How to test a water heater element for continuity?

You might wonder why your hot water tank keeps running out of hot water. Is your water heater leaking or broken? Or maybe your hot water tank has a leaky element. If you don’t know what a water heater element is, then read on to find out.

Water heaters are designed to provide hot water for your home. They consist of two parts: a heating unit and a storage tank. The heating unit heats the water inside the tank using electricity from the power grid. The heated water is stored in the tank until it’s needed. When you turn on the tap, the hot water comes directly from the tank.

A water heater element is part of the heating unit. This component regulates the flow of electric current through the heating coil. It also helps regulate the temperature of the water flowing into the tank.

It’s important to test your water heater element before calling a plumber. This way, you can ensure that the element has continuity and won’t blow out. How do you go about testing a water heater element?

Water heaters are essential parts of our homes. They provide hot water for showers, baths, and cooking. If they don’t function properly, then you risk having cold or even scalding water.

You should always check the elements in your water heater before calling a plumber, especially if you notice any signs of leakage. The easiest way to do this is to use a multimeter. You can also try using a voltmeter to measure voltage across the element.

How To Test A Water Heater Element For Continuity?

If you have an older model of water heater, then you may not be able to use a multimeter or voltmeter. In such cases, you need to rely on other methods to test your element. Here are some tips on how to test a water heater element.

1. Use a Multimeter to Check Voltage Across the Element

The first method involves measuring voltage across the element with a multimeter. To do this, connect one lead of the meter to the positive terminal of the element and the other lead to the negative terminal. Make sure that there is no load connected to either side of the meter.

2. Turn On Your Hot Water Supply Line

Turn on your hot water supply line. Then, open up the valve by turning the handle clockwise. Once the valve opens, wait for the water to start flowing.

3. Measure Current Flow Through the Element

Now, place the multimeter probe across the element. Connect the leads of the meter to the terminals of the element as shown below.

4. Wait for the Meter to Read Zero Volts

Once the meter reads zero volts, close the valve. This will stop the flow of water.

5. Measure Current Flow Through Water Heater Element

Now, reconnect the meter leads to their respective terminals. Again, make sure that there is no resistance between the probes and the terminals.

6. Repeat Steps 3-5 Until the Meter Reads 0 Volts

After repeating these steps several times, the meter should read zero volts. This means that there is no electrical resistance between the probes and terminals.

7. Disconnect the Meter Leads From the Elements Terminals

Next, disconnect the meter leads from the elements terminals. Now, you can safely assume that the element is working normally.

8. Measure Resistance Between the Meter Probes and the Elements Terminals

To determine whether the element is defective, you must measure its resistance. To do so, repeat steps 1-7. However, instead of connecting the meter leads to the elements terminals, connect them to each other.

9. If the Meter Reads Zero Volts, Then the Element Is Working Normally

If the meter still reads zero volts after following all of the above steps, then the element is working normally and there is nothing wrong with it.

10. If the Meter Read Any Amount Of Volts, Then the Water Heater Element May Be Defective

If the meter reads any amount of volts when the power is off, then it indicates that there is something wrong with the element. It could be damaged or corroded.

11. Replace the Water Heater Element

If the meter continues to read any amount of volts even after following step 10, then replace the element immediately. You don’t want to risk having a fire in your home because of a faulty element.

Can you change a water heater element without draining the tank?

Yes, you can. In fact, this is how most people install a new element.

First, turn off the main water supply to the house. Next, remove the old element by unscrewing the mounting screws. Finally, remove the old element and place it somewhere safe until you’re ready to install the replacement element.

How long does it take to get hot water after replacing element?

It usually takes about 15 minutes for the water to heat up. The time will depend on the size of the element.

What’s the best way to test a water heater element?

You can use a multimeter to check the continuity of the element. First, make sure that the power switch is turned off. Then, attach one probe to the terminal labeled “hot” and another to the terminal labeled “cold”.

Now, press the test button on the multimeter. If the meter reads zero volts between the two probes, then the element is good. However, if the meter reads any amount, then the element is bad.

How to fix a leaking water heater, press the test button on the meter. If the meter shows continuity between the two probes, then the element is good. If it doesn’t show continuity, then the element has probably been damaged.


Water heater elements tend to wear out over time. Thus, you should regularly inspect them. Also, if you notice any signs of corrosion or damage, then you should replace the element as soon as possible.

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