Why a Water Heater Keeps Tripping the Breaker | Reason Explained In Detail


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Circuit breakers are beneficial electrical components. For laypersons, circuit breakers are also known as the “keys” to turn the power pattern on or off. Circuit breakers are also referred to as the safety switches inside the panels and switchboards. The primary function of the circuit breaker is to be a component for protection and safety. Due to its mechanical composition providing the sectioning of circuits, it can also connect and disconnect circuits and loads. These two allied functions place circuit breakers as a natural substitute for fuses with a similar circuit protection function but do not always provide this circuit’s isolation. A water heater is a home appliance that alters the functioning of the circuit breaker quickly. Also, there are many reasons why a water heater keeps tripping the breaker. These have been elaborated in the latter parts of this article.

The circuit breaker works as an automatic trip switch when it identifies a short circuit or an overload. The circuit breaker usually withstands a certain electric current. Suppose a current peak or even a short circuit considerably raises the current above the limit supported by it. In that case, it interrupts the circuit, protecting all the elements that make up this circuit. Once you remedy this accident, you can then reset the circuit breaker to continuity this circuit’s operation.

Advantages of using the Water Heater

Very appreciated and widespread in many households, the electric water heater is one of the most straightforward solutions on the market for obtaining hot water. Suitable for both small apartments and large houses, it is available in several models, and you can install it in all rooms of the home. Inexpensive to buy and efficient, it is advisable to call in a professional to orient yourself towards the model that corresponds to your needs and living space. Furthermore, as its name suggests, the electric water heater will heat the water in its balloon using resistance for domestic use. With a capacity ranging from 50 to 500 liters, it can satisfy a single person and a whole family. Do you hesitate to adopt this solution for your home? Here is an overview of the main advantages of the electric water heater.

The electric water heater is practical and not very bulky: less cumbersome than many other devices. It is a product that you can place in any room in the house, and it easily fits into the tiniest spaces. 

The electric water heater is economical

Inexpensive to install and purchase; you can also configure it to operate only during off-peak hours and can be restarted manually if necessary outside these time slots. 

The electric water heater requires minimal maintenance: to keep it in good working order for as long as possible, care is not complex. All you need to do is empty the tank and descale it every two years. Also, the resistance must undergo regular descaling if it is made of stainless steel. On the other hand, it is necessary to check the safety groups correct functioning every month.

What trips the reset button on a hot water heater

What are the Different Models of Electric Water Heaters?

To respond as faithfully to your needs as to your constraints, the electric water heater is available in two main models, which themselves are then broken down into several product categories. These include:

The electric water heater with instant hot water production

Designed to heat the distribution of sanitary water, this device, as its name suggests, will produce hot water on demand according to your needs. Its main advantage lies in its total suitability for your uses since hot water production is unlimited. Space-saving, and often wall-mounted, it also adapts to smaller spaces. However, despite its much strength, there are some drawbacks. The temperature of the hot water produced is, for example, not always very homogeneous. It is also essential to ensure that the distance between the appliance and the tap is as tiny as possible. 

The electric storage water heater

Composed of a variable capacity tank (from 50 to 500 liters), the electric storage water heater (also sometimes called electric cumulus) is available in a vertical or horizontal version depending on your space constraints. It is essential to choose the tank’s correct size with a limited capacity, knowing that it takes 8 hours for the water to be at the right temperature. Finally, note that a horizontal electric water heater will be less efficient than a vertical model. 

Hot water heater keeps tripping breaker

Why does a Water Heater Keep Tripping the Breaker?

The water heater is one of the residential equipment that dissipates more power. Due to its resistance to be in direct contact with water, it requires a lot of care and the possibility of problems involving this equipment. Thus, it’s best to beware of why the circuit breaker trip was used when using the water heater and how to solve it. 

Circuit breakers can trip according to the heater connected in various conditions, so it is ideal to be aware of the situations in which the circuit breaker turns off the circuit and the time it takes for the protection device to be activated. Some conditions which require urgent attention with regards to the Water Heater tripping the circuit breaker includes: 

The circuit breaker trips as soon as you switch it on

If the circuit breaker disconnects the circuit as soon as you switch it on, a short circuit has likely occurred with the heater cables themselves.

For this, identify the location where the wire has melted and cut the piece. Then turn the circuit back on. If you do not feel safe doing this, hire a professional. This problem does not happen again, confirming that the cables are compatible with the heater’s power.

The circuit breaker trips after a while using the heater

This is possible when the circuit breaker is thermomagnetic. That is, it is driven by heat or magnetism. Heat activation occurs typically because the cables’ size is incompatible with the appliance consumption; for example, a 6,800W heater requires six mm² wires but is connected to 4 mm² cables. In this case, the heater will work, but the cables will start to heat up, resulting in the circuit breaker’s turning off. 

The circuit breaker trips when the heater and another appliance such as a microwave or iron are simultaneously in use

Suppose the trip circuit breaker’s problem occurs when the heater and other devices, such as a microwave or iron, are turned on simultaneously. In that case, the problem is likely the system overload. This is because the circuit is shared; that is, the devices are on the same circuit, and the sum of the currents of these devices is greater than the circuit breaker’s capacity, thus causing it to trip. In this case, it is necessary to install a complete circuit for the heater. There must be a pair of cables that leave the distribution board and supply only the shower.

The circuit breaker trips after an exchange of the heater for another one of greater power

Suppose the circuit breaker is disarming due to an exchange of the heater for another greater power. In that case, it is necessary to exchange the cables for others of a more extensive section. The heater’s circuit breaker and the general circuit breaker also require replacement with others that support a greater flow of electrons. This is quite valid because the value of the current changes considerably; remembering that the circuit breakers’ dimensioning is according to the electric current’s value.

The circuit breaker trips when using two or more heaters at the same time

Situations in which the circuit breaker turns off the circuit when using two or more heaters simultaneously are like the previous situation. Still, the risk is even more significant due to the high value of the electric current. Thus, the circuit must be resized entirely.

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Why a Water Heater Keeps Tripping the Breaker: FAQs

Can water cause a circuit breaker to trip?

Yes. Water can make its way into a circuit breaker and cause it to trip.

Will a bad heating element trip breaker

Yes. A bad heating element usually draws more electricity than the circuit’s capacity, thus causing a trip in the circuit breaker.

Is it dangerous if the circuit breaker keeps tripping?

Yes. If a circuit breaker keeps tripping and does not handle the underlying cause, it could result in a fire outbreak.


In conclusion, those who use an electric Water Heater need to pay more attention, especially at the time of purchase. It must be compatible with the installation. If you want to buy a more powerful one to guarantee warmer baths in the winter, it is possible that the installation needs adjustments too.

Furthermore, when the heater is on for a short time and the protection device trips, it may be due to the cables’ heating because they are poorly dimensioned, or there is a short circuit. Considering the situations above, it is of utmost importance that the entire circuit is dimensioned correctly according to the standards. 

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