How to remove water heater element that is rusted

It is possible that a rusty water heater element is the cause of water that is not becoming as hot as before or that you are not getting any hot water. The amusing reality is that this rusting problem is fairly frequent with all water heaters, regardless of brand.

A faulty heating element in the electric water heater could be the source of the problem. It is possible that this rusty water heater element can increase your electric bill.

Since the element is immediately involved in the heating of the water, it gets into direct touch with it. Unfortunately, for those unfamiliar with the process, deleting the component can be a little challenging. And if you have looked for this, you may be experiencing this problem.

The process of removing water heater components is not as difficult as it is commonly believed to be. The water heater element can be removed in several ways, which we will discuss more in this article.

You will need some components which are also captured in the guide. Find also the best answers to the frequently asked questions on heaters.  Follow the steps keenly and you will be able to eliminate the rusted element from your heater. 

Tools you may require when removing a rusted element from a heater

  • Hosepipe
  • A new water heater element
  • Multimeter
  • Vinegar

Steps to follow when removing a rusted element

How to remove water heater element that is rusted

Step 1; switch off the power heater

When working with a water heater, it is always necessary to turn off the power. Electrical systems can be switched off at the disconnector, whereas gas systems can be shut off with a button or dial on the gas disconnector. Ideally, the boiler should have two separate breakers that are precisely situated.

Continue to hold your breath until the water in the container begins to cool. In addition to the fact that a thermostat controls the heater elements, the tank would also impact the electronic flow of hot water via the heater elements.

When the heating system element is removed, it is vital to confirm no power is present. Until you begin, you should measure the wire using a multimeter. This is because you are unaware that the electric water heater has been turned off.

Step 2; you should drain the water heater next

Draining the remaining water from the tank can be accomplished with a hosepipe. You will be certain whether there is any blockage if you do this. It is only necessary to drain the gadget to a point beneath the damaged section; nonetheless, it is a great idea to flush the tank completely whenever repairs are performed to the device.

This contributes to the elimination of sedimentary layers and the extension of all of the elements in the environment. To efficiently empty the gadget, turn over the warm water line that is closest to the radiator.

Step 3; turn the supply of water off

You won’t want any water to get into your workspace while you’re working. As a result, double-check that the water supply has been switched off. You can turn off the water supply by closing the intake valve, which is always visible above our water heaters. It is possible to finish this manoeuvre by opening the closest robin and turning on the hot water faucet.

Step 4; you need to test the electricity’s heating element

To test the heating element of the circuit, set the multi-test option to the OHMs and attach the red connector to one end of the barrel on the heater and the black connector to the other end of the barrel on the heater.

If the ohm values are all zero in a digital network, there is no power flowing through the heating element. This demonstrates that your heating system is faulty and that it should be replaced immediately.

Step 5; lubricating the rusted element

In a small cup, combine half vinegar as well as half water to make a solution. Place a brush between both the seam and the heating tank edge and use it to brush the solution into the seam and heating tank side. Apply the solution openly; nevertheless, do not allow it to become too heavy. Allow for 20 minutes of relaxation. This homemade lubrication will assist you in quickly and effortlessly removing the part.

Step 6; removing the element that has rusted


After that, remove the heating element. The following step. We will need to utilize heating element clamps to remove this component. This aspect wrench is the only key that can be used to accurately extract this component. To remove this part, professionals do not recommend using an alternative since conventional wrenches may be damaged.

Type of Elements

a) Screw-in -type

Removing the screw-in the heating system with a wrench and one 1/2-inch socket in a counter-clockwise direction is possible with this technique. A heating factor adapter is included in any repair kit. Remove the gasket that is preventing the heating element from moving freely in the tank.\

b) Flange-type:

A heating element of this sort can be removed simply by unscrewing the four screws that keep the element in place. Take the comedy out of the picture.

By removing the mounting screws and gasket, the heating element can be removed from your water heater tank. Place the plug over the heaters and turn it clockwise.

Tap the socket clamp handle with a hammer to keep turning the heated section. You can use the breaker bar on the clamping handle to free the heating element. Alternatively, you may ask a friend to place the socket key head above the heating element.

We can then drain the tank by opening the water heater drain valve. If our water tank is large enough, this process could take an hour.

Step 7; prepare a new element

Clean your new element thoroughly and rinse it out. To prevent bacteria or garbage from getting into our water heaters, you must take precautions. Then we’ll attach our brand-new “O” ring to our brand-new heating system.

Remove your water heating element and replace the rubber seal to ensure that there is no leakage. Using the threads of a screw, secure the gasket all around the bottom of the element’s flange.

Then, tighten it up another 1/2 to 1 turn using your clamping factor, displacing the part in a thin finger. For flange units, unscrew the bolts that hold them in place.

Step 8; refill your tank and then replace your cover

Once you have completed all of the “Element removal” stages, it is time to replenish the tank and reinstall all of the appropriate components. Close your drain valve and turn on the water supply to the heater. We do not intend to turn on the power supply immediately at this time.

We need to make sure that our tank is full before switching on the electricity. If there is still a leak, look for it in the newly installed component. If a leak has been discovered, cut off the water supply, then tighten the element with the main element to seal the leak. Even the “O” ring can be swapped in some cases.

Only the thermostat, isolator, and panel cover can be changed until the refilling process is complete. Once you have finished substituting the cover, the water heater source will be turned on with the disruptors at some point.

We have noticed that the water flow is uneven once we open our rockets due to the air inside the water heater. In a short period, this predicament will be resolved.

Step 9; you need to power up your heater now

It is necessary to reconnect the wires to the appropriate element(s), which means that the correct wires should not be cut and connected to the same terminal. Next, activate the disruptor and perform a visual inspection of the furnace.

There are no signs of leakage on or around the plastic protecting deck, so seal the access panel and replace it. Allow two to three hours for the water to warm up before taking a temperature measurement. Then, make the necessary alterations to the thermostat.

Frequently Asked Questions;

What makes a heating water element burn in a heater?

DRYFIRE or novel alternative elements are the most likely explanations for element burnout and failure in current water heating systems. A hot water valve is not connected by the installer when the heater tank is filled with water, causing air to be sucked out of the system when the water heater tank fills.


In conclusion, a water heater element doesn’t always rust regularly. However, it becomes critical to maintain the water quality and keep the electrical costs under control once this occurs.

The idea of removing a rusty water element should have occurred to you after going through the entire process. The most common and frustrating issue with water heaters is the lack of hot water. A faulty drain valve might be caused by excessive tank friction, rust, corrosion, or moisture, among other things.

These are simple procedures that you may complete on your own. However, if you believe it is necessary, you can consult with more knowledgeable specialists. However, there are numerous advantages to doing things yourself, like gaining new experiences, saving money, and reducing time consumption. Where needed, do not hesitate to contact a knowledgeable person. This will save you a lot if you are unaware of how to handle your water heater.

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