How to replace a water heater element, water heater Element replacement, clayton homes waterheater (2023)


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Okay, the issue with this home, the customer looked into access to the furnace and saw the hot water.

Heater pan was full of water.

So let's kind of get in there and see what the problem is and I'll show you how they found it.

This access door right here is in the utility room.

This access door, right here is to the furnace.

And if you look to the right it's hard to see, but you can see the water heater is right there.

And you can see the pan these houses, the pop-off valve.

And it sits in a pan, both of those are plumbed through the floor and go out from under the house.

So even that pan down there, if it gets full of water, water will run out from under the house.

So, and it does have water in there.

So let me go I'll leave that open.

So the light can help see let's go in here, because the water heater access is in this it's like the third bedroom.

And the access panel is right there.

You take those they'll be quarter inch screws, like I said, anywhere, where there is screws, you can see how between the sheetrock is batting strips instead of finishing the sheetrock that is sheetrock on the wall, and then it's got a vinyl covering over it.

But this is called a baton house because between every piece of sheetrock instead of being finished, it has a batten strip so anywhere where there is screws, instead of nails, it's access panel for plumbing.

So right here, and that will either be quarter inch screws or they'll, be the screws that takes a square bit a square, headed bit to take them out this one's quarter inch.

So we're going to get that panel off there.

Move this stuff out get the panel off and uh find out what the situation is what the problem is with that water here.

Because this is a brand new house.

My thought behind it is, um, maybe a loose element something like that, but we'll see let's get to it.

And you back those screws out and set that panel out of the way, and you can see the water heater.

So let me go ahead and finish taking those out set that out of the way and we'll come back and see what we find all right once you take that panel off see, it just comes off when you take the screws off, and you can set it out of the way you can see where I said it over there, then you come in and it's got.

This is the access panel to the elements there's, one there and there's an element cover there.

Water is leaking out of this bottom, I'm going gonna remove those two small phillips screws and I'll show, you it's actually leaking out of the element itself.

I've never seen that before replace the element you have to take a water hose hook it to the hot water, heater drain and run it outside the house there's.

The drain you turn.

It counterclockwise get the water flow and drain it out now we're going to get it ready to remove.

This element, we'll get the tool underneath the wires and get it going.

Okay, here's what I wanted to show you now that we've located that water is actually coming out of that lower access panel to that water heater.

The next thing you want to do is you go find the panel box the breaker box, which in a lot of these houses it's in the laundry room utility room, but not all of them.

So you have to find it once you find it.

You can look on the door, and you see right there.

This one says, eighteen and twenty no sixteen and eighteen and then come down here from the record box itself.

And most of them have this right here.

So that you'll know not to turn them on before the water heater gets full of water, more than likely that's.

What happened on this home? The power got turned on this breaker was on before the water heater got full of water, and it burned up the element.

So always make sure you turn the breaker off.

And then check it at the water heater to make sure on that element that you have no power.

And then when you do that always in the laundry room of these houses, where the washer and dryer hooks up, you see where the washing dryer hooks up.

You have a valve there, that's, the main water shutoff.

It comes out of the ground through this before it goes anywhere that has anything to do with these homes that is all that is off, make sure you have the water off.

And then you can go back to the water, heater hook, your water hose up route it through where it goes outside.

And you can turn the in the video you see where you hook it up I'll show you where you hook it up turn that counter clockwise and it'll start draining drain.

Then if you're up at the top of the water, heater kind of pop up that pop-off valve and it'll drain that water heater when that water heater is fully drained, then you can remove the element and change it out.

I've already took the wires off.

You see a red and a black wire see where it was leaking through the element and take this special socket thing right here and put it on there.

It fits the other.

Then they stick a screwdriver in that hole and loosen it up and take the element out so I'm going to put a new element in there and fix that leak in the wire back up.

Okay, you can see now I've got the new element in there.

Not leaking got the water turned back on the water.

Heater is full and remember as you're filling the water heater up go throughout the house on every faucet.

Tub shower, turn the hot water side on so that as it fills, the water heater up it pushes all the air out of the lines.

Just remember to do that now let's get it wired up test it out.

And now I have it wired up and the black one on one side, the red on the other.

Then you've got this little plastic piece that goes up in there that helps it helps protect the electrical stuff plastic piece snaps on there, some kind of pain to get on there.

Then you got these little foam sponges that go up in there, let's kind of stick up in there.

Let's get that cover up on there, get that done.


Now that the cover's on it's time to turn the power back onto it and make sure it's going to hit the water up properly.

And then I will put the wall cover back on near the access panel and I'll show you how to do that just let's turn the power back on.


You can see.

I put the panel back on it's back on secure, like it should be before.

I did this.

I turned the water on to the water heater.

You know, I opened all the valves you go to every sink every tow open all the hot water valves and let it as it pushes air out of the hot water, heater it pushes it out of the lines when you know the water heater is full it's.

When all the lines all the faucets in the sinks, the water starts coming out of the hot water side with no air bubbles or anything like that just solid flow of water, cut them all off.

And I've already done that, and at this point, I'm ready to go back to the laundry room, or wherever the fuse panel box might be and turn the power onto it.

Then wait 15 to 30 minutes, turn your water on let it run for a little while you'll feel it start getting hot.

I've already done all that here.

Hot water is fine, no leaks.

So we're, good to go that's gonna be it for this video, hopefully I'll get to do some more videos in the future.

And I hope that you found something in this video that might help you out if you have any questions on anything, please drop comments, and I will try to answer them as soon as I can.

Thank you for watching you.


How to replace a water heater element, water heater Element replacement, clayton homes waterheater? ›

If you're only replacing the top heating element, you only have to empty the tank until it's not in the water. If you have to replace both or just the bottom one, you'll need to empty the whole tank.

Can you change a water heater element without draining the tank? ›

If you're only replacing the top heating element, you only have to empty the tank until it's not in the water. If you have to replace both or just the bottom one, you'll need to empty the whole tank.

Should you replace both water heater elements at the same time? ›

This is not a project for DIYers who don't understand circuits or how to use electrical testing tools, as you'll be working with wires carrying high voltage, which comes with inherent risks. Heating elements are not particularly expensive, so you may want to replace both of them, even if only one has tested faulty.

What tools do you need to change a water heater element? ›

Before you get started, make sure you have the following tools: 1) a water heater element wrench, 2) a multimeter, 3) both a Phillips and flathead screwdriver, and 4) a garden hose.

What causes water heater elements to burn out? ›

Sediment Buildup

Minerals in hard water (such as calcium and magnesium) can lead to buildup in your water heater. In some cases, mineral sediment collects at the bottom of the tank, preventing heat transfer to the water. The affected heating elements get forced to work harder and eventually burn out.

Which water heater element is most likely to fail? ›

Once the coating gets severe, your heating elements will eventually stop from transferring heat to the water and experience burn out. This condition mostly happens to the bottom element since any particulate matter that precipitates from the heated water will eventually gather and accumulate on the tank bottom.

Are upper and lower water heater elements the same? ›

The parts for dual-element water heaters are not interchangeable, meaning there are different replacement parts for the top and bottom elements.

How long does it take for water to get hot after replacing elements? ›

"Replacing A Heating Element"

It may take several hours for a newly installed electric water heater to reach normal operating temperature. If you don't have hot water after two hours (water not even warm), first check to make sure the water heater is getting electrical power.

Are all water heater elements universal? ›

It is the baking element in your oven. You wonder, are oven heating elements universal? The answer in most cases is yes but only within the manufacturing company and for specific models. Let's take a look at baking and broiling heating elements.

How do I know what water heater element to buy? ›

How do I determine which type of water heater element I need? Examine your existing element. You will need to find out the voltage and the wattage. This information can usually be found on the label affixed to the side of your water heater tank.

Which heating element goes out first in a water heater? ›

The bottom element will cycle on and off during normal hot water usage but when a lot of water is being used, the top one will start to operate to keep hot water leaving the tank.

Can I replace a 3500 watt element with a 4500 watt element? ›

It is ok to install lower watt: replace 4500 with 3500 as long as voltage is same. Lower watt means less heat, so element can last longer. Lower wattage will not void product warranty. 240 volt 4500 watt element heats about 21-40 gallons per hour.

How do I know what heating element I need? ›

Factors to Consider When Buying a Heating Element

Wattage - The wattage of a heating element is one of the most important factors to consider. This will determine how much heat the element can generate and how quickly it can heat your desired area. Make sure to pick an element with a wattage appropriate for your needs.

What size socket do I need to replace my water heater element? ›

Professional Element Socket, For Easy Replacement Of Electric Water Heater Elements, Chrome Plated Element Socket Fits Standard 1/2' Socket Drive, Making It Easy To Replace Screw-In Water Heater Elements.

How much does it cost to put an element in a hot water heater? ›

Heating Element

If you have a problem with your element, it will probably cost between $200 and $300 to fix it. Most electric water heaters come with two heating elements. One is at the bottom of the tank. The other is positioned at the top of the tank.

How much does a hot water heater element cost? ›

A water heater element can cost between $10 and $60 and can be found at most home improvement stores. If you're comfortable with light electrical work, replacing a water heating element is a DIY task.

How long should a water heater element last? ›

A hot water heater's lifespan depends on many factors, including the type of water heater, the energy source, the type of water you have, and how well the unit is maintained. On average, most water heaters last between 8 and 12 years but some can last up to 20 years with regular maintenance.

What makes a heating element go bad? ›

The mechanical failure of the heating element is mainly due to production of more heat. During the process of alloying, a portion may have a higher content of the higher resistivity constituent. This portion of the element will produce more heat and get failed.

What happens when heating element burns out? ›

A common reason for this is that oven element burning has occurred. Due to the hot temperatures within the oven cavity, it isn't unusual for it to burn out while enduring the high temperatures. Without a fully functioning oven element, your oven will be unable to heat up and this means your oven is useless for cooking!

What is the most common water heater element? ›

Mostly, two materials are used in the manufacturing of heating elements; metal or ceramic. The ceramic made heating material is more efficient as compared to metal because of being sturdier and less corrosive. This single aspect makes ceramic water heating element more widespread and famous in areas with hard water.

What is better 3 element or 2 element water heater? ›

In fact, the three-element model is more reliable, since there is less stress on its electric components. Unlike traditional two-element water heaters, whose power demand is concentrated during peak periods, three-element heaters draw less power and spread energy consumption throughout the day.

Are all screw in water heater elements the same? ›

There are three types: screw in, bolt in and clamp in. They all have different wattage ratings and can work on either 120 or 240 voltage. Check your state and local codes before starting any project.

Are all screw in water heater elements the same size? ›

A: Almost all modern water heater element ports are 1 inch NPT/U.S. pipe thread, NOT 1-1/4" as others have said. The outside of 1" NPT threads are 1.315" as all NPT outer diameters are nominal and NOT actual . 1-1/4" NPT will be larger also at 1.660" outside diameter.

Will water heater work with just one element? ›

A water heater typically needs two heating elements to work properly, one at the top and one at the bottom of the tank.

Which is better copper or stainless steel hot water heater element? ›

However, Stainless Steel has a much higher resistance to all forms of corrosion than copper, including crevice and stress, making it highly durable and promising a longer lifespan, which in turn makes copper less competitive when considering long term cost savings.

How long do you hold the reset button on a hot water heater? ›

Resetting a Gas Water Heater

For most units, you can get in the hot shower within 30 to 40 minutes for gas water heaters. For electric tanks, you need to wait for approximately an hour to an hour and a half.

How can I test my water heater element without a multimeter? ›

Place the tip of the non-contact voltage detector on one of the wires coming from the electrical thermostat and see if the detector beeps or illuminates. If it illuminates or beeps, then there is still power supply to the water heater and you then find a way to cut it off.

How do I know if my thermostat or element is bad? ›

Symptoms of a bad heater element include:
  1. Lukewarm water.
  2. Small amount of hot water.
  3. No hot water.
  4. Hot water runs out faster than usual.
  5. Water heater's circuit breaker constantly trips.
Jun 4, 2021

Does it matter which wire goes where on a hot water heater element? ›

No, it does not matter which wire goes to which heating element terminal in this case - electricity can flow in either direction.

Why does my hot water heater element have power but not working? ›

If everything is receiving electricity as it should but one of your upper or lower thermostats or electric heating elements is not working, you likely have a faulty upper or lower thermostat or electric heating element that needs replaced.

Do electric water heaters use both elements at the same time? ›

Only one element will come on at any one time. This is known as a flip/flop system. On a 240 volt water heater, there will always be 120 volts to both elements. The thermostat will direct the second leg of the 120-volts to the element to complete the 240 volts required to energize the element.

Will water heater element burn up without water? ›

A water heater element doesn't work unless it's fully submerged in water. If it did operate without any water in the tank, it could produce enough heat to burn out its core in a short period of time. The element must have water to transfer the heat in order to prevent significant damage.

Can you put a 5500 watt element in a 4500 watt water heater? ›

Can I replace 4500 watt elements with 5500 watt? You can definitely replace 4500 watt with 5500 watt and get 4-7 gallons more hot water from a tank.

Do you need to replace both water heater elements? ›

Materials Required

If your electric hot water heater is slow to heat, runs out of hot water faster than it used to, or doesn't deliver any hot water at all, there's a 90 percent chance that simply replacing one or both of the heating elements will solve the problem.

Should water heater elements be set the same? ›

To ensure your electric water heater works as efficiently as possible, you should set both of the thermostats at the same temperature. Note: some smaller electric hot water heaters only have one thermostat.

Do I need to drain water heater to replace anode? ›

Since the sacrificial anode is immersed in the tank, you'll have to drain the water heater to check its condition. Depending on the model, you'll either have to drain it partially or empty the water heater completely. Make sure you know how to carry out the draining process before you begin.

Are water heater elements universal? ›

There are three types: screw in, bolt in and clamp in. They all have different wattage ratings and can work on either 120 or 240 voltage. Check your state and local codes before starting any project.

Can I put a 3500 watt element in a 4500 watt water heater? ›

Note: Reducing element wattage from 4500 to 3500 will not void product warranty, and will heat slightly less hot water, plus lower wattage elements tend to last longer and not burn out as frequently because they run cooler.

Is it OK if anode rod touches bottom of water heater? ›

The important thing is that the anode rod does not touch the bottom of your water heater. Shorter is better than longer, in other words.

Do you leave anode rod out in winter? ›

If your water heater has an anode rod, remove it and set it aside until Spring.

What size socket do I need for an electric water heater element? ›

A: 1-1/2" is standard for home electric water heaters. RV water heaters might be different. … A: THIS SOCKET IS THE SAME AS A 1/2" DRIVE 1-1/2" STD SOCKET.

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