Water heating takes up around 18% of the home’s energy use, so if you’ve ever experienced the frustration of a circuit breaker repeatedly tripping, you know how disruptive it can be to your daily routine. When it comes to your electric water heater tripping the circuit breaker, it can leave you without hot water and needing a quick solution.
Why Is My Electric Water Heater Tripping My Circuit Breaker?
Water heating is the second highest factor for U.S. home energy consumption, so it is an extremely valuable household appliance. The last thing you want is for your water heater to suddenly disrupt your routine by tripping the circuit breaker. This frustrating scenario is not uncommon. If you find yourself in this predicament, it’s crucial to promptly identify the underlying cause to restore comfort and functionality to your home.
Burnt Out Heating Element
One of the primary culprits behind circuit breaker tripping is that your electric water heater has a burnt-out heating element. The heating element is a crucial component responsible for heating the water inside the tank. Over time, these elements can deteriorate and eventually fail, leading to an electrical imbalance that trips the breaker.
To identify whether your heater is burnt out or not, here are signs you need to watch out for:
- Lack of hot water:
- If you suddenly find yourself without hot water or notice a significant decrease in water temperature, it could indicate that the heating elements are burnt out.
- Strange noises:
- You may hear unusual sounds coming from your water heater, such as popping or sizzling noises. These sounds could indicate that the heating element is struggling to function properly.
- Rusty water:
- Rusty or discolored water coming from your taps could indicate a deteriorating heating element. The rust may be flaking off and contaminating the water.
Another potential reason for your electric water heater tripping the circuit breaker could be faulty thermostats. The thermostat’s role is to regulate the water temperature inside the tank. If a thermostat is malfunctioning, it can cause the water heater to overheat, leading to a circuit overload and tripping the breaker.
Signs of bad thermostats are as follows:
- Inconsistent water temperature: If you experience erratic changes in water temperature or water that’s either too hot or too cold, it may indicate an issue with the thermostat.
- Circuit breaker trips sporadically: If the circuit breaker trips intermittently without any clear pattern, it could be due to faulty thermostats causing the water heater to overheat at random intervals.
While burnt-out heating elements and bad thermostats are common causes of circuit breaker trips in electric water heaters, there are other potential issues to consider, such as:
- Overloading the circuit: If your water heater shares a circuit with other high-powered appliances, such as a washing machine or air conditioner, it can lead to circuit overloads. Consider redistributing the load or having a dedicated circuit for your water heater.
- Wiring problems: Faulty or damaged wiring can also lead to circuit breaker trips. Wiring issues can be challenging to diagnose without professional expertise.
- Aging water heater: If your water heater is approaching the end of its lifespan — which is around ten years — it may develop various problems that can lead to circuit breaker trips. In such cases, replacing the entire unit with a tankless alternative might be more cost-effective.
Request a New Water Heater Price Quote or Repair Visit from a Local Plumber
If you’ve determined that your electric water heater is the culprit behind your circuit breaker woes, it’s time to take action. Contacting a local plumber near me, like The Plumber Guy, is the best course of action to diagnose and resolve the issue. We can inspect your water heater, identify the root cause of the problem, and provide you with options for repair or replacement.
In some cases, repairing the existing water heater may be a viable and cost-effective solution. However, if your water heater is old and experiencing multiple issues, investing in a new, energy-efficient unit could be the smarter choice in the long run.