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How To Replace A Water Heater Element

Installing your new water heater element can be a snap with these helpful instructions. PlumbingSupply.com® is pleased to offer replacement elements and provide this information to assist you with removing your old element and installing your new one.

How To Install Your Screw-In Immersion Element

Tools needed: Phillips screwdriver, screw-in element wrench, new element, garden hose, volt meter or circuit tester (to make sure power is off)

Heating element

Be sure to use the same wattage, voltage, and flange style as your previous element.

  1. Step 1: Shut OFF electric power to water heater.
  2. Step 2: Shut OFF cold water supply to water heater, open hot water faucet, attach hose to drain valve, open drain valve on water heater and drain water.
  3. Step 3: Remove access cover and fold back insulation.
  4. Step 4: Remove plastic terminal protector.
  5. Step 5: Check wires with volt meter/circuit tester for power before attempting to remove the wires.
  6. Step 6: Disconnect electric wires from element.
  7. Step 7: Remove element using screw-in element wrench.
  8. Step 8: Clean gasket area and threads.
  9. Step 9: Install gasket on element.
  10. Step 10: Install element & tighten with wrench.
  11. Step 11: Close drain valve and turn ON cold water supply.
  12. Step 12: Allow all trapped air to escape from open hot water faucet until water has a constant flow, then close hot water faucet. If leakage occurs, shut OFF cold water supply and tighten element or reposition gasket.
  13. Step 13: Inspect wiring. If corrosion is present on wiring, cut and strip wire 1/2" (Only if wire is long enough). If corrosion is still present, or wire is not long enough consult electrician for wire replacement and wire gauge selection. Loose, corroded or fault wiring connections can cause heat buildup or fire at wiring terminals.
  14. Step 14: Connect electric wires to element. Tighten screws.
  15. Step 15: Replace plastic terminal protector.
  16. Step 16: Replace insulation and access cover. Tank must be properly filled with water and free of air before applying electric power to prevent element damage.
  17. Step 17: Turn ON electric power to water heater.

How To Install Your Universal 4 Bolt Flange Type Immersion Element

Tools needed: Phillips screwdriver, socket wrench, new element, garden hose, volt meter or circuit tester (to make sure power is off)

Heating element

Be sure to use the same wattage, voltage, and flange style as your previous element.

  1. Step 1: Shut OFF electric power to water heater.
  2. Step 2: Shut OFF cold water supply to water heater, open hot water faucet, attach hose to drain valve, open drain valve on water heater and drain water.
  3. Step 3: Remove access cover and fold back insulation.
  4. Step 4: Check wires with volt meter/circuit tester for power before attempting to remove wires.
  5. Step 5: Disconnect electric wires from element.
  6. Step 6: Remove element mounting bolts using socket wrench. Note position of thermostat bracket to be reinstalled later.
  7. Step 7: Clean gasket area in tank.
  8. Step 8: Install gasket into recess in tank.
  9. Step 9: Install element and thermostat bracket. Tighten bolts in diagonal patter.
  10. Step 10: Close drain valve and turn ON cold water supply.
  11. Step 11: Allow all trapped air to escape from open hot water faucet until water has a constant flow. Close hot water faucet. If leakage occurs, shut OFF cold water supply and tighten bolts or reposition gasket.
  12. Step 12: Secure thermostat firmly against tank surface and under prongs of thermostat bracket.
  13. Step 13: Inspect wiring. If corrosion is present on wiring, cut and strip wire 1/2" (Only if wire is long enough). If corrosion is still present, or wire is not long enough, consult electrician for wire replacement and wire gauge selection. Loose, corroded or faulty wiring connections can cause heat buildup or fire at wiring terminals
  14. Step 14: Connect electric wires to element. Tighten screws.
  15. Step 15: Replace plastic terminal protector.
  16. Step 16: Replace insulation and access cover. Tank must be properly filled with water and free of air before applying electric power to prevent element damage
  17. Step 17: Turn ON electric power to water heater.

Typical Electric Water Heater Construction & Wiring Diagram



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