Water Heater Repair Instructions
GE, Rheem, Rudd, Kenmore, A.O. Smith, State, Rinni, American




How to Repair an Electric Home Depot-GE Brand Water Heater-Manufactured by Rheem

There are videos on The Home Depot website and YouTube that can assist in guiding you through your water heater repair. Preparation is key, have all the tools and parts you may need at hand before you start repairing your electric water heater. If your GE water heater is still under warranty, call the 1-800 numbers on the tank to receive repair parts free.  If your Rheem water heater is within the first year of warranty, Rheem will even assist in the repair of your GE electric water heater.  

A few plumbing and household tools you need: 

Flat tip screwdriver 

Phillips screwdrivers  

Element wrench 


Garden Hose 

Repairing a Home Depot Electric Water Heater 

1.      Turn off the power to the water heater at the main breaker panel or unplug its pigtail from the wall outlet. 

2.      Turn the water off to the heater at its individual shut off on the cold-water inlet pipe, water meter or well house.  

3.      Connect a garden hose to the water heater’s drain valve at the bottom of the tank.  

4.      Run the hose to a safe location like a floor drain or out in the yard. 

5.      Open the drain valve and the temperature and pressure relief valve. 

6.      Remove the maintenance panels from the front of the tank with a Phillips screwdriver. 

7.      Check for power with a voltmeter. Place the meter leads on the top two screws of each thermostat. There should be NO power present before you start your water heater repair. 

8.      Loosen all the screws on each thermostat and remove each electric wire: mark each wire as you remove them with a small piece of tape and a letter or number. 

9.      Pull back on each thermostat-retaining clip and slide The Home Depot water heater thermostat straight up and out of the clips. 

10.   Slide the new thermostat, upper and lower, into the clips until they snap into place. 

11.  Attach the electric water heater wires onto the new thermostats in the exact locations as the old ones. Tighten each screw firmly.  

12.  Remove the two wires from each heating element. 

13.  Unscrew each heating element with an element wrench and remove them from the tank. Make sure the rubber seal come out with each element, if not, remove it from the tank opening. 

14.  Screw in the new elements by hand, making sure the new rubber gasket lines up with the tank opening. If the gasket binds, replace it immediately.  

15.  Connect the water heater heating element wires securely. 

16.  Close the drain valve and T&P valve, then remove the drain hose. 

17.  Turn the water back on to the water heater on open all the hot water faucets in the house to evacuate all air for the tank. When water is flowing freely from all the hot water faucets, turn off each faucet. 

18.  Set the thermostat temperature dials to the desired setting.  The Home Depot water heater instructions recommend no more than 120 degrees. 

19.  Reinstall the cover plates. 

20.  Turn the power back on to The Home Depot water heater only after it is full of water and all the airs removed.  

FYI- Do not allow hot water to run on green vegetation, it can be detrimental.  

Caution- Water hotter than 105 degrees can cause serious bodily injury. 

Additional Information  

The Home Depot: Maintaining a Water Heater 

Water Heater Repair Instructions: GE Water Heater Repair Instructions 

Rheem: Water Heating Solutions for Home Owners 


Helpful Links  

Home Depot Water Heater Repair Manuals