Water Heater Keeps Popping Internal Breaker

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tonyn1

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I have a 50 gallon AO Smith electric water heater installed upstairs in my 2 level condo. My condo is only 3 years old, and so of course so is the water heater. I didn't know it when I bought the house, but the hot water has to travel a long way from the heater to the kitchen sink and it would take around 3 minutes to get hot water there after I turned on the tap, as the water has to get from the top level down and through the slab floor to get there. I can't believe builders would think that anyone would find this acceptable! So to fix that problem, I installed a Watts recirculating pump at the water heater, and that has worked fine and solved the problem until now. I noticed I didn't have any hot water and investigated. I first checked the breaker on my fuse panel and found it hadn't tripped. I then checked the elements in my water heater and found both the upper and the lower ones were fine and not shorted to ground. I then noticed that the upper thermostat, which has a breaker on it, had tripped. I reset it, and it was heating for a bit, until it tripped again. Thinking that this unit was defective, I replaced that and it worked for a while, but then tripped again. I unplugged the Watts pump just to see what happened, and it hasn't tripped the breaker since then, but I'm back to the original problem of why I installed it in the first place, which is hot water taking too long to get where I need it. The pump is working, as before the breaker on the thermostat kicked out, I was able to get some hot water in a short time. What could be wrong here? I don't want to replace the pump if I don't have to as it's fairly expensive.
 
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Fitter30

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Thermostat has a red button tripping it's not a circuit breaker it's a hi limit factory set 150° non adjustable. Replace thermostat take a pic of it before removing the wires so u will know where they go. Tank should be flushed
U tube will have videos on it.
 

Jeff H Young

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pump cant be tripping t stat . seems to be overheating could be bottom t stat since top was changed youve verified the elements and havent asked for opinion on those So trusting your test results Im leaing toward bottom tstat stuck closed
 

tonyn1

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Thermostat has a red button tripping it's not a circuit breaker it's a hi limit factory set 150° non adjustable. Replace thermostat take a pic of it before removing the wires so u will know where they go. Tank should be flushed
U tube will have videos on it.
Apparently, you didn't read my post all the way through. I've already replaced the thermostat! The trouble is, when I run the recirculating pump, the red button still trips, whether it is a circuit breaker or hi limit doesn't matter. When I don't run the recirculating pump, it doesn't. I've been running that pump with no trouble for three years with no trouble. The pump still works, as I get hot water to my faucet a lot faster when I have it plugged in.
 

tonyn1

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pump cant be tripping t stat . seems to be overheating could be bottom t stat since top was changed youve verified the elements and havent asked for opinion on those So trusting your test results Im leaing toward bottom tstat stuck c

pump cant be tripping t stat . seems to be overheating could be bottom t stat since top was changed youve verified the elements and havent asked for opinion on those So trusting your test results Im leaing toward bottom tstat stuck cl

pump cant be tripping t stat . seems to be overheating could be bottom t stat since top was changed youve verified the elements and havent asked for opinion on those So trusting your test results Im leaing toward bottom tstat stuck closed
If the bottom thermostat was bad, it would be tripping the thermostat at the top all the time I would think. It doesn't trip when I don't run the recirculating pump though. The pump is still working as I get hot water to my faucet a lot faster when I run it. It's been working fine for three years, but has only started doing this lately.
 

Jeff H Young

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If the bottom thermostat was bad, it would be tripping the thermostat at the top all the time I would think. It doesn't trip when I don't run the recirculating pump though. The pump is still working as I get hot water to my faucet a lot faster when I run it. It's been working fine for three years, but has only started doing this lately.
pump runs 24 ,7 ? pops breaker almost imediatly? only after 3 years of perfect use? And you think replacing pump will fix it Im skeptical but go for it let us know how it works out. Have you tried lowering temp?
 

Fitter30

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Power heater up voltage at top element. Turn thermostat down till it clicks off. Measure voltage top element should be 0 or close to it. Bottom element check voltage should have voltage if not turn it up till it clicks should have power. Turn it down till it clicks check power at element should be 0. Check top element for voltage should be 0. Reset both stats. Probe type thermometer that goes to 200°- 220° so u can check water temp.
 
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