How To Reset A Whirlpool Electric Water Heater

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You’re savoring up a nice hot water shower until suddenly without warning, it turns cold. In the face of this hitch, you are determined to find out what the problem could be and how to solve it. Well, we have provided you with the answers after consulting with the experts.

The first step to solving your problem is to reset the button on your Whirlpool electric heater, which necessitates that you follow these basic steps:

  1. Open the water heater.
  2. Take out the cover plates.
  3. Pull out the insulation pad.
  4. Press the reset button.
  5. Reassemble the water heater.
  6. Turn the power back on.

Keep reading to find out the details on how to reset the button on your electric water heater. We'll also delve into the reasons your reset button may be continuously tripping, and how to troubleshoot when your heater does not produce hot water.

Homeowner switching the mode of the heater to eco mode, How To Reset A Whirlpool Electric Water Heater

Steps To Reset Your Whirlpool Water Heater

When your electric water heater stops producing hot water, ordinarily resetting it will solve the issue. Provided that you know where the reset button is, the process is simple. The steps are as follows:

1. Open The Water Heater

Turn off the power from the breaker panel. Don’t be comfortable with just unplugging it off from the electric outlet. Remember, working with electricity is a potential danger for an electric shock if you are not careful.

2. Take Out The Cover Plates

At the bottom of your water heater, there is a control panel covered by a metal plate held in place by screws. With a screwdriver, unscrew the screws and lift off the plate with your hands.

Some heaters have another plate near the top where the reset button is found.

So, the reset button may either be at the top or bottom. Also, check your manual to find out if you need to use a flat head or Philips screwdriver.

3. Pull Out The Insulation Pad

The inside of a water heater is insulated with foam that conceals the buttons. Therefore, to access them, you need to pull out the pad and place it aside.

However, if you find any moisture on the pad or next to the reset button, there’s a likelihood the gasket is leaking, which needs to be repaired before resetting the heater.

4. Press The Reset Button

Next, you will see a red button at the center of the control panel, which is sometimes labeled the reset button. Press the button steadily down with your fingers to push it inwards.

You should hear a clicking sound to indicate it has successfully been reset. If you don’t hear this sound, or it pops out again, then you need to inspect the heater for nicks in the wires or loose wire nuts. If there is no problem with the wiring, the problem might be in the controller, and if so, replace it.

It’s good to note that heaters are different, and some may not produce a clicking sound when resetting. In such a situation, go ahead and reassemble and check if it will heat water.

5. Reassemble The Water Heater

Put back the foam insulation in the exact position you earlier removed it. Screw back the cover plates over the control panels.

6. Turn The Power Back On

After reassembling the heater, it’s time to check if the reset button has worked. Turn the power on from the breaker panel and plug in the water heater cable onto the electrical outlet. Wait for around 2 hours for the water to be hot again.

Why Does My Reset Button Keep Tripping?

Womans hands turning up the level for the water heater

Whereas the reset button for your water heater can solve cold water issues almost instantly, sometimes it may trip several times. But, did you know this button can serve as a safety device? Well, yes, it turns your unit off when the water temperature exceeds the required levels.

Therefore, if you have pressed the reset button many times but it trips each time, there is an underlying problem that may include:

Faulty Thermostat

Most electric water heaters have two thermostats with a capacity of 80 gallons, each with its heating element, one at the top and another at the bottom. The smaller units with a capacity of 30 gallons may have only one thermostat.

The heating elements do not work concurrently and hence take turns to heat the water. The top thermostat has a switch that allows the water to heat not more than 170 degrees Fahrenheit. If it goes beyond this limit, the reset button will trip to stop it from heating any further.

If you reset the button and it trips again, you need to call an electrician who will first test your heater to find out which thermostat is not working and replace it.

Check out this electric water heater kit (including 2 elements and 2 thermostats) on Amazon.

Exposed Heating Element

If the element’s casing wears out or cracks, the live wires will be exposed to the water, causing a short circuit to occur. Thus the power will continue to flow in the water even when the thermostat has been turned off.

The water will heat up close to 180 degrees Fahrenheit, but the reset button will detect this and trip, preventing the water from heating any further.

In this case, the heating element will need to be replaced.

Faulty Reset Button

The button may be faulty if it keeps tripping. It is designed to cut off power when the water reaches a temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

Over time the button can wear out such that it will not read the water temperatures correctly. The switch will stop the power from flowing into the water heater even when the water temperature is low.

Since the reset button is part of the thermostat, then the whole thermostat will need to be replaced.

Faulty Wiring Or Improperly Wired Breaker

If your heater has loose wiring, it can produce excess heat, which the reset button will sense and then trip. 

The other wiring issue is if your water heater has copper wiring, whereas the rest of your home has aluminum wiring. In such a situation, a lug connector is needed where the two different wires meet, otherwise, the breaker will trip.

In addition, your home breaker may have worn out, causing the reset button to trip.

If a plumber finds nothing wrong with your water heater, then an electrician will have to inspect the wiring and water heater breaker and repair it accordingly.

Have a look at this lug connector on Amazon.

Click here to see this circuit breaker on Amazon.

How To Troubleshoot Your Water Heater

Several problems can emerge in Whirlpool electric water heater. For example, there may be no hot water coming through the taps, the water may be too hot, or you may hear popping sounds, among other issues.

When this happens, you will have to troubleshoot to solve whatever the problem could be. The following are conditions to watch out for in your water heater and how to troubleshoot them:

Check For Leaks

Technician checking the water heater system

You can check for leaks by inspecting your water tank. If the damages are minor, they can be repaired. For example, you may find leaks in the inlet or outlet connections to your water tank. Also, if there is water at the base of the tank, then it could be the drain valve leaking.

If the damage is extensive, a tank has no other solution other than being replaced.

Ensure Power At The Breaker Is On

This is a job highly recommended for your electrician, who will know how to check if power is still flowing. Normally, they wear rubber shoes and gloves to check what the problem could be after unscrewing the control panel and inspecting inside.

They will use a voltage tester to test if power is flowing through the upper element. If the voltage tester shows there is power, but the heating element does not have any power flowing through it, then the heating element is bad or the thermostat is not working.

Warm Water Or Brief Moments Of Hot Water

The most likely cause of your heater producing warm instead of hot water is a broken heating element. A broken dip tube is another reason only warm water is coming out from the tank. This tube brings cold water into the tank and if it is cracked or broken, the cold water will mix with the hot water.

Water Is Too Hot

When the water gets too hot, you may adjust the temperature accordingly. Approximately 120 degrees Fahrenheit is a temperature at which your water is comfortably warm for you to use. If the temperature does not change despite altering the settings, then the problem could be your thermostat which could have stopped working.

Popping Sounds

If you hear a popping sound like popcorn popping, the problem could be a build-up of sediments inside the tank. In areas where the water is hard, minerals are likely to form at the bottom of the tank.

The popping sound you hear happens when the water is trapped between the heating element and the sediment. As the water escapes, it produces a popping sound. The solution to this problem is to flush the tank to get rid of all the sediment.

In Closing

Homeowner switching the mode of the heater to eco mode

As soon as the water heater stops working, try and reset it, solving the problem instantly. However, your reset button could trip several times indicating there is a problem that may require some troubleshooting.

Before you go, check out these related posts:

How Often Does A Water Heater Run?

Are The Water Heater And Furnace Connected?

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