Hot water braker trips once in few weeks

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by keano016, Mar 25, 2010.

  1. keano016

    keano016 New Member

    Messages:
    35
    Location:
    Mass
    I have an oil hot water heater and once every few weeks the breaker on the heater trips. I find out that is does when I am ready for shower. What kind of an overload would cause the breaker to trip?
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,032
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    As long as it is the circuit breaker and not the ECO on the thermostat, then it is usually a problem with the elements. But since that would usually be a constant problem, and not every few weeks, one possibility is something internal to the upper element which would only operate when you used enough hot water to turn it on, which could be a rare occurance.
  3. curlysir

    curlysir New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Texas
    Could also be the circuit breaker. If the heater checks out you could try changing out the breaker to see if it has lost some capacity with age.
  4. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    It could also be a thermostat deciding to send the power to both elements...

    Or,
    A bunch of stuff only trouble shooting the water heater will tell you for sure.
  5. keano016

    keano016 New Member

    Messages:
    35
    Location:
    Mass
    It is the actual braker on the burner, not the braker in the electrical panel.

    I was trying to see if there is anything that would overload the unit so that the burner trips.
  6. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Well than that is the ECO that is tripping and not a circuit breaker.

    The ECO trips when the water in the tank becomes dangerously hot cutting off power to the unit.
    Common causes are bad thermostats or, a element shorted to ground firing on 120-volts...
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