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What can go wrong with an immersion heater spanner and how can you avoid it?

What can go wrong with an
immersion heater spanner
and how can you avoid it?

Shop for Immersion Heater Spanners

Image of a box ring immersion heater spanner Immersion heater spanners are reliable tools that do not often break. Once you buy an immersion heater spanner, it should last you a lifetime if you use it in the right way.


Image of a girl using an immersion heater spanner to blow bubbles ‘Abuse’ is the term used for using a tool in a way it was not designed to be used.
Image of abusing an immersion heater spanner by tapping the handle with a hammer Technically, using a hammer to rap on the handle or tommy bar of an immersion heater spanner is classed as abuse.

However, heavy duty box immersion heater spanners and one piece cast box ring immersion heater spanners have been designed with this kind of abuse in mind. This can be an essential part of the process of changing an immersion heater element if the element is jammed.

Spanner distortion

Image of a cranked immersion heater spanner with a distorted handle Excessive application of force can cause a spanner to ‘distort’ (become warped or bent). Immersion heater spanners are made from high quality steel, which is strong and resistant to distortion. Although unlikely, it is still possible for this to happen. If an immersion heater spanner distorts, it should not be used again.

Spanner malfunction

Image of an open headed spanner that has suffered a spanner malfunction Excessive force could also cause a spanner to ‘malfunction’ (crack, snap or break). This happens more often in open headed spanners – the ring or box heads on immersion heater spanners are reinforced against malfunction both because of their shape and the fact that they are made from tough, high quality steel. Again, while this is unlikely to happen, there is still a slight possibility that it might.

Avoiding malfunction and distortion

Image to show a length of pipe - it is important not to extend the handle of a spanner to get more leverage It is important not to use anything to extend the length of the handle or tommy bar of your tool, such as a length of pipe. Doing so could cause the handle or tommy bar to distort.
Image of a large boot to reinforce the idea that stamping on an immersion heater spanner to help loosen an immersion heater element is not advised Even though it can be frustrating when an immersion heater element sticks and will not easily unscrew, it is important not to stamp or stand on the handle of the spanner in an attempt to help to loosen the heater. Doing so could cause your tool to distort or malfunction, or it could cause your hot water tank or its inlet or outlet pipes to distort. They will need to be replaced if this happens, which could be costly!
Image of a towel to dry any wet tools after use Your immersion heater spanner will not require a lot of maintenance. Just make sure it’s dry when you put it away to help to prevent corrosion.

Making your life easier

Image of a DIYer loosening an immersion heater element with a flat immersion heater spanner If you want to make sure your immersion heater element can be removed smoothly and without having to be heated, loosen it very slightly once per year and then tighten it back up again. To avoid leaks, do not unscrew it completely from the copper boss.

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