All water heaters have safety mechanisms to shut off if they become too hot. This is an important safety feature that prevents damage to the unit and prevents safety hazards for you and your family. It can be frustrating to deal with high temperature shutdowns, as the safety mechanisms often require you to restart the water heater before it will function again. Don’t do this on your own, as the problem will likely simply reoccur again and potentially get worse. Your plumber can help you get to the bottom of this issue and resolve it properly. Here are some of the issues that they will investigate for you.

Sediment Build-Up

Hard water has harmless minerals such as calcium in it. Over time, those minerals collect on the surface of any metal they touch, including the inside of your water heater’s tank. This is sediment build-up. Your annual maintenance on the unit is supposed to involve flushing it out. However, if you skip that or your water is so hard that the flushes are not enough, you may get a disruptive amount of sediment build up in the water heater. This can lead to many problems, including issues that cause too high temperatures in the water heater. Your plumber may be able to clear out your water heater, or it may require replacement.

Thermostat Issues

Your water heater relies on a thermostat to control the temperature. It is supposed to heat your water too. You can actually set your thermostat higher or lower. But, with that power comes the potential for problems. If you set the temperature too high, it may regularly trigger a high heat shutdown. Or, if the thermostat develops issues, it may try to heat the water above what you set it to, which can also cause a shutdown. Your plumber can troubleshoot the thermostat, set it properly, or replace it.

Vent Clogs/Blockages

Water heaters need to vent. What happens if something blocks the vent or clogs it? Then the water heater may retain too much heat and then trigger the safety shutoff. This is particularly true if the pressure relief valve has become clogged, as this is the safety mechanism designed to prevent overheating. Any problems with it are likely to cause the overall unit to shut down.

Heating Element Problems

Your water heater has a part called the heating element, which is, of course, the part that generates the heat. Problems with the heating element can cause overheating. It can also cause a wide range of other issues and potentially waste a great deal of energy. Heating elements can be replaced, but it is more likely that these kinds of issues will require a whole water heater replacement.

Other Shutdowns

Your water heater might shut down for reasons other than high temperature issues. If your water heater has turned off for mysterious reasons, it is wise to reach out to your plumber before you attempt to turn it back on, just in case it has developed a safety issue.