I have hot water again! After weeks of cold showers, I can’t even begin to explain how luxurious hot water feels.
It should have been fixed earlier, but we made a series of rookie mistakes.
1. You need a special wrench to remove your element. It cost about $8, and it worked a whole lot better than our neighbor’s tractor socket. You will also need flat and phillips head screwdrivers.
2. Write down the element parts number. That way, you don’t have to make the 50 mile round trip back to the store, 3 times.
3. Don’t buy the cheap hose to drain your tank. They kink easily. This will significantly increase the amount of time it takes to drain your water heater, making you think it must be empty. When you remove the element water will shoot at your face and the flooring you just installed.
Even though the hose wasn’t draining anymore and it had been over an hour, it hadn’t drained below the level of the top element. This happened on my 5th attempt to fix it, so by this point I was astronaut-level over it. I’m really glad nobody was in the vicinity to ask me a stupid question, or see me slip and fall as I ran for towels and a mop. I probably looked like a cat whose head had just been shoved into a bath tub. I digress . . .
4. Make sure your tank is refilled with water before turning the power back on. Otherwise your new element will immediately burn out. Then you will waste a week googling what else might have failed, and waiting for the hardware store to order more elements since they only carry 2 of each kind. I would have changed the thermostats, but they would have had to order the ones I needed. It turned out my desire watch the Giants game superseded common sense and turning the power back on too soon made the new upper element explode. So, no thermostat needed. When I heard a loud, inexplicable bang 2 weeks ago I should have known that something was up.