If your water heater has suddenly lost power, you can sometimes reset it via the reset button (also known as the “high limit switch” or the “ECO“- energy cut off switch).
But here’s the thing: your water heater’s reset button is basically a “safety feature” that shuts off power to the water heater in the event of unsafe situations.
That said, if the reset button frequently trips, you’re better off calling a professional who can determine why this button is cutting off power to your water heater in the first place.
(You can read all about this safety feature and what causes it to trip in our blog, “Help! My Electric Water Heater Keeps Tripping”.)
But to help you restore your hot water in the event that the reset button has tripped unnecessarily, we’ll show you how to reset your water heater via the reset button.
Need a professional right away? Just contact us and we’ll send over a plumber who can diagnose and repair your water heater.
Step 1: Cut off power to the water heater at the panel
Before anything, make sure you flip the water heater circuit breaker to the OFF position.
To do this, you’ll first need to locate your home’s main electrical panel. This panel is the rectangular metal box that hangs on the wall and is usually located in your garage, storage closet or a hallway in your home (see below).
Your home’s electrical panel typically has a metal covering to protect the circuit breakers inside.
Once you’ve located your main electrical panel, look for the circuit breaker labeled “water heater”.
- If it’s already flipped to the OFF position, try to flip it to the ON position. *If the breaker automatically flips back to the OFF position, call a professional immediately as this is a sign of a larger electrical problem.
- If it’s in the ON position, flip the switch to the OFF position firmly and then proceed on to Step #2.
Step 2: Check the water heater reset button
The water heater reset button is the red button located on the water heater itself (just above the thermostat). Some water heaters may have two reset buttons-one for each thermostat.
To access the reset button, you may have to remove the metal plate covering the thermostat that’s held in place by screws. You may also have to remove a rectangular piece of foam insulation to see the reset button.
Press the reset button inwards firmly (some models will click once it’s been reset). Once you’ve pressed the reset button, you should screw the metal plate back in place (make sure you insert the foam insulation piece before this). Then, flip the water heater circuit breaker back to the ON position and check to see if power is restored.
If the water heater still doesn’t have power, call a professional immediately to diagnose and fix the problem.
Step 3: DO NOT reset if safety features continuously trip!
If the water heater reset button won’t reset, call a professional immediately.
In the meantime, keep your water heater off and disconnected from power.
Why? Well, the reset button and the circuit breaker are basically doing what they’re supposed to: preventing dangerous situations. If they’re continuously tripping, they’re trying to tell you that there’s a larger problem that requires professional help.
To avoid expensive damage to your water heater (or water damage to your home), avoid using the water heater until a professional has inspected and repaired the unit.
Possible problems that cause a water heater to trip
- A bad thermostat(s)
- A bad reset button
- Faulty wiring/electrical issues
- A bad breaker
- A bad element
Need professional water heater repair in Phoenix?
Just contact us. We’ll send over a tech who can inspect your system and diagnose the problem.
Trust us-we’ll restore your hot water the first time around.