How To Remove The Upper Or Lower Thermostat In Your Water Heater

Posted on: 18 November 2016

A water heater has a pair of thermostats that ensure the water in the tank remains universally heated. The lower thermostat ensures that the water first supplied out of your faucet is warmed. Once you use some of the water from the tank, cold water goes into the tank to fill the loss. The upper thermostat ensures that incoming water becomes sufficiently heated so it doesn't dilute the overall heat in the tank.

If your water heater stops putting out hot water or seems less efficient than normal, you might have a problem with your upper or lower thermostat. Feel confident that a thermostat issue is the problem? Removing the thermostat or thermostats isn't hard and makes way for an easy replacement of the part. If you're not sure the thermostat is the problem, call in a plumber or water heater company for help.

Things You Need:

  • Screwdriver
  • Electrical Tape
  • Digital Camera

Step 1: Gain Access to the Thermostats

Shut off the power to the water heater using the circuit breaker. Locate the access panels on the side of the water heater and note that there is one higher up on the unit and one lower. Loosen the fastener on the upper panel if you need to replace the upper thermostat and the lower panel for the lower thermostat. Pull the panel or panels off of the unit and place safely to the side.

Lift the sheet of foam covering the opened access area; the foam forms an attached door of sorts so only lift the foam up instead of trying to pull it out. Tape the foam to the exterior of the unit using electrical tape to make sure the door doesn't close back while you work.

Slide the edge of your screwdriver into the tab on top of the plastic cover under the foam. Press up on the screwdriver to release the tab. Remove the plastic cover and set it aside.

Step 2: Remove the Thermostats

Check the orientation of the wires attached to the thermostat. Take a picture with your camera if you don't think you can remember the orientation. Loosen the screw holding each wire in place then slide the wire from its position.

Locate the metal mounting brackets on the sides of the upper or lower thermostat. Press back on the tabs to release the thermostat from the mounting. Pull the thermostat out of the water heater and discard.

For more information or assistance, contact companies like Rapid Plumbing Inc.

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