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Old 04-22-2014, 07:57 PM   #1
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Water Heater Elements

Been threw the search thing and several posts on it. I am no electrician but have a meter for Volts Amps & OHMS. My propane works but electric when I turn it on does not work. How do I use my meter to tell if the element needs replaced or thermostat or somewhere it is grounded. Just want my electric water heater to work. Any help in plain man terms will be helpful.

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Old 04-22-2014, 08:08 PM   #2
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The first thing to do is MAKE SURE you have the electric power shut off to your water heater. Then gain access to the electric element. Disconnect the two wires on the element and put your test meter into the OHMs test mode. Put one lead on each screw and see if it shows infinite resistance or not. If it shows infinite resistance then the element is burned out. If it shows continuity then trace back to the thermostat and see if there is continuity. If not, then the thermostat is the culprit. If it has continuity then you need to check for power and see where it is stopping at.

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Old 04-22-2014, 08:21 PM   #3
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If you find the element is bad, they are available at Home Depot or Lowe's half the price of RV dealers, same brand..Camco.
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Old 04-22-2014, 08:27 PM   #4
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Before you disconnect your 120v and test like Tom posted, check all your breakers and fuse. I would even turn the breaker off and then back on, sometimes they are hard to tell if kicked off. If every thing checks here then go to the outside like Tom posted.
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Old 04-22-2014, 09:00 PM   #5
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It only takes a moment to melt one of the elements if you turn the power on without water in the tank.

It is possible to check the element for voltage with a meter. You should find 110vac at the terminals if everything is working except the element. Be careful!

Sometimes it's not the elements. If it's a Suburban water heater you will probably find two button thermostats under the rubber pads near the element. They go bad too. Sometimes just pressing the two buttons will reset it.

You can find the Suburban water heater troubleshooting guide easily with Google.

Good luck
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