Tools & Materials
In this video, This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey and Kevin O’Connor keep the hot water flowing.
- When an electric water heater stops producing hot water, check the main electrical panel to ensure the breakers aren’t tripped.
- Next, check the emergency cut-off switch on the thermostat. If the switch button is popped out, reset it by pressing it in.
- Test a heating element by first turning off the electricity to the water heater. Then, remove the access panel to expose the end of the heating element.
- Loosen the two screw terminals on the element and disconnect the two wires.
- Touch each of the screw terminals with a prong of a continuity tester. If the tester doesn’t light up, then the heating element has failed and must be replaced.
- Drain the tank of water and use a special socket and pipe wrench to loosen and remove the heating element from the water heater.
- Thread the new heating element into the water heater and tighten.
- Unscrew the old thermostat from the side of the water heater and replace it with a new thermostat.
- Fill the tank with water and turn the electricity back on.
Looking for more help with repairs around your home? A home warranty may help. Check out these in-depth guides from the This Old House Reviews Team: