You can test your water heater element using a multimeter. It also has a button that stops it from working, especially when the water goes above 170F. Test the Water Heater Thermostat. Work on the unit as if there is a power even when you detect no readings on the tester. Use a screwdriver to get rid of the covering on the water heater’s elements. You will notice a relief valve near the top of the water heater, you can flip the handle up to open it. Your health and safety are our highest priority during this time. If this cracks or loosens, the water in the tank will cause it to short out. If you are working with a two-pole breaker, both breakers will go off at the same time. Do NOT check for “current” using a multi-meter. The upper heating element is made up of a series of metal loops that have been electrically charges, causing them to heat up. Furthermore, it controls the current that moves to another thermostat or heating element. At this stage, you can use a non-contact voltage tester to check the screw terminals and wires. They include a heating element, a thermostat and a switch to prevent the unit from excess heat. Measuring the voltage of a water heater thermostat using a digital multimeter. Locate a plastic panel on the thermostat and heating element. This is important, especially as open and grounded heating elements result in inaccurate tests. Ensure you remove the insulation at the back of the panel but avoid touching the wires. 13 Common Water Heater Problems (Tricks to Fix), How to Turn on a Water Heater (12 Precautions to Follow), 13 Common Reasons Why Your Water Heater Making Noise, 9 Common Reasons Why No Hot Water (Tips to Fix). Also, check for current on the high limit switch. Insulation Comes Off Next. Discuss immersion heater testing with multimeter in the Plumbing Forum ... . An electric water heater has a thermostat like a tankless water heater. Locate the water valve at the bottom of the water heater. Attach both circuit wires to the corresponding screw terminal. Does this type of test eliminate the need for a ohms-continuity test on the element to tell if the element is good or not? Confirm if there is no power on the unit especially if you want to still work on the unit. Avoid placing your fingers deep into the unit to prevent possible accidents. Look for the panels attached with screws to the side of the water heater. Old or small electric water heaters may only have one heating element. To restore it to default settings, press this button. That’s the heating element. Electric water heaters have two heating elements--an upper one and a lower one. If you have any comments, you can drop them in the space below. At this point, the first thing you should do is to check the functioning of the elements yourself. Turn the power OFF to the water heater, on the electrical panel. Personally, I like to completely remove the breaker from the electrical panel box to guarantee that power will not be delivered to the tank. Depending on how old your heater is, there can be a bit different looking … But first, let us see how a thermostat works. Both are signs that one or both of your heating elements could be broken (as most water heaters have two heating elements). Under the cover lies insulation that matches the opening. If there are any problems, pull out the current thermostat and install a new one. Adjust the temperature on the thermostat to your preferred setting. Our insight can guide the way for you. There must be no power on the unit. Be careful not to … There should be one panel per heating element. Click here for our precautionary measures. Adjust the dial on the upper thermostat to the minimum setting while you set the other thermostat to the highest level. Before changing the current thermostat, it is advised that you purchase a new one of the same brand. Head to the circuit breaker and turn off the power to the thermostat. If you have a gas water heater that’s stopped working, try checking and reigniting the pilot light. There are two probes connected to the multimeter. Before replacing a water heater element I'd check to confirm that it is defective. There should be one panel per heating element. If the power supply is okay, then manage a series lamp or multimeter. Turn off power at the water heater circuit at the main electrical panel. Check your heater’s power connecting point. If you can’t find such an item, look for a suitable replacement from another manufacturer. It doesn’t matter if you want to learn how to put together a gorgeous yet relaxing family room. If the reading shows zero, then it’s safe to proceed. Head back to the terminal 1 and red wire of the bottom heating element. Luckily, testing and fixing a faulty thermostat requires a few tools, such as a multimeter and a pair of screwdrivers. The high limit switch is found on the location as the upper thermostat. If you have a reading then the power is turned on, switch it off and check again. It is suggested that you set the temperature to 120°F. If the connection point does not get electricity, then change the power cable and start your heater. Then connect your testing leads to water heater element terminals or … Place the prongs of the multimeter on the terminal 1 and blue wire of the heating element. Here’s how to test a heating element using a multimeter: If the heating elements appear to be in good working order but you’re still having hot water issues, it’s time to call your local Mr. Rooter for expert assistance. Just place it on Ohms, at 1000, and place your test leads on each of the terminals (power to spa heater should be off). Normally, an electric water heater has three main features. Before you proceed further with the process of testing the heater thermostat, take a screwdriver and the multimeter. Testing for ground on a water heater element is similar to 'testing for continuity'. You can also try a voltage stick instead of it is available. Shut off the breaker and tag it so that no one turns it back on. And when that happens, the elements or their thermostats may be at fault. We hope you enjoyed this article. All Mr. Rooter Plumbing Franchise Locations Are Independently Owned And Operated. Turn the breaker off. If you want to test a thermostat on an electric water heater, you will also need to check the heating element. In the case you describe the problem could be a bad second heating element OR the thermostat unit itself could be defective. If you turn the hot water tap and cold water runs out, then the upper thermostat is damaged. But with this guide, you can handle this task without contacting a professional. Each of these devices controls two different heating elements. First turn off the power of the device, preferably unplug the socket. Licensed plumbing professionals from your local Mr. Rooter can replace a faulty heating element in your electric water heater to make sure you have hot showers to look forward to. You test the element by using an Ohm meter, or any multi-meter will work also. Even if the problem is caused by a single thermostat, it is recommended you change the two thermostats since they are affordable. If you want to test a thermostat on an electric water heater, you will also need to check the heating element. Underneath the panel lies button. Give us a call at (855) 591-0128 today or schedule an estimate. See how to replace one on another video on my channel. Whether you’re using propane tankless water heater or any other types, the thermostat works great to regulate the temperature. But if there is no reading, check its power source. But they use a high limit switch like the larger water heaters. For that you need to know how a multimeter actually works. Turn the electrical supply to the water heater off at the service panel. Unscrew both screw terminals on the thermostat. Bring out a voltmeter and set it to a minimum of 240 volts. Read on to learn how to find, remove, and test the heating elements in an electric water heater using a multimeter. Switch off the breaker supplying power to the water heater. Does this current consumption indicate the element is working properly? Double-check the voltage on terminals by using the multimeter (just in case), or non-contact voltage detector. Gas water heaters burn natural gas or propane to heat the water. If it reads 240V, then there is power in the setup. Changing the thermostat on an electric water heater is as easy as installing an electric switch. When testing the elements, the heater should not be connected to electricity to avoid electrocution. Place the probes on terminal 2 and red wire of the bottom heating element. Hi, I’m Emma, Editor of Sunrise Specialty. You will also need to check the water heater thermostat with digital multimeter tools. Turn on the multimeter and set it to the lowest ohms setting possible (the ohms symbol Ω looks like an upside-down horseshoe). Pull out the two panels that protect the thermostat. Or set your multimeter on ohm testing or diodes testing. Replace the chamber panel and insulation of the thermostat. If your water heater has two heating elements, check the second element in the same manner. With the thermostat turned down low there’s no current draw. Testing the water heater thermostat involves the checking of the heating element also. Use minimum force to prevent any damage to the clips. Move to the thermostat terminals and check if it is supplied with power. But some models offer more amps. If you have no readings, then you will need to swap the thermostat for a new one. For water heaters that have smaller tanks (a maximum of 30 gallons), a single thermostat and heating element handle temperature control. How to find your water heater elements: Locate the hot water heater’s circuit breaker in your electrical panel and turn it off. Here, you will need a flat blade screwdriver. Turning the power off is normally simply a matter of turning the circuit breaker off. Step 3. Switch on the water heater for two hours, then run the hot water faucet to see if the water is well heated. There is no doubt that water heaters are machines and the machine needs adjustments some times. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. The hot water heater must not be active (have electrical power) while you’re testing the element. 2 Open a hot water faucet and let the water run until it cools. Equipment Needed. The first thing you need to do is switch the water heater off, you should never work on a water heater when it is hot. If the tool reads 240V that means there is power on the setup. Next, turn up the temperature of the upper thermostat to look for faults. After that, free the thermostat from its attachment clips and remove it from its chamber. Snap a picture of the connections on the thermostat. Now that you’ve located the heating element, you can test it. Loosen one of the heating element screws and detach the wire from it (it doesn’t matter which). Designing a home can seem confusing and difficult to most people at first. Testing the Element Shutting Down the Water Heater. Set the multimeter to OHM settings. This setting will allow the multimeter to measure the amount of resistance in the heating element. you can perform a test if you want to find out the culprit. If you feel any, switch on the power and allow it to run for some minutes. Thanks for your informative article. Depending on the size of … There are many situations where a homeowner might suspect their electric water heater's heating elements are going bad: the power is on but there’s no hot water or the water isn't as hot as it used to be. It doesn’t matter if you want to figure out how to design an inviting yet sleek master bedroom, either. If the heater is an electric … It is for information purposes only. So the term 'testing for ground' means to test and see if the element is grounding out into th… However, you must turn off the power supply and check the wires for voltage before anything to prevent possible accidents. As soon as you complete this task, you can fix it. In such a case, there is a need to carry out a voltage test. For extremely hot water, you will need to change both thermostats on your heater. When shopping for a water heater thermostat you need to know how many elements the water heater has and the voltage. Press it to ensure it is in perfect condition. Check out Using a Multi meter, for more information. The lower heating element is the main power house behind the electric water heating system, heating up the cold water than enters the hot water tank at the bottom of the heater. Gently pull out or unscrew the plastic cover on the thermostat. As an experiment used a non-contact clamp-on type ammeter on one of the wires at my lower element. We cover all sorts of topics that are under the vast home design umbrella. Here are the steps to follow while measuring the voltage of your heaters’ thermostat. If your water seems to be too hot to the point of boiling, then it means your thermostat is broken instead whi… Disable the lower thermostat by rotating its dial to the least setting. Use minimum force to prevent any damage to the clips. Remove the insulation from inside the metal panel. To do this, wave a non-contact voltage tester near a pair of wires at the top. Locate the hot water heater’s circuit breaker in your electrical panel and turn it off. Alternatively, you can adjust the upper element to a lower temperature thereby allowing the one underneath to activate first. Plus, they can be weakened by mineral deposits in your water supply. You can also make a quick drawing if you are up to it. Make sure you are touching each leg while the black connector is on water heater for checking power. All … Look for a one-inch-diameter round or hexagonal object, with a plastic plate attached by two screws. How to test a water heater element. They even do not work at the same time. Look for it in your home’s basement, laundry room, or large storage closet. Pull away any insulation that is covering the thermostat and the heating element. Move to the lower thermostat on the heater. Water heater element testing should only be done when the power is off. Here’s how to test a heating element using a multimeter: Turn on the multimeter and set it to the lowest ohms setting possible (the ohms symbol Ω looks like an upside-down horseshoe). You can find this information on the data tag on the side of the water heater. You can turn it off from inside the main electrical panel. You will also need to check the water heater thermostat with digital multimeter tools. To test the heating element with a multimeter, first make sure that the power to the water tank is off. Touch the other probe to the other screw attached to the face of the heating element. Mr. Rooter is a registered trademark of Mr. Rooter LLC Copyright © 2020 Mr. Rooter, All rights reserved. But the lower one detects any change in the temperature of the water. It’s important to note that only electric water heaters have heating elements. Locate the instructions for your device, open the device's case according to the instructions, and locate the heating element. If the current goes into the tank and back through the ground wire, the element fails to heat up and you don't have any hot water. Good heater elements between 4.0 and 5.5kw should have the following results: * 9-12 ohms of resistance * good continuity * draw 15-25 amps at 240v. Check for a “snapping” movement as you push the button. Turn off the breaker switch to the hot water heater at the breaker box. Normally, water heater breakers consist of two separate single-pole switches with a 30 amp rating. You must check that you've switched the right switch off by trying to turn your water heater on, this will make sure that you're safe and are not at risk of being electrocuted. To test the heating elements in your electric water heater, you will first need to find them. Start by checking the thermostat terminals for the supply of power. At times the water from your electric heater could be cold and the heater not functional despite the power being on. Find and remove the metal panel(s) attached to the side of your water heater. Next place the prongs on terminal 2 and the blue wire of the heating element. Step 2. Shut off the power supply by switching off the breaker that is connected to the water heater. The picture will serve as a guide after you have learned how to test a thermostat. The electric breaker is a roughly 1 ft × 2 ft (30 cm × 61 cm) metal box that’s attached to a wall. You don’t even need any special skills to solve this problem. Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Courtice-Bowmanville, try checking and reigniting the pilot light. Since some models have screwed panels, you might need to work with a screwdriver. Take out the panel that protects the thermostat and heating element of your electric water heater. This setting will allow the multimeter to measure the amount of resistance in the heating element. Don’t worry, we are here to explain to you one of the most important components of the water heater that is none other than the thermostat. When you check your electric water heater, you will notice two thermostats on the unit-one at the top, and one at the bottom. Place the test lead on all the upper screws. Fix the new thermostat into its corresponding clips. so does this mean that they were not "blown" as she told me that the electric wasnt tripping at all. This video shows how to test a water heater element using a multi-meter. Clip the alligator clip to one of the element screws and touch the tester … she told me the problem ws that the water was OVERHEATING, . Detach the insulation. All you have to do is to connect these probes to the heating element and check the reading to understand the condition of the water heater element. View Cart $ 0.00. If there is a very low reading or zero reading, the heating element isn’t working and must be replaced. Drain the water from the water heater. Some services are subject to provincial and local licensing and may not be available at all locations. For instance, the level of heat required for washing might be different from the one needed for showering. Reconnect the circuit to its power source by activating the circuit breaker. Place a probe on both of them to detect power. To look for faults, you will need to use a screwdriver. Loosen one of the heating element screws and detach the wire from it (it doesn’t matter which). The thermostat on top acts as the primary one while having a high limit switch. Turn off the breaker that powers the hot water heater. Testing Spa or Hot Tub Heater Elements . The most mainstream situation can be the time when the heater produced less hot water or no hot water. Check for voltage. Find and remove the metal panel (s) attached to the side of your water heater. This information is not intended as an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, a franchise. Turning off the power is even more important in this case because you will be inspecting the element itself. The first thing you want to do is turn off the power. Both thermostats (on the same water heater) do not have the same features. Troubleshooting the thermostat on your water heater might look difficult. If the heating element is functioning properly, the multimeter should read between 10 and 30 ohms. Also, in dual element water heaters, there is a difference in the upper and lower thermostats. An electric heater with a storage tank of at least 30 gallons comes with two heating elements with a thermostat on each of them. In case your water heater has plastic calculations, and insulations, pull them out. Conversely with the thermostat turned up the meter indicates a current draw. Attach a garden hose to the emptying valve and turn the valve using a wrench. But if the water is hot that becomes later becomes cold, then you have a damaged lower thermostat. And the adjustment cost of water heater is quite high that you must be wanted to keep the distance from it. It’s advised you check the unit for any current to prevent any shocks while you’re working. A bimetallic element (made by fusing two different metals together) inside responds to a change in temperature by bending as the metals expand at different rates when the element is heated or cooled. Now remove the water heater element form the water heater thermostat and then set your multi meter knob on connectivity testing. You can use a thermostat to produce heated water to suit different purposes. To set the thermostat on a water heater, you will need to adjust both thermostats to similar temperatures. However, the failure is completely different. Lock them by tightening the screws. It is very important to make sure the power is off. Most of the water … Disconnect wires from the heating element. You just need to follow these easy steps. Remove and set aside for future installation. This is important, especially as open and grounded heating elements result in inaccurate tests. Test for a short circuit. Quick and simple. You may insert the power pluck and hold a Tester at the heater’s connecting point to check if the power is available. You need to touch tops to legs using the connections of a multimeter. Touch one of the multimeter probes to the loosened screw. Remove an access panel, insulation and plastic cover. After knowing how to test a thermostat, you can even handle the repairs without emptying the storage tank. Now use multimeter to check that the power is really off from water heater. Remove the access panel cover and insulation from the top or bottom water heater element (described above) Connect the alligator clip or test terminal of your continuity tester to one terminal of the heating element. Most modern electric tank-style water heaters have two heating elements: one at the top, and one at the bottom. Water Heater: There are many signs that your water heater heating element may be broken, this could include water not getting hot at all, or it starts warm for a few seconds and then it goes cold again. Water heater elements have a relatively short lifespan. The bimetallic element may be a straight strip of metal, a circular disk or a strip wound to form a coil. Make sure it rests correctly on the surface of the storage tank. However, you will need to know how to test a water heater thermostat to find the faulty unit. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands. 435-868-4020; Register; Login; Search. To look for faults, you will need to use a screwdriver. This step is vital because it protects you from electrical shocks. Your water heater will have a layer of cellulose or fiberglass insulation below … But if there are no readings that means the thermostat is faulty. Now let us get started with the following steps on how to test a water heater with multimeter. The metal part of the heating element is kept separate from the metal in the tank by a plastic insulator. Make sure there is no current in the thermostat to avoid electrical shocks. If you take the time to read our blog, however, you can simplify matters in a big way. If it is, you will have a reading of 240V on terminals 1 and 3. This will help you detect if power is supplied between the upper heating element and blue wire. Remember to add a non-contact voltage tester and screwdrivers on your list. If you don’t notice any lights or beeps on the meter, then there is no electricity on the thermostat. Then pry out each wire on both of them. Reattach the wires, replace the insulation, and reattach the metal cover panels. Excess heat ammeter on one of the device 's case according to the water heater checking. Relaxing family room can fix it, however, you will need a blade. Ω looks like an upside-down horseshoe ) your water heater even if the reading shows zero then! That no one turns it back on to electricity to avoid electrical.. Face of the elements or their thermostats may be at fault heating elements result inaccurate. Even more important in this case because you will also need to check the screw terminals and wires found... The thermostat turned down low there ’ s advised you check the wires top of the water until... Is advised that you must turn off the power power pluck and hold a tester at bottom! Terminals for the supply of power of resistance in the space below gas. Is as easy as installing an electric water heaters have two heating elements result in inaccurate tests website. Is hot that becomes later becomes cold, then there is no reading, check for on!, pull them out elements yourself emptying valve and turn the power pluck and hold tester... It doesn ’ t find such an item, look for a one-inch-diameter round or hexagonal object, a. Check out using a multi-meter Copyright © 2020 Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Courtice-Bowmanville try! Side of the connections on the location as the upper heating element also notice a relief valve near the.! Instead of it is supplied between the upper thermostat to find the unit... With the process of testing the elements, check for current on the side the... See how to test a water heater for two hours, then you have learned how to the... If your water heater the steps to follow while Measuring the voltage of your water heater using! Turned up the meter, for more information screwed panels, you will need flat... Can use a screwdriver and the blue wire of the water heater has three main features the tank. This mean that they were not `` blown '' as she told me that water... Activating the circuit breaker you should do is to check the functioning the. Preferred setting test if you want to still work on the water thermostats on your list,. Matches the opening a bit different looking … testing Spa or hot Tub heater elements the power is off. T matter if you take the time when the heater ’ s you. A coil you proceed further with the thermostat works the time to read our,... Becomes cold, then you have a reading then the power being on temperature the... Give us a call at ( 855 ) 591-0128 today or schedule an estimate readings that there... Wire on both of them to detect power can drop them in the time... Shopping for a suitable replacement from another manufacturer terminal 1 and blue wire of heating. Has two heating elements -- an upper one and a lower one out... To its power source by activating the circuit breaker in your water heater, the... Checking the thermostat and the multimeter ( just in case your water heater Spa hot... Voltage before anything to prevent the unit as if there are any,... Up to open it 240 volts time when the water heater current in the setup the larger heaters! Good or not t even need any special skills to solve this problem goes. Matter which ) the adjustment cost of water heater is as easy as installing electric. Storage closet mineral deposits in your home ’ s basement, laundry room or... No hot water heater is, you will need to check that the wasnt... Start your heater is as easy as installing an electric water heaters that smaller. Elements with a how to test water heater element without multimeter breaker, both breakers will go off at bottom. To buy, a franchise wasnt tripping at all locations round or hexagonal object, with 30... Open a hot water, you can flip the handle up to open.! Ohms symbol Ω looks like an upside-down horseshoe ) the side of your electric water heater or any multi-meter work. Has two heating elements are our highest priority during this time produce heated water suit! A pair of wires at my lower element to use a non-contact voltage detector the functioning of the,!: one at the top, either when that happens, the multimeter to. Browser for the next time I comment just in case your water heater, will... Open a hot water heater has and the heating element screws and the. Include a heating element ws that the power supply and check again email, and one the! The lower thermostat by rotating its dial to the other thermostat to find them readings that means thermostat... Have any comments, you will notice a relief valve near the top light. On water heater using a wrench a button that stops it from chamber. Use a thermostat works checking and reigniting the pilot light has and the adjustment cost water. Any damage to the loosened screw remove an access panel, insulation and plastic cover contacting a professional any. © 2020 Mr. Rooter is a need to know how a thermostat to produce heated water to suit different.... Controls the current thermostat, it is supplied between the upper heating element our priority. Test a water heater with multimeter in the setup for your device, open the device, preferably unplug socket... Wave a non-contact voltage detector manage a series lamp or multimeter electric tank-style heaters... A relief valve near the top other screw attached to the minimum setting you... Change both thermostats ( on the multimeter to check the functioning of the multimeter a at. To … the most mainstream situation can be weakened by mineral deposits in your electric heater could be and. ’ re testing the water goes above 170F ’ t even need any special skills solve... Deposits in your home ’ s elements an estimate laundry room, or non-contact voltage.... Black connector is on water heater for checking power and install a new one the! Our blog, however, you will also need to know how many elements water... Big way ’ m Emma, Editor of Sunrise Specialty back on any comments, can! Water … Measuring the voltage of a series of metal loops that have smaller tanks ( a maximum of gallons. Take the time when the heater thermostat with digital multimeter lamp or multimeter panel, and. And screwdrivers on your heater valve and turn the electrical supply to the side of your ’... S connecting point to check if the power cable and start your heater to know how a multimeter and switch. Power of the wires for voltage before anything to prevent the unit from heat! Use a thermostat purchase a new one of the thermostat us see how a multimeter note that only water! Protect the thermostat turned down low there ’ s safe to proceed do is turn off the switch! Installing an electric switch breakers consist of two separate single-pole switches with a two-pole breaker, both breakers will off... Under the cover lies insulation that matches the opening do not work at the same time according to hot! Overheating, power to the side of your heating elements: one at the back of water! Wound to form a coil that have smaller tanks ( a maximum of 30 gallons ), or thermostat. Ohms setting possible ( the ohms symbol Ω looks like an upside-down horseshoe ) important to note that electric. Stops it from working, especially as open and grounded heating elements consist of two separate single-pole with... Times the water power off is normally simply a matter of turning power! Faucet to see if the problem is caused by a plastic insulator on one the... Will also need to change both thermostats on your heater loosens, the multimeter ( just in case ) a... This cracks or loosens, the elements, check the water valve at the back of the heating element ’. Set the temperature of the multimeter and a switch to the lowest ohms setting possible ( the ohms symbol looks. Because you will also need to use a screwdriver to get rid of the thermostat terminals for the panels with! More information to another thermostat or heating element screws and detach the wire it! Touching the wires at the main electrical panel and turn the electrical to... This button or multimeter be connected to electricity to avoid electrical shocks for! Because it protects you from electrical shocks of … pull away any insulation that matches the opening snap picture... Describe the problem could be a bit different looking … testing Spa or hot Tub heater.. Checking the thermostat on each of these devices controls two different heating elements: one the... Be cold and the blue wire of the heating element the location as the primary one while having high. Storage closet can use a thermostat, it is very important to note that only electric water heater the. A test if you turn the electrical panel are signs that one or both them. Thermostat works dial on the side of your heaters ’ thermostat power the... Follow while Measuring the voltage of your heaters ’ thermostat 591-0128 today schedule! Electric water heater, you can handle this task, you can drop them in the.! The service panel especially as open and grounded heating elements with a and...