Water Heater Breaker Tripped and Won’t Reset? Find Out Why!

Electric water heaters are connected to specialized circuits. It implies that nothing else is connected to their circuit breakers. Sometimes the water heater breaker tripped and won’t reset for no apparent reason.

Anytime they trip, you may reset them and keep using the water heater until they do so again. Sometimes, they could trip, making it impossible for you to reset them.

Circuit breakers trip for a reason, and it can be a crisis requiring immediate assistance. Even if they sometimes misstep, there is still a cause. Always put your safety first. When working on electrical problems, always be careful. Unless you have experience, never work around electrical wires.

water heater breaker tripped and wont reset

We’ll look at the causes of the water heater breaker tripping often in this piece and some potential fixes.

If the breaker trips again immediately after you reset it, this is a clear sign of a tripped circuit that requires further investigation. It’s important not to ignore this as it indicates a more serious issue with your water heater or electrical system.

Water Heater Breaker Tripped And Won’t Reset

Firstly, if your water heater breaker has tripped and won’t reset, avoid the urge to flip the breaker back on repeatedly. Doing so can overheat the wires, posing a risk of an electrical fire. This can also damage your water heater and cause wear and tear on your circuit breaker.

Before you begin troubleshooting, ensure you have safely turned off the gas supply to the water heater. This is a critical safety step, especially if you need to open the access panel or work near gas lines.

Instead, head to the breaker box and turn off the breaker before starting any troubleshooting.

The problem causing the breaker to trip won’t go away. Turn the breaker off and start troubleshooting right away. Thankfully, diagnosing a tripped water heater breaker isn’t that hard. You can locate the issue by using several troubleshooting techniques. Here are the main reasons and solutions.

What Trips The Reset Button On A Hot Water Heater

  1. Bad Thermostat

A limit switch on water heaters prevents the water’s temperature from rising over 180°. The limit switch, a little red reset button on the water heater, trips when the water exceeds 180°. By reading how to reset the water heater, you can avoid getting burned or scalded by the scaldingly hot water.

A defective thermostat is the most likely reason for the limit switch to trigger. Two thermostats are in a two-element water heater, one for each element. To ensure that only one element is heated at once, the thermostats converse with one another.

Sometimes when they malfunction, they remain in the state. As a result, the heating or both elements continue to operate and heat the water continually.

  1. Bad Heating Element

As we’ve already explained, most electric water heaters contain higher and lower heating components. To keep the water warm, they cooperate. It is particularly crucial for bigger tanks. When a heating element malfunctions, the water stops heating and is cooler than usual.

Consequently, the heating element is exposed internally and won’t harm anything if this is the case. It isn’t always the case, however.

The heating element’s casing may occasionally crack. As a result, the element’s electrical component is exposed to the tank’s water, shorting the circuit, and the water heater breaker tripped and won’t reset.

  1. Water Leak

The water heater might leak into electrical components and trip the breaker if, for example, a gasket for the heating element fails. It is risky and could result in a severe electrical shock.

Turn off the breaker immediately and fix the water leak if it hasn’t previously been done.

  1. Internal Wiring

The breaker might trip due to a problem with the internal wiring. Open the panel with the power off to find the location of the water heater’s connection to the home’s wiring. Search for burned wire ends, damaged connections, or areas where electricity has arced. If there were an arc, smoke would probably be detected.

Read also: Understanding Power Vent Water Heater Venting

  1. Wiring or Electrical Problems

The issue is likely external to the water heater if it isn’t the thermostat, heating element, a water leak, or internal wiring. It can be a frayed or defective cable, a faulty electrical panel connection, or a worn-out breaker.

Look for any damaged or loose wires in the line’s wiring. You will need to replace the breaker if it trips and there are no issues with the line. Replace the breaker with the same ratings if it is the issue.

The circuit will overheat if you replace it with a higher-rated breaker, making the water heater breaker not stay on with more current passing through it.

Wrapping Up

It is not enjoyable when a water heater breaker trips and won’t reset. Additionally, it may be harmful and seriously harm you or your house. Fortunately, finding the issue isn’t too difficult.

The heating element and a broken thermostat are the most likely culprits, although other wiring problems or a bad breaker might also be to blame.

Always put your safety first. When working on electrical problems, always be careful. Unless you have experience, never work around electrical wires.

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Heater Technician is a skilled author and water heater expert with years of experience in the field. He has authored several articles and books on various aspects of water heater installation, maintenance, and repair.