Have you ever woken up to a cold shower because you suddenly have no hot water? It’s enough to turn anyone’s morning ice cold in an instant.
But before you call the plumber or scramble to check your pilot light, try simply resetting your water heater first. This easy DIY reset has saved me countless repair bills over the years.
Just last month, my family returned from a long weekend away to find stone-cold showers. As an experienced DIYer, I knew to try resetting the water heater before anything else.
After carefully draining the tank, pressing the reset button, and refilling it, we had steaming hot water within the hour. Crisis averted!
Resetting your water heater is one of the handiest troubleshooting tips to know. With just a few simple steps, you can often get the hot water flowing again on your own without needing professional help.
As a homeowner who has done this process successfully for many years, let me walk you through how to easily reset your water heater when you have no hot water.
Why You Should Reset Your Water Heater
Removes Built-Up Sediment
Over time, minerals like calcium and magnesium in the water can accumulate at the bottom of your tank. Resetting flushes out this sediment so your heater doesn’t have to work as hard to heat the water.
Descale the Interior
In hard water areas, mineral deposits can coat the inside of the tank. Descaling solutions dissolve this scale during a reset. Removing the scale improves efficiency and minimizes noisy heating sounds.
Clears Out Air Pockets
Air trapped in the tank interferes with heat transfer and heating efficiency. Resetting allows air bubbles to be released so hot water circulates correctly.
Opportunity to Inspect Components
Resets allow you to check the anode rod, temperature-pressure relief valve, and other elements. Catching wear and tear early lets you replace parts before they fail.
Saves Money on Energy Bills
As sediment and scale accumulate, your water heater works harder to heat water. Removing deposits improves efficiency and reduces energy usage, potentially by $10-$15 per month.
Extends the Lifespan
Built-up sediment and wear-and-tear accelerate corrosion in the tank. Flushing deposits extends the life of an aging water heater by years.
Essential Preventative Maintenance
Periodically resetting your water heater is essential to improve efficiency, reduce energy costs, and extend appliance lifespan. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.
You can also read: The Lifespan of Your Water Heater: 6 Easy Tips to Increase Lifespan
How to Easily Reset Your Water Heater
Step 1: Turn Off the Power and Water Supply
Before doing any work on your water heater, you need to shut off the power and water supply lines. Start by flipping the circuit breaker for the water heater in your electrical panel.
If you don’t have a dedicated breaker, it may be tied to another nearby appliance like the furnace. Next, turn off the water supply lines.
There will be two of them: one cold water supply line and one hot water outlet line. Make sure the shut-off valves for both lines are fully closed.
If you have a gas water heater, there should also be a gas supply valve nearby that needs to be switched off.
Step 2: Drain the Tank
With the power and water off, the next step is to drain the water heater. Locate the drain valve at the bottom of the tank and attach a garden hose to it.
Make sure the other end of the hose goes to an area where hot water can drain safely away. Slowly open the drain valve and let the tank empty completely.
This may take 10 minutes or more depending on the capacity of your heater. Caution: the water coming out will be hot! Once drained, close the valve.
Step 3: Remove the Outer Access Panel
The reset button is located under an outer removable panel on the water heater. Take a Phillips screwdriver and unscrew the panel.
It may be held on with anywhere from 4 to 8 screws depending on the brand. Set the panel aside carefully so you can reattach it later.
This will expose the interior controls and components. Take care not to touch any bare wires while the panel is off.
Step 4: Locate the Reset Button
Look inside the newly uncovered control panel for a button labeled “reset.” It is usually red or another bright color and may be recessed to prevent accidental presses.
The location can vary, but it is often near the thermostat dial. If there is no obvious reset button, refer to the water heater user manual or online guides for that specific model to locate it.
The reset may be triggered by a certain combination of button presses instead.
Step 5: Press the Reset Button
Once you’ve located the reset button, press it firmly and hold for a full 10-15 seconds. You may hear an audible click.
This resets any error codes and will attempt to restart the heating process.
If your heater has a power switch inside the panel, ensure it gets turned back on as well. Double-check that any other switches are in their original position before continuing.
Step 6: Refill the Tank
After resetting, reopen the cold water supply valve first. When water starts flowing steadily from the hot water line, open its valve as well.
Let the tank fill completely and check for any leaks. Then turn the power back on at the breaker panel.
The water heater should start heating again within several minutes. Leave a hot water faucet open and wait for it to reach the desired temperature.
Step 7: Reattach the Outer Panel
The last step is to reattach the outer access panel using the original screws. Make sure all the edges are aligned properly and the gasket (if equipped) sits evenly in place.
Tighten down the screws evenly. With that, your water heater reset is complete! Enjoy having hot water readily available again.
This simple process can be repeated if the heater stops working properly in the future.
Troubleshooting and resetting your own water heater can seem daunting at first, but as you’ve seen, it’s actually a straightforward DIY project. Following these 7 simple steps, anyone can get their hot water flowing again without waiting for repairs.
The key things to remember are shutting off power and water, draining the tank completely, locating and pressing the reset button, refilling, and reattaching the outer panel. While the specific process varies slightly by model, the general principles are the same.
I hope this guide has shown you that resetting your water heater is an easy fix you can tackle. The next time you have hot water issues, don’t panic – just follow these steps to be your own plumber! Let me know if you have any other DIY tricks for getting appliances working again.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
Q1. How do I manually reset my water heater?
To manually reset your water heater, first, turn off the power supply to the unit. This may involve turning off the circuit breaker or gas supply to the heater. Wait for a few minutes to allow the unit to cool down, then turn the power supply back on. Finally, set the thermostat to your desired temperature.
Q2. How long does it take for a water heater to reset?
The amount of time it takes for a water heater to reset depends on the model and type of water heater you have. Typically, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour for the water heater to fully reset and begin heating water again.
Q3. How do I know if my water heater needs to be reset?
There are several signs that may indicate your water heater needs a reset. These include no hot water, low water pressure, unusual noises coming from the heater, or if the water temperature is too hot or not hot enough. If you notice any of these signs, try resetting your water heater to see if it resolves the issue. If the problem persists, it may be a more significant issue that requires a professional to diagnose and fix.
I'm a licensed home maintenance contractor with over a decade of experience, dedicated to preserving your home's value. My expertise includes roofing, gutter installation and repair, fencing, pool maintenance, deck and patio construction, plumbing, appliance repair, lawn care, painting, garage doors, windows, sump pumps, and steam heating systems.