Common Water Heater Issues that Might Trip the Circuit Breaker

man fixing water heater

Energy efficiency is the current buzzword for all residential appliances. This is because the cost of energy is on a constant rise, and without an energy-efficient appliance, you will be paying millions of dollars annually in bills. One of the highest consumers of your energy, even with technological advancements, remains your water heater. Any fault in its operation affects the power supply to other appliances in your home and shuts it down.

Among the most common water heater issues that will require the expertise of a home electrician based in Woodbridge, Virginia are those that cause tripping of the circuit breaker. There are various issues that can cause this. Trying to troubleshoot the cause of your heater’s tripping circuit breaker only increases the odds of causing irreparable heater damage and getting scalded. The following are among the most common water heater faults that can cause the circuit breaker to trip:

Damaged Thermostats

Electric water heaters contain two thermostats: the lower and upper ones. The upper thermostat is designed to control your upper heating element, while the lower one controls your heater’s lower heating element. The elements will cycle off and on to keep the water in your tank heated and ready for use.  If the lower thermostat is stuck in an ‘on’ position, it results in the excess accumulation of heat in your storage tank’s upper portion. This heat, in turn, trips the heater’s reset button and its circuit breaker to shut down the heater’s power supply.

Faulty Wiring

The most common wiring mistake that trips a circuit breaker is the use of aluminum wiring to connect your water heater to the electric panel. This is because the aluminum wire will be connected to the copper wire on your water heater. Except in cases where a distinct lug connector is used between these wires, their dissimilarity in expansion and contraction will cause the wire nuts that hold them together to loosen. This registers as an electrical current jump in the gap created and trips the circuit breaker.

Faulty Heating Elements

The elements that contribute to water heating in your appliance are metal loops that house electrical wires. The current that flows through these wires is the one that heats the water in the tank. However, at times, the casing that protects the wires cracks and exposes them to the water in your tank. This exposure creates a short circuit, resulting in the tripping of the circuit breaker.

Defective Reset Buttons

water heater button

Your water heater has a reset button meant to trip and cut the power supply to your appliance if the water temperature exceeds 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Over time, this button might have issues getting the right water temperature reading. In this case, it will cut off and trip the circuit breaker, regardless of the water temperature.

Dealing with water heater issues is not as easy as a DIY venture under the guidance of an online expert. The problems mentioned above are challenging to diagnose, and some of the elements can generate an electric shock if touched indiscriminately. Therefore, water heater issues should only be handled by an electrical and plumbing expert.

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