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

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