Help some painters clean their brushes
January 18, 2010 6:34 PM Subscribe
How do I change the heating element on a small 20 gallon electric water heater if I can't find the drain?
posted by JulianDay to home & garden (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
We have a small 20 gallon electric water heater in our painting studio that doesn't work. I tested the cable running to the heater and it has power, which is on it own breaker, and there doesn't seem to be a switch that could be turning off the unit, you can follow the cable right from the water heater to the box.
I bought a cheap continuity tester from Home Depot and it seems the thermostat is OK but the element might be shot. Since it's only ~10 for a 1500W element we'd like to give it try to replacing it, but I can't find a drain on the thing. The feed and return are soldered on, there's the pressure valve but that's near the top of the tank and the element is near the bottom, so I'm guessing that even if I shut the water off to the heater there'd still be a good amount of water in the tank. Some places online said to "just change the element quickly" but that sounds like crazy talk to me because I've never done this before and the heater is soldered into a nest of pipes in a corner, I can just barely access the panel.
Is there something I'm missing? I really looked all around the tank and couldn't find a drain. Can there be a drain on the bottom of the tank? It is resting on a small 2x4 and plywood platform.