Testing for bad heating element on water heater

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Old 02-08-11, 08:17 AM
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Testing for bad heating element on water heater

Gentleman, having a brain freeze here. What is the method for testing a heating element in a water heater. My heater has two and both have 240 volts going to them from the thermostat. Ohmeter checks continuity on both also.If one was bad shouldn't I get an open on the continuity check?
Thanx for any help you can give.
 
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Old 02-08-11, 09:40 AM
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They need to be disconnected from the system when resistance is checked. Your ohm meter needs to be on the lowest scale.

Resistance= voltage divided by amps.
Amps=watts divided by voltage.
 
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Old 02-08-11, 10:26 AM
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Those can be tricky.....the meter may read continuity even if the element is blowed out. That is because the elements can blow but still have enough metal to allow small amounts of voltage across. My dad's was this way. Usually the bottom ones, as they get the crap in the bottom of the tank and fail quicker. Try the lower settings as suggested, but if you still get readings remove the lower one and check it out.
 
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Old 02-08-11, 10:40 AM
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You should also test resistance from each lead of the element to ground; this should come out infinity. If it does not, the element is wet inside and has failed.
 
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Old 02-08-11, 11:26 AM
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Thanx, guys you're both right.Turned out to be bottm one and the continuity to ground proved it.Being stupid I changed with water in tank and got a little wet but not too bad. Previous tank only had one and I have the hardest water known to man. On that one I got so good at it that I hardly spilled any water but this time wasn't the case. Thanx again.
 
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Old 02-08-11, 11:48 AM
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Glad you got it working. I always change them with water in the tank too -- takes too much time to drain and refill the tank. As a note to other readers, do not energize the elements until the tank is completely full. They will burn out immediately if the element is not completely submerged.
 
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