by its resistance. You may want to learn the basics of a multimeter before doing this step if you’re going to be sure. However, that is not so necessary with this task. Just follow the instructions. First, turn the multimeter dial to the setting with the lowest resistance in ohms. Determining the opposition doesn’t matter what probe (positive or negative) touches which screw. 

Touch one screw with any multimeter probe and the other screw with further investigation. The reading for a functional heating element must be somewhere within 10 ohms to 30 ohms. If your reading result is below 10 ohms, there is something wrong with the heating element. There are water heaters with two heating elements. For this case, repeat the steps we have discussed with the other heating element. You may also want to read about what is multimeter.


Step #5. Reattach the coverings

Don’t do this step if you want to repair or replace the water element. You may call a professional to do such tasks or do it yourself. However, if it is a hassle for you to proceed to repair or replace after finding out that the heating element of your water heater is indeed damaged, then you will have to reassemble the water heater. Perhaps, there is nothing wrong with the water element. Insert the plastic covering and insulation to where you’ve removed them, and then screw the metal covering in place using the screwdriver. 


It’s A Wrap!

At the end of this article, I hope you have learned how to tell if element is bad in water heater. May the writings above help you solve your water heater problem, and that you can now enjoy constant hot water again. Click on these links to read related articles; know how to remove hot water heater element and how to test water heater elements. Thank you for reading up to this point of the article.  Your time and effort are very much appreciated!

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