Testing water heater element

Testing water heater element. In the old days people burn fires in the woods to warm water. It is a very difficult and time-consuming way to heat water with wood. As with other changes, now there are water heaters to warm water. In winter, everyone tries to avoid cold water and take a bath with warm water.

In the same way, hot water is used for washing machines and also for washing pots in the kitchen after dinner.

In a water heater, heat is transferred to the water with any use of energy like gas, electricity, etc. There are various types of water heaters like Conventional, Solar Tankless, etc. All water heaters have their own technology and energy abilities.

The three important parts of all water heaters are the dip tube, pressure release valve, and anode rod. Some other parts are also fixed in gas burners like thermocouples, pilot burners, pilot orifices, etc.

Testing water heater elementtesting water heater element 2022

It is very frustrating when we need hot water, and there is no hot water in winter. There are different circumstances due to which there is a decrease in warm water from the water heater.

People hire technicians to fix out why there is a drop in the temperature of the water.

It is costly, so everyone should have basic knowledge of testing water heater elements.

Reasons behind failure of the water heater element

There are various reasons why the element fails to warm the water. The major causes are gathering of minerals in the water, increase in voltage, cracking of elements, the connection of bad wires and fault in the control valve, etc.

While using a water heater, we should take care of all these factors.

If there is any above mishap in the water heater, the element will be cracked, and it will not warm the water. We can test the water heater element by following the steps.

Switch off the powers

The first thing to do before testing is that power off the supply of electricity from the main circuit breaker box normally located in the garage or basement of the home.

If you know the breaker of the water heater from the breaker box, then just off the supply of the water heater.

If you don’t know, then switch off all the breakers from the breaker box for safety from electric shock.

Pull out the metal covers

Now remove the one or two metal plate covers that are at the sides of the water heaters. Now carefully remove all the screws with the help of screwdrivers.

Separate the insulation

Inside the metal covers in water heaters, there is a coating of fiberglass insulation. Remove this insulation and have it aside. Carefully open the insulation because we have to re-install them after testing the element.

Find the heating element

Now element and thermostat should be in front of you to see. The thermostat is normally rectangular, with different wires connected to the screws. It is present over the element. The real element is under the water in the tank. The part which is visible to us is with two screws with power wires on which we will perform our test.

Note down the current reading of the water heater

Set your multimeter dial to the lowest reading. The working of an element is known by its resistance in the circuit. Now connect the red probe to one of the screws of the element and black to the other screw. Now see if the element is working properly; then, it will give a reading around 10 to30ohms. If it is giving the reading below, then the heating element is damaged, and you will have to replace it.

Reconstruct the disconnected parts

After testing the heating element or replacing the element, reinstall and re-fix the insulation of the water heater. After tightening all the screws, one by one, now switch the supply of the water heater from the circuit breaker box. If you have replaced the element, then you will have to wait for a few hours to get warm water.


What are the main signs of the failure of the heating elements?

If your water heater is not giving hot water or a very less amount of hot water, then there is some problem with the heating element.

What should be the reading of the element if it is working correctly?

It should give a reading between 5 to 30 ohms in perfect condition.


We can conclude that if the water heater is not heating water or less amount of hot water, then there is a problem in the heating element.

After switching off power, we can test the heating element with a multimeter. If it is giving less than 5 ohms reading, there is a fault in it, and we will have to replace the element.

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