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Thread: New Electric Hot Water Heater Trips Breaker

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    DIY Junior Member safeire's Avatar
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    Question New Electric Hot Water Heater Trips Breaker

    I had an 80 gallon electric unit installed by Lowes. We filled it with water, turned the breaker on, it begins cycling process, and then trips breaker within about 10-15 minutes of starting.

    Since I just bought the house through sheriff's sale, I don't have any history on the house other than the hot water heater that was there when we got access to the house had been there for 17 years using the existing power supply. We've made no changes in the electrical panel that would have supplied power to the old unit and the new unit was the same size as the old.

    Any assistance is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Call Lowes back. They should guarantee their work. Lowes sells Whirlpool heaters which are generally not rated very high among plumbers on this forum. There are several reason for breakers to trip, it takes someone with electrical knowledge and instruments to determine just what your problem is. It may or may not be the heater itself. Not something to DIY.

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    DIY Junior Member safeire's Avatar
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    Thanks, Gary. I did try to get Lowes' installer involved but they believe they did everything correctly and won't even come back out to look at it. I've escalated it up to the store manager and the regional guy but until I can get some help from them, I'm on my own with a hot water tank that doesn't work. I agree that this isn't something to do DIY.

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    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by safeire View Post
    Thanks, Gary. I did try to get Lowes' installer involved but they believe they did everything correctly and won't even come back out to look at it. I've escalated it up to the store manager and the regional guy but until I can get some help from them, I'm on my own with a hot water tank that doesn't work. I agree that this isn't something to do DIY.
    One thing you can do safiere, is look at the circuit breaker that is tripping to see its amp rating and then look at the Amp draw that may be on the new water heater's label. In any case, is the KWatt rating the same of the new heater compared to that of the old one? If the old one is gone, then that won't be possible. I know you said that the size (in gallons?) is the same, but maybe the new heater has a faster recovery and draws more power. Or, then again, maybe there is a problem.
    I mentioned the above because you said it was heating for 10-15 minutes before it tripped, and a small overload on a breaker will not trip it fast like a short will. If you try it again, will it still trip the breaker after a few minutes, or right away?
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Maybe check the wire size also. If the wire is too small, this could account of the overload, much the same as described in the previous post regarding the breaker. If the wire is large enough, it would be simple and inexpensive to install a new breaker of proper size. If the wire is too small, then an electrician would be in order.

  6. #6
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    What size breaker do you have? I would guess an 80 gallon would have 5500 watt elements, so would draw 22 amps and should be on a 30 amp breaker. The old one was I suppose the same?

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