What Size Socket For Water Heater Element? (Element Tool)

Tools are required. Not just any tool but the right one at the right size for the job. It is important to go with the right size as some RV parts are slightly smaller than similar parts on the same appliance. The right tool is not always universal when it comes to fit.

There are two parts to the water heater that are very similar. One is the anode rod and the other is the heating element. They both need sockets but the anode rod needs one that is 1 1/16ths and the heating element needs a socket measuring 1 1/2th inch.

To learn more about this topic just continue to read our article. It contains the information you want to know about so you can have the right tool at the right size on hand all the time. Take a couple of minutes to see how this information helps you get that right tool

What Tool do You Need To Remove a Water Heater Element?


There are 2 tools you can use. One is the standard socket wrench and socket. The good thing about using this tool is that it is the easiest to use and it does not take a lot of work to loosen the element.

The drawback to using a socket wrench is that you may have to use a couple of extensions to reach the element and loosen it safely. But that is a minor drawback.

The other tool you can use is called a water heater element wrench. It is not as handy or easy to use as you will be doing all the work when you are loosening or tightening the element.

The trick is to get a water heater element wrench that is long enough for your RV water heater’s location. They do come in different lengths so do some measuring before you buy to get the right one.

What is An Element Wrench?


This particular tool is made of metal and has the shape of a socket. Generally, it comes with 6 points to it giving it a fairly good grip on your element. Sockets generally come with 12 points but that is not the standard for water heaters.

The unique aspect of the heating element tool is that it is all hand-powered. There is no ratchet system to make the turning easier. The metal rod goes through the two holes to give you a uniform pressure point.

Then you turn in one direction only to loosen or tighten the element. This is a very simple-to-use tool that should not be that expensive no matter where you buy it. It is a handy tool to have especially when your socket set does not come with a long enough extension to reach your water heater’s element.

Are Water Heaters a Standard Size?


If we are talking about the actual water heater, then there are two standard sizes. There are other sizes advertised and built into your RV or trailer but there are two basic sizes most people get.

Those two sizes are 6 and 10 gallons. Larger RVs like Class A or 5th wheel trailers may say they come with a 16-gallon water tank but there is a trick the manufacturers use to make it seem like the tanks are larger than 10 gallons.

That trick is to place a 10-gallon tank inside the RV and then superheat the water. When the really hot water comes out, the system adds cold water to the hot bringing it down to the standard 140 degrees F. This gives you the illusion that you have a 16-gallon water heater.

The elements are usually standard size but double-check to make sure and do not confuse the element with the anode rod. They are different sizes.

What Size Wrench Fits a Water Heater Element?


The heating element needs a 1 1/2 inch wrench or socket to loosen or tighten it up. That has been the standard size but as we just said, different motor home brands may have different sizes to them.

The problem with using sockets is that they may be too thick to fit comfortably over the element. By too thick, we mean that the wall of the socket is thicker than it should be and can’t fit into the small space where the element is located.

Extensions won’t help as they do not change the socket thickness. This is why many RV owners carry a water heater element wrench with them even though they have a great socket set on hand.

Sockets are made to be strong and that strength depends on the thickness of the wall. A wall that is too thin can break fairly easily.

How do You Socket a Water Heater?

The first thing to do when you are removing the element is to make sure the power is turned off. You do not want to risk burning yourself on the element or on any water that may come out.

You want to make sure there is cold or no water inside the water tank when you work on the element. When you are dealing with the element, it is the head size, not the thread size you are needing to fit with the wrench.

The two are not necessarily the same. You need a wrench that fits the 6-point head perfectly. A 12-point socket can easily strip the head giving you more work to do.

Some Final Words

Having the right tools on hand makes any job easier. You double or triple your work by using the wrong tools. That is why it is important to have the water heater element wrench in your tool box.

It is the right tool for the task of removing or installing an element. These are not expensive so you won’t be harming your budget when you buy yours. Keep your RV life simple and buy the right tools always.

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