How to Reset Any Water Heater In Under 5 Minutes

Water heater in boiler room

Stuck trying to figure out how to restart your water heater?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. You wouldn’t believe how many people I’ve seen struggle with the same issue.

But the good news is that you’ve come to the right place for answers.

To restart your water heater, you’ll need to disconnect it from the power source, remove the cover plate and insulation, and press the red reset button located near the thermostat. Then, you’ll need to test different plumbing appliances.

Keep reading to learn how to reset your hot water heater!

What You’ll Need To Reset Your Hot Water Heater

Fortunately, you do not need much if you are interested in restarting your water heater.

It is probably a good idea for you to have your manual with you. This way, you can take a look at how these steps look on your specific hot water heater. 

Flashlight and screwdriver
Aside from your water heater’s manual. you will also need a flashlight and a screw diver

In addition, I recommend having a flashlight with you. You never know how dark it is going to be in there, and you need to be able to see what you are doing. Your flashlight should be small enough to be portable, but also bright enough to eliminate the area. That way, you can see what you are working on.

There’s also a good chance you will need a screwdriver to remove the cover plates. These are usually Phillips head screws, but you may want to look at your hot water heater to see exactly what you need. 

After you have collected all the materials you need, it is time to get to work resetting your hot water heater.

How to Restart a Water Heater: 7 Simple Steps 

If you want to restart your water heater as quickly as possible, there are 7 steps you need to follow. Fortunately, they are all very short, so you should be able to blow through them quickly.

The steps you need to follow to reset your hot water heater are:

#1 Open the Hot Water Heater

The first thing you need to do is remove the power to your water heater.

If there’s not an obvious switch nearby the water heater, the simplest way to do this is via your circuit box. Just find flip the breaker that’s associated with the water heater.

After you are certain you have removed all power from the hot water heater, we can get to work! 

#2 Remove the Cover Plates

Now, it’s time for us to remove the cover plates.

They are usually located near the bottom of your water heater. Once you’ve located them, please use a screwdriver to remove them.

If there is a second cover plate, you will need to remove this as well. Make sure you use the right screwdriver for the plate. Otherwise, you run the risk of stripping the screws, which could be a serious issue. 

#3 Remove any Insulation

When you remove the cover plate, there is a good chance you will see some insulation concealing the buttons. If that’s the case, you need to remove this as well.

After you have removed the insulation pad, put it to the side in a dry location.

If you notice any moisture on the pad, there could be an element gasket issue. You will need to reset the gas cap before you reset the water heater.

Please look at your manual to see what you have to do to fix the gasket. If you have questions about this process, you’ll need to contact a professional who can help you. 

#4 Press and Hold the Reset Button

Now that the cover plate and insulation are out of the way, you should see a red button.

There’s a good chance that the button has actually been labeled as the reset button – which is pretty helpful!

Restart a water heater
The reset button is usually red and located next to the thermostat. It may also be hidden behind the cover plates, which can be removed with a screwdriver.

You need to press the reset button firmly. There are some situations where it might be sticky, particularly if you have not pressed it in a while. If that is the case, you may want to clean it before you press it.

When you press the button, it should move inward. Make sure you keep pressing the button until you hear a click. If you have heard it click, you know the hot water heater has registered the depression. It should begin to reset itself. 

But, if you continue to press the button, and you do not hear a click, this could be a sign that something is loose in the hot water heater.

If that’s the case, you need to take a look at the wiring throughout the hot water heater for any signs of nicks. You may also want to check loose wire nuts.

If there are issues with the wiring, please call a professional and replace it. On the other hand, if the wiring is fine, then this is a sign that you may need to replace the controller itself. 

#5 Put the Pad Back in Place

After you are done, you need to put the insulation pad back in place.

To do it, simply grab it and place it firmly over the reset button and the panel. You can do this with your hands.

Make sure it is in place when you let go. If it is not firmly in place, you need to adjust it.

If you think there is something wrong with the insulation, you may need to replace it. Fortunately, this installation is relatively durable, and you should not have a lot of issues. 

#6 Put the Door Back

Now, it’s time for us to put the door back in place. It should be on the floor next to the hot water heater.

Simply pick up the door, place it back over the hot water heater, and put the screws back in. Make sure you use the same screws you removed from the control panel. 

Don’t forget to make sure the screws are tight before you pull out the screwdriver. You do not want the screws to fall out after you put them in the water heater.

#7 Restore Power to the Hot Water Heater

Finally, you need to restore power to the hot water heater.

If you had to unplug the hot water heater before, simply plug it back into the wall. If you had to shut off power to the hot water heater at the circuit breaker, it is time to restore power.

Now, your hot water heater should be running as usual. It is going to take some time for you to figure out if this has worked or not. Depending on the size of your hot water heater, it could even take a few hours.

After you have given your hot water heater time to cycle, you may want to test some of the plumbing systems throughout your home to see if they are working properly.

How To Take Care of Your Hot Water Heater

If you have gone through all of these steps and your hot water heater is still not working properly, there could be a problem with one of the internal components.

Even though you might think you can deal with these issues on your own, you may want to reach out to a professional who can help you figure out what is happening with your hot water heater. That way, you can figure out if you need to repair your hot water heater or replace it.

It might also be helpful for you to learn more about how to take care of your hot water heater. This is a valuable appliance, and you should try to get your hot water heater inspected at least once per year.

A professional can come and take a look at your hot water heater, letting you know what is working and what is not. Even though it will cost money to get your hot water heater inspected, you may be able to extend the life of your hot water heater by several years.

A professional can also help you figure out how to improve the efficiency of your hot water heater. That way, you may be able to reduce your utility bills.


It is important for you to make sure your hot water heater is working correctly. If it’s not, then you may want to consider restarting your water heater.

Remember, all you got to do is disconnect the power from your water heater, remove the cover plate and insulation, and press the red button.

If your hot water heater is still not working properly, don’t forget to reach out to a professional, so they can help you figure out what is going on. And, if you want your waterheater to last as long as possible, get it inspected at least once per year. 

Thank you so much for reading this article. If you found it helpful, please check out our related posts below.

Good luck!

I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more