Water Heater overheating and tripping breaker?

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by towthis2002, Jan 18, 2010.

  1. towthis2002

    towthis2002 New Member

    Jul 13, 2009
    It seems that our water heater, 50 Gallon, State Select, electric, is having some issues. The unit is only 6 years old.

    The other morning I noticed the water was excessively hot and later that same day the water was only luke warm and then not warm at all.

    I went out and notice a red button on the upper heating element (also has a lower water temp. setting) so I hit the red button and noticed the water getting warmer and hour or so later.

    This morning I noticed the water in the shower was excessively hot again so I turned off the breaker to the water heater before I left for work.

    The unit has 2 temperature settings, both were on the lowest settings.

    Could this be the temperature regulator going bad and not shutting off the heating element and then trips the breaker on the water heater itself when it gets to hot?

    Is this something I can fix with some replacement parts from Home Depot or Lowes? Or should I call in a professional?

    Thanks in advance
  2. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Aug 9, 2009
    Replace the thermostats. That is what is causing the water to over heat and trip the reset button.

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  4. towthis2002

    towthis2002 New Member

    Jul 13, 2009
    So there is a way to just replace the thermostats without having to replace the entire heating element?

    Thanks for the info
  5. Dunbar Plumbing

    Dunbar Plumbing Master Plumber

    Apr 18, 2005
    Service Plumber, Outdoor Temperature Relief Owner
    Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati Area
    If it is 6 years old, it might still be under warranty. Call the mfg. of the water heater and run the serial number and if it is...those parts are no cost to you.

    Upper thermostat controls the lower, the lower does the majority of the heating. Replace both the upper AND lower thermostats, check the elements for continuity.
  6. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Dec 15, 2007
    Service Plumber
  7. towthis2002

    towthis2002 New Member

    Jul 13, 2009
    Just wanted to say thanks for the help.

    The parts were under warranty and I installed them last night. Everything seems to be working this morning.

    Do the thermostats just get there reading from the back side against the tank?

    Thanks again.
  8. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Nov 12, 2005
    The tank temp is sensed through contact of the back side with the tank....so the answer to your question is yes...
  9. towthis2002

    towthis2002 New Member

    Jul 13, 2009
    That's what I figured when I got into the process of switching them out. I was surprised that the temperature reading was that elementary, not a big deal, I just thought it would have been in the tank itself.

    Thanks again for the suggestions and help.
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