Dealing with an electric water heater that keeps tripping the breaker can be frustrating, especially if you're unsure about what's causing the problem. It's understandable that calling in a plumber or electrician for every little issue can get tiring and expensive, but that's where we come in.
We're here to help you troubleshoot the problem and find some useful tips that can save you money and discomfort. Keep reading to discover what you can do to tackle this issue and restore your hot water supply.
Generally, an electric water heater will use one or two heating elements that are directly immersed in water to heat it. These elements are controlled by a microprocessor control module or a thermostat. The type of materials used in making the elements can affect the output and options, such as the voltage/wattage you get and the storage capacity of the tank. The thickness of the insulation is also a factor.
Electric water heaters for residential use, equipped with two heating elements, also have an upper and lower thermostat that charge the heating element and start heating water. They also have a high limit switch that prevents overheating, and it can be manually reset if it trips. All these components work together to prevent overheating or underheating of water and to protect the integrity of the heater.
To check why the breaker keeps tripping, you need to know more than just the basics about electricity and water heaters. You also need tools such as a multimeter or non-contact voltage tester.
The breaker is a critical safety mechanism in your home. It cuts off power to an appliance when too much current is flowing, preventing potential damage and hazards.
Without a breaker, you risk an unstable supply of electricity, resulting in water that may be too hot or not hot enough. Furthermore, an excessive amount of current flowing into your home can increase the risk of a fire outbreak, as overloaded wiring is a common cause. Therefore, if your breaker keeps tripping off, it is likely that it is overloaded.
In other words, a breaker helps you avoid stress and potential harm. When it isn't functioning correctly or is constantly tripping off, it indicates a problem that needs to be addressed.
The breaker is a crucial safety feature that shuts off power when there is a short circuit or electrical surge. This helps prevent potential damage and hazards by cutting off the electrical supply to the appliance.
If the breaker keeps tripping off, it cuts off the supply of electricity to the water heater, resulting in no hot water and a potential danger hazard. It is therefore essential to address the issue promptly to avoid inconvenience and potential hazards.
It's crucial to identify the cause of the breaker tripping, as there can be several reasons behind it. While resetting the breaker can often resolve the issue, repeated resetting can put both the appliance and yourself in danger.
Let's explore some common reasons why the breaker might be tripping.
Often, the issue behind a tripping breaker is as simple as an overloaded circuit, especially when multiple appliances are running simultaneously. In fact, this is the most common cause for breaker tripping.
Basically, the heating elements in your electric water heater might stop working. If the element splits in two, it becomes a problem, so the electrical part gets exposed to the water. This will short circuit, tripping the breaker.
Also, if the heating element stays on for too long, maybe because of a short circuit, the water gets too hot.
Also, a defective thermostat could be the cause. Generally, residential water heaters operate at temperatures of up to 160 degrees. Once it gets hotter than that, the breaker could trip off.
Of course, you could always test the thermostat by using a multimeter. Just be sure that the water heater is off and the thermostat wires are not connected beforehand.
Also, if your water heater is leaking as a result of a faulty gasket, it will cause some problems. If the water from the leak touches the electrical components, it could trip off the breaker. This is not always the case, so if you notice a leak, call in an expert to avoid getting shocked. Don't wait.
Now, a breaker that continually trips off could be a sign that there's a problem with the internal wiring. To be sure, turn off the power, open the panel and check where the heater is connected to your home wiring (usually top of the unit). Look for damaged wires or burned out connections. It is important to get the problem fixed before turning the power back on.
Finally, none of the reasons listed may be causing the problem. Sometimes, it could be that the external wiring is faulty. This could be as a result of a bad connection in the panel, a worn-out breaker, or bad/loose wiring. With the incorrect wiring, the hot wire can touch the ground wire, so the breaker trips without resetting.
First, kill the temptation to keep flipping the breaker back on when it trips off. It's okay to do it a couple of times, but if it persistently trips off, then there's a problem. Repeatedly flipping it back on can wear out the breaker and may lead to a fire outbreak.
Second, understand that a breaker constantly tripping off is merely a symptom of a problem. It is necessary to troubleshoot the problem to sort this issue.
With that in mind, here are a few things you can do to:
Yes, there are a few things you can do to prevent the problem. We'll list a few below. Note that these aren't fail-safe, but they will help you keep the breaker on. Also, you will identify problems on time, if there are any.
Dealing with a constantly tripping breaker on your electric heater can be frustrating, but it's important to remember that it can also be a danger to your water heater and home. If you've tried the troubleshooting methods we've listed and the problem persists, it's time to call in an expert. Don't hesitate to seek professional help, especially if you're not experienced with electrical work. Remember, safety should always come first.