Water Heater Repair Guidelines

How to Determine Which Water Heater Element Is Bad?

There is nothing more frustrating than turning on the faucets for a hot shower only to find tepid or icy water hits you in the face. When an electric hot water heater’s elements fail, this is what you will get. When it comes to water heater repair, generally the lower element is what goes first, however, this is not always the case. Fortunately, a few quick electrical tests will often show which element you need to replace in order to restore hot water to your home.

  • Switch off the power to the water heater, some are wired to plug into a wall socket, and this simply means unplugging them. However, many are hard-wired directly into the home’s circuitry, so you will need to turn the breaker for the water heater to “OFF” at the main electrical panel.

  • Remove the two wires that are connected to the water heater element and push them to one side. Unscrew the mounting hardware, slip the wires out and bend them so they do not get in your way.

  • Set your multi-tester to measure ohms, this is written in green and identified with an omega sign. Set the scale to the lowest reading, which is either “RX1K” or “RX1.”
  • Touch the multi-tester probe to each screw on the element, when there is no reading or a maximum reading, then you will know that the element is bad. Elements will have some resistance, so a reading of 10-16 ohms is acceptable, the wattage of your element should be printed on the plastic block that is nestled between the two screws where the wires are attached.

  • Touch one probe to a screw on the element and the other to bare metal found anywhere on the water heater. Any ohm reading or slight movement indicates an element has shorted out. You will need to check each screw on both elements.

If you would like to make an appointment with our water heater repair technician, please feel free to contact Joseph Plumbing & Drain Cleaning LLC at (240) 262-5277 now, if you live in the College Park, MD region.

Review Us