How to Restart My Hot Water Heater

Once a water heater has been turned off, you should follow some specific steps to restart it. Fill an electric water heater before turning it on so the elements are not damaged once the electrical power to the water heater is re-established. A gas water heater must have the control knobs turned to certain settings and the air bled from the gas lines before a flame is re-established inside the combustion chamber to heat the water.

  1. Turn a hot water faucet on inside your home. Open the water supply valve by turning the valve counter-clockwise.

  2. Turn the hot water faucet off inside your home once you establish a steady stream of water. A steady water stream indicates a full tank.

  3. Flip the water heater breaker on inside the breaker panel to turn an electric water heater on.

  4. Turn the temperature control valve to the lowest temperature setting on a gas water heater. Rotate the pilot control knob to the "Pilot" position. Both the valve and the knob are located on the gas control valve on the side of the water heater.

  5. Remove the access panels from the bottom of the water heater to access the pilot inside the combustion chamber.

  6. Push the pilot button down while lighting the pilot inside the combustion chamber. Locate the pilot button next to the pilot control knob. Hold the pilot button down for 20 or 30 seconds and slowly release it. If the pilot fails to remain lit, hold the button down once again and relight the pilot. You may need to repeat this several times to bleed the air from the gas line.

  7. Replace the access panels onto the bottom of the water heater to cover the combustion chamber. Turn the pilot control knob to the "On" position and turn the temperature control valve to your desired water temperature.

About the Author

Cecilia Harsch has been writing professionally since 2009. She writes mainly home improvement, health and travel articles for various online publications. She has several years of experience in the home-improvement industry, focusing on gardening, and a background in group exercise instruction. Harsch received her Certified Nurses Assistant license in 2004. She attended Tarrant County College and studied English composition.