Hot Water Heater Repair (electric)

Here is a Hot Water Heater I repaired today.  The problem was that the water was hot at first then quickly got cold.

IMG_20130218_101524Here’s what I found….

IMG_20130218_103720The first thing was that the thermostat here had failed.  It no longer “clicked” when you turned it all the way up and all the way down.  I found that it had failed in the “on” position and it also caused the Heating Element to burn out.

There was two elements, one worked and one didn’t…that’s why the water was hot at first, then quickly got cold.

Removing the thermostat is simple, make sure the power is off, double check then re-check that the power is off!!!  Unscrew the wires and pull the tabs up (shown with arrows) and slip it out…

IMG_20130218_101541The heating element is shown here.

But first….you must drain your tank….

IMG_20130218_135825Today I had a more difficult problem because the drain had frozen, so instead of doing it the easy way with a water hose, I actually had to remove the element and let the water fly!!  It took 11,  5 gallon buckets almost full of water to remove it all….Got quite messy…

Remember to make sure you turn off the cold water supply to the hot water heater.  Releasing the pop-off valve at the top of the water heater can allow an air-break allowing the water to drain faster as well.

Again, making sure the power is off, remove the wires.  Then as you can see a couple of pictures above here…. there is a large nut that is actually built onto the element.  Turn ONLY the silver nut part, do NOT use the plastic casing around the wires to turn the element.

IMG_20130218_144011This is the new heating element going back into the hot water heater…Make sure you match the exact wattage element…

Remember to re-fill the heater before you turn it on!!

I leave the pop-off valve open and turn the water back on, then wait 5 or so minutes until it gets full and quickly shut it off when I hear water going through it.

Make sure all your shields are back in place, turn the breaker back on, (hopefully there are no sparks…haha)  and listen for the water to start to boil!!

“Happy Hot Shower!”


  1. Could be a few reasons. Sorry the first three anrsews don’t make sense to meAs you changed the elements the most likely cause to me is probably when you wired it back up you have bypassed the thermostat and with nothing to shut of power to element it is constantly heating.Water heater will not blow up the relief valve is doing exactly what it should and that is it is relieving the pressure or most are a Temperature and pressure releif valve. If pressure gets too high through thermal expansion as water is heating it will open slightly to ease pressure or if water reaches 99 deg celcius it will open and let hot water out before it boils. Probably best to call a plumber or electrician to look at it as it could be a number of problems. Be absolutely honest with them and show them exactly what you did. We often look at jobs where th owner has fiddled but don’t tell us. It sends us up the garden path and they get a bill involving a lot of work that would not have been necessary had they told us what they had done. Was this answer helpful?

    • Wow Dougherty complaining again??? Is this even news anmoyre other than that he has spent $6000 a day for the last 4 days to take out full page ads in the Daily Record Fred who is paying for that? Sue Gsell Gsell-Walshes, Wirths, Cavanugh??? Where is the $$$ coming from$$$ it’s not on his ELEC reports and based on what was published around his most recent file, these ads more than double his liquid cash amount .is this pay to play??? who is paying for all the free hor’s dourves and drinks at Sona 13 for the past 6 weeks per their invitations, and Dougherty’s campaign coach (who should be fired by the way after last night) Is this team that arrogant? do they think they will just raise more $$$ to pay the fines if elected from Bily Walsh’s father and Matt Wirth’s wife’s trust fund? What favors are being promised in exchange for that??? Isn’t Dougherty running on transparent and open government??? well where is that before he even has a chance to get into office??? what a sham and what a joke who is creating and sending all these anonymous and libelous letters to residents ilegally slandering John Cryan??? Who is paying for that???? Dougherty, Gsell and Harris King are all just sleazy gutter wanna be politicians who make 1970s Chicago politics look tame compared to this Show the numbers Tim and who you are endebtted too just the bar owners paying for your campaign under the table and your power hungry wife who really calls the shots so much for transparency and openess you should be as emarassed as we all were watching your 3rd string team last night Fred if you really want a story, find out where Dougherty’s $$$ are coming from because what’s on paper sure doesn’t match what he’s been spending

    • I’ve been a kale addict fveroer but I’ve only recently started incorporating tasty cabbage into my routine!My faves:Chop up red cabbage in my massive kale salads for a splash of pretty purple color OR use the big cabbage cups as wrappers for a yummy veg and brown rice or quinoa sautee!

  2. While it is fairly sipmle to do a conversion, there could be several variables that can determine what you will need.The back of the heater should have a data plate that will tell you what the BTU rating is. You need to know this. Sometimes it will give you the orifice number for both NAT and PROP. But it can be determined just knowing the correct BTU rating.Older heaters required just changing the orifice for the main burner and you have to also change the pilot orifice. Adjusting it down or up usually is not sufficient. On newer heaters their may be a regulator attached to the inlet side of the heater. It is there to make sure correct pressure is delivered to the burner and also is a safe guard to being over pressurized if the regulator fails and sends high or tank pressure to the appliance. The regulator will lock down if it his hit with over 1lbs of pressure. Some of those regulators can be converted also by taking the top plug out of the regulator and turn it over. Others are not convertible have to be replaced.Again, it is not hard to do, but you have to know what you are looking at.

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