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Old 12-05-2011, 10:31 PM   #1
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Garage Heater Trips Breaker


Hi,

As mentioned in the subject line, I have a garage heater on a 220v 30amp circuit. I hardwired it and it ran great for 2 months. It recently started tripping the breaker after about 5 minutes of initial use.

Some facts:

Wire is 10 gauge and receptacle and plug is 6-30
I checked all the connection and heater itself for any scorch marks. I found nothing and everything is tight and connected well.
The original design was a 30 amp outlet in my garage that was used for a dryer. A three wire two hot one neutral.

Suggestions from others:

A friend of mine thinks the heaters amp regulator is broken causing the unit to trip the breaker.

Another friend suggested that I might be getting too little power and told me to test each hot with the neutral to ensure I'm getting 110

Another suggestion was the breaker. I'm skeptical b/c I don't see breakers failing much in my research.

Any help would be fantastic. Thanks in advance.

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Old 12-05-2011, 10:47 PM   #2
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Garage Heater Trips Breaker


A few things. What is the amperage rating on the heater nameplate? Have you checked all of your connections for proper tightness? Breakers, even new ones can go bad. Do you have access to an ammeter to check the current draw of the heater?

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Old 12-05-2011, 10:55 PM   #3
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Garage Heater Trips Breaker


Quote:
Originally Posted by Missouri Bound View Post
A few things. What is the amperage rating on the heater nameplate? Have you checked all of your connections for proper tightness? Breakers, even new ones can go bad. Do you have access to an ammeter to check the current draw of the heater?
Thanks for the quick reply

208V-240 V / 21 Amps / Single Phase

I have checked all connections, but i'll run a second check just to be sure. I have not checked the breaker connection thoroughly.

I've inspected the breaker from the outside and it was mildly warm.

I think i have a ammeter. I have several multimeters; I'll check them, but would I be testing the unit>?
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Old 12-06-2011, 12:37 AM   #4
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Garage Heater Trips Breaker


Warm breaker? Pull it and check the bus for pitting. Check the breakers around it because the heat
could be coming from them. Install a new breaker if that one is getting warm as it is an indication
of bad contacts within.
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Old 12-06-2011, 03:25 AM   #5
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Garage Heater Trips Breaker


I'd bet on a loose connection at the breaker. That's one of the only causes of a breaker tripping on an otherwise normally functioning circuit. The loose connection causes heating of the breaker's internal components, which activates the thermal trip mechanism. The other possible cause is a defective breaker. There is no such thing as an "amp regulator" in a heater.
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Old 12-06-2011, 09:47 AM   #6
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Garage Heater Trips Breaker


I'm in agreement with mpoulton and Missouri Bound. Check the breaker by removing it and looking at he breaker case for signs of heat ... using all safety common sense of course. If not the breaker then check the terminal connection and make sure you don't have the insulation of the wire or wires under the binding screw(s).

A clamp on amp meter will tell you what the heater is drawing in amps by placing it around one of the hot wires while it is in operation. Breakers trip either by overcurrent or heat as previously mentioned.

It is possible that if the heater doesn't cycle much and remains 'on' at close to maximum draw that over the months the current flow and associated heat at the breaker connection has taken its toll on the breaker contacts where it clips onto the busses. You just have to isolate the different possible causes (correctly) till you resolve them.
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Last edited by Stubbie; 12-06-2011 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 12-12-2011, 09:34 PM   #7
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Garage Heater Trips Breaker


Wanna extend my thanks to Missouri Bound, Mobetta, mpoulton, and Stubbie for their insight towards my solution. It WAS the breaker and now I'm up and running. I examined the breaker after removing it and there was corrosion and the switches were weak. With a new breaker, the heater has passed all the tests and I'm on my way to my next project.

Thanks again!!
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Old 12-12-2011, 09:41 PM   #8
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Garage Heater Trips Breaker


Thanks for the update, glad to help.

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