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Joseph, Electrician
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 4772
Experience:  Licensed Master Electrician
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Water heater breaker keeps tripping. How to fix it?

Resolved Question:

My hot water heater electrical breaker keeps tripping. Has to be reset often. What could be the cause of that? How do I fix it?

Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Home Improvement
Expert:  Joseph replied 9 years ago.

Ok there are a couple of things that can be going on here. The most likely is the breaker is starting to go bad. The other thing is the heating elements are starting to go bad as well. But what I suggest you do is change out the breaker first.
Now most hot water heaters are of the 40 gal to 55 gal type. These are supposed to be on a double pole 30 amp breaker. Now when you have the unit shut off, check the wiring at the junction point on top of the heater to be sure that the wiring has not gotten nicked, or come loose from its wire nutted connections.
The other thing to check is to go to your panel and see if the breaker itself is getting hot. Now the breaker itself is not an indication of one scenario or the other, but it will tell you if there is high resistance or excessive amperage draw on the breaker itself.
To make a long story short, hot water heaters are very simplistic. Your first step will be to change out the breaker with a new one.

Hope this helps you out. If you need further assistance with this question or just need further clarification - please let me know. Have a great day.

Joseph and other Home Improvement Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.

My water heater is a 61 gal type and yes it has two 30 amp breaker, its separate from the other breakers for the house. The breaker box is not hot. I have a two family (newer home built around 2003). When the breaker trips its force is enough to make the 1st floor lights flicker.

Thank you, I'm going to find an electrician to change the box. Thank you!!