Checking The Heating Element In A Water Heater

Checking the heating element in a water heater is quite an easy process. You don’t even need to drain the tank to do it.

Where Is the Heater Element?

Most electric water heaters have an element that is as long as the height of the tank to ensure the most efficient heating. The element fits into the tank from the top. This is where you will find all parts necessary to test the element with an ohmmeter.

Turn off the Power

Turn off the power before you do anything. You will be able to see the head of the element at the top of the tank with 2 cables connected. These are the power supply.


Make sure that the terminals are not live, and then disconnect the 2 cables. Use the ohmmeter to check the flow between the 2 connectors for the elements.

A positive reading will indicate that there is no problem with the element. If there is no reading at all, the element is no longer serviceable and must be replaced.

You can also test the flow between the element and the terminals. A positive result will indicate that the element has been shorted circuited and must be replaced.