Where Is The Reset Button On A Hot Water Heater

Most homeowners don’t know where exactly the reset button is on the water heater as it is mostly hidden underneath the cover or is not placed at a location that can be easily seen. If you also find it hard to locate the reset button then you should know where the reset button is on your hot water heater.

From taking showers to washing dishes and clothes, hot water plays a significant role in our everyday lives. The water heaters constantly work throughout the day, and this wear and tear are expected. These can have several issues, and you need to know where the reset button is to fix them.

Sometimes, the button trips and intervenes in all the water heater’s functions. So in this article, we will discuss where the reset button is present on the water heater and how to fix the issues that are caused due to the tripping. Stay with me till the end to know the solution to all the hot water problems you might face tomorrow.

Where Is The Reset Button On A Hot Water Heater?

It is generally located near the thermostat unit. If you do not find it there, check behind the metal panel. The first thing that comes to mind when the water heater stops working is to reset the heater.

This will eventually solve all the problems. But for people like me, finding that reset button on the water heater can be a bigger problem. It would help if you notice a few things while finding the reset button. The color of the reset button is usually red.

This panel can be removed from the hot water heater. You can press the reset button and release it, so the heater starts working perfectly. A second reset button is also present lower than the first reset button.

You can also turn it off so that the water heater starts functioning correctly. If you still notice that something is off in the heater, call a professional plumber and ask him to check the entire unit.

reset button on the water heater

Purpose of the Reset Button

Almost everything you see on a hot water heater has a purpose. Similarly, the reset button on a water heater also has a function. It stops the flow of electricity/power that the heater needs to perform all the functions.

This is a safety feature in almost all heating units. This can stop the flow when the thermostat is not working. A power surge can also be another reason. The reset button ensures the water doesn’t get too hot in the heater. It has to maintain a balance.

How Do Hot Water Heaters Work?

The water fills in from the bottom of the water heater. It is the job of the lower thermostat to heat the water initially. But when the water travels up the tank, the upper thermostat or the heating element heats the water. After the tank is filled, the water settles down and gets cool.

Then the thermostat starts heating again but when the water is needed. The upper thermostat has a temperature limit. When the water reaches that limit, the thermostat shuts off automatically.

Lower Heating Element/Thermostat

The lower heating element or the thermostat heats the water first. But if it is not working, the water travels up the tank cold. It remains cold throughout, and when you open a tap or a kitchen faucet, you will get cold water. This is because the water did not heat up at the bottom of the tank. So it settles down the same way and comes out cold.

Upper Heating Element/Thermostat

If the upper heating limit or the thermostat stops working, the water heater will have warm water in the beginning. However, it will turn cool once you start using the water. This is because the water has no heating element when it settles down in the tank. It only gets heated initially by the lower thermostat before it travels upward in the water tank.

Maintenance of a Hot Water Heater

All our appliances in the house need maintenance. Similarly, a hot water heater also needs some maintenance to work correctly. Initially, it might be challenging to maintain a new water heater, but the following ideas will make your life easy. Follow these small instructions, and the water heater will last for a decade easily.

  • The first and the easiest way is to flush the hot water heater. Open the valves of the heater and let the water come out. When the tank is empty, clean the sediments from the bottom. Put some water to clean thoroughly. Repeat until you think the tank is clean and then fill it up.
  • Whether the heater is electric or gas-powered, reset and adjust the temperature. A temperature dial is present at the side of the water heater. You need to unscrew the cover first and adjust the dial. The ideal temperature is 120 degrees F. You can use a flat-head screwdriver for removing the cover. Keeping the temperature at 120 degrees F can also save the energy cost up to almost 5%.
  • Most of the water heaters have a vacation mode. Set the water heater to vacation mode when you plan to travel to another country or city. This can save a lot of energy as the heater runs at lower temperatures than usual. The vacation mode is usually the temperature below 50 degrees F and also impacts the environment.
  • You can check the temperature and pressure release valve or TPR. This can be left open under the bucket. Let the water drain out and turn it off after some time. If the water still flows in the bucket, you should replace the old TPR valve with the new one. This is the safety mechanism of the water heater.
  • An anode rod is present in a water heater. This helps in protecting the water tank from rust. If you notice that the anode rod is rusting, replace it with a new one. This will make the heater last long. The rusted rod can leave a rusty smell and gel-like substance in the water. Even if the rod does not deteriorate with time, it is recommended to change it every five years.

Read in detail how to maintain your tankless water heater here.

Why Does The Water Heater Stop Working?

As we all know, the hot water heater has a reset button which can trip more often. There are several reasons behind tripping. Some issues are present that can cause problems in the water heater. The water heater might have a faulty thermostat that isn’t working and stops heating. Furthermore, the reset button itself can malfunction.

Sometimes the water might get too hot, and this is because the high-limit switch is not working. Either it works and boils the water, or it doesn’t work and leaves the water cold. Another fault can be caused if the wire is loose. This can disturb the function of the water heater. You need to check everything so that the heater doesn’t stop working.


What trips the reset button on a hot water heater?

When the reset button of the hot water heater trips continuously, the thermostat might have an issue. The upper and lower elements of the thermostat never turn off, and as a result the reset button trips constantly.

How do I reset my hot water heater?

A reset button is present in almost all the hot water heaters. This is located near the upper and lower thermostat. Please press the button and release it to reset the water heater. All the functions regulate after resetting. This is the safety feature that ensures the user’s protection.

Why do I have to reset the hot water heater?

The water heater is reset to make it function properly. It can be reset if the heater is not performing up to the mark or has any power issues. But you need to find the reset button on the heater first.

Why my hot water heater is not working?

The hot water heater can stop working due to several reasons. These include a faulty thermostat, a rusty anode rod, a loose wire, or a high-limit switch that might not work. All these contribute to the malfunctioning of the hot water heater.


The reset button is near the upper or lower thermostat and is usually red. This button plays a vital role in running all the water heater functions. You can press the reset button if you notice any issues. This is a safety button that ensures the user’s safety by shutting the heater off when something unusual happens. Once the heater is reset, the hot water starts flowing from the taps normally.

With years of experience under his belt, Adam decided to put his water heater knowledge to work. By providing high-quality content and expert guides, Adam hopes to help anyone looking for expert water heater advice.