Household water heaters are an important appliance, though they are also one that's usually out of sight and out of mind until something goes wrong. Unfortunately, few homeowners know what to do when they get in the shower and are met with nothing but cold water. Here's a look at what you need to know about malfunctioning hot water heaters and when to call for a repair.
Understanding The Safety Reset
The most common reason for a failed hot water heater is a tripped safety reset. The safety reset is a feature that shuts down the hot water heater any time there's a fault detected within the system. If you've confirmed that the hot water heater is getting power, the breaker isn't tripped, and the unit hasn't sprung a leak, you should check the safety reset and try to reset it.
Checking The Safety Reset
In most cases, the hot water heater's safety reset button is installed near the thermostat for the unit. Typically, these are placed behind an access panel on the hot water tank. You will probably need a screwdriver to access this compartment. You may find, inside the compartment, that there are sets of wires as well as the thermostat and the safety reset.
If you are unable to locate the panel protecting the safety reset, check the owner's manual for your hot water heater. There should be a diagram inside the manual that details where the reset button is located. Once you find it, reset it to restore power to your water heater's heating elements. This should resolve the problem.
Addressing A Reset Problem
Sometimes, although resetting the safety reset will restore your water tank's operation, the reset button will continue to trip repeatedly. If this happens, and you find that the safety reset trips multiple times, that is a key indication that there's a problem with your hot water tank.
You'll want to shut the system down right away, just in case there's an electrical short or something similar tripping the safety reset. Call a hot water heater technician right away and have them evaluate the system to determine the cause of the shutdown.
These are some of the most important things for you to know about your hot water tank and the safety reset feature. If you find that your hot water tank isn't functioning as it should, or has shut down, follow these steps to isolate the source of the problem. Then, talk with a hot water tank repair technician to restore your hot water tank to its proper operation.