Plumbing in the Home/Hot Water too Hot


When I go away on a trip for several days, I turn off my hot water heater.
When I got back from my latest trip, turned the power back on and the hot water was very hot.  I turned down the thermostat (top and bottom) to lower temps.  Eventually the water was cold.  I checked and saw that the reset button had "popped".  I pushed it back in (with the power off) and did get hot water but very hot again.  I have the thermostat at about their lowest levels.
It is a 47 gallon state industries water heater.  It does have two thermostats.  It is about 10 years old.

ANSWER: Dear Matt.

   It is most likely a problem with the thermostats on the water heater, though at 10 years I would also be concerned about the heating elements unless they had been replaced recently already.

   The thermostats are not hard or expensive to replace, but with a 10 year old tank you need to ask yourself if it is worth doing or if you would rather replace the heater itself.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for your quick response Thomas.   Well if I go the route to replace it, what do you think is a fair price to pay for a new water heater and the service to install it?  Should I go with a home depot or Lowe's or a local plumber?

thanks again,


Hey Matt,

The best way to save money would be to buy one at lowes or home depot and install it yourself, but if any piping or anything may need to be changed, then paying for someone to install it would be more cost effective for you.  The water heater warranty will cover the cost of the water heater but not the labor required to install or replace it.  

A water heater with a 10 year warranty from one of the hardware stores is just as good as the ones which are supplied only through plumbing companies...  John's Mansfield, Rheem, Bradford White and other's who are only available through professionals are more expensive because they have an established reputation for quality.  Nonetheless, the warranty coverage is the same regardless of the name on the package.  Also, many of the different name brands are actually manufactured in the same place and only the label gets changed.

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Thomas Ambler


I am experienced at troubleshooting and solving all types of plumbing problems. Issues related to specific manufacturers fixtures and specifications though are beyond my field of expertise. I have dealt with problems in both rural and urban areas, and with water supply and drainage systems. Plumbing issues can be very obscure... such as odors, stains or occasional seepage. I have even had to chase rats from a customer's sewer line.


I have 25 years experience dealing with plumbing systems (which also includes hot water and steam heating systems). My main expertise is in diagnosing and solving problems. I have worked in construction and installation of new systems but do not regard myself as an expert in that area.

Asbury Park Press, Seattle Times, Denver Post.

I completed high school and one year of college. I served 4 years in the Marine Corps and have education in electronic and electrical troubleshooting and repair. I have attended classes on installing and repair of oil burners, and I have EPA universal certification for air conditioning and refrigeration. I am now enrolled as a full-time student at Everest college to re-train for a new career. Any donations of financial support would be greatly appreciated.

Past/Present Clients
All of Denny's Restaurants in NJ, Several Burger King stores, I have done work at two different homes for Bruce Springsteen. I have also worked for Jim Johnson (of J&J) and his family, Whitney Houston, Steve Forbes and many others.

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