Can't Get Element Out of Water Heater


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Old 06-30-14, 10:55 AM
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Can't Get Element Out of Water Heater

I am cleaning out my water heater and I can't get out the bottom element. It is a foldback element and the part that folds back has expanded from the main part such that it is now too big to squeeze out of the hole. In the past it was possible to work it out anyways with some effort but this one has expanded so much that I can't force it out. Any ideas?
 
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Old 06-30-14, 04:08 PM
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I figured out how to get it out. I did not want to cut it as it is still a good element just needs to be cleaned. I was able to stick a screwdriver inside the hole and pry the foldback part down such that at least the end would fit in the mouth of the hole. I then just cranked on it to knock off the scale and pull it through.
 
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Old 06-30-14, 04:34 PM
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If you have to squeeze it to remove it could become damaged and need to be replaced.
Make sure the electrode doesn't crack.
 
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Old 06-30-14, 04:55 PM
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How old is the water heater? If you have replaced more than two sets of elements, and has reached the ripe old age of 12-15, it may be time to shop.
 
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Old 06-30-14, 06:53 PM
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The cost of new elements is so low, why would you even consider reinstalling a used element?
 
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Old 07-01-14, 06:44 AM
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I cleaned the element up and it looks fine, no cracks. Thanks for the heads up though.

This heater is about 9 years old so it is getting up there. I cleaned up the scale buildup at the bottom of the heater and everything looks fine. We have very hard water, I am against a water softener, therefore I have to clean out the bottom of the tank every so often. This time I replaced the drain valve at the bottom with a fully-open, straight-through ball valve. I hope that I can use the drain valve to help remove some of the buildup on occasion.

Two reason for cleaning the elements. 1) I use stainless steel elements which are a bit more expensive but are supposed to help reduce buildup. 2) The wattage size is not a 'standard' size.
 
 

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