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Change a hot water heater element without draining or spilling water

I have viewed some videos on the internet about changing a hot water heater element without draining the tank first. This is great and saves a ton of time. But in all of these videos you still get water spilling out, getting on the floor and in between the inner and outer shell of the water heater. It's still quite messy and the water is VERY hot!

After changing a few elements the way I saw in these videos, I decided to add a new innovation. I call it the "Water Shoot". It's made from a 2-liter soda bottle. Mine is about 4 inches wide cut up the whole length of the bottle. This simple little tool will protect you from getting burned and it will contain nearly 100% of the water that would otherwise spill on the floor or get in between the inner and outer shell of your water heater. My little water shoot innovation makes this process just about PERFECT!

Let me know what you think of my simple little innovation. You can see it in action here and ascertain for yourself just how useful this method is.

Steps listed all together:

Step 1 - With power on CAREFULLY check that you show 220+ volts down at your element.

Step 1b - Now turn the breaker OFF to the water heater and recheck that you have zero volts. Do this the same way you just checked to show 220+ v. This ensures you are not reading things wrong and you really do have no power to the unit.

Step 2 - Shut the incoming water valve off to the water heater and momentarily open a hot tap at any sink in your house to relieve the pressure on the water heater tank.

Step 3 - After pressure is relieved CLOSE all water taps to re-seal the system. This is the part I forgot to have my mother do. Oops!

Step 4 - Fit your handy (water shoot) tool under the lip of the circular element hole. Angle the lower end of your water shoot into a bowl.

Step 5 - Remove the old element and replace it with the new one.

Step 6 - Tighten new element, replace wires, turn breaker back on and open hot water valve above the water heater.

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