Readers ask: How To Check Electric Water Heater Elements?

How do I know if my water heater element is bad?

Touch a probe on the multitester to each screw on the element. If you get no reading, or a maximum reading, the element is bad. Elements do have some resistance, so a reading of 10-16 ohms is normal, with higher ohm readings for 3,500 watt elements and lower readings for 5,500 watt elements.

How many elements are normally on an electric water heater?

Most residential electric water heaters have two heating elements: one near the top of the tank and one near the bottom. Power enters the top and runs to the high-temperature cutoff switch, and then to the thermostats and elements.

Will a water heater work with one element?

Yes, a water heater can still run if the bottom element quits. In most water heaters, the top heating element controls the thermostat and will still work even if the bottom element fails. So provided the top heating element is working, it can still produce some hot water even if the bottom heating element fails.

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

It is possible to change your water heater’s heating element without draining your tank. Although, keep in mind that it can be a bit more challenging.

Which element heats first on an electric water heater?

When a significant amount of hot water has been used, the upper thermostat will take priority and heat up the top portion of the heater. Once heated, it will flip/switch power down to the lower thermostat and heat the lower portion.

How often should you replace an electric hot water heater?

— The majority of water heaters last between eight and ten years. While ten is the age at which heater replacement is generally recommended, the actual need to replace a heater could arise before or after this timeline.

Will a bad water heater element use more electricity?

If the elements are dirty or there is an excess buildup of sediment in the tank, the hot water heater will use a lot more energy to maintain the same tank temperature.

Do both elements heat same time water heater?

On a duel element residential water heater, both elements do not heat at the same time. Starting with a tank of cold water, the upper thermostat will energize the upper element.

Why does my water heater only have one element?

The upper thermostat takes first priority, heating the water to a preset temperature before powering up the lower thermostat to heat the water to its final temperature. Only one heating element will be active at any one time. Water is more evenly heated in this system, which is now the most common in homes built today.

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Should both thermostats on an electric water heater be set the same?

The majority of electric water heaters have two thermostats: an upper and a lower, located under two control panels. To ensure your electric water heater works as efficiently as possible, you should set both of the thermostats at the same temperature.

How long does a water heater last?

Typically a residential hot water heater lasts between 6 and 13 years. Beyond 12 years, you are on borrowed time!

How do you remove a stubborn water heater element?

Mix a solution of half vinegar and half water in a small cup. Dip a toothbrush into the solution and brush it between the seam of the heating element and the side of the heating tank. Apply the solution liberally, but do not allow it to drip heavily. Allow the solution to sit for 20 minutes.

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