Originally Posted by mw2727
If it is an element or thermostat has gone bad, can that be fixed easily with a diy project?
I've replaced elements myself, but never a separate thermostat (the one thermostat I repaced was part of a gas valve for a gas-fired water heater).
You'll need to drain the tank below the places where the elements attach to the tank. They are pretty obvious, they are those locations with covers on the case. You'll also need a 6-sided wrench to remove the current elements (I use the plural form b/c in my experience if I replaced one element, the one I didn't replace failed soon after, so I always replace them in pairs to avoid the nuisance of having to do it over again), but the cheap formed steel ones you buy in the plumbing stores didn't do it for me, I had to buy a 3/4" drive socket and breaker bar of the correct size at a hardware store to be able to break the element loose. I did try a cheater bar on the formed steel cheapie "wrench" I bought at the plumbing supply store, did nothing more than bend the wrench up--those old elements can be quite stuck in there!
If your elements look like they have been in there for a while, you might want to replace the sacrificial anode that is in the water heater at the same time, I mean, you already have it drained.
You MUST be sure the electricity to the water heater is turned off at the breaker box before you start any of this--"Danger, Will Robinson, Danger"!!
Good luck, this is one repair you can do for yourself if you're the least bit handy!