Testing And Replacing A Broken Heating Element On Your Water Heater

If you turned on your water and noticed the temperature is not warming at all, if the water is warm but does not make it to a hot temperature, or if you have hot water that runs out very quickly, you may need to replace one of your water heater's heating elements. This part is fairly simple to replace on your own with some tools. Here are some basic instructions to use as a guideline when making a heating element replacement on your own.

Check Power First

Before you start working on your water heater, make sure the hot water was not simply shut off due to a circuit breaker tripping. Check your breaker panel to make sure the water heater is still active and switch the breaker to an "on" position if it was shutoff. If the breaker is fine, then take a look at the high temperature cut off switch located right on your water heater. This will be positioned near the upper thermostat. If it is still in an "on" position, the heating elements need to be checked. Turn off your water heater by shutting off the circuit breaker.

Test The Elements

Your water heater has two heating elements to keep your water warm as you use it, a top element and a bottom element. The bottom element is usually the one that will burn out, as it is used the most. To test to see if the elements are functioning, you will need to buy a device called a continuity tester. Take the front panel off your heater using a screwdriver. You will see the heating element underneath. Unravel the wires from the screws holding the element in place. Attach the alligator clip on your continuity tester to one of the screws. Place the other probe on the other screw. 

If the tester lights up, your water heater element still has power running through it and you may need to call a plumber to troubleshoot for other reasons why your water is not heating. If the tester does not light up, the element will need to be replaced. Repeat the testing procedure with the top heating element.

Doing The Replacement

To swap a broken element for a new one, you will first need to have all the water in your water heater drained. After the water has been removed, use a heating element wrench to remove the old element from within your water heater. Attach the new one in place by winding the wires around the screws. Place the cover back on the front of your water heater and switch the circuit breaker back on.

To learn more, contact a company like Barstow Industrial Supply