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Old 10-30-2007, 07:55 AM   #1
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HW tank breaker tripping


last night the kids went to take a shower and no HW... went downstairs to check.

heres what i know...
30A DP breaker
10-2 wiring
"grey box" HW timer
the box was installed and all new wiring run about 6 months ago, and have had no problems since then... till last night. i checked the connections at the tank, timer and breaker. all secure and in good condition. so i kicked the breaker back on and it had a kind of hum to it, and a ever-so-slight crackling sound to it. i shut it off and left it.
the tank is only about 4 years old, and the wiring and timer are 6 months. i am not sure about the age of the breaker. should i replace the breaker or is there something else that could be wrong?

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Old 10-30-2007, 08:02 AM   #2
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HW tank breaker tripping


May be a bad contact between the breaker and the panel bus. A new breaker may be required, but it will have to go in another position in the panel. This type of problem usually damages the breaker and the bus.
Might also be due to a fault in one of the elements, but from your description, I would look at the breaker contact surfaces first.

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Old 10-30-2007, 08:15 AM   #3
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HW tank breaker tripping


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Originally Posted by HouseHelper View Post
May be a bad contact between the breaker and the panel bus. A new breaker may be required, but it will have to go in another position in the panel. This type of problem usually damages the breaker and the bus.
Might also be due to a fault in one of the elements, but from your description, I would look at the breaker contact surfaces first.

how can i check the elements to see if one is bad?
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Old 10-30-2007, 08:39 AM   #4
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HW tank breaker tripping


Before I went to the breaker, I would check the elements and thermostats first.
To "rough" check elements:
1. Turn power OFF.
2. Disconnect wires.
3. Test element screws for continuity with an ohm meter...no continuity, replace element (we can give you a how-to, if necessary).
If elements continuity check O.K., I would replace the tstats (both upper and lower while you're at it. I always do.)
It is too lengthy a process to go into how to check tstats here, so I'll just tell you how to replace them.
1. Sketch or digital photo the exact number and layout of the tstat screws on your water heater. Take sketch/photo to store and get upper and lower tstats exactly like your existing ones (does not have to be same brand).
2. Turn power OFF.
3. Exchange wires ONE AT A TIME from old to new tstats to same screws. Can't go wrong like that.
If elements or tstats aren't the problem, then go to the breaker.
Good luck!
Mike
(I am NOT a pro electrician, just a long-time DIYer.)
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Old 10-30-2007, 11:47 AM   #5
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HW tank breaker tripping


To test elements:

1) measure ohms of each element, Make note of it.
2) divide the amp rating on the heater into the voltage.
3) this formula answer should be the same as the ohms you measured first (element ohms)
4) if it's close, the elements are good.
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Old 10-30-2007, 09:11 PM   #6
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HW tank breaker tripping


well, i tested the elements and both were okay. was gonna change the thermostat, but no where around here sells it that was open when i left work, and the nearest homers is an hour, so i swapped the breaker with the dryer and the HW worked and the dryer tripped. i replaced the breaker and it seems okay now. thanks for the advice.
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Old 10-31-2007, 04:13 PM   #7
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HW tank breaker tripping


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Originally Posted by arichard21 View Post
well, i tested the elements and both were okay. was gonna change the thermostat, but no where around here sells it that was open when i left work, and the nearest homers is an hour, so i swapped the breaker with the dryer and the HW worked and the dryer tripped. i replaced the breaker and it seems okay now. thanks for the advice.

That part it do happend once a while some breaker will get weak and tripped early for no reason.

There is one trick i verify if the water heater thermosat is working or not what i did before i used the hair dryer and run on high for few min blow that on the thermosat and in few min or so you can heard or tell the thermosast will " click " btw the sensor is on the tank wall side in case you are wondering how i did that [ the power to the water heater is off of course ]
all i just ajar it loose and move it back a little and heat it up.

Merci, Marc

P.S. i done that alot with very large commercal sized waterheater which it have more than 2 thermosats in there

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