The Tank › removing electric element that will not come out
- December 31, 2007 at 12:35 pm #7840
I have a GE (Rheem) electric heater. The lower element is bad and I have a new element to repacle it with. I have unscrewed the element but can only pull it out about 3 inches. The rods appear to have spread apart and are too wide to come through the hole. Does anyone know a trick to getting this element out?
ThanksDecember 31, 2007 at 2:33 pm #7841
Ok, I solved it myself. For anyone else who finds themselves in this situation, here is what I did. I took a hack saw blade and sawed the element into at the U this gave me a little bit of play. Then I wiggled the element back and forth and pulled. Very slowly the element rods were pushe together by the presure against the edge of the insert hole. As the rods were pushed togethere I got a little bit out. This took quite awhile and a lot of brute force. However, it finally came out and the new element in in. Hope this helps someone.December 31, 2007 at 3:15 pm #7845Larry WeingartenParticipant
Hello and thanks for telling your experience. Elements that have burned out in sediment can be a pain to deal with. A trick I’ve used is to take an old screwdriver that I put a bend in the last inch or so before the tip, so it can be used to hook the element’s end. Once I hook the end, I can wiggle the whole thing out without having to cut it or risk leaving any element bits in the tank. Once the element is out of the way, I take a piece of 3/4″ copper pipe about two feet long and hook it up to a shop vac to clean out as much sediment as I can get to. This will give the new element more time before getting buried in sediment 😉
Yours, LarryJuly 10, 2008 at 1:55 pm #9042
My lower element on my 50 gal GE electric tank has failed again. GE has sent me a replacement and I will be changing out the element this eveing. I want to be prepared should I encounter the same problem as last time — an expanded element that will not come directly out. Thanks Larry, for the tip and I agree sawing should be the last remady. Can you elaborate on how you use the modified screwdriver to manipulate the element so it can be wiggled out? You sated you hook the element’s end. Do you mean the U closest to the port or the U at the far end of the element? Once you hook it what do you do to get it to come out?
Also, can you elaborate (or refer me to an explanation) on how you use the copper pipe to reach the settiment? Do you bend the copper pipe? Would PVC work as well? Why 3/4″ – what about 1/2″? Thanks again for this site and your answers.
PS: I am ordering one of your rescue kits and sending an email to be sure I get the correct one so maybe the settiment problem be reduced.July 13, 2008 at 1:35 am #9057Larry WeingartenParticipant
Hello: When trying to pull out an element that’s expanded some, the element acts sort of like a hook, with the near end of the element catching on the side of the tank. I use the bent screwdriver to catch that free end and pull it closer to the two element “rods” heading into the heater. Once there, you can wiggle the element out of the heater in one piece.
With the element out of the way, use 3/4″ copper pipe, two feet long. On the end of that put a 45 degree ell and another six inch piece of copper. This can be used to vacuum out sediment. It works better than any other size or material. Rotating it allows you to reach sediment in difficult corners too 😉
Yours, LarryJuly 13, 2008 at 4:26 am #9060
Thanks, I understand now.
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