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How to replace a Water Heater element?

Warning: Some Home improvement projects may be dangerous by nature and may present risk of serious injury or death if not done properly.  Know your limitations these tips and blog assumes the reader has sufficient knowledge of the subject matter.  All work performed based on following these tips are done at your own risk. You agree to not hold AirBenders, LLC and its affiliates responsible for any personal or property damage that may arise from your use of this information.

Always read and follow instruction manuals and safety warnings. Consult with a qualified professional for assistance if you are not competent in topics discussed.

Instructions on how to replace a Water Heater element: 

If you have noticed that your water lasts you only about 10-15 minutes, but you know that your water heater has the capacity to last for much more than that then it may be the case that you have a burnt water heater element. All the steps and procedures will be provided on how to replace your water heater.

Tools you will need:How to replace a Water Heater element? - 'How-To's' for Home or Commercial Heating & Cooling - AirBenders - Screen-Shot-2015-06-06-at-21

Garden hose
Screwdriver
Water heater element wrench (you can purchase this in most hardware stores)
New water heater element (make sure you have the correct type. Either screw-in or flange-type)

Important to note: When you get to Step 5, you will need to know what type of heating element you have. You will either have a screw-in type element or a flange-style element. How to spot the difference: A screw-in element has a large nut where it meets the tank, where as a flange-style element does not.

Step 1: Check your water heater power

Turn the power off to the water heater.
If your unit is plugged into the wall outletà unplug it to turn it off.
If your unit is hard wired, open the breaker panel and distinguish which breaker controls the hot water heater. Take off the upper and lower panel and remove the protector from the top. Now test the voltage on the upper thermostat to make sure that the power is definitely off. Safety Note: Be sure to shut down the heater for at least 2 hours before making any attempts to replace the water heater element- the water is dangerously hot and it may cause injury if it contacts your skin.

Step 2: Check your cold water supply line

Once you have made certain the power voltage is off, shut the cold water supply off as well which enters into the water heater tank. It should normally have the word ‘Cold’ printed above the line where it feeds into the tank. If yours shows no indication of this then with caution feel the line; if cold then you have found the cold water supply line. Turn this valve to the left.

Step 3: Relieve Pressure

Raise the lever on the pressure relief valve and relieve any pressure that is on the tank, then close it.

Step 4: Locating the element

Remove the screws of the elements cover, and then push the insulation aside. You can now loosen the screws that hold the two wires in place and fold the wires out of your way. You have now exposed the element.

Step 5: Removing the element depends on the type of element you have

If your water heater has a screw-in type element then you can place the wrench on the old element. Press the heating element wrench firmly against the old element and turn anticlockwise. You may need a longer leverage tool if you are unable to turn it.
If your water heater has a flange-style element, then remove the four bolts that hold it in place. You can pull the element out straight away. If it has burned through, it may be tricky to take out the element- just wiggle it to set it free.

Step 6: Replacing with your new water heater element

For a screw-in type element: You will notice a rubber gasket that came with your new element; you will need to install it to the thread. Fit the new element into place and turn it to the point where you can still turn it with your hand. Then get your new element ready and secure it in and simply finish tightening it with the wrench.
For a flange-style element: inject the Phillips-head screws into the flange and tighten firmly into place.

Step 7: Final installation steps

You may now install the two element wires on your new water heater element. Turn drain valve off and remove the garden hose. Re-open the cold water supply so that the tank can fill up. Open a nearby hot water tap, and wait for water to flow in order to release any trapped air. Shut the tap.

Step 8:

Put the insulation in its original position and re-attach the access cover. Once the tank is completely full you can either turn on the breaker or plug the water heater back in. You should have a full tank of hot water in approximately 1 hour.

Need Help?

If you find that you require professional assistance and live in the areas we service, feel free to call AirBenders and we can come and address your problem. If you do not live in areas mentioned below please consult with your local professionals. The brands we currently service are listed below. If you do not see your brand listed we may still carry it, call to find out on 703-793-9090.How to replace a Water Heater element? - 'How-To's' for Home or Commercial Heating & Cooling - AirBenders - Screen-Shot-2015-06-09-at-00

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