What is an element?
An element is the part of the water heater that physically heats the water. They typically have a black threaded head and are composed of stainless steel, copper, or incoloy. The element(s) screw into the water heater and have a gasket that slides over the metallic shaft to create a seal/leak guard between the head and your water heater. The quantity and type of elements are dependent upon the size of the unit. Residential units will typically have one or two elements, while commercial units may have up to nine elements (see image on right for example element).
What is the most common cause of element replacement?
The most common cause of replacement is mineral build-up which often leads to elements shorting out. | The element is submerged directly into the water, meaning that any calcification, magnesium, or the presence of other minerals are constantly surrounding the element as it heats up. As a result, the minerals tend to gather harden on the element, preventing it from reaching its full heating capacity. If this corrosion continues to build up long enough, reaching the head of the element, it will short the element out (see image on left). The obvious symptom of a damaged element is lack of hot water, which may also be accompanied by popping sounds, as experienced by some customers in the past.
How can I find the replacement element(s) for my unit?
The fastest way to find the replacement element(s) is through your unit’s model number (if calling U.S. Water Heating
Solutions, you will also need your unit’s serial number to check for the possibility of warranty coverage on the replacement parts and labor). Many units will also display the element voltage and wattage on the ratings plate (the label which contains your unit’s model and serial number). If you are able to remove the element and it is still intact, you may also find the voltage/wattage and part number on the sides of the head of the element (see images below). The replacement element(s) MUST have the SAME voltage and wattage as noted by the manufacturer. Operating a water heater with the incorrect elements may lead to inefficient usage and/or the possibility of the element damage.
Can I change the elements myself?
Yes; you can change elements on your own, however, please ensure that you have matched up the correct voltage and wattage for your replacement. Additionally, the unit must be filled and properly vented PRIOR to restoring power after the element has been changed to avoid a “dry fire.” Attempting to operate an element dry can damage the element, as it is made to submerged (there are dry fire resistant elements, usually made of stainless steel to help eliminate this risk).
Do you have further questions?
Give us a call! 833-879-4776 | We stock many of the common elements in our warehouse and offer service in seven Midwestern states!
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