What Size Socket Is The Best For Water Heater Element

A water heater element is a very useful tool for anyone looking to get a supply of hot water in the winter. However, you might be wondering what size socket would be the right one for such a water heater element. Since it is an electronic component, choosing the correct socket is very necessary to operate it.

A water heater element socket should be 1.5 inches in diameter for the best and perfect fit. Different water heater elements might have a little bit of differing socket size depending on their manufacturers. It will be mentioned in the user manual.

We will let you know how to choose the perfect socket size for your particular water heater element in this article. Moreover, you will get to know how the heater element works and how to operate it too.


Working Principle Of A Water Heater Element

A water heater element is undoubtedly the most necessary component of an electric heater. The electricity passing through this water heater element creates a huge amount of resistance inside. 

This resistance produces heat which in turn, warms up the water in the heater. So, the amount of heat your electric heater produces depends on the perfect workings and the wattage of the heater element.

To correctly install, remove or loosen the water heater element, it will require the right wrench and screwdriver. Here comes the need for the socket which will attach to the wrench in order to get the heater element to work.

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What Size Socket Needed For A Water Heater Element?

The water heater element can only be installed by specific wrenches. These are eligible to connect to a certain size and type of sockets in order to operate. 

Even if the universal socket size for this is one and a half inch, different types of heater elements might require a little different socket sizes. This size difference might be tiny but it could be crucial for proper electrical connection.

Here are the different socket sizes based on the type of water heater element you might possess:

Regular Water Heater Element Socket

Any regular and standard water heater element requires a socket of about 1.5 inches. If you are comfortable measuring in millimeters, that will equate to a socket of 39 millimeters. 

For extra certainty, you can check out the user manual to figure out if it is indeed a standard water heater. If the socket sizes match accordingly, it is confirmed to be a standard water heater element.

RV Water Heater Element Socket

If you are the owner of a RV or a Camper van, you will need a specially designed socket for your water heater element. This kind of heater element has two ideal socket sizes. 

On the anode rod of the heater element, you need a socket of 1-1/16 inch. The other side needs a 1.5 inch socket. There is an 8 millimeter hole on this side for turning the screw.

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Rheem and Whirlpool Water Heater Element Socket

Both Whirlpool and Rheem water heater elements are considered to be two of the standard ones in this water heater industry. Therefore, the socket size required for these also matches the standard socket size. 

A 1.5 inch or 39 millimeter of diameter socket size is the perfect fit for these renowned brands of water heater element.

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AO Smith Water Heater Element Socket

The AO Smith is one of the most powerful water heaters out there in the market. It requires a big wrench to operate the heater element. As a result, the socket size also turns out to be the biggest one amongst the water heater element brands.

The socket size needs to be 5 inches for the AO Smith water heater element. In millimeters, that will be a socket of around 127 millimeters. Undoubtedly, this socket is larger in size and more powerful in action compared to the rest.


In this section, we will let you know more about the water heater elements and their functions. If you still have any questions regarding the socket sizes, check out the answers below for a better understanding of it.

Can You Use The Same Socket For Every Kind Of Water Heater?

No, it is not possible to use the same socket for all the water heaters you come across. Each of the water heaters has a specific required size for their sockets that is mentioned in the user manual or guide. You need to follow the guide and only use the correct size of socket on your water heater.

What Power Of Socket Is Needed For A Water Heater?

A water heater needs a power outlet of about 15 amps in order to function properly. So, make sure the location you set up your water heater in has the ability to connect to a 15 amps power socket.

Can You Remove A Water Heater Element Without A Wrench?

Yes, you can totally remove a water heater element without a wrench by using just the socket. For this, use a 1.5 inch socket and attach it to the head of the water heater element. The hex end of the water heating element will accommodate the opening of the socket and remove the element.

How Long Before You Need To Replace The Water Heater Element?

A water heater element can last a long time if nothing goes wrong. The average lifetime of a new water heater element is 8 to 10 years. If your water starts being cold before this time, you will need to replace it sooner.

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At this point, you must have gained enough knowledge and information about the water heater elements.  Purchasing the correct socket for your specific water heater element is crucial for the health of the water heater itself.  

So, follow the user manual or take notes from this guide while choosing the size. In case of replacing the element, it is recommended to seek the help of a professional if you are not sure about doing it yourself. 

The removal and installation of the elements using the socket might take some getting used to first.

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