Question? Just ask us!
Free Encyclopedia of Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, Repair
InspectAPedia ® Home
AGE of WATER HEATERS
AIRBOUND HEAT SYSTEM REPAIR by WATER FEED VALVE
ALTERNATIVE HOT WATER SOURCES
ANODES & DIP TUBES on WATER HEATERS
ANTIFREEZE for BOILERS
ANTI SCALD VALVES
APPLIANCE DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
APPLIANCE EFFICIENCY RATINGS
AQUASTAT CONTROL Functions
BACKDRAFTING HEATING EQUIPMENT
BACKFLOW PREVENTER, HEATER WATER FEEDER
CARBON MONOXIDE - CO
CHECK VALVES, WATER SUPPLY
CHEMICAL CONTAMINANTS in WATER
CHIMNEY INSPECTION DIAGNOSIS REPAIR
CLOGGED SUPPLY PIPING
DEBRIS in WATER SUPPLY, Water Heater
DRAIN a WATER HEATER TANK
ELECTRIC WATER HEATERS
FLOODED HEATING EQUIPMENT REPAIR
FLOODED WATER HEATER REPAIR
GALVANIC SCALE & METAL CORROSION
GAS BURNER FLAME & NOISE DEFECTS
GAS FIRED WATER HEATERS
GAS PIPING, VALVES, CONTROLS
HOT WATER SUPPLY
INDIRECT FIRED WATER HEATERS
MANUALS & PARTS GUIDES - HVAC
MIXING / ANTI-SCALD VALVES
NO HEAT - NO HOT WATER: HEATER DIAGNOSIS
NOISE / SOUND DIAGNOSIS & CURE
NOISE CONTROL for HEATING SYSTEMS
NOISE, PLUMBING CHECKLIST
NOISE, WATER HEATER
ODORS GASES SMELLS, DIAGNOSIS & CURE
ODORS IN WATER
PIPING IN buildings, Clogs Leaks Types
PLASTIC PLEXVENT ULTRAVENT RECALL
PLUMBING FIXTURES, KITCHEN, BATH
RELIEF VALVE LEAKS
RELIEF VALVE, WATER HEATER
SCALE REMOVAL, WATER HEATERS
SEWER GAS ODORS
SOLAR HOT WATER HEATERS
SOOT on OIL FIRED HEATING EQUIPMENT
SPILL SWITCH, FLUE GAS DETECTOR
TANKLESS WATER HEATERS
Temperature Pressure Relief Valves - Water Heaters
THERMOSTATS, WATER HEATER
TIMERS for ELECTRIC WATER HEATERS
WATER CONSERVATION MEASURES
WATER CONTAMINANT LEVELS
WATER HAMMER NOISE DIAGNOSE & CURE
WATER ODORS, CAUSE CURE
WATER PIPES, Clogs Leaks Types
WATER PRESSURE MEASUREMENT
WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
WATER QUANTITY IMPROVEMENT
WATER SOFTENERS & CONDITIONERS
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
Electric water heater heating element replacement guide: how to remove and replace a bad electric hot water heater heating element or electrode - details. Having completed testing electric water heater components in the previous article, This article explains how to replace a bad electric water heater heating element. This series of articles describes how to inspect, operate, diagnose, and repair electric hot water heaters.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2015 InspectApedia.com, All Rights Reserved.
The sketch at left of the parts surrounding an electric water heater heating element is modified from illustrations provided by American Water Heater Co.  These parts are identified (click to see an enlarged sketch)in order as shown in the sketch as
[Click to enlarge any image]
1. Access door covering the heating element, typically held in place by two sheet metal screws (blue)
18. insulation (gray)
2. plastic cover over the thermostat assembly (green)
3. Thermostat assembly (upper)
5. Electric heating element (red arrow - this is what you are replacing)
6. Electric heating element gasket (purple arrow)
No number: yellow arrow points to the heating element mounting location. Clean this area and its threads during heater element replacement.
Watch out: as manufacturers of water heaters point out, you can be killed or seriously injured if you do not follow instructions provided by the water heater manufacturer and described in the water heater's installation, usage, and maintenance manual. Below we describe the general procedure for replacing and wiring electric water heater heating elements. Be sure you consult your individual water heater's installation guide for details.
Electric water heater thermostat and heating element wiring diagram
Be sure that any electrical wiring that you disturb or disconnect is reconnected as it was originally. We label parts or make a sketch to avoid confusion later on. Check for proper water heater thermostat and heating element wiring connections by reviewing the installation manual that pertains to your water heater.
At far left we show a typical wiring diagram for a two-element electric water heater at which both heating elements operate simultaneously.
At left we show the water heater thermostat and element wiring details from a Plumber's Pack Water Heater Repair Kit using Thermo-o-Disc thermostats.
This electric water heater repair kit includes two electrodes and the upper and lower thermostats as well as replacement plastic covers for those devices.
The kit fits most models of electric water heaters made by American Water Heaters, A O Smith, Bradford White, Craftsmaster, General Electric or GE water heaters, GS Wood (some models), Kenmore, Lochinvar, Maytag, Mor-Flo, Reliance, Rheem, Richmond, Ruud, Sears and State - in other words many major water heater brands.
[Click for an enlarged view of either water heater element wiring illustration.]
But your electric water heater wiring may differ in that it may have only one heating element, or the two-element heater may operate the heaters individually (non-simultaneous), or your unit could be a 120V heater (less common at residential buildings) or even a three-phase installation (more likely at larger heaters and commercial installations). 
Continuing with the steps in replacing the heating element for a typical electric water heater:
Reader Question: replacement water heater element not working
(Mar 13, 2013) Amiti said:
My hot water heater only has one element in it, we replaced that element today and hooked everything back up the way it was before.
Amity, I'm guessing either a wiring error or a bad thermostat. Start by checking thT the unit has electrical power. Be sure the person testing knows how to do so safely as live voltage could kill someone. Then one of thesediagnostic articles should help you find the troubke:
Green link shows where you are in this article series.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
No FAQs have been posted for this page. Try the search box below or CONTACT US by email if you cannot find the answer you need at InspectApedia.
Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.
Search the InspectApedia website
HTML Comment Box is loading comments...
Technical Reviewers & References