How To Replace An Electric Water Heater Heating Element?

Did we just run out of hot water? Why is the hot water tap pouring in lukewarm water? Oh! The water is burning hot for a while and now all of a sudden it has turned cold! Well, statements like these can annoy you to another level!

What are you supposed to do if you face such water complaints? Change the electric water heater? Well, only if you are filthy rich! Problems as such can be solved by understanding where the issue is arising.

Normally, in these cases, you might want to recheck your electric water heater element. If your water heater element is not functioning properly, you can replace it and get back your much missed hot water!

A little know-how

Just so you know..

A electric water heater delivers good performance for about 6 to 10 years at a stretch! So, we insist you get a new one instead of spending your money on replacing the tools, heating elements, etc. Even if you replace, they might still give other problems as it starts to worn out.

Understanding the mechanism

First, let's understand how exactly a electric water heater works. Starting with the basics, the electric water heater is capable of heating the water by using two heating elements.

Just like any other electrical components, these heating elements can be heated up with the help of electric current. 

Now, how do the two heating elements differ?

The heating elements in the electric water heater are placed at the top and bottom. So, as soon as the cold water is released into the tank's bottom, the heating element located at the bottom commences its task.

The heating element located at the top does a guest appearance only when required. It functions only when there is full-on demand for hot water and thus delivers its performance by heating up the water only in the upper part.

The mechanism here involves rushing the hot water up above the top and in turn, sending in some cold water into the bottom. Thus, the heating element at the bottom continues its job. Both heating elements use separate thermostats. 

How To Track The Issue?

Well, this requires no rocket--science. All you need is some tools, patience, and some common sense.

If you are getting an irregular supply of water i.e., fully hot water gushing out for a short span, then, you should check with the bottom heating element. Likewise, if you are constantly getting lukewarm water for a generous amount of time, then, the top heating element is susceptible to be replaced. 

Operation "replacement" begins

Operation "replacement" begins

Get your water heater back up and running in no time with this guide to replacing the heating element.

Ready? Well, after knowing a little know-how, you must be ready with the tools required. Before you replace anything, you should test the device by being safe.

All you need to do is to turn off the main switch first. Now, allow the electric water heater to cool down. You can start by emptying the hot water/lukewarm water into a bucket. 

Now, you need to disclose the heating element which can be done by opening the cover panel and insulation.

You can safely start removing the wires by just loosening the screws. Take a multi-meter which you should set to the OHMS setting. Now, start connecting the terminals to the red lead and black lead.

0 or infinity indicates that there is no electricity flow happening and thus solves the mystery by pointing out the faulty one.

Once you know the defective heating element, get a new one. Make sure the new one you bring is that of the same wattage and voltage as that of the previous one.

Check These Difference and Comparisons : Gas vs Electric Water Heater – Differences and Comparisons.

How should you replace it?

How should you replace it?

Keep your water heater in top shape with this easy repair: replacing the heating element.

Once you find the perfect replacement, start cleaning the surrounding of the heating element.

Now, make sure the heating element is perfectly aligned with the new gasket. Once done, place it carefully in the tank. With the help of a socket wrench, you can start tightening by turning clockwise.

Now, let the tank to get filled in with water just by opening a hot water faucet. Make sure that you have closed the drain valve. The purpose here is to eliminate an extra puff of air just to avoid potential damage.

Now, check for any flaws, loose fittings, or leakage. Once sure, proceed by connecting the heating elements tightly with the respective wires. To add a final touch to the process, go for replacing the thermostat cover as well as the cover panel.

Once done, fill in the tank with water by running the hot water tap. You should know the fact here that the heater elements need to be submerged in water. Why? To avoid any potential hazards.

Recheck the connections and once you are sure, turn on the main switch and get ready to have some steamy hot water all the way!


With a bit of know-how, you can learn the technique by analyzing how the mechanism works. The whole idea of detecting, changing, replacing might seem quite a tricky and difficult task. But, once you get to a little know-how, you can crack the deal!

Nowadays, so many online shopping websites provide amazing deals on tools, gadgets, and other necessary components. Why not enrich our knowledge and save some bucks too? You just have to get it right! Happy replacing!

Follow This Install Of Tankless Water Heater: How to Install an Electric Tankless Water Heater?

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About Author

Thomas Hair

Thomas Hair is a distinguished authority in the realm of creating cozy, inviting homes. His expertise lies in transforming living spaces into havens of comfort and warmth. Through his insightful writings, Hair shares practical tips, design ideas, and lifestyle suggestions, inspiring individuals to cultivate inviting atmospheres that embrace tranquility and contentment. With a passion for interior design and a keen eye for detail, he guides readers on a journey to craft spaces that exude harmony and relaxation. Hair's work resonates with those seeking to infuse their homes with a sense of coziness, establishing him as a trusted and revered figure in the domain of creating inviting living environments.

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