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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default Electric Water Heater tripping reset breaker

    I have an electric water heater that is constantly tripping its reset breaker.

    Its a standard electric unit, probably 50-60gal and approx 10 to 12 years old.

    so far I have replaced both upper and lower heating elements and the upper thermostat unit.

    only thing left is the lower (more simple) thermostat but I wanted an experts opinion before I kept throwing more money at it.


    the problem goes like this: after I reset the breaker button (on the t-stat), the heater will work correctly for as much as 1.5 to 2 days. then I'll notice no hot water and check the button and its tripped again. After each part replacement it seemed to have done a little better (maybe 3 or 4 days between reset). but that may actually be just a perception on my part.

    short of replacing the entire unit....should I go ahead and try the last piece / the lower t-stat?

    what's the logic behind what's going on here....and my fear is, I'll buy a new unit and it'll react the same way.

    thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,565

    Default Re: Electric Water Heater tripping reset breaker

    The reset trips because the water heater got too hot. The only reason that a water heater will get too hot is because one of the thermostats got stuck. Since the bottom thermostat is the only thing you haven't replaced, I'm banking that's the problem.

    Of course, if you haven't replaced the reset, that could be the problem, too. It's not inconceivable that it would go bad.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Electric Water Heater tripping reset breaker

    the reset is built into the top t-stat/contoller. the lower one is more simple and only has the temp dial on it.

    I wasn't sure if there could be something screwy like a power surge or ??? but it doesn't trip the panel breaker, just the reset.

    won't sediment build up and/or bad heating elements trip it also (I don't think I have either...just wondering)?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,565

    Default Re: Electric Water Heater tripping reset breaker

    The reset button is just a thermostat that kicks out at high temperature. It doesn't sense overloads or short circuits like a circuit breaker does. It's sometimes called a "high-temperature limit switch."

    Unless, of course, there's some new water heater technology out there that I'm not aware of.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Electric Water Heater tripping reset breaker

    no.... nothing new about this one.

    I'll give the new lower t-stat a try.

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