How to Check a Water Heater Element: 8 Steps (with Pictures)

If your water heater isn’t providing enough hot water, it may be time to check the element. Using a few tools and a little time, you can check the element yourself and see if it needs to be replaced.

First, locate the element on your water heater. It will be near the bottom of the tank.

Then, use a voltmeter to test the element for continuity. When there is no continuity or the resistance is too high, it’s time to replace the element.

What are the different types of water heater elements?

There are three types of water heater elements: high watt density, medium watt density, and low watt density.

Each element has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. For example, high-watt density elements are prone to corrosive build-up and have a shorter life span, while low-watt density elements are suited for areas with hard water.

The DERNORD Low Watt Density Element is a low watt density heating element that is more efficient than high watt density elements. It's also available in a foldback version which can be used to replace high watt density elements.

The Lime Life Element is available in 4500 and 5500-watt capacities and has a nickel and stainless steel surface that discourages the build-up of limescale. Lastly, the DERNORD Ripple is an ultra-low watt density heating element that resists lime build-up.

How to Check a Water Heater Element for Safety and Proper Function?

To check a water heater element for safety and proper function, follow these steps:

Turn off the power to your hot water heater.

If you have a water heater with a pilot light, turn off the power at the breaker box. If you don't have a pilot light, turn off the power at the water heater. After turning off the power, use an electric thermometer to check the element temperature.

Be sure to wait 10 minutes before checking again because if there is still hot water flowing from the heater after 10 minutes, your element is not working properly, and you will need to replace it.

Remove the cover of your water heater.

Turn off the breaker to the water heater? Look for corrosion on the elements.? Replace the element if necessary.

If you are having trouble with your water heater, it is important to take steps to investigate and correct any problems as soon as possible. The most common issue with water heaters is an incorrect thermostat setting, but other issues can also cause difficulties, such as clogged filters or corroded elements.

To start, you will need to remove the cover of your water heater. This can be done by turning off the breaker that supplies power and then removing the screws that hold it in place.

Once it is removed, be sure to disconnect all of the hoses and lines leading into and from the unit before taking it apart further.

Once your cover is off, you must turn off the breaker that supplies power to your water heater element. This can usually be done by locating a shutoff switch near where your element is located and flipping it OFF.

Next, you must carefully remove the element from its mounting bracket. Be sure not to touch any wires or connections while doing this as they may be very hot.

Check the water heater element for proper function by following the manufacturer's instructions.

A properly functioning water heater element is essential for ensuring that your home is safe and comfortable. To check the element, follow the manufacturer's instructions. Many water heater elements include a jumper wire connection that allows you to test the element without having to remove it from the tank.

If your water heater includes such a connection, use it to test your element. If your water heater does not include a jumper wire connection, you will need to remove the element from the tank to check it.

Reinstall the cover and turn on the power to your water heater.

If the element is not working, you should check to see if the cover is properly installed. You will need to remove the hot water heater cover to do this. On some models, six screws hold the cover in place; on others, there are four screws.

Once you have removed the cover, turn on the power to your water heater and wait for it to come on at full steam. If it does not come on at full steam, your water heater element may be broken, and you will need to replace it.

Test the water heater element to see if the symptoms have disappeared.

One way to test the water heater element if the symptoms have disappeared is to check the element's resistance. In order to do this, turn off the breaker that supplies power to the element and measure the voltage across it with a voltmeter. The voltage should be around 120 volts. If it is not, you may have a problem with the element, and you should replace it.

What are the most common problems with water heater elements?

Some people experience problems with water heater elements.

One of the most common is getting cold water instead of hot water.

Another common problem is getting dirty or rusting water, which is often due to a broken heater element. 

Finally, some people may experience any of these problems and the most likely cause could be a broken heater element.

To check the condition of water heater elements, you can use a multimeter. This will allow you to test whether or not the element is working properly.

Other tools you may need include an electric water heater, an upper heating element, element screws, two heating elements, a plastic cover, a first and second water heater element that also might include an upper or lower heating element, a digital multimeter, mineral deposits test kit, alligator clip tool, continuity tester tool, high limit switch tool, garden hose tool, plastic plate tool, metal plate tool.

It may also be necessary to get a wrench to tighten or loosen screws on the elements.

How can I tell if my water heater element is working properly?

If you have an electric water heater, it will have two heating elements that work together. The upper heating element is turned on and off by a thermostat, depending on the temperature of the water inside the water heater.

Whenever there is a problem with the heating elements, it will affect how your water heater works.

A water heater element can be tested for continuity in order to determine if it is working properly.

Testing the element will also help to rule out other potential issues, such as a bad thermostat, faulty reset button, or loose wiring. If the water heater element does not test positive for continuity, then it may need to replace.

It is important to turn off the power to the water heater and remove the element cover plate in order to test the element. Set your multimeter to its lowest setting and put its probes on each of the element's 2 terminal screws.

Resistance should be between 10 and 16 ohms for a good element. You will get low or no electrical resistance when testing your element, then it is bad and needs replacing

How do I test a water heater element for continuity?

Testing for continuity on a water heater element is not as difficult as it may seem. In fact, with just a few simple tools and some basic knowledge, you should be able to complete this task without any problems. The most important tool you need is a continuity tester. This device can be found at most hardware stores or online.

Once you have the continuity tester, you will need to disconnect the wires from the terminal screws. Next, clip the alligator clamp onto one of the element screws.

Then, touch the other screw with the probe. Everything is working properly if you see a reading on the meter or hear a tone (indicated by a microphone symbol).

If there is no reading on the meter (or no sound), then your heating element needs to be replaced. To test if your element is grounded, leave one probe on one of the screws and touch the other to the metal surface.

If there is a reading on the multimeter (or it beeps), then your heating element is probably grounded and needs to be replaced

How do I clean a water heater element?

If you think your water heater element might be dirty, there are a few things you can do to clean it.

First, shut off the electricity to the hot water heater. Then, remove any panels, insulation, and shields so that you can get to the element. You can use a brush or a vacuum cleaner to clean it off.

Finally, test the multimeter to make sure it is working, and then reattach all of the panels, insulation, and shields.

How often should I replace the element in my water heater?

It's important to test your water heater's heating element at least once a year. If the heating element is corroded or rusty, it needs to be replaced. The water tank may also discolor over time if there is a problem with the boiler.

It's important to inspect and replace your water heater's elements every six months or so, depending on the model. Dino recommends replacing a water heater element every eight years or when the heating system experiences problems.

Replacing your water heater element is an easy and affordable way to keep your home heating system running smoothly.

How do I know if my water heater’s element needs to be replaced?

If you're not sure whether or not your water heater element needs to be replaced, here are some common signs to look out for:

-Lukewarm water

-Small amount of hot water

-No hot water

-Hot water runs out faster than usual

-Water heater's circuit breaker constantly trips

General signs you may experience other symptoms depending on which element is bad.

If you are experiencing any of these problems, it is highly recommended that you replace the element as soon as possible.

Can I replace a water heater element myself?

Replacing a water heater element is a simple task that can be done with the help of a video. Be careful when replacing a water heater element, as improper installation could lead to serious problems.

There are a variety of ways to fix a water heater pilot light, flush a water heater, extend the lifespan of your water heater, install a power-vented water heater, choose a new water heater, repair or replace defective water heater dip tubes, and more.

If you need help fixing your appliance, many resources are available online or through local experts.

What are some tips for troubleshooting a water heater element?

Testing a water heater element is not as difficult as it may seem. In fact, with a multimeter and some common sense, you can troubleshoot most problems.

To get you started, here are some tips:

1. Shut off the electricity to the hot water heater before testing each element.

2. To test an element, first measure its resistance and then apply a current (if necessary).

3. If one of your elements is defective, it may not work correctly when subjected to current or resistance tests.

4. Test your multimeter to make sure it is working properly.

5. Remove any insulation and shields from the water heater panels.

6. Check the multimeter dial to see if it reads 750 ACV or 001 when touching probes to the top screws of the panel in the water heater.

7 If you have no power coming to your water heater, you can check to see if the element is working by turning the dial on your multimeter to the lowest ohm setting.

8 If you get a reading of 10-16 ohms, then the element is probably not working and needs to be replaced.

Where can I find more information about replacing a water heater element?

There are a variety of places you can go for more information about replacing a water heater element. If you want to try to do it yourself, you can complete it.

If your water heater is more than 10 years old, it's time to replace the element. You can find replacement elements at most hardware stores and home centers.

When replacing the element, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper installation.

If you would rather not replace the water heater element yourself, Forbes provides free, no-commitment estimates for water heater replacements.

 You can also receive expert advice on your home and hire experts delivered to you daily.

Before making a decision, be sure to read more about different options available for water heaters tankless or not, and consider your needs.

Cost guides can help you determine which water heater is best for your needs. Installing a water heater can be expensive depending on the type of water heater, and plumbing repair costs may also be necessary. Tankless water heaters have their own pros and cons, so make sure to consider all of them before making a purchase.

Forbes has compiled a list of articles on various topics related to home improvement that may help make your decision. Forbes Advisor provides information on replacing water heater elements.

If you notice any signs of broken or missing elements in your water heater, you should replace the entire unit as soon as possible. If the element appears to be intact but there are concerns about its long-term reliability, it may be best to check it for signs of damage.

Water heater elements can fail due to corrosion or other problems, and if left untreated can lead to significant structural failures. Always consult a licensed professional when making any repairs or modifications to your water heater.

Watch How to Check a Water Heater Element


Once you have everything you need and are familiar with the process, checking your water heater element is a relatively simple task. By regularly checking and maintaining your water heater element, you can extend the life of your water heater and prevent costly repairs in the future.


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