how do you replace hot water tank elements?

I know this must sound stupid, but how do you replace the element? Do I need to drain the tank? Thanks for any help.
BoB.
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First thing you need to do is kill the power. Then depending which element you are changing,(upper or lower) you need to drain the water below that point. Disconnect the wires from the element and take it out

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Be sure you have the talk full before you turn the power back on too. Open a hot water faucet and let it run for a while to be sure all the air is out of the tank.
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BoB is right. This is pretty important. You could fry your new element and get too much pressue in the tank causing the pressue relief valve to open. Not that it's especially dangerous but you'll have H2O everywhere.

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BoB wrote:

Unless you want to mop the floor, yes...
While you're at it and have the lower element out check for limestone buildup on the bottom of the tank. If you have hard water, the reason for the element failure may be due to the deposits building up and causing the element eventually to overheat....we routinely would scrape a couple inches of accumulated "oyster shells" out on a yearly basis...
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