If your home’s electric water heater has stopped generating hot water, then it is very likely that its heating element has stopped working. Heating element replacement is something that you can do yourself with some easy-to-use tools and some simple-to-follow instructions.

Before you start on this project, first gather the following tools and materials:

  • a garden hose

  • an appropriately sized ratchet and socket

  • replacement heating element(s)

Your water heater’s element looks like a hexagonal bolt that protrudes out from the side of the hot water tank. The socket you use to remove the element needs to fit snugly over its protruding end. Your water heater may have two heating elements, and if so, then you should replace both of them using the same procedure outlined below:

Turn Off the Electricity and Cold Water Supply Lines

Before you replace the heating elements, first you need to turn off the power to the hot water heater at the panel. In addition, you need to turn off the cold water supply line on the top of the water heater.

Connect a Garden Hose and Drain the Water Tank

Connect your garden hose to the outlet valve on the bottom of your water heater and place the free end into your bathtub. Open the hot water tap closest to the water heater and the air entering the system will force the water out of the hot water heater. Continue until the tank is empty, then remove the hose and close the water tap.

Remove and Replace the Failed Heating Elements

Place the socket over the end of the heating element and turn the ratchet counterclockwise to remove the failed element. Once it is loose, then simply pull the element from the tank and dispose of it in your household trash.

Place the new element into the hole, and turn the ratchet clockwise to secure the new element in place.

Refill the Tank and Restore Its Power

Once the new heating element has been secured in place, then you can open the cold water valve and let the tank fill with water. After you hear the water stop running into the tank, then can restore the power and the new elements will heat the tank of water. Never restore the power to an empty tank, because as the cold water comes into contact with bare hot elements it can cause them to immediately fail.

Finally, if you need additional assistance with replacing your hot water heater’s elements, then you should contact a licensed plumber in your local area. If you are interested in more information, click here to continue reading more about plumbing.