What Does It Mean To Reset Your Water Heater?

One of the most frustrating problems you can encounter with your home’s water occurs when you are trying to get hot water out of your shower or sink and the water will only come out cold.

Perhaps you’ve turned on the sink and have waited ages but no hot water is coming out, or maybe you have turned on the shower and waited for the water to get hot, but shortly after getting inside, you suddenly find the water running cold.

In these cases, you might need to reset your  water heater. These are both very common problems that you can encounter, particularly with an electric water heater, and the water heater reset switch should be your first stop.

You can typically find this on the upper thermostat of your electric water heater in the form of a red button. There is a small panel on most water heaters that needs to be removed before you will be able to access this button.

If you find the button lit, it means that the switch is tripped and must be reset. All you need to do to reset it is push the button. However, your water heater may also have a lower thermostat reset button. If it does, you’ll need to press that button as well.

After pressing either of these buttons, if you find that they immediately trip and refuse to reset, there could be a problem with one of your water heater’s parts.

What Does The Water Heater Reset Button Do?

Your water heater reset button is a safety mechanism on your water heater that will turn off power to the device when the temperature of the water inside of it rises above 180 degrees Fahrenheit. It is also sometimes known as the emergency cutoff, or ECO, switch or the high-limit safety thermostat switch.

Reasons A Water Heater Reset Switch Keeps Tripping

If your water heater reset switch keeps tripping, there are several potential causes. Here is a look at some of the top reasons this may occur.

You Have A Bad Thermostat

When a water heater is functioning perfectly, water in its pressurized tank will fill and heat from the bottom up. The fresh water will fill at the bottom of the tank, and the lower heating element will heat this water. Then, as water fills up to the top of the tank, its upper heating element will keep the water hot.

Because each of these sections has its own heating element, it also has its own thermostat that controls it. As water sits in the tank and begins to cool down, the thermostat will turn on to reheat the water. Once the water has reached the temperature that the high-limit switch is set to, the thermostat will turn off.

If the lower heating element or its thermostat goes bad, it means the water at the bottom of the tank won’t heat up. Therefore, as the hot water from the top of the tank is consumed, it will be replaced by cold water from the bottom of the tank.

Likewise, if the upper heating element or its thermostat goes bad, you will get hot water initially, but it will be used up quickly before the heated water from the bottom gets to the top.

If the high-limit thermostat is faulty, it will keep heating the water above the set temperature, which will cause the high limit switch to trip. When this happens, it will be necessary to replace the thermostat.

You Have A Loose Electrical Connection

A loose electrical connection within your tank can be very dangerous. A loose wire can lead to high resistance that creates significant heat that may even eventually start a fire.

If your water heater system has a loose electrical connection, it can cause the reset button thermometer to trip regardless of the temperature of the water. It may also make the reset button trip if it picks up heat from the loose wire.


You Have A Faulty Reset Button

If your water heater system has a loose electrical connection, it can cause the reset button thermometer to trip regardless of the temperature of the water. It may also make the reset button trip if it picks up heat from the loose wire.

Your heater’s reset button, like its other components, can eventually be damaged by wear and tear, causing it to perform less effectively and trip constantly regardless of the temperature of the water in the tank. If this happens, you will need to replace your entire thermostat.

You Have A Bad Heating Element

If there is a short in one of the heating elements that allows power to flow through the element even after its power has been shut off by the thermometer, it will continue to raise the water temperature, and this will trip the reset button eventually.

Get In Touch With The Northern Virginia Master Plumbers

If you are experiencing any problems with the hot water in your home or your water heating tank, reach out to the experienced Northern Virginia master plumbers at Baumbach Plumbing and Remodeling.

Our professionals are available for emergency repairs and routine maintenance, and we have built our reputation on carrying out high-quality work at reasonable prices.

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