Electrical breaker

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by marinelli44, Apr 28, 2008.

  1. marinelli44

    marinelli44 New Member

    I recently replaced an electric water heater with a new one.
    The old water heater had 4500 watt elements on a two pole 30 amp breaker
    The new water heater has 5500 watt elements. the problem is periodically the breaker in the panel is tripping. Acording to the water heater specs the amperage should only be 22.9. Is it a problem if I replace the 30 amp breaker with a 40 amp breaker. I would run new # 8 wire to the water heater or should i just replace the existing 30 amp breaker with a new one.
  2. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    NY State, USA
    Something is wrong somewhere. Upgrading the circuit will likely fix this but it will only mask the real problem.
    A 30A breaker is fine for a 5500w water heater, and should NOT be tripping on that load.

    Replacing the 30A breaker would be an easy and cheap place to start.
  3. marinelli44

    marinelli44 New Member

    Electrical Wire

    I replaced the 30 amp breaker with a new one. I'll see what happens.
    It appears the wire is #12 wire. Could this cause the breaker to trip
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    It should be #10 for 30 amps. It is probably overheating, but it should not trip the breaker. If anything it should start a fire.

  5. now that is the issue with #12 wire with 30 amp breaker and with 5500 watts running thru it and 5500watts @ 240 volts = 22.9 amps IMO it pretty light with this wire size it will be wiser to bump up to #10 wire and while you are at it if your water heater is not in the sight of breaker box [ if the water heater is in diffrent room or divided then you have a disconnect switch next to the waterheater.

  6. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    DO NOT USE a 30A breaker on the #12 wire unless you want to remodel your house due to a fire.

    You may also be attending the funeral of a loved one if you do.
  7. marinelli44

    marinelli44 New Member

    Water heater

    I replaced the #12 wire with #10. The breaker is still tripping periodically. Being this is a new water tank I'm calling the manufacturer.
  8. Bill Arden

    Bill Arden Computer Programmer

    MN, USA
    It sounds like the upper temperature switch is bad and is turning on both elements at the same time.

    Either that or something is shorting out.
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