Leaking Immersion Element

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by DuncanF, Sep 9, 2005.

  1. DuncanF

    DuncanF New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Hi,

    I need to replace the immersion heater in my tank. This will be about the fourth time that it has been replaced, and I notice that from the last time it was replaced a few years back there has been a constant, but very minor, leak around the threads. Nipping it tighter hasn't solved this issue.

    Is it possible that the use of PTFE on previous changes of element has worn the tank threads down? If so I could make this the final change - I want to re-work the hot water tank anyway - so how could I make the new element totally water tight, even if it is at the expense of sacrificing the tank when this element dies?

    If the threads are OK can I just add more PTFE to make the joint on the new element not leak? Thanks,

    Duncan
  2. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    Messages:
    1,423
    Location:
    Florida
    heating element

    If its a screw in element, isnt there a rubber gasget with it?
    Teflon tape can be made into a good gasket. Threads wont be worn.
    Use a little teflon pipe dope too. There should not be a problem.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,825
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    element

    IF it has been leaking since it was replaced, I doubt that you will be able to replace it successfully without it leaking. You do not use teflon tape on the threads. The seal is made with the rubber washer, and if that does not seal it, then the element boss is damaged. Besides, that amount of leaking may have fused the element to the tank with a layer of rust.
  4. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    Messages:
    1,423
    Location:
    Florida
    thread

    Tape has never been a problem..........
    You don't lay the tape on the thread toward the front edge so you will not get tape enter the tank.
    You do what you have to do.
    Elements that I see usually come with a flat rubber washer or a fat o-ring, and if the boss is a little rough, added tape has never caused a problem and usually stopped the leak.
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