Checking And Replacing An Electric Water Heater

Phil shows you how to check and then replace an electric water heater. This is in a mobile home, but the steps should be the same for any electric water heater.

00:00 Follow along with a handyman
00:25 Testing the water heater
04:29 Have the new water heater
05:54 Taking out the old heater
12:00 Getting the new one in
18:40 Down the road with the old one.
18:52 Be an American not American’t

Hi, I’m Phil Bridges, owner of Straight Arrow Repair. Ever want to know how a repairman fixes things? Well come with me, and I’ll show you how I solve problems. Let’s make things better together.

Guess you snuck up on me. Guess what? We’re going to work on a water heater today. Supposedly there’s no hot water. So first thing, we’re going to check and we’re going to take this cover here off with a screw, that top element is usually. That’s not a good sign right there. Well, what? That rusty line going down through there.

Anyway, we’re going to take this cover off and we’re going to pull the insulation and such off that and we’ll check resistance after we make sure we have the power off. So what we’ll do is we’ll take a test to make sure we have power off but John, don’t turn power off till we know we have power here. First thing we’re going to see if we have power.

If we don’t…

“I was just going to see where the power was at.”

I think it’s behind the door, right there.

“The door behind the door.”

Behind this door they hide it in mobile homes, usually behind the bedroom door so anyway, here’s where we’re going.

All right? So what we’re doing right now is although we have other situations if you notice the water, we’re checking the voltage and we got no voltage there. So we’re going to go to the, is that on DC or AC.

“So voltage on. And so this is the good one so.”

OK, so we’re now checking on the thermostat. See, there’s no voltage there. So the breaker is off or the reset button is off is a reset?

“It has to be the reset button because nothing is off here.”

Clay. There’s a button on that temperature gauge, the red one. It’s a reset button.

“Right here?”

See that red button you get voltage to that?

“Sounds like it’s burning.”

Listen to me, check the voltage where the wires connect to it.

You got voltage there?



“This thing sounds like it’s burning.”

Well, it’s probably tripped because running water on it. See all that water running down, we could get shocked. Now, let’s figure out where the water’s coming from here. Look, on these connections on top. I don’t see any leaks up there. No water on top. So the water heater itself is leaking what year is this water heater?

It’ll have some kind of right there.



“22 years old.”

OK, so the determination is the top of the water heater is leaking and it’s running down and this 22 year old water heater is going to have to be replaced.

So, let’s find the breaker. Get the voltage. Check your voltage on there. John. Start turning off 30. Double 30 should be two thirties next to each other. Clay, put the voltage on. Clay, put the voltage tester on. That turned the lights out do we have 240 still?


40 we have, no. Should be thirties, but it can be forties.

I don’t care. That’s not it, John. Now leave that one. How we doing, Clay?

“It’s off.”

So that’s it. So it’s a 25 amp. We need to drain the water. All right, we’re going to put some nice hoses on this water heater which is cheaper at Home Depot than Lowe’s by let’s see, 50 bucks cheaper for a 40 gallon than it was for a 30 gallon at Lowe’s. So you need to shop around. Although the wood is cheaper at Home Depot.


Lowe’s I’m sorry wood is cheaper at Lowe’s we didn’t put pipe dope on this because it has a rubber washer. And I’ll show you no need to put tape or pipe dope on it. You can put it on there. It won’t hurt. Alright, we’ll have more to hang on to get it in.

“Need to open that.”

Ya, we’ll open that up whet we get in there. So now we’re having to replace the water heater. We drained it. It has a screw and you have to loosen up that area there. Now, we’re closing it back up and we’re going to disconnect here. The water hose ran outside.

“You getting lose with your hand?”



OK, let’s take that water hose out, John. Now we’re going to take all this stuff off of this and we got disconnect the electricity. We going to disconnect both of these lines. We need another pair of channel locks. Two pair of channel locks. Disconnect that from that.

“We’ll need another pair of channel locks.”


“Another pair of channel locks.”

Somebody used a rubber hose for… And hose clamps.

“Well, I guess it works. Umm. just take them off that. Oh, I guess not, because.”

I don’t think you should be a rubber hose, but you can just.


“Other way on that. You got. Well, that didn’t need no.”

Not much huh. This is all rigged up. This is quest fittings, and this is an adaption to quest. And then that’s pecs. This is quest pipe. And then this is rubber.

See, that’s leaking it. So that adapter there.

Yeah, you got to tighten it up a little bit. Probably we need to disconnect the electric line.

“Turn the breaker off.”

Breaker is off I’m assuming.

“Oh yeah.”

“I don’t rember turning it back on. It’s still off.”

You should always check. Shock yourself otherwise someone decide I’ll turn it back on


Come on. Yeah.

“Can’t be easy Phil.”

No, nothing today.

“If it was easy everybody be doing it.”

Wal-Mart greeters.

“That’s Phil’s line.”

“Wait until you tell them you’re an American not an American’t.”

That’s right. We are. Can people not can’t. Wow that’s a pain.

“How does that work for Russia?”

The Russia can all right.

“I bet he puts that in together for he gets together this next one.”

This got a hose clamp on it. OK.

“Well, I don’t know because that one taller isn’t it?”

“Phil put it in. He’ll still put together. Well that might not even fit in there.

“Well to me yeah, you might have to tilt it.”

It’s going in if I have to take the wall out.

“We he’ll going put it in before he puts it in there.”


You want to measure it and see John?

“No no it’s it’ll be close.”

“What do you mean it will be close? We ain’t playing horseshoes and handgrenades.”

Either it is or it don’t.

“50 and a half.”

Either you’re pregnant or you’re not.

“Hey you got 2″ to spare First time he’s ever been told that.”

“Hey to the top of this though.”

“He’ll slide that end it first.”

Remenants of an

“You’ll need It down like this.”

An old fitting.

“This is one we cut all that stuff out of isn’t it?”

Yeah, one of them. We’ve done that several times. This really niche I don’t like the idea of somebody using garden hose.

“What’s it for?”

Water line? Supply line?

“Don’t fix what’s working.”

“Water hose for a supply line. That life expectancy can’t be long can it? They don’t have no mice. Either they ain’t got no mice under there, or they got plenty of water under there because if they didn’t they’d chem through that water hose to get water.”

“John knows from experience.”


“I said that John knows from experience.”

Well, you do learn things as you get older.

“Get out of the way John. I’m just going to squeeze it over here.”

Watch out.

“I’ll just squeeze in right here.”

Hey you need to move Clay.

“I don’t think there’s room for a big boy, a water heater and a little skinny rat.”

“I’m trying to tell you. I’m trying to get out.”

And see if I can get this going. You should get this warranty off ok? Oh, this is the hot spot here. Yeah.

“Hot, cold.”

So the garden hose was the cold side. So width is gonna be the issue.

“I think that you can make it work? Or is it wider?”

It’s wider.

“OK, will it not just go in?”

I don’t know yet. That’s why I was asking for a tape measure.

“Well, he only measured height not width.”

Fits just barely.

“I figured that end would have to go in first.”

“Well he was trying to see if the width was going to go in.”

I got to get that hose out of there.

“Is there any above room?”

Yeah, it’s a lot.

“You got a screwdriver up above both. It has to be.”


“So it’s definitely, it is definitely going have to go in first.”

It ain’t funny.

“Lean that side in and roll it in.”

I got to get that hose out of there.

“Let me. I’ll crawl in there.”

You know, I worked for two years with nobody. I can do this. I can’t do that, because it won’t fit through.

“You know, screw gun might help you.”

No let me see. I got to see if I see how it wants to fall over in the way.


I can’t have that.

“You think you could put a screw in here in the corner.

Ewwh, hold it up. Here we go. Here we go let’s lean it up against the wall.

“All right. I’ll look like a fat boy and a bald man dancing.”

“You didn’t hook the electric up here.”


“Oh. Shot. What are you wanting me to hold? Let me get it out of your way a little bit. Long winded heifer. Your good ain’t it.”

I got to tighten this up.

“You got it pretty tight with your hand, didn’t you”

Ya, it was close. All right.

Now take this cover off, and uh, electricals. Right here. You’re gonna turn this John. You’re still recording? Yeah. Yeah.

Yeah. So now we’re working on hooking up the pop off our pressure relief valve. This turned the wrong way, and we will do that. And then we’ll hook up the electrical right here, and then we fill the tank and we’ll show you how we do that. Now, with one of the wires and we open up the pressure relief valve and it’s filling. As you can

You might be up there when the pressure water starts coming out of the pressure relief. Now, we shut the press release valve down, and we know it’s fall past the top element, which is up here in the push release. I was going to, but so we know it’s fall when it starts coming out, that pressure release valve and we’re not going to burn the element that way.

And then we’ll go over here to this, panel here, and we’ll turn off just turn on this 25 amp. Which this is federal Pacific I believe. FPE, very expensive to get these now you don’t get them at supply houses open up the hot water side. Let’s open up the left hand side of the sink. turn it off turn it off I’m just going to so that’s what where’s the water heater, the old one. John where’s the old water heater.

“Sitting on the front poarch.”


All right, we’re ready to load this up. No. All right, so the new box, we put the old water heater in it, and we’re down the road you can do the same thing. See ya.

This is Phil Bridges, if you like what you saw and think it might be helpful to somebody else, push that like button and let other people know what you and I know, and we’ll work together toward making a brighter future. By the way, we’re not Amera-Can’ts we’re Americans. See you next time.

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