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How to Reset Your Home's Water Heater

How to Reset Your Home's Water Heater

There are certain components in your home that have "reset" options associated with them for varying purposes, and the water heater is a great example. Why might you need to reset your home's water heater, how is this done, and in which situations might this signal a need for a plumbing professional's assistance? 

At Neighborly Plumbing & Services, we're here to provide a huge range of plumbing repair services to clients around Salt Lake City, Millcreek, Park City and surrounding areas, including water heater services for any need you may have. Here are some basics on why your water heater might need to be reset, the basic steps for doing so (either on your own or with our help), and some situations where water heater resets signal a need for further investigation of an issue by our team. 

How Water Heater Resets Work

Many modern water heaters come with either a reset button or a high-limit switch, both of which accomplish the same general goal: Resetting the system if it has become overloaded or otherwise bogged down, allowing for proper function to resume. 

In some cases, a water heater may shut off as a safety measure when something is wrong with the unit, such as an electrical issue or a malfunctioning thermostat - the switch shuts it off so that it does not provide scalding or freezing water to home appliances. The switch can also occasionally trip due to events like power surges or thunderstorms, in which case it can simply be reset. In other cases, however, resets may signal a more significant issue - we'll discuss this more in just a bit. 

Simple Water Heater Reset Steps

In cases where the water heater reset switch has been tripped due to a power surge or some other random event, it can typically be reset with some fairly simple steps. Here are these steps, plus some situations where they may require professional help:

  • Turn off power: Before going to the water heater itself, head to your electrical panel and find the circuit breaker that supplies power to the water heater. Flip it off and then flip it back on after a few seconds. If the breaker trips again soon after this, you have an electrical problem and should contact an electrician. 
  • Basic inspection: Look at your water heater and ensure it is in good condition, noting any damage or other issues. If there are none, you can proceed to the reset process. 
  • Find switch: On most units, this will be located near the thermostat control - often a red button that's clearly labeled as a "reset" option.
  • Turn power back on and check hot water levels: After pressing the reset button, go back to your electrical panel and turn power back on. Wait for about 20 minutes before checking your hot water levels - if they are restored, you're in good shape.

Regular Water Heater Reset Switch Trips

On the other hand, you may begin to notice that your water heater's reset switch is tripping on a regular basis, and the water heater is regularly turning off and becoming inoperable as a result. There are a few more serious concerns this may be indicating, including:

  • Problems with water heater thermostat: For any water heater, heat is regulated by a thermostat. If this component starts to malfunction, it can trip the reset switch and prevent proper heating. If you notice this happening regularly, call our pros for an inspection.
  • Issues with heating element: In certain cases, water heater heating elements may burn out and need to be replaced. If they do so in quick succession or on a regular basis, it could indicate a larger issue that requires professional attention.
  • Sediment buildup: Over time, sediment and other debris can accumulate at the bottom of your water heater tank, causing issues with heating and potentially tripping the reset switch. This is a common problem that requires periodic flushing - if you're not comfortable doing this yourself, call us for assistance.
  • Malfunctioning reset switch: In rare cases, the reset switch itself may be damaged or malfunctioning. This can often only be determined by a professional inspection and replacement if needed.
  • Damaged or loose wiring: If wires connecting your water heater to the electrical panel are damaged or loose, this can also trip the reset switch and cause issues. Again, only a professional inspection will determine if this is the issue.

In all these cases and more, our team at Neighborly Plumbing & Services is here to help. Our experts will diagnose and address any water heater issue, from minor resets to major repairs or replacements. Call us today for more information on any of our plumbers or plumbing repair services around SLC, Millcreek, Park City and nearby areas!

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