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Why Does My Electric Water Heater Reset Button Keep Tripping?

When something goes awry with your electric water heater, the unit has a built-in safety mechanism that allows it to work properly again. This mechanism comes in the form of a reset button. When the water temperature climbs too high, the reset button automatically shuts the unit off to protect it from overheating.

Ideally, this button is only activated in emergencies. If you find that your water heater's reset button is constantly tripping, this is indicative of an underlying problem. In this guide, we'll help you figure out what's causing your reset button to trip so you can enjoy on-demand hot water again. Keep reading to learn about:

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What is the Reset Button on an Electric Water Heater?

The reset button on your electric water heater functions as a safety device. It's typically a small red button located on the upper thermostat of your water heater. The key purpose of the reset button is to protect your unit when at risk of overheating. If the internal water temperature exceeds 180 degrees Fahrenheit, the reset button will disconnect power to your water heater. This helps keep any damage at bay while extending the lifespan of your unit.

The reset button is also commonly referred to as the ECO (emergency cut-off) switch or the high-limit safety thermostat switch. These alternative names illustrate the purpose of discontinuing power to your water heater and keeping your home safe.

Common Causes for the Tripping of the Reset Button

There are a number of reasons why the reset button on your water heater might be tripping so frequently. One of the most common issues involves the thermostat. Electric water heaters have an upper and lower thermostat, both of which control their respective heating elements. Once the tank reaches the preferred temperature, the thermostat shuts off its corresponding heating element. However, if either thermostat fails to turn off, the reset button will trip to prevent the tank from overheating.

Other common issues include a burnt-out heating element, a worn-out reset button, or a faulty circuit breaker or wiring. By calling a professional plumber, you can identify the root cause of your tripping reset button and prevent the issue from happening again in the future.

When to Call in the Professionals

If you can't seem to identify the problem on your own, it might be time to call in a professional plumber. There are some key signs to look for if you're wondering whether you need to contact a pro. The most obvious sign is a reset button that trips excessively. If the switch seems to be tripping more often than what's considered normal, it's a red flag that there's a bigger issue hiding beneath the surface. A seasoned plumber will quickly identify the source of the problem.

Other common problems that can affect electric water heaters include a lack of hot water, dirty water, foul odors, leaks, and low water pressure. Any of these issues on their own are enough to raise concern. However, if you've noticed these problems accompanying a frequently tripping circuit breaker, it's crucial to seek assistance as soon as possible. This will help prevent more severe damage.

Keep your electric water heater in prime condition with MSP’s expert plumbers.

At MSP Plumbing Heating Air, we're dedicated to giving your home the very best care. We offer expert tank or tankless water heater repairs, and we can provide a free quote for a new installation if needed. Best of all, you won’t have to wait long for your hot water to be restored. We’re dedicated to providing fast, same-day service, and we always clean up our workspace when finished. Call today and see why we’ve earned thousands of 5-star reviews from fully satisfied Minnesotans!

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