How to Replace Water Heater Element without Draining: Is It Doable?

You don’t need to purchase a brand-new water heater any time the machine does not well according to your need. Unless you are a billionaire, you can replace its element.

Now you may wonder how you should change the element when you are incapable of working with machines? Can you replace the water heater element without draining possible to do?

How to Replace Water Heater Element without Draining

Water Heater Element Testing

The basic trick to know whether your water heater element is broken is to ‘feel’ any of these symptoms below:

  1. It takes very, very long to get hot water – unlike the normal circumstance.
  2. Your water heater doesn’t have you provided with any hot water at all, although the water heater has been turned on, or no visible errors occurred.

These symptoms show pretty apparent that the water heater heating element is broken. If you think it is not the right time to get a whole replacement for the water heater, then you can prepare a new element to replace the old one.

However, purchasing a new heating element can be avoided by checking for the cables and the circuit breaker. Is it accidentally switched off? Or has it tripped?

If you find those parts as fine, then the next thing you should check is the reset button. Try resetting the water heater and restarting the water heater again. If the issue persists and the reset button does not pop out, chances are the heating element is causing you a problem.

Read also : How to Scrap a Water Heater?

How to Replace Water Heater Element without Draining

To remove the broken water heater element without draining, then you will need these appliances below :

  1. Voltage tester
  2. A hose
  3. Water heater element wrench
  4. New heating element with the same specifications

The procedures to replace water heater element without draining are as follows:

  1. Turn off the water heater and free the water heater from any electrical current.
  1. Attach the draining hose to the boiler drain and flush the sediments just a bit. It doesn’t mean you need to drain the tank. But always make sure that the power button is turned off – as well as the circuit breaker.
  1. Remove the water heater element.
  1. Attach your new water heater element. To remove and install it, you can use the wrench you prepared back then.
  1. Test the newly installed element.

How to Remove Water Heater Element that is Rusted

More often than not, the rusted water element is tough to plug out. So, what should you do to tackle this situation?

In case you plan to remove the rusted water heater element, you need to prepare a 6-point socket with a 0.5-inch drive socket wrench. This big socket will provide more leverage and ease the socket to fit over the heating element. You can also prepare a breaker bar, but if you don’t have it, that’s OK.

Read also : How to Check Water Heater Element

  1. Cover the thermostat with some cloth and bend out the heating element wires.
  1. Prepare a 1:1 vinegar and water solution. Wet a toothbrush with this solution and brush the solution onto the heating element’s seam and the heating tank side. Apply it moderately. Let sit for around 20 minutes.
  1. Place your socket over the element, then try to turn it in a counterclockwise direction.
  1. If the heating element isn’t dislodged, then try to move it with a breaker bar. Slide the bar over the wrench handle. Then, ask someone to hold the wrench top over the heater element while you retry to turn the wrench with the bar.
  1. Once the heater element starts to turn, remove the bar and turn the element using the wrench.

So that’s the procedure to replace the water heater element without draining. Note that in general, water heaters’ life span is around six to ten years. If your water heater is as old as that, or maybe even older – then it’s best to have a new water heater. If what happens is vice versa, you may consider buying a replacement of the water heater element.