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Old 11-18-2015, 06:24 AM   #1
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Water Heater Tripping Breaker

Good morning,
This past weekend we were camping and when I turned the hot water heater on to electric, it would trip the 30 amp breaker. I could turn it on to the gas and it would work fine, no issues. I have a Octane t29a, 2010. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 11-18-2015, 06:49 AM   #2
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What else was on? A/C? Microwave? TVs? Bulk charge on the batteries?


You obviously overcame the capabilities of the pedestal. It's possible the breaker is worn and tripped at something under 30A.
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Old 11-18-2015, 07:32 AM   #3
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It is not uncommon for resistance heater elements in hot water tanks to short to ground when they fail. I would check the heater element. If it has failed it is fairly easy to replace.

That said, there should be a lower amperage breaker than the main breaker to protect the hot water heater circuit. It is possible that in a dead short condition the larger breaker can win the race to trip.

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Old 11-18-2015, 10:51 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by mike837go View Post
What else was on? A/C? Microwave? TVs? Bulk charge on the batteries?


You obviously overcame the capabilities of the pedestal. It's possible the breaker is worn and tripped at something under 30A.
X2

If it was just the water heater breaker that tripped, I'd suspect the water heater. The main 30 amp breaker tripping, I'd suspect multiple breaker operating within their amperage, but their sum was to great for the 30 amp breaker.
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Old 11-18-2015, 12:48 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by mike837go View Post
What else was on? A/C? Microwave? TVs? Bulk charge on the batteries?


You obviously overcame the capabilities of the pedestal. It's possible the breaker is worn and tripped at something under 30A.
X3

Last time out, I tripped a breaker when I had the electric fireplace/heater running and my Mr Coffee was brewing. The fix was to make coffee first (most important!), then turn the heat back on.
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Old 11-19-2015, 05:00 AM   #6
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Thanks guys for the replies. The A/C was on. The only breaker to trip was the 30amp. When it did, the lights went very dim and the A/C shut off. I will check the element and I might just replace the breaker to make sure that isn't the problem.
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Old 11-19-2015, 06:14 AM   #7
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Thanks guys for the replies. The A/C was on. The only breaker to trip was the 30amp. When it did, the lights went very dim and the A/C shut off. I will check the element and I might just replace the breaker to make sure that isn't the problem.
I would suspect if your lights went dim when the breaker tripped you may have a bad battery. The converter may have been drawing more than normal. Add that to the air conditioner and the water heater you may well have exceeded 30 amps.

If the water heater itself was the problem it would have tripped its own breaker.
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Old 11-19-2015, 06:57 AM   #8
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I would suspect if your lights went dim when the breaker tripped you may have a bad battery. The converter may have been drawing more than normal. Add that to the air conditioner and the water heater you may well have exceeded 30 amps.

If the water heater itself was the problem it would have tripped its own breaker.
X2!

Definitly sounds like the converter or battery was contributing to the overload. Check water level and battery voltage. Then charger output after you replace the fried battery.
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Old 11-19-2015, 07:04 AM   #9
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... I will check the element and I might just replace the breaker to make sure that isn't the problem.
It's difficult to diagnosis over the internet as the information trickles out.

Do you know if the A/C was starting when the breaker tripped? The system design would expect to have the A/C operating with the electric water heat option enabled. Was there anything else running? Hot air hair blower? Electric space heater? Do you have a 120 volt compressor type refrigerator?

I wasn't suggesting that the heater element is the problem. Every breaker trip is not necessarily related to general overload. I just wanted to point out a grounded element as a possibility.

With all other heavy loads off, if a beaker still trips every time the electric water heater is enabled, then check the element and related wiring. Otherwise it may well have been a general overload situation.

It may be worth inspecting the wiring/tightening all the connector screws in your panel. Low voltage from poor connections can contribute to general overload.

FWIW. vic
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