How to Test the Water Heater Element

Hot water heater element

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When you turn on the hot water faucet and only cold water comes out, there could be several reasons behind it. One common cause is a faulty hot water heater element. This element is responsible for heating the water in your tank, so if it is not functioning correctly, the water will not be heated. This is a good time to test the water heater element. How to test the water heater element? There are tools you will need and then follow the steps to make sure you do it properly.

Hot water heater that isn't working right.

Signs of a Bad Hot Water Heater Element

There are a few signs that can indicate a problem with your hot water heater element. These include:

  • No hot water: The most obvious sign is when you have no hot water at all.
  • Inadequate hot water supply: If you are only getting lukewarm water or the hot water runs out quickly, it could be due to a bad element.
  • Strange noises: Unusual noises, such as popping or crackling sounds coming from the water heater, can indicate a failing element.

Tools Required to Test Water Heater Element

To test your water heater element, you will need the following tools:

Using tools to open panel on hot water heater.

How to Test Water Heater Element

  1. Turn off power: Before performing any tests, turn off the power supply to your water heater.
  2. Access the element compartment: Use a screwdriver to remove the cover panel of the water heater, which will allow you to access the heating elements.
  3. Disconnect wires: Carefully disconnect the wires attached to the element being tested.
  4. Set multimeter: Set your multimeter to the resistance measurement mode.
  5. Test for continuity: Touch one multimeter probe to each terminal of the element. If there is continuity (a complete circuit), the element is working fine. If there is no continuity, the element is faulty and needs to be replaced.
  6. Repeat if necessary: Repeat the testing process for the other heating elements in your water heater.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you know how to test a water heater element, let’s take a look at a few other areas of recommended maintenance. One of those is how long it takes for a water heater to heat up. It can take 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the water heater.

Another is installing a water heater. To install a water heater, it can take from 2 to 3 hours. It is best to start with a few quotes from different companies, and then schedule the replacement. Lastly, making space near the water heater will help the master plumber.

Lastly, it’s important to know what your water meter looks like. There are a few different types and you will also need to know how to read the water meter too. This is important information you can provide a professional if there are issues with the water system.

When to Call a Professional

While testing a water heater element can be done by homeowners, it is always recommended to call a professional if you are unsure or uncomfortable performing the task yourself. Additionally, if you have determined that the element is faulty, it is best to have a professional replace it to ensure proper installation and safety.


Having a hot water heater that does not produce hot water can be frustrating. By understanding the signs of a bad hot water heater element and knowing how to test it, you can diagnose the problem and determine if a professional’s assistance is needed. Remember to prioritize safety and consult a professional if necessary. While you are looking at the water heater, It is a good time for a home inspection. Reach out to Fox Mountain Property Inspections for a full home inspection in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia states.

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