How to Salvage an Old Heater Thermostat

An old heater thermostat was probably made using mercury for the temperature sensing apparatus. As more and more people upgrade to newer digital thermostats, the issue of disposing of the old ones becomes important. Mercury can be deadly to people, and cause severe birth defects, and that means it is vitally important that the old thermostat is disposed of properly.

How to Dispose of a Mercury Thermostat
Contact your local recycling center, and ask them if they will pick up a mercury thermostat. In many areas, you may have to take the thermostat to a designated recycling location. As common as mercury has always been for temperature reading, it is also one of the most dangerous metals known to man, and just the tiny amount contained in a thermostat is enough to poison millions of gallons of water if it were to be leaked into a pond, lake, or river.

How Not to Dispose of a Mercury Thermostat
Never put a thermometer or thermostat that contains mercury out with the trash. Unless your local recycling pickup service has specifically told you that they would accept the thermostat, don't even put it in the recycle bin. For maximum safety, wrap the mercury containing part of the thermostat in cloth, or even put a band-aid around it to protect it from accidentally being broken. The importance of taking strong precautions with mercury cannot be understated - BE CAREFUL!

How to Reset a Tripped Thermostat on an Electric Water Heater

Always make sure you maintain your electric water heater. This is one of the most used and most important appliances in the home. The more you maintain the unit and the more time you spend on preventative steps, the fewer problems you will have down the road. Every so often you run into little problems that have to be corrected. A tripped thermostat is one of those problems. Here are a few quick steps to reset your tripped thermostat.

Step 1 - Reset the Button

There is probably a thermostat at the top of your electric water heater. This is called the high limit thermostat that makes sure the water does not get too hot. It gets tripped when the water temperature is in excess of that limit. Simply press the switch (usually red in color) to reset it. Lower the heat to make sure it does not trip again.

Step 2 - Reset Lower Thermostat

There is usually a second thermostat in your electric water heater. When you reset the top thermostat, reset the bottom one as well by pushing the bottom thermostat button. Again, to prevent any future problems, check the hot water temperature gauge.