Electric hot water heater element severely bent

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Dan_fash

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When I attempted to pull my hot water heaters electric element, it got stuck. I (stupidly) thought if I applied some force it might straighten and come out... fast forward about an hour, and I’m relatively sure my element is bent about 90 degrees inside the tank.... I can pull out about half of it, but the now unfolded half will not come out.

can I just cut off the element, and leave that piece inside the tank?

feel free to have a laugh at my situation, but I’d appreciate it if you might follow it with a recommendation

feeling foolish
Dan_fash
 

Jeff Handy

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I think you can just cut it and leave that cut end inside there.
It will pbly get coated with minerals and be fairly inert.

But can’t you just get a big pair of Channel Lock type of pliers, and crush the two rods tight together, then keep squishing them together as you pull out all of it?
 

Diehard

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Or, if you can lock on a pair of long nose vise grips on the piece inside the tank, then cut it close to the tank, I would think you would then be able to turn that remaining piece enough to extract it.
 

Dan_fash

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I’m pretty sure that I bent it into a t shape....couldn’t think of any way it would fit short of being able to cut the portion inside the tank.

I ended up pulling out as much as I could, and dremel cut it off.... it probably left 20 inches of element in the tank, but the new element is installed, and the water is heating as we speak

thanks for the advice
 

TomFOhio

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This happens to the best of us. I always worked to get it all out because I was told that if it makes contact with the
new element it could get shorted out. Use a shop vac and needle nose and do your best to get it all out.
 
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