How to Replace the Heating Element in an Incubator

If you hatch your own chicken eggs, having an incubator is vital to keep the eggs at a consistent temperature. If the heating element on an incubator goes out, you need to replace it as soon as possible. Incubators may be built in different ways, but essentially they are all heating boxes to help hatch eggs, and the method of replacing a heating element is similar once you locate the element and its connections.

Turn off the power to the incubator and unplug it.

Locate your heating element. Depending on the model of your incubator, it is generally found at the top of the incubator. If it is not at the top of your incubator, it will be located near the temperature controls. Your model of incubator may require the removal of panels to access the heating element.

Remove the old heating element. Again, this varies depending on the model of incubator you own. Some heating elements are attached by wires wrapped around electrodes. For these, remove the insulating caps and unwind the wires. Other models hold the wires in place with a screw bolt. For these, use a screwdriver to loosen the bolt and remove the wires. For either, note which lead connects to the heating element's black wire and which to the red wire.

Attach the wires for the new heating element with the black and red wires running to the same leads as the old element. Secure the wires with the screw bolts or by wrapping the wire and placing an insulating cap over the ends.

Secure the heating element where it goes in your incubator. Replace any panels you removed to access the element.


While replacing the element, keep your eggs warm under a heat lamp. If you have a multimeter, test your old heating element to make sure it is the reason for your incubator's loss of heat. Your replacement element must have the same specifications as the old one. If you can't find the specifications of your heating element, take it to an electrical supply store.


Turn off any power to the incubator to prevent shock.

Things You'll Need

  • Incubator
  • Screwdriver
  • Electrical tape
  • New heating element
  • Heat lamp
  • Multimeter (optional)
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About the Author

Based in Portland, Ore., Tammie Painter has been writing garden, fitness, science and travel articles since 2008. Her articles have appeared in magazines such as "Herb Companion" and "Northwest Travel" and she is the author of six books. Painter earned her Bachelor of Science in biology from Portland State University.