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Electric water heater ?

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  • Electric water heater ?

    Can somebody tell me the correct way to test a thermostat and the element on a 6 gal. electric heater with a digital meter,don't have much experience with electric's do more gas and indirect's.

    Thank's Steve
    Steve in the trade since 73 doing new residential/Commercial work

  • #2
    Re: Electric water heater ?

    always go to the source of power. check your voltage at panel, then at the line to wh. then turn off power to heater. my guess is this is 120v. pull neutral conductor from element. turn power on. i then check to the other conductor. follow down from lines in, through thermostat and through element. ohming the elements out with a buzz box will not always work. use line voltage. hope this helps. i'm not much of a teacher. if not ask for more info. think twice measure once, hopefully you will not learn to talk like me. lol. breid.................


    • #3
      Re: Electric water heater ?

      ohm reading for a good element should be around

      11-13 ohm's BREID1903 posted this still could

      be a bad element,
      SINCE JAN. 1989


      • #4
        Re: Electric water heater ?

        I can figure out if there is power to the unit,when i check the element #1 do I disconnect one of the wires to it,#2 do the test meter leads go on the thermostat lugs or one on the thermostat lug and one to the tank,I've read that the element can check out ok but that it could still be grounded causing it not to work?
        Last edited by leakfree; 02-25-2010, 02:11 PM.
        Steve in the trade since 73 doing new residential/Commercial work


        • #5
          Re: Electric water heater ?

          I always take both wires off the element
          i do 2 test
          I check both element posts to see if i get a reading through should
          Then i test 1 screw and the tank if i get a reading ....its grounded out
          Get yourself a good 1 1/2" socket some times you only have i chance to break it loose


          • #6
            Re: Electric water heater ?

            Check for power at the top of the thermostat.

            Then you turn the top thermostat to it's highest temperature. You should hear/feel a click of the thermal disc. Then test for power at the element. Should have power. No power, stat or wire problem.

            Turn the top thermostat to it's lowest temperature. Once again, you should hear/feel a click of the thermal disc.

            Go to the bottom thermostat and turn it to it's highest temperature. Click.

            Check for power at the bottom thermostat. Should have power. No power, stat or wire problem.

            Return all thermostats to the required temperature.

            Turn off the power to the unit.

            Check both poles of each element individually for continuity. None. Bad element.

            Check one pole and tank for continuity/grounding. Continuity, grounded. Replace element typically.



            • #7
              Re: Electric water heater ?

              A lot of the electrical testers have amp testing capabilities. This is the quicket way to test elements. The amps will be different for the different size elements.

              If you have power coming into the unit and the element tests correctly it is the stats.Always change both stats when one is bad. They are the same age and it is factory recommended to change them both.

              Testing stats turn the temp down on the bottom stats and up on the top stat. Then ohm test the stat screws to make sure it is switching.Repeat the process for the bottom stat.


              • #8
                Re: Electric water heater ?

                Shut off power. Shut off power in the electrical panel by removing fuses or by moving the handle to a switch or circuit breaker dedicated to the water heater to the off position. "Pocket" the fuses, secure or lock the panel and place a note on the cover to alert everyone that work is being performed on the water heater circuit. This will prevent the accidental energizing of the circuit while you are working on it.
                Remove the upper (and if provided lower) access panel(s). Use a volt meter or test light to check between wiring terminals and the grounded metal case of the tank to be sure that the power is off. Lock off or secure the circuit breaker or remove fuses to prevent someone from turning the circuit on while you are working on the water heater.
                Clear away any insulation blocking access or view of the controls (thermostat and high temperature switch) and heating element.
                High Temperature Limit Switch: Has a reset button There will be (4) terminal screws / wires connected to it. Usually the top two terminals have wires that go up to the field wiring compartment that bring the power to the rest of the water heater's controls and heating elements
                Thermostat: Has a graduated, adjustable dial. The dial may indicate letters "A" "B" "C" etc., "warm, hot and hotter" or as in the case of the one pictured, the actual temperature in degrees.
                Heating Element: Has two terminals with a wire connected to each. It is usually located below the controls and supports the controls with an a clip of some typ
                Test to ensure power is off. Set the meter for AC Volts and insert the black probe into the black or common jack, and the red probe into the red or Volts jack.
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