Why Is My Water Heater Tripping Its Emergency Cut-Off Switch?

Water Heater Emergency Cut-Off SwitchMost manufacturers recommend that homeowners set their water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This is just hot enough to prevent bacterial growth but not so hot to cause a scalding accident. However, when the water becomes too hot, the water heater emergency cut-off switch (ECO) kicks in. What causes the heater to trip its emergency cut-off switch in the first place?

Why A Water Heater Trips Its Emergency Cut-Off Switch

Faulty Thermostat(s)—Modern heaters have two thermostats, one at the bottom and another at the top. The thermostats regulate the water temperature and shut the heating element off when the water reaches the set temperature. If one or both thermostat malfunctions, the heater may continuously heat the water, prompting the ECO to kick in.

Faulty Heating Element—Most often, a faulty heating element will stop working, resulting in cold showers. However, at times, a malfunction may cause it to receive continuous power even when the thermostat sends a shut down signal. This causes continuous water heating, which causes the eventual ECO to kick in.

Faulty ECO—A faulty ECO does not cause water overheating. However, a malfunction can cause repeated ECO tripping even when the water is at the desired temperature. This may be due to bad wiring, which also poses a fire hazard. Contact an emergency plumber immediately if you suspect this to be the case.

The Solution

None of these problems are DIY fixes. Contact a residential plumber if you find yourself frequently pressing the big red reset button after an emergency shutdown. Commercial plumbers often diagnose the same problem when treating industrial heaters.

We Fix Overheating Heaters

Water heaters are part of the home’s plumbing fixture. Call South County Plumbing if the heater repeatedly shuts off, prompting a reset. We’ll determine why the water heater is tripping its emergency shut-off switch and make the appropriate fixes.

Water Heater Diagnosis and Repair

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