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Old 02-05-2012, 02:17 PM   #1
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Buzzing in my panel. UGH!!!!!


I noticed it just a few minutes ago when I was walking around out there. Not sure why I haven't noticed it before, maybe because the water heater is on a timer.

I listened carefully and it seemed to be coming from behind the breakers in the panel, so I shut breakers off until it went away, and narrowed it down to the water heater upstairs. When I shut the breaker off it goes away. Turn it on and it comes back. If I shut off the timer, it stops buzzing. (no, it's not the sound of the timer that i'm hearing, these are two separate sounds)

I pulled the breakers out and looked at them, and they look ok. I snapped them back in and made sure they were seated well. Screws are tight.

Could the breaker just be bad?

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Old 02-05-2012, 02:24 PM   #2
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Buzzing in my panel. UGH!!!!!


I have had breakers do that before and just replacing them worked. But I checked all the connections on the circuit first.

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Old 02-05-2012, 02:31 PM   #3
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Buzzing in my panel. UGH!!!!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan View Post
I noticed it just a few minutes ago when I was walking around out there. Not sure why I haven't noticed it before, maybe because the water heater is on a timer.

I listened carefully and it seemed to be coming from behind the breakers in the panel, so I shut breakers off until it went away, and narrowed it down to the water heater upstairs. When I shut the breaker off it goes away. Turn it on and it comes back. If I shut off the timer, it stops buzzing. (no, it's not the sound of the timer that i'm hearing, these are two separate sounds)

I pulled the breakers out and looked at them, and they look ok. I snapped them back in and made sure they were seated well. Screws are tight.

Could the breaker just be bad?
What size is the breaker(2 pole?), the conductors, and the W.H.?
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Old 02-05-2012, 02:50 PM   #4
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Buzzing in my panel. UGH!!!!!


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What size is the breaker(2 pole?), the conductors, and the W.H.?
2 pole 30A, and wire looks like 10 gauge to me (definitely not 12)

water heater is a standard 50 gal electric.
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Old 02-05-2012, 02:55 PM   #5
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Buzzing in my panel. UGH!!!!!


Do you have access to an amp meter?
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Old 02-05-2012, 03:02 PM   #6
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Do you have access to an amp meter?
Not today I don't. We have a couple at work (nobody there knows how to use them apparently, so they just collect dust)
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Old 02-05-2012, 03:04 PM   #7
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Buzzing in my panel. UGH!!!!!


Now thats funny!
If you can get a clamp on version from work clamp it around 1 power leg at a time and see what the heater is drawing before condeming the breaker
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Old 02-05-2012, 03:13 PM   #8
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Buzzing in my panel. UGH!!!!!


That is the most common tool device I used alot and they are not super hard to use once you understand how to use it.

Anyway for common 4500 watt water heaters element will draw at 18.75 amp or so. it will be little varation from the number I stated due depending on the supply voltage.

Just keep in your mind if you have 5500 watt element it will draw 22.19 amps again that will varies a little depending on voltage.

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Old 02-05-2012, 04:18 PM   #9
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How much would I have to spend to get a decent one for myself? Sounds like it might be handy to have around anyway.
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Old 02-05-2012, 05:28 PM   #10
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Alan.,

The cost of the clamp on ampmeter will varies a bit and depending on how fancy you want to go and the basic clamp on ampmeter will go over 40 Euros and up.

I have 4 differnt ampmeters with me but for the most everyday useage I use Fluke T5 that have open end and very easy to use and hard to get that screw up at all that run about 80 to 100 Euros depending on where you get it from.

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Old 02-05-2012, 08:07 PM   #11
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Buzzing in my panel. UGH!!!!!


I think i gave around $150.00 for my UEI meter but ive had it for atleast 6-7 years I bet without any trouble
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Old 02-05-2012, 08:16 PM   #12
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Buzzing in my panel. UGH!!!!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan View Post
How much would I have to spend to get a decent one for myself?
Some samples of prices from Nextag
110
54
60
85
81
126
199
69
163
77
97
205

From this, Excel says half the time you'll spend between $75 and $135.
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Old 02-05-2012, 08:42 PM   #13
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Buzzing in my panel. UGH!!!!!


Do you have another 30 amp 2 pole in the panel that you could switch with the WH breaker? This might give you an idea if it is the breaker or another problem.

No spreadsheets were used in the formulation of this answer and is based on experience only.
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Old 02-05-2012, 09:47 PM   #14
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Buzzing in my panel. UGH!!!!!


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No spreadsheets were used in the formulation of this answer and is based on experience only.


Actually, I misposted earlier. It is actually two 30 amp single pole breakers tied together with a little metal rod. . . . terminology for that part escapes me. Not sure if this makes any difference or not.

At any rate, i'm not opposed to spending what amounts to probably 15 or 20 bucks on a new breaker to see if that fixes the problem if it's a possibility. I guess that would be cheaper than buying an ammeter. That is if I can't borrow one of the ones from work tomorrow.
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Old 02-05-2012, 09:51 PM   #15
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Buzzing in my panel. UGH!!!!!


That part is called a handle tie.

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