How to Reset Your Electric Water Heater in 4 Simple Steps

Our Expert Tips

Hot water makes it possible to enjoy steaming hot showers and clean dishes and clothing. When your water heater stops working, you might wonder how to reset the water heater. This easy process allows you to try fixing the problem yourself before calling the experts from Rockville Centre’s plumbing company.

Why Did My Water Heater Stop Working?

Water heaters may stop working for a number of reasons, each of them designed with safety in mind. Some of the most common causes of a water heater shutting off include the following.

High Water Temperatures

All water heaters have a high limit switch inside that turns off the water heater when it senses that the water has risen to too high a temperature.

Mechanical Problems

Loose wires, failing thermostats, or faulty heating elements affecting the electrical function of the water heater could trigger the circuit breaker to trip.

Power Surges

Power surges can also cause a water heater’s circuit breaker to trip, turning off the appliance and halting the creation of heated water.

Before Resetting Your Water Heater

If your water heater stops working, you may need to reset it with the appliance’s own reset button. Before doing so, though, take these steps.

Check the Circuit Breaker

If your water heater has never needed resetting before, something may have triggered the circuit breaker for that appliance to trip. Sometimes you can reset the circuit breaker and fix the problem. However, if the circuit breaker keeps tripping, you need to check out the water heater itself.

Inspect Your Water Heater

Check the various external components of your water heater for signs of leaking. A leaking water heater may have damaged the internal parts of the appliance or caused damage to the surrounding walls or floors. If you find a leak, contact a professional plumbing company instead of trying to reset your water heater, as the leak may indicate a more serious issue.

Locate the Water Heater’s Reset Switch

Once you’ve established that your water heater has no leaks or repeated circuit breaker issues, you can work on discovering how to reset the water heater.

Four Steps to Reset Your Water Heater

Look for a button or access panel near the water heater’s element. You may need a screwdriver to open the panel. Then, follow these steps.

1. Turn Off the Water Heater’s Circuit Breaker

Before touching any of the electrical parts of your water heater, turn off the circuit breaker. If you can’t find a circuit breaker labeled for the water heater, turn off all of them until you finish resetting the appliance. Grab a flashlight if you have to switch off all of your electricity.

2. Inspect the Reset Button’s Access Panel

Before pressing the reset button, check around it for signs of a leak. If the button resides beneath an access panel, look into the corners of the recessed area for signs of water. A dry panel means you can safely reset your water heater.

3. Press the Button

Press the button hard and hold it down for a moment before releasing. You should hear a click as you release the button. If you don’t hear a click, repeat the pressing motion until you do.

Once you hear the clicking sound, you’ve successfully reset your water heater.

4. Turn the Breaker Back On and Test the Hot Water

Your water heater should work after pressing this button. Turn on any circuit breakers you switched off to reset the appliance. Give the water heater some time to heat back up before testing your faucets; you should hear bubbling noises inside of the appliance as it heats up again.

After about an hour, try running hot water from your sink or tub and leave it running to test how long the water stays hot. Keep an eye on your water temperature to ensure you don’t get scalding water and remember that water should never have a higher temperature than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

What Should I Do if the Reset Doesn’t Work?

If your water heater continues to trip the circuit breaker, or its limit switch keeps turning the unit off, request professional plumbing services. Your water heater may need a replacement thermostat, heating element, or another electrical component. 

Professional Water Heater Repair and Installation in Rockville Centre, NY

Knowing how to reset the water heater can help you with fixing a simple water heater problem. However, if you need plumbing services ranging from traditional water heater repair to tankless water heater maintenance, call Pride Plumbing in Rockville Centre, NY, at (516) 916-6894.

Published: Apr 10, 2023

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