Originally Posted by tnchuck100
The water heater element draws the same current any time it is on. Whether it is first turned on or is cycling. Age has no bearing on this either.
The most common cause for tripping a 30 amp breaker is when the air conditioner is running and the water heater is recovering and the wife starts the hair dryer or the microwave.
Yes, the heater element is resistive, but when heater elements are cold, they have slightly less resistance, and increase in resistance as they warm up. So, yes the heater element will draw a bit more current when first turned on. Not nearly as dramatic as an inductive load though. If you set up a storage type oscilloscope with a current probe, you will see the change in current when the heater is first turned on. Note: This characteristic will not likely be enough to trip a breaker, unless you're very close to the limit to begin with. Yes, I know I'm being nit-picky, sorry about that