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The main wires to water heater that are capped sparked and blew the main circuit breaker recapped the main wires and still have no hot water

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Call a certified electrician.

Posted on Sep 26, 2009

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My suburban dsi rv hot water keeps throwing breakers


Appears to be a short in tank circuit probably cause by a water leak in tank. These usually wear a rusty hole in the tank inside the cover and are not seen unless the thermostat covers are taken off. I would remove them and do a visual thoroughly. Anytime a fuse blows or a breaker trips is always a dead short unless you have a bad breaker. I would check those as well for vibrating, chattering noises, and/or smoking. If any of this persist, replace breaker. A melted heat element could trip them, but not usually for it leaves an open circuit instead of a shorted one.

Feb 19, 2013 | Suburban SW10DEM Gas Electric Water Heater...

1 Answer

Hot water heater


1) Check across top two screws on upper element for 240volts.
Circuit breaker can be tripped on one leg so water heater appears to have power, but only has 120Volts to ground, and not full 240Volt potential across both wires.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-troubleshoot-electric-problems-with-water-heater.html#electricity

2) Move wires to another same-size circuit breaker
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-replace-circuit-breaker.html

3) Add comment and say what you find, and for more assistance Dec 2012

Dec 12, 2012 | Rheem Water Heaters

1 Answer

I have a Rheem 101 electric series circa 1997 model 101160. Water is hot in the mornings and is cold in the afternoons. This occurs even if we dont use hot water in the mornings. Have just replaced...


Maybe more than 1 problem: Suspects are: crossover, sediment or assorted gunk is built up in bottom of tank, or a loose wire or bad circuit breaker, or loose connection somewhere at water heater.
There is no off-peak setting unless you wire up the water heater differently or install a timer.

1) When water is cold, open TP valve at hot water heater to see if tank has hot water.
If tank has hot water, but it does not arrive at faucet, then suspect is crossover:
http://waterheatertimer.org/Crossover.html

2) To test if circuit breaker is problem, move wires to different circuit breaker with same amp rating:
http://waterheatertimer.org/B220C.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-replace-circuit-breaker.html

3) Turn off power, open connection at top of heater and check that wire nuts are tight
Check all wire connections for signs of high heat and burning.

4) If bottom is filled with gunk, the lower part of heater can be slow to heat and will take so long that top part of heater will cool. Clean sediment out of tank.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-clean-sediment-out-of-water-heater.html

Aug 03, 2011 | Rheem Water Heaters

1 Answer

Powerstar 115 tankless tripping reset ontop of #2 heat chamber #1 does not get overly warm mainly because of incoming water temp. but #2 seems to be heating after water flow stops to hot to touch and...


I don't have specific suggestion for tankless tripping breaker or if that is a circuit breaker problem or a tankless problem.

1) Move wires to another same-size breaker and see if problem persists.

2) Compare amp draw on tankless label with wire size and breaker size amp rating.
For example 30 amp breaker using 10ga wire is rated for 80% of listed amps or 24 amps.

3) If you are drawing full 30 amps, then 30 amp breaker is getting hot. Breaker trips with heat. Older breakers can trip more easily.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-replace-circuit-breaker.html

4) Before calling service technician, open following link for Bosch troubleshooting steps.
http://waterheatertimer.org/Troubleshoot-Bosch-Tankless-water-heater.html

5) Be sure to read manual for yearly maintenance requirements.

6) Add a tempering tank for incoming cold water problem.
http://waterheatertimer.org/Tempering-tank.html

7) All gas tankless brands can be repaired by homeowner for $330.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-install-gas-water-heater.html

Apr 22, 2011 | Bosch PowerStar AE115 Tankless Water...

1 Answer

I replaced all parts but water heated won't get hot


You have electric water heater.
You replaced elements and thermostats but heater still won't work.
And tank was completely full of water, and water was running out of a faucet before turning power ON.
If elements are not fully immersed in water, they will instantly burn out.
If upper element is burned out, then tank will have NO hot water.
If lower element is burned out, and upper element is not burned out, then tank will have some hot water.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-test-water-heater-element.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-it-works.html

If elements did not burn out, then that leaves 1 main suspect: the electricity.

1) Push in ECO red reset button on upper thermostat. If ECO is tripped out, then heater will not work.

2) Click circuit breaker all the way one direction and then back the other direction to make sure breaker is latched.

3) If tank has 2 elements, then it is 240volt.
If 1 leg of 240Volt circuit is not working, then 240V appliance will not work.
240Volt circuit needs both hot wires to complete the circuit:
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-wire-EH40-hot-water-heater-timer.html#120-240

Buy cheap multimeter from Home Center and set dial to 240-250-277VAC
Tape tester leads to woods sticks to keep hands away from power.
Power is ON
Test across top 2 screws on upper element should show 220-240 volts.
If you have 240 at top two screws, then skip down to step 6.
If no reading across top two screws, then move to top of tank.

4) Open connection point where wire connects to heater.
Test across both insulated wires should get reading of 220-240 volts.
If no reading, move to circuit breaker box.

5) Mark water heater breaker.
Turn off all breakers except water heater breaker and main breaker. (and breaker to light fixture where box is located)
Do not hold or touch or lean against anything metal.
Stand on dry boards and wear dry clothes.
If main breaker is OFF, the big wires that connect to main breaker are still HOT.

Remove box cover.
240Volt breaker has 2 wires connected with screws.
Test across both screws for 240Volt.
See if wires are loose.
If there is no reading, then breaker is not working on one leg.
To double check, move water heater wires to another same-size 240V breaker and then put ear against water heater to listen for bubbly-fizzing sound.

6) If you are getting 240 to water heater, then wire inside tank could be loose.
Do 30 minute troubleshoot:
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-troubleshoot-electric-problems-with-water-heater.html

Add a comment for more free help.
Also take advantage of fixya phone service.
For a price, fixya expert speaks with you over phone while you work on timer.

Jan 09, 2011 | Rheem 40 GAL ELEC TALL Water Heater 6YR SC...

1 Answer

One of the breakers assigned to our Hot wtr htr has been tripping recently leading to loss of hot water. This has happened twice in the last month. After resetting the breaker things have worked fine,...


Breaker could be bad.
Let's do a quick check and save you money.
Open top cover on water heater and push in red reset button that might be tripped.
If reset is tripped, water heater should turn ON.
If reset will not reset, then replace upper thermostat:
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-replace-thermostat-on-electric-water-heater.html
If reset is not tripped out, then it is OK, so test two top wires on upper thermostat.
Use cheap multimeter from home center, and set dial to 240-250-277 VAC.
Test across top two screws on upper thermostat to see if you have 240Volts.
To do full troubleshoot on ordinary tank electric water heater takes 30 minutes and multimeter
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-troubleshoot-electric-problems-with-water-heater.html

If water heater is not receiving 240V, then the breaker is suspect, or a wire between breaker and water heater is loose.
See basic water heater circuit
http://waterheatertimer.org/240-v-water-heater-circuit.html

Now let's look at circuit breaker:
Mark suspect 240V breaker.
Identify all your breakers, and also mark another 240 Volt breaker that is same amperage as water heater 240V breaker.
Turn off main breaker.
Take front panel off breaker box.
The wires and lugs on main breaker are HOT, so stay away from that area.
http://waterheatertimer.org/See-inside-main-breaker-box.html
Suspect breaker has 2 wires coming from breaker.
See if one or both wires are loose, and then tighten.

If wires are tight, then move these wires to the other 240V breaker that is rated for same amps as water heater.
Now turn on main breaker.
Put ear against water heater tank to hear bubbly fizzing sound.
This will identify if circuit breaker is bad, or if water heater needs a full troubleshoot.
It is not a good idea to run two 240V appliances on same 240V circuit breaker, so you may have to decide one or the other appliance until you can replace breaker.
Instructions to replace circuit breaker:
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-replace-circuit-breaker.html

Add a comment for more free help.
Also take advantage of fixya phone service.
For a price, fixya expert speaks with you over phone while you work on water heater circuit.

Jan 07, 2011 | Water Heaters

1 Answer

I have replaced the bottom element,and now i have no hot water. I check with a meter and have power to the top element but not the bottom one.


First of all, you have 240V water heater because tank has two elements.
You have no hot water, and tank has power to upper element.
Lower element has no power.

Something doesn't sound right.
You're not testing correctly.

Before doing anything, test across top two screws of upper element for 240Volts.
This will eliminate electrical problem as suspect.
Breaker must deliver 120V on both legs to complete the 240V circuit.
Every single-phase household circuit takes 2 wires to complete the circuit.
With 120V you need 1 neutral wire and 1 hot wire to complete circuit.
With 240V you need 2 hot wires, one from each hot busbar, to complete circuit.
Your water heater can appear to have electricity if breaker is delivering power on one leg of the 240V circuit.
To check breaker for sure, move wires to another similar size breaker to see if water heater functions properly.
http://waterheatertimer.org/B220C.html

If 240V circuit is good, then next thing is take 30 minutes and do full test of water heater parts.
This will identify exact problem(s) without guessing.
Buy 5$ multimeter from Home Depot. Install battery.
When test calls for continuity, rotate dial to Ohms (upside down horseshoe is ohms).
When test calls for testing voltage, rotate dial to 240-250-277 VAC
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-troubleshoot-electric-problems-with-water-heater.html

Add a comment for more help.

Dec 28, 2010 | Rheem Water Heaters

1 Answer

Is the lower element suppose to have two legs of 120 to it? Or do i need to move a wire up top to make it 240? as it is on top element.


You have water heater with two elements.
Two-element water heaters are 240Volts.

1) Lets talk about what makes a 240Volt circuit
See basic water heater circuit:
http://waterheatertimer.org/B220C.html

Open link, and illustration at top of page is your water heater circuit

Notice that two insulated wires come from the circuit breaker and go to the water heater.
These two wires are 120volt each. When these two 120Volt wires combine, they create 240Volts
These are called hot wires because they come from the hot busbars.
There is also a bare copper wire that comes from neutral busbar.
The bare copper wire is a safeguard, and is not necessary for the 240V circuit to work.

Inside each circuit breaker box is 1 neutral busbar, and 2 hot busbars.
Open image below, and it shows typical residential breaker box
http://waterheatertimer.org/images/Inside-Main-Breaker-Box-420.jpg

In a residential home, each circuit takes two wires to complete the circuit.
For 120Volt circuit, you need 1 neutral wire and 1 hot wire to complete the circuit. These are usually a black and white wire. The bare copper wire is a safeguard.
For 240Volt circuit, you need 2 hot wires to complete the circuit, and each hot wire comes off a different busbar. These can be a black and white wire, and sometimes a black and red wire. The bare copper wire is a safeguard.

With a 240Volt water heater the two hot wires connect to the black and red wires located on top of water heater.

2) Let's talk about wiring inside a water heater.
http://waterheatertimer.org/images/WH-w-combined-530.jpg

Open image on link above, and it shows your 240volt water heater wiring.
The 2 hot wires from breaker box connect to the red and black wires on top of heater.
Inside each water heater, the wires are color-coded and will appear the same, or nearly the same, as shown on link above.
As long as your wiring appears like the image, and the hot wires from breaker box connect correctly, and the circuit breaker is working fine, then your water heater will work.

Add a comment any time.

3) More electric water heater links about water heaters, thermostats and tank wiring:
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-electric-water-heater-works.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-water-heater-thermostat-works.html
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-wire-water-heater-thermostats.html

Dec 28, 2010 | RELIANCE ELECTRIC WATER HEATER

1 Answer

No hot water


Electric water heater can be repaired by homeowner.

Four things can cause NO hot water:
1) ECO red reset button tripped. Remove top cover on water heater, push red reset button on thermostat. Put insulation and cover back over thermostat.
2) Circuit breaker is tripped, circuit breaker bad, or wire loose in breaker box. Turn breaker on-off and listen for crackling or fizzing sound, and burned smell. Test breaker for 220Volts. Test top two screws on upper thermostat to see if water heater has electricity.
3) Bad upper thermostat. Replace upper thermostat.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-replace-thermostat-on-electric-water-heater.html
4) Bad upper element. Test upper element.
http://waterheatertimer.org/How-to-test-water-heater-element.html

Nov 22, 2010 | Reliance WATER HEATER CO #9-40-DKRT 40GAL...

1 Answer

I have a Rheem Model # 82V52-2 and its being supplied by 25 amp breakers. They do not trip out but the 100 amp main gets real hot and trips out and I believe it happens when the water heater is in use- any...


The Rheem water heater uses 4500 Watt elements
Check label on side of any appliance to see electrical rating details
2 element tank with two 4500 watt elements is still a 4500 watt appliance since both elements are never ON at same time.

Volts x amps = watts
amps = watts divided by volts

amps = 4500 divided by 240Volts or 220Volts
amps = 18.75
Your water heater uses 18.75 amps to 20.45 amps

Your 25 amp breaker should only carry 80% of rated value
25 amps x 80% = 20 amps.

So your water heater breaker is correctly sized.
You should have a 10 gauge wire going to this water heater.
12 gauge wire is a bit undersized for 4500 Watt water heater
Feel the water heater wire to see if it is warm.

If the main breaker is getting hot when 20 additional amps are being used by the water heater.
1) The house is using more amps than your 100 amp main can carry
Using the formula, 100 amps x 80% = 80 amps for the main breaker
Add up your total amp draw.
For example if your 3500 watt oven is ON, it draws 16 amps.
If your 5000 Watt electric heater is on, it draws 23 amps.
Your 1500 Watt 120V microwave draws 12.5 amps.
Add these numbers up plus your water heater, and it comes to 71 amps.
71 amps is getting close to the max 80 amp, but it's not over.
Now if you have a pool pump and and hot tub and a table saw going, the main breaker could be overdrawn.

2) To solve the problem short-term, you can put a timer on the water heater and use it only when needed.
http://waterheatertimer.org/Compare-13-electric-water-heater-timers.html

3) The main breaker is bad and needs to be replaced.

If you need help figuring circuits or timers, add a comment and I will help

Nov 05, 2010 | Rheem Water Heaters

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