When your hot water heater is causing issues in your home such as strange smells or discolored water, resetting it can help. The process is relatively simple and only requires a few steps.
First, find the reset button on your water heater. It’s usually located near the bottom of the unit and held in with screws.
Reset the Thermostat
If you have a newer electric water heater, it probably has a reset button to turn it back on after the high-limit switch trips. This is a safety feature to protect you from scalding hot water or a fire. If the reset button keeps tripping, it can be an indication that there’s an issue with the unit that requires a professional inspection to resolve.
Typically, the reset button is on or near the upper thermostat. It’s a red button that you should firmly press. You’ll usually hear a click when you do so. If you don’t, the button may be stuck, a common problem with older units. You can try to loosen it by using a screwdriver and gently prying up the panel that covers it. In some cases, the panel will have insulation covering it, and you’ll want to remove this for access to the button. Check it for moisture, which could indicate that your water heater is leaking and needs to be replaced.
There’s also a possibility that the reset button has become worn out over time from constant use and is simply not working properly anymore. In this case, you should watch a helpful video on troubleshooting a water heater and follow the tips provided to determine if it’s a simple fix or a more complex one that requires professional assistance.
Adjust the Temperature Settings
The next step is to make sure that the water heater’s temperature settings are correct. The best way to do this is to check the temperature of hot water coming from your taps, and to adjust the setting if it is too cold or too hot. You’ll want to be careful when doing this, however, because if you turn the knob too far one way or the other it could cause scalding and even burns.
It is also important to note that the temperature of your home’s pipes may affect how hot you need the water. For example, older homes might need to keep the temperature higher because they often have uninsulated pipes that lose heat as the water travels to other areas of the house. In general, though, the best temperature for most households is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This will keep bacteria at bay and prevent mineral deposits in your water pipes.
Once you have decided on the right temperature settings, shut off the power to your water heater again at the circuit breaker location. Then remove the access panel and insulation from the dials on your water heater, using a screwdriver, to get at the thermostats inside. Once you’ve accessed the thermostats, use a flat screwdriver to move the adjusting knob to your desired temperature. Once you’re finished, replace the insulation and access panels and restore the power to your water heater.
Replace the Heating Element
If your heating element is burned out, you’ll have a hard time producing hot water. The element is responsible for transferring heat to the lower thermostat. If it burns out, cool water will flow through the dip tube and mix with the hot water, reducing its temperature. The heating element can be replaced for about $20, but it requires removing the access panel, insulation and plastic safety cover.
The first step in replacing the heating element is to shut off the power to the heater at the circuit breaker. You’ll also want to close the drain valve and open a nearby hot water faucet to prevent water from spilling out of the tank as you work.
Remove the wires from the heating element and disconnect the element from the tank. You’ll need to use a hammer or socket wrench to loosen corrosion from the element threads and flange area. If you have a screw-in type of heating element, simply turn it counterclockwise to remove it. Alternatively, you can purchase a flange-type element with mounting screws that screw into the tank opening.
After removing the old element, clean the threads and gasket area on the new one and position it in the tank. Reconnect the black and white circuit wires to the screw terminals on the element by wrapping them clockwise around the screw terminals. Tighten the screws and make sure the wires are secure before folding back the insulation and screwing the cover plate in place over the access panel.
Call a Professional
Most homeowners give little thought to their water heater, until it starts to go on the fritz. Suddenly, hot showers are out of the question and laundry doesn’t get done. A professional plumber can help you decide whether repair or replacement is the best course of action.
If your water heater keeps tripping the energy cut-off switch (ECO), you need to call a professional Water Heater Restore in Louisville KY immediately. This is a dangerous problem that could cause the heater to explode. It can also be a sign that the appliance is not sized appropriately or that it shares a circuit with other appliances that draw a lot of power when they operate.
A professional should also be consulted if your water heater is taking longer than usual to recover from use or if it is leaking. In the former case, there may be a problem with the pressure relief valve. In the latter, there may be a problem with the gas control valve or the pilot flame orifice.
Finally, if your water has a foul odor or is discolored, it is time to call a professional. This is likely a sign that the anode rod has corroded, which creates hydrogen gas and causes the smell. The professionals can clean the tank and replace the anode rod to fix this problem. They can also test your water for safety and recommend any other necessary repairs.