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  • Electric hot water heater problems

    Hey fellas,

    Its been a while, but I have a brain teaser for you. I have a customer who has a 40 gallon electric water heater. Hot point (GE). Well she claims that the breaker trips every so often, (now every other day) for no reason. She Says she has to go downstairs hit the breaker wait a while till it warms up and now its back to normal. Now I don't do a lot of Electric Hot water heaters. I have changed a few elements and a T-stat. But this issue has me thinking. Now the customer claims the elements were changed last year. The Heater is only 3 years old. What could be the issue. Thanks for help
    Wise man said "Hot on the left, cold on the right,
    crap flows downhill, and checks come on Friday"

  • #2
    Re: Electric hot water heater problems

    Loose connections, poor wiring, incorrect breaker, weak thermostats, mineral buildup in the bottom of the tank (bridges the elements), wrong elements, power drop out causing high amp draw.
    ~~

    ... it was plumbed by Ray Charles and his helper Stevie Wonder

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    • #3
      Re: Electric hot water heater problems

      If the residence or neighborhood is experiencing large voltage drops for some reason the current draw would increase as the voltage drops. That could trip the breaker and would appear to be random or periodic.

      Here's what I would do. Get a voltage reading at the water heater. It should be around 240 V. Use an Amprobe and acquire two current measurements. Take your time and watch each measurement for a few minutes to see if there are any fluctuations. (Should not be unless the voltage is fluctuating) One when the lower element is operating, and the 2nd when the upper element is operating. (You should be able to change the element thermostat settings to speed things up. ) Both measurements should be similar. If the amp load is significantly different on them, I would do some trouble shooting on the circuit components on the higher amp element. (Insulation could be worn on some wire, etc). If they are both similar and below the rating of the breaker I would suggest the breaker be replaced. (Assuming voltage is OK)

      Good luck!



      Originally posted by Mr. Green View Post
      Hey fellas,

      Its been a while, but I have a brain teaser for you. I have a customer who has a 40 gallon electric water heater. Hot point (GE). Well she claims that the breaker trips every so often, (now every other day) for no reason. She Says she has to go downstairs hit the breaker wait a while till it warms up and now its back to normal. Now I don't do a lot of Electric Hot water heaters. I have changed a few elements and a T-stat. But this issue has me thinking. Now the customer claims the elements were changed last year. The Heater is only 3 years old. What could be the issue. Thanks for help
      Time flies like an arrow.

      Fruit flies like a banana.

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