Change the heating element in a GE water heater by turning off the water and electricity and draining the tank, then removing the access panel from the front of the tank to gain access to the old element. Remove it, install the new element, then refill the tank with water.
Locate the circuit breaker for the water heater and turn it to the off position. Close the cold water inlet valve to the water heater. Attach a garden hose to the drain valve, open the nearest hot water valve and the drain valve and allow the water to drain.
The elements are accessible from the two panels on the front of the water heater. Remove the panel, the plastic cover and the thermostat. Use an element socket, available at home improvement stores, to remove the element. Insert a long Phillips screwdriver through the holes at the end of the socket to increase leverage.
Insert the new element into the tank and tighten it with the socket. Open the kitchen hot water tap and the cold-water inlet for the tank. Once the faucet stops bubbling, close any open hot water taps and check the tank for leaks around the element. If there are no leaks, install the thermostat, plastic cover and access cover. Turn on the power and check for hot water in about 45 minutes.