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How to replace wire on water heater


Test for breaks in wire/ Test for voltage
Most appliance require 80% rated voltage to function correctly
Multimeters at Amazon
Electric testers at Amazon
How to test and replace element
How to test thermocouple
Element tests for 120 volts
How to test wire
Safety when testing wires:
Never touch wet or previously flooded appliance.
Never stand on wet surface when working on electric.
Never stand on bare soil, put down dry boards.
Tape tester leads to wood sticks to keep hands away from power.
Use non-contact voltage tester before touching wires.
Never touch or lean into any made of metal.
Remove metal objects from pockets.
Do not use oxygen or fuel accelerants in same room as electrical repairs

Basic house wiring

Non-contact voltage tester

Test for power without touching connectors
NEVER assume power is OFF
Non-contact voltage tester Amazon
Electric testers at Amazon
How to test electric power is off
wire connector assortment

Twist-on wire connector assortments

Do not reuse old connectors
Connector assortment at Amazon
Connector assortment at Amazon
How to select and install twist-on wire connectors
Weatherproof wire connector

Weatherproof wire connector

Connector cavity is full of silicone
Built-in cover keeps silicone in place
Protect from water, dust etc
Buy from my affiliate links
Weatherproof size 14 to 6 Amazon
Weatherproof size 22 to 8 Amazon

How to select and install connectors
Wire connector wrench
Wrench to apply wire connectors
Tighten connector

Wire connector blaster
Twist connector wrenches at Amazon

How to twist wire
How to select and install twist-on wire connectors

Blue for 16-14 wire
Yellow for 12-10 wire

How to install terminals


Terminal kit
Blue for 16-14 wire
Yellow for 12-10 wire
Push on wire connectors

Push-on wire connectors in place of twist-on connectors

Push on wire connectors Amazon
Red 3P connector for 10-14 gauge wire
Lever connectors for stranded wire at Amazon
remove cable staple
End cutting nippers at Amazon

linesman pliers
When removing insulation from wire, do NOT score or put cuts on surface of copper wire. Doing so increases resistances on wire and creates weak point.
Buy tools:
Wire strippers at Amazon
Linesman pliers
Utility knife at Amazon
End cutting nippers at Amazon

Use solid copper wire
Fire inside timer caused by stranded wire
Keep enclosure door closed at all times
soldering guns

Timer caught fire
Never assume power is OFF

Turn circuit breaker fully OFF.
Test wire(s) at top of heater before removing covers.
Or remove upper cover and use tester on all wires.
Never touch water heater this is wet or was wet.
Do not stand on wet surface/ put down dry boards.

Test if electrity is OFF
Leaking water heater
Flooded water heater
Melted wire
Look for burned or melted wire
Replace part
Cut back wire
Test continuity of wire/ or replace wire

Burned thermostat
Burned thermostat
Replace part

Burned wire/ Burned thermostat
Action: Look for burned or melted wire connections. Replace part that burned wire is connected to. Test continuity of wire that has been burned. Replace wire that has no continuity.

How to test continuity of wire: When burned wire is discovered/ or suspect
Set multimeter to read ohms.
Ohms is upside down horseshoe symbol
Disconnect wires from each tank part.
Test #1: Put tester leads on both ends of wire.
If test reads ohms, then wire is good.

Test #2: Test each end of wire to bare metal part of tank.
If test reads ohms, then wire is shorted and must be replaced.

How to replace thermostats
How to select and replace element

Test wire continuity with Multimeter
Buy non-contact voltage tester at Amazon
Multimeters at Amazon
Electric testers
Industrial and scientific

Use nose and eyes to find burned or melted wire

Usually if there is a burned wire, then the screw terminals(s) where it is attached are also burned ... you might need to replace thermostat and/or element.
The wire probably burned because it was loose under the screw terminal... so if you put new wire under a burned terminal, it might not tighten correctly...


Use #12 ... do not put two different gauge wires on same screw terminal.

Use standard 600 volt (100 C) solid copper wire.
Do NOT use stranded wire
Don't use lamp cord, or piece of extension cord.

Wire color doesn't matter ... use black or white wire.

Local box and hardware stores usually sell sheathed wiring by the foot... buy a length of 12-2, or if they only sell rolls, buy 15-25 foot length...

Use utility knife to cut down the middle and then cut short length of wire...
Note: 12-3 wire has black, white, and red wire.
Rewire electric water heater Foam-insulated tank
Photograph wires before disconnecting
Foam is used to fill cavity between inner steel tank and outer tank shell
The foam fits very tight against wire so wires cannot be replaced.
if tank is under warranty, then submit claim for replacement.
If warranty has expired, then drilling a hole is no problem.

Start with 3/8" standard drill bit to drill through steel top.
Then use 36" drill bit to drill through foam
 Drill through top of tank near wiring cavities
Keep drill bit near outer edge of tank shell

36" drill bits
Fish bit

How to test water heater wires
Add another thermostat to gas or electric water heater
Typical water heater wiring:

Thermostat and element must be covered with insulation
Cover, insulation and protector are necessary so thermostat can read correct temperature.
Thermostats exposed to room temperature will misread temperature and cause overheating.
Thermostat must sit flat against tank.

Water heater cover

Convert energy smart to regular water heater
Therm-o-disc thermostat protectors Thermostat protectors/ for therm-o-disc upper and lower thermostats 
Terminal protectors for therm-o-disc
Does not fit Apcom style
All thermostats are interchangeable

Upper element terminal protector
Lower element terminal protector
Replace wire on gas water heater

How to replace burner on gas water heater
How to replace thermocouple
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Icon gas valve

How to replace water heater element Waste King disposal
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Install point of use water heater
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