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Heating Elements For Water Heater

Types Of Heating Elements

Water Heater Not Heating? Heating Element Testing

Heating elements all serve the same purpose to heat a liquid, vapour or gas to reach a specific temperature. However, the similarities often end there. Heating elements can vary considerably in terms of their material properties and the applications theyre best suited for. However, the materials used in heating elements often differentiate them from each other most.

Pros And Cons Of Dual

Water heater technology has greatly improved in recent years. While tankless water heaters get a lot of attention, theyre not the only new kid on the block. If youre looking for a more efficient way to produce hot water for your home but dont want the high upfront costs of a tankless system, then a dual element tank water heater may be the right sweet spot. Dual-element tank water heaters feature a top and bottom heating element that heat water in a more targeted, efficient manner.

Are All Hot Water Heater Elements The Same Are They Universal

All hot water heater elements are neither same nor universal. Screw-in type heater elements are used in newer water heaters while Bolt-in types are found in older heaters. The operating voltages are either 120 or 240 volts, so check your state and local codes before replacing a heater element.

With the innovation of advanced and standard electric water heaters, various types of heating elements have been implemented into them by the manufacturers. These heating elements can be classified into two major categories: Screw-in and Bolt-in.

Screw-in is the most common type of heating element used at our homes nowadays and the new water heaters typically have this type of heating element fitted in them.

As the name suggests, this type of heating element is screwed into the chamber of the water heater.

Whereas Bolt-in is present in the older generation water heaters. These heating elements are installed into the chamber with the help of 4 bolts.

However, if you wish to replace it with a screw-in type heating element, it is possible to do so with Universal Adapter Kits.

Both Screw-in and Bolt-in come in various power ratings and voltage variants, commonly 120 or 240 volts. Therefore, check the state you are living in and the local code before choosing an element.

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Wattage Of Water Heater Elements

The density we just discussed is linked to the wattage of the element in water heaters. In other words, density also means the amount of wattage per square inch on the surface area.

This rating of watts per square inch of surface is called watt density.

The wattage of most water heater elements can range from 1500 to 5500 watts.

The wattage is linked to voltage, and both are printed on each element.

High-density elements have a high level of wattage per square inch, which is why they get super hot. In contrast, low-density ones dont produce the heat that high per square inch, which is why they perform better.

The only difference between the same wattage elements in high and low-density elements is the surface area of the element.

Important advice to take note of:

  • It is generally advised to match the voltage and wattage of the new elements.
  • When buying a new element keep volts the same, and
  • buy the same or less wattage!
  • Always match the volts of the element to the volts on the heater itself

So, if your question was Can I replace a 4500-watt heater with a 3800-watt heater, now you know the answer. Its totally fine to replace it with a lower wattage, as long as the voltage is the same.

Density Of Water Heater Elements

Immersion Water Heater 12v 300w Heating Element Solar Energy NPT BSP ...

If we were to make a classification based on the density of heaters alone, it would look like this:

  • High-Density Elements

High-density elements are usually made of copper . This option is the least expensive one, but also provides the lowest quality of all 3 options.

However, it is very likely that this is the type of heating element youll see installed originally in your water heater. It can come either with a flange or a threaded end and it looks like a long elongated letter U.

The high-density elements are short-lived as they quickly attract limescale due to constant exposure to extremely high temperatures and hard water. Also, these types of elements quickly develop corrosion.

  • Low-Density Elements

Low-density elements provide good results in the process of heating, although still not ideal. They are usually made of copper, with a nickel or magnesium oxide coating.

These types of elements slow down the buildup of sediments, therefore prolonging their life. This means they are also less susceptible to corrosion.

When it comes to their shape, the low-density elements have parts that fold back and are also longer than high-density ones.

What also adds to their value is that they are less noisy than high-density ones.

  • Ultra-Low Density Elements

These are the water heating elements of premium quality. Of course, this explains their price, as they are also the most expensive option of all 3.

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How Often Should You Replace Water Heater Elements

The life expectancy of a water heating element depends on the frequency of its usage, type of water it is used with or even corrosive build-ups.

On average, however, the heating elementâs life expectancy falls between 6-10 years depending on your usage behavior. So, it should be replaced according to the life expectancy.

Low Density water heating elements last longer than high density counterparts due to their low burn-out and better protection against corrosive build-ups.

If you live in an area where the water supply contains hard water, then it will cause lime build-ups and wear out your element faster.

Types Of Water Heating Elements

Different types of water heating elements can be classified both based on their attachment and the material they are made of.

Lets start with the attachment differences in elements of different water heaters.

Different types of attachment styles of water heating elements include:

  • Screw-in water heating elements
  • Bolt-on water heating elements
  • Clamp-in water heating elements

If you dig in on the topic of different attachment styles, you may also notice this differentiation:

  • Flange-type water heating elements
  • Threaded water heating elements

Attachment styles are self-explanatory. You screw in the first type and bolt in the type of heating element with the bolts, and so on.

Flange-type water heating elements usually have smaller bolts than threaded ones. On the other hand, threaded types usually require the use of a large wrench to be installed on the side of the tank.

Now, lets take a look at the differences in materials from which the water heating elements are made of.

The most common materials of water heater elements are:

  • Thick film heating elements
  • Ceramic heating elements
  • Metal heating elements

Thick film heating elements include heating elements that are most common are ones from stainless steel and aluminum. They are low-energy consumers and have a quick thermal response.

Silicon Carbide and Molybdenum Disilicide are among the most commonly used ceramic heating elements.

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Remove The Insulation And Plastic Covers

Most water heaters have a layer of insulation and a thin plastic shield between the metal cover and heater element. The insulation can either be a rigid foam or flexible fiberglass insulation. You should be able to remove foam insulation by hand in one piece, but it may have to be pried or cut out in some cases. Fiberglass insulation may need to be carefully cut away with a utility knife.

The plastic shield is usually clipped into metal tabs on the water heater. It should snap out after pulling with light to moderate pressure. Care should be taken not to damage either of these components since they will be reinserted after your test has been completed.

Benefits Of A Dual Element Water Heater

How to Replace an Electric Water Heater Heating Element

Having two heating elements that run independently, dual-element water heaters are typically more energy-efficient than their single-element counterparts. Using less electricity can help lower your monthly energy bills and be better for the environment. Dual-element water heaters can also warm water quicker and more consistently.

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How To Replace & Wire An Electric Water Heating Element

The sketch at left of the parts surrounding an electric water heater heating element is modified from illustrations provided by American Water Heater Co. These parts are identified in order as shown in the sketch as

1. Access door covering the heating element, typically held in place by two sheet metal screws

18. insulation

2. plastic cover over the thermostat assembly

3. Thermostat assembly

5. Electric heating element

6. Electric heating element gasket

No number: yellow arrow points to the heating element mounting location. Clean this area and its threads during heater element replacement.

Watch out: as manufacturers of water heaters point out, you can be killed or seriously injured if you do not follow instructions provided by the water heater manufacturer and described in the water heater’s installation, usage, and maintenance manual.

Below we describe the general procedure for replacing and wiring electric water heater heating elements. Be sure you consult your individual water heater’s installation guide for details.

Other electric water heater elements may be secured with a bracket, shown in our sketch above.Remove the sealing gasket that prevented leaks between the heating element face and the water heater tank face.Watch out: keep this gasket until you have confirmed that your new water heater element came with a new gasket.

What Size Wrench Fits A Water Heater Element

The heating element needs a 1 1/2 inch wrench or socket to loosen or tighten it up. That has been the standard size but as we just said, different motor home brands may have different sizes to them.

The problem with using sockets is that they may be too thick to fit comfortably over the element. By too thick, we mean that the wall of the socket is thicker than it should be and cant fit into the small space where the element is located.

Extensions wont help as they do not change the socket thickness. This is why many RV owners carry a water heater element wrench with them even though they have a great socket set on hand.

Sockets are made to be strong and that strength depends on the thickness of the wall. A wall that is too thin can break fairly easily.

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What Size Is A Water Heater Element Socket

Water heater elements are tightly fitted to the water tank to prevent any leakages. However, these heating elements are not screwed or bolted in using a regular wrench, rather they have their own unique type of wrench.

Screw-in and Bolt-in types require different socket wrenches due to their differing socket size. For Screw-in heating elements, a 1½ inch socket range is required and Bolt-in elements require â inch socket wrenches.

You should note the socket size of your heating element before you buy a replacement. Any heating element will not fit into the tank if the socket size is incompatible.

Purchasing New Heating Elements

230v 4500w Immersed Water Heating Element

When selecting new heating elements, it’s recommended to purchase ones with the same voltage, wattage, and style as the element you are replacing.

The voltage of the new element should always match the old element. However, you could use lower wattage to extend the life of the element. Keep in mind, the element will also generate less heat. Never purchase more wattage than your previous element.

The voltage and wattage is usually stamped onto the element, or it can be found on the water heater’s nameplate. If you can’t find it, you can always do a simple online search using your water heater’s model number . If all else fails, or you feel more comfortable, you can remove the element and take it to your local hardware store.

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What’s The Purpose Of Thermostats

Each element has a designated thermostat to adjust the temperature, usually between 120 F and 140 F. The thermostat setting allows a heating element to provide more or less power or lower and higher temperature of the outgoing water. If the thermostat becomes damaged or stops working, water becomes too hot, or there won’t be any hot water.

The upper thermostat is the main one as it controls the heat generated by both elements. It comes with the High Limit Switch reset button, and it shuts down the heater if the temperature becomes too high.

When selecting the best electric water heater for your home, you will have an option to buy a unit with low or high-watt density elements.

A low-watt density heating element is what you should look for, as it provides an even distribution of heat and lasts longer. Even better is the ultra-low watt-density, a premium-grade element that can reduce the limescale buildup and dry-firing.

Your Guide To Heater Elements And How They Affect Your Industry

Heating elements are the essential components that give heaters their function. Without them, a heater cant heat anything. But not all heating elements are made equal different types of heating elements can have different effects. This post will examine differences in various heater elements and which may work best for specific applications.

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Are Upper And Lower Water Heater Elements The Same

The lower and the bottom water heating elements are identical. If found in the same fixture, they are usually made from the same materials and have the same properties.

However, when replacing them, make sure to properly research them when buying new ones. This is because water heating elements can vary in material, density, wattage, and endurance.

QUICK TIP: If you set the heating elements to the same temperature, the bottom one will always turn on first. In order to always have hot water, its useful to set the top heater slightly higher.

How To Replace A Heating Element

How to Replace an Electric Water Heater Element

Step 1: Turn OFF the Power

  • Turn the circuit breaker OFF at the electrical panel. Use a voltage test to check that the power is no longer reaching the water heater. You’ll be working with electricity and water, so it’s critically important that the water heater is turned off.

Step 2: Attach a Hose to the Drain Valve

  • Attach a hose to the drain valve and open the valve. At this point, we do NOT want to drain the tank, only to make sure that the drain valve is not clogged.
  • If your tank is clogged, you’ll need to address this issue first.
  • Do NOT drain your tank at this time.
  • See below for directions on how to change a heating element without draining your tank.

Step 3: Turn OFF the Water

  • Turn OFF the water supply to the water heater by closing the cold water inlet valve .
  • Release the hot water pressure by allowing air into the tank. To do this, open a nearby faucet. Only open the hot water tap, not the cold. Be sure to leave the tap open.

Step 4: Remove the Access Panel Cover

Step 5: Remove the Heating Element

Step 6: Install the New Heating Element

  • Wipe down the threads and gasket area of the new element to ensure that they free of dirt and debris.
  • Attach the new “O” ring onto the new element. NEVER use the old “O” ring.
  • Gently push the element into the tank and tighten it with the element wrench.
  • Attach the 2 wires to the element and secure them in place by tightening the screws. Double check that the wires are secure and will not slip.

Step 7: Refill the Tank

Watch the Video

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Are Water Heater Elements Universal And How They Work

First, each water heater element contains a thermostat that serves to measure the temperature of the water.

Secondly, each water heater usually contains two separate water heater elements. These two water heater elements work separately in order to heat the water properly.

Usually, the water heating element on the top is the one that turns on first. When it heats the water to a certain temperature, the top heater turns off, and the bottom one turns on.

This means that the top and the bottom water heating elements are never turned on at the same time. They work one at a time interchangeably.

The heating in an electrical heateroccurs when an electric current encounters resistance when passing through an electric element. This results in the heating process.

This cycle repeats only when the heater is full of water so that the upper element detects cool water.

When you showerand use the hot water, the tank will heat up from the bottom. This means that the lower heating element will detect cool water first and start the water heating process.

Soon as the upper heating element detects cool water, another heating cycle begins.

A thermostat is also a really important part of each water heating element as its what connects to an element.

If a thermostat gets damaged in any way, it inevitably results in no hot water in the water heater.

Choose Heater Elements For Your Industry

Choosing the right heater element is a process. However, making an intelligent choice early on will help prevent issues such as premature wear-and-tear, low efficiency, high energy consumption and more. Generally speaking, you want to find the best settings to conduct your application and the heater element that provides those settings.

In some cases, this will be more straightforward or sophisticated. With that said, you might need guidance. Our representatives at Wattco are trained to understand your industrial needs and the heater elements that will suit them best. We also offer a selection of heater elements that can overcome various industrial challenges, regardless of your sector.

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