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Water Heater Reset Button Keeps Tripping? | Causes & Solutions

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for made purchases.

Your water heater is one of the most important appliances in your house. However, a water heater can fail at any time.

Hot water heaters need to be maintained regularly. This helps prevent problems.

If you’re having a problem with the reset button tripping on your water heater, then read on!

Why Does The Reset Button Keep Tripping On My Water Heater?

Whenever the water heater loses power, the water heater is automatically switched off.

When the water heater is turned on again, it resets itself.

This means that if the water heater loses power while running, then it won’t restart until the water reaches the desired temperature.

Here are some reasons why your reset button might keep tripping.

Faulty thermostats can cause problems. A faulty thermostat could be causing a problem with the temperature sensor.

Loose wiring can lead to fire hazards. Repairing loose wiring is essential to preventing further problems.

Faulty switches are sometimes caused by corrosion or dirt inside the switch. This problem can be fixed by cleaning the contacts.

Corrosion can damage the inside of your water heater. You should call an electrician if you notice any signs of corrosion.

A grounding issue can also be dangerous because it could cause the thermostat to stop working properly.

Malfunctioning Thermostat

The thermostat monitors the water temperature within the tanks and turns the heating element off when the water reaches the desired temperature. 

To check if there is anything wrong with your water heater, you should first check the upper thermostat.

This should be on top. If this thermostat doesn’t work properly, you may need to replace it.

When it malfunctions, you should contact an expert who can fix it.

You should always consider contacting a professional if your thermostat needs replacing.

A faulty thermostat will cause the heating element to stay on until the temperature reaches a certain point.

You can use a multimeter to check if there is an issue with the thermostat.

If you do not have a multimeter, then you should call a professional plumber to fix the problem.

A multimeter is used to measure resistance or voltage. Thermostats use a thermistor to detect temperature.

To test if a thermostat is working properly, place your multimeter across the terminals of the thermostat.

If there is a reading of zero volts, then the thermostat is working fine.

If there is a voltage reading of more than 0.5 volts, then the thermostat is bad and should be replaced.

Thermostats communicate with each other to ensure that only one heating element is turned on at once.

When one thermostat gets stuck in the ON position, it may never turn off the heater.

This could cause the reset button to trip over and over again until the issue is resolved.

Wiring Issues

Water Heater Making Popping Sound? Causes And Troubleshooting Tips

Loose wiring or wires that aren’t installed correctly could cause the electric water heater to reset.

This can lead to dangerous water heater issues. Your electric water heater is built to prevent these kinds of accidents.

However, if you notice any loose wiring or wires that were not installed correctly, call an expert right away.

A loose wire in the system causes an abundance of heat. Reset buttons can detect this heat, and then turn off the hot water heater.

A bad breaker trips the reset button, causing the hot water heater to shut down.

A loose wire can lead to an electrical fire. When you notice loose wires, you must contact an electrician right away.

This could cause a fire if someone touches the wrong wire. Your electric water heater comes with many safety features.

However, you should still pay attention to any loose wires.

Loose electrical wiring is a common problem. When you turn on your water heater, the circuit breaker may trip due to loose wiring.

This is usually caused by a bad connection at the wall socket. You should check your connections regularly.

If you’re good with electrics, loose wires are usually fairly easy to locate.

Do not consider doing this if you don’t know what you’re doing. You could easily kill yourself stone dead.

Turn off the main power source to the house, and check each wire for any looseness.

If you feel something that seems loose, then you probably have a loose wire somewhere.

Tighten the wire by pulling on both ends of the wire until it feels tight.

If your problem is solved quickly and easily, then you should probably do it yourself.

However, if you feel that there might be something else wrong with the wire, then you should call a professional.

Worn Out Heating Element

Heating elements are important parts of a hot water heater.

If you hear a loud noise when turning on the hot water tap, then there might be a problem with your heating element.

You should check if it’s working properly by testing it.

Water heater thermostats (see also our guide to wiring water heater thermostats) are designed to protect people from scalding when hot water is turned off.

A short circuit could cause the heating element to overheat, causing the thermostat to shut off the flow of electricity to the heating element.

This could lead to a dangerous situation if the water heater isn’t repaired soon enough.

Electric water heaters have two elements (see also ‘ What To Do When Water Heater Element Stuck ‘). The first element heats the water when it receives a signal from a thermostat.

The second element heats the water if the first element fails.

Heating elements can sometimes fuse out or fail.

If the heating element is showing problems, it can cause the temperature control to malfunction.

When the reset button on a thermostat trips, the system loses contact with the live wire. This causes the system to be shorted out.

You should call for repairs when this happens.

The metal casing of a heating element may crack when the reset button on a heater thermostat trips.

Even though the thermostat says there is nothing wrong, the heating element could still be working. 

This causes the temperature control to go crazy, and it could start getting too hot.

If you see an open circuit on the heating element, you’ll know it’s shorting out.

Heating elements get power even when there’s a short circuit. Thermostats heat up until the water gets too hot.

Water doesn’t feel hot unless it’s over 180 degrees Fahrenheit. When it gets hot enough, the reset button trips, and the water stops heating.

Replacing a heating element might fix the problem.

Replacing the heating element can sometimes be quite complicated. You’ll need to drain the water heater, pull out the wires, and then re-attach them back into place.

This is because you’ll also be dealing with both water (which needs to be drained) and electricity (which needs to be reconnected).

Water Leak

Water heaters should be turned off if there is any sign of leakage. You must turn off the breaker before repairing leaks.

Get a professional to do the job.

Broken Reset Button

Water Heater Making Popping Sound? Causes And Troubleshooting Tips

Reset buttons are used to turn off appliances.

When they wear out, they can cause problems by cutting off power when the water isn’t hot enough. The reset button may be faulty or damaged.

Water heaters should be checked regularly by an expert technician for seemingly minor issues like these.

A faulty water heater button could indicate other issues, and could cause serious damage to your house.

You need to contact an expert to check the device.

Reset buttons can fail because of wear and tear or damage.

A damaged reset button can cause the water heater to shut off even when the water temperature is below 180 degrees.

This can lead to overheating issues.

When a water heater resets, it shuts down the heating process. A malfunctioning reset button could cause a problem.

To fix the problem,  get an expert to replace the reset button.

The reset button is a safety mechanism to prevent the heater from running dry and overheating.

It’s not designed to be used as an on/off switch. If you want it off, turn off the breaker that supplies power.

It is a safety mechanism. It was designed to prevent overheating of the water heater.

But if the button malfunctions, it should be replaced. The electric water heater’s temperature can be controlled by a thermostat.

Despite this, if this high limit button trips, it is time to contact a professional to fix the problem.


Water heaters are designed to heat water safely. Sediment buildup in the tank can cause problems.

Flushing the tank should fix this problem. If it does not, you may need a new heater.

If the reset button on your water heater is stuck down and won’t let go of its position, it could be caused by sediment build-up inside the tank.

To remove the sediment, turn off the power to the unit and flush out the tank with hot water.

After flushing, turn the power back on and then try again to push the reset button up into place.

You’ll know if that worked when the reset button releases itself from its resting position.

If you still have trouble after trying these steps, you may need a replacement water heater. 

Always Call A Pro

Plumbing is an important part of any house or building. It is used to fix leaks, clean pipes, repair toilets, and much more.

Plumbers are experts who fix pipes, drains, toilets, and other plumbing problems.

Electricians are experts who fix electrical wiring and appliances. A plumber or an electrician should be called first before anything else.

What Is The Reset Button For?

Reset buttons go by different names. Some call them energy cut off (ECO). Others call them high limit controls.

But whatever you call them, they work the same way. You push the button, and if the temperature is too hot, the water heater shuts down.

Water heaters should be checked regularly. A water heater reset button issue may indicate an issue with the whole unit.

Reset buttons are usually located near the top of the boiler. Pressing these buttons should clear any errors in the system.

Hold the reset button for three seconds before releasing.

You can tell if your boiler has had its faults cleared by checking whether the red light flashes when you release the reset button.

If the red light does not stop flashing then there could be an issue with the boiler. Contact a registered engineer for help.


Water heaters are very important appliances that we use every day. We hope this article helps you fix your problem.

Diagnosing problems with your electric water heater can be a nightmare!

Hopefully, this guide has helped you out. Remember to get a professional to do the work!

author avatar
Anthony Barnes
Anthony Barnes is the founder of Water Heater Hub and a second-generation plumber by profession. Before developing Water Heater Hub, Anthony Barnes was a full-time plumber, and he has undertaken a wide variety of projects over the decades. As a second-generation plumber, it was easy for Anthony to get used to the technicalities of all from a tender age


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