1-Turn the power off going to your water heater.Turn the power off going to your water heater. Check the electrical breaker box in your home and find the 2 circuits that control your water heater. Flip the switches to the off position so you don't get shocked when you're working.
2-Shut off the water supply on your water heater.The valve controlling the water going into your heater should be on a pipe above or next to the unit. Turn the valve so the lever is perpendicular to the pipe. This prevents any water from entering the tank while you work on it.
3-Drain the water heater completely. Locate the drain valve on at the bottom of your tank and secure the end of a garden hose to it. Put the other end of the hose next to a drain, such as one in your basement floor or in a bathtub. Open the drain valve on the bottom of your water heater with a screwdriver or channel lock pliers and let the tank drain completely.
4-Open the access panel leading to the heating element.The access panel covers the thermostat and the heating element inside your water heater, and it is usually located on the side or near the bottom of the unit. Use a screwdriver to remove the access panel and set it aside.
5-Disconnect and label the wires connected to the heating element. The heating element is usually on the lower part of the access panel and will have 2 screws with red and black wires connecting to it. Loosen the screws with your screwdriver and pull the wires out. As you pull the wires, label which screws they were attached to with a piece of masking tape.
6-Unscrew the heating element from the water heater. Secure a pair of channel lock pliers on the hexagonal nut behind the screws. Turn the heating element counterclockwise to loosen it. Continue unscrewing the heating element by hand until you can easily pull it out from your tank.
7-Scrub the heating element with a wire brush. Over time, your heating element may collect calcium deposits from the water and make the unit less efficient. Set the heating element on a flat surface and scrape the coil with a stiff wire brush. Try to clean as much of the residue off as can. When you have one side of the coil clean, flip it over and scrub the other side.
8-Reattach the heating element to your tank. Feed the coil back into the tank and start screwing the element back on by hand. Once the heating element is hand-tight, use your channel lock pliers to tighten the unit in place. Loop the wires around their matching screws before tightening them with a screwdriver.
9-Turn on the power and water supply to use your tank again. Once the heating unit is back in place, flip the breakers to the on position so the water heater has power. Then, turn the water valve on so the lever points the same direction as the pipes. Once the tank is filled again, you should have hot water.
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