How To Reset Hot Water Heater Step By Step

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In winter season and cold areas, the water heater is a necessity. We use its hot water for bathing, washing clothes and dishes, shaving and handwashing. It gives us a relaxing hot bath in the winter season. We don’t care about the water heater until it is working fine. Once it stops working, we get curious and uncomfortable. Due to abnormal conditions, heater trips. Electric water heaters need to be reset to resume its function. This happens in an electric water heater and the reset button is available in it. Therefore, we will discuss how to reset the hot water heater in this article.

Step By Guide Lines To Reset Hot Water Heater

A water heater has one or two thermostats depending on the size of the water heater. With the thermostat, there is a high limit switch that protects from abnormal conditions. Usually, the thermostat and the high limit switch are fixed together and placed in the water heater. This switch breaks the circuit and saves the water heater from abnormal conditions. To get it back to work you need to complete the circuit by pressing the reset button.

Abnormal Conditions for Tripping

Before diving into how to reset hot water heater, we should see why the heater has tripped. It is necessary to figure out the problem due to which the tripping has occurred. The high limit switch operates in abnormal conditions. The abnormal conditions can be the following.

  • Fault in the thermostat
  • No power to the water heater
  • Fault in wiring (Short-circuit)
  • Fault in the high limit switch

If there is no power to the heater for a long time, the high limit switch will operate. After checking the availability of power, the switch can be reset again. This is the only condition at which the reset can work.

Sometimes, the thermostat malfunctions, due to which the temperature is raised above the desired value. This is also an abnormal condition; therefore, the switch operates at it. To resolve this issue, you need to replace the thermostat. Resetting of the high limit switch will not work in this condition.

Due to short circuit and excess current the switch operates and protects the heater. The short-circuit should be cleared first before resetting the heater. Otherwise, the heater will trip again.

The last reason can be the fault in the high limit switch itself. If there is nothing wrong with the parts of the heater and wiring. There is a great probability that your high limit switch might be malfunctioning.

How to Reset Hot Water Heater?

Now it’s time to know how to reset hot water heater. The resetting process is pretty easy, and you can do it within a few minutes. There are a few steps on how to reset the hot water heater. We will discuss each step in detail.

The steps on how to reset hot water heater are,

  1. Turn off the Power Supply
  2. Find the Reset Button
  3. Press the Reset Button
  4. Turn on the Power Supply
  5. Check for Tripping

Turn Off the Power Supply

It is necessary to ensure safety first. For this turn off the power supply. There will be a circuit breaker associated with your water heater. You can find that breaker in your distribution board or the main panel. After finding the breaker, ensure it is on or off. If it is tripped, then there can be an overcurrent fault due to a short circuit or may be due to a fault in any part of the heater. It is better to call an electrician. If the electrician confirms, that there is no short circuit, then you can continue to the next step. If the breaker is on, then switch it off and move to the next step.

In case your water heater is connected via a switchboard, then you can switch it off from there as well. Take out the plug to be confident with safety measures.

Find the Reset Button

The reset button on the high limit switch which is fixed with the thermostat. You can find the thermostat insider the cover plates. Find the cover plates and there can be two cover plates depending on the size of the heater. After finding the cover plates, unscrew it. After removing the plates, you will find insulation in it. Take out the insulation and you will see a thermostat and a reset button over it. The colour of the reset button is usually red.

Press the Reset Button

Look at the button, if it pushed outward, it means the high limit switch has operated. To reset it, you need to push the button. To be safe, you can push the button with a screwdriver. After pushing the button, you will hear a “CLICK” sound, indicating the heater has been reset.

Turn on the Power Supply

Now turn on the power supply. If your heater was connected to a switchboard, then plug in the cord in the socket and turn on the switch.

Check for Tripping

After turning on the heater, wait and check whether it trips again or not. If it does not trip again, then put the insulation back and screw the panel cover. You will get the hot water within hours.

Question and Answer

What to do if the heater trips again after resetting it?

If the heater trips again after resetting it, you should call a plumber to check the problem. There can be a problem with the parts of the heater or the wiring.

What is the cause of circuit breaker tripping?

The cause of circuit breaker tripping can be the excess of current. Due to a short circuit, there can be an excessive amount of current. Further, there can be false tripping due to a fault in the circuit breaker as well.

Can there be more than one reset button?

Yes, there can be more than one reset button depending on the size of the heater. If there are two thermostats, then there will be probably two reset buttons. You need to reset both.


After a long outage of electricity, it is necessary to reset an electric heater. We have discussed how to reset the hot water heater, and this will help you a lot. If there is frequent tripping of the circuit breaker, then there can be a fault in the wiring. It is better to call an electrician or plumber.