How to Fix an Electric Heater Circuit Breaker That Keeps Tripping

A hot water heater that keeps tripping its circuit breaker is one of the most inconvenient household appliances. Tripping across the circuit breaker could be due to a short, which can cause sparks and fires. Tripping more than once or for extended periods of time could also indicate an issue with the heating element within the unit, but this isn’t as dangerous as it’s still easy to fix.

Here are 10 steps to fix an Electric Heater Circuit Breaker:

Step 1 – Turn off Circuit Breaker

Before you begin checking how your appliance works, make sure to turn off its circuit breaker so it no longer receives power. If there are two or three switches on your electrical panel that controls the same appliance, then switch them all off at once. This will completely isolate your electric water heater from all circuits in the house, preventing dangerous sparks.

Step 2 – Disconnect Power Source

If turning off the circuit breaker doesn’t stop the electric water heater from tripping, then you have to disconnect it completely. This means flipping both switches to “off” at your home’s electrical panel, or unscrewing its plug if you are dealing with a portable model. Unplugging your unit removes all forms of power so it no longer trips your circuit breaker no matter how high-powered it is. If this solves the problem, then read on to find out what else could be causing it.

Step 3 – Check Fuses

Fuses are usually found close to where an appliance plugs into an outlet. Protect circuits by breaking when they draw too much power. The best way to check if your fuses are working is by swapping them out for new ones or even borrowing spare ones from another appliance. Make sure not to touch both ends of the fuse together because this could cause an electrical fire. Instead, get a piece of wire and attach one end to each side of the bad fuse before you remove it with pliers.

Step 4 – Reset Thermostat

Small thermostats that control heating elements can catch on fire if they are faulty or overheat during use. This makes resetting them essential in preventing fires and other hazards within your home. Gently disconnect your water heater’s wires but do not touch them together while doing so because this would create sparks instead of fixing it. After you disconnect them, remove the thermostat’s cover plate and press its reset button firmly with your finger for about five seconds before reconnecting it to power.

Step 5 – Replace Thermostat

If resetting the thermostat does not fix the problem, then you have no choice but to replace it entirely. Turn off your water heater’s circuit breakers at your home’s electrical panel and unplug it before removing the thermostat wires carefully with pliers. Take out the defective thermostat and install a new one by putting on heat-resistant gloves first before replugging or reconnecting everything back together again.

Step 6 – Inspect Heating Element

Plastic heating elements are usually covered in a white or black insulated casing. They are the only parts of your electric water heater that get hot enough to boil water. So they are usually attached to a thermostat for safety purposes. If your element is broken or defective, then you will need to remove it and replace it with a new one. Before reconnecting everything back together again.

Step 7 – Replace Blow Fuses

Blow fuses prevent too much power from passing through electrical appliances in order to protect them against fire hazards. A blown fuse may be caused by an overloaded circuit when using multiple appliances at once. The best way to check if this is the problem is by swapping out the fuse for new ones. or borrowing some spare ones from another appliance instead of testing with both ends of the same fused wire.

Step 8 – Clean Water Heater

Buildup and mineral deposits inside your water heater can cause it to malfunction. By not giving out enough hot water or overheating completely. Make sure to use rubber gloves when cleaning its tank because this could be extremely dangerous otherwise. Using a hose, start by spraying away debris and sediment on top of the tank. Before removing and replacing faulty parts like heating elements, thermostats, valves, thermostats, thermocouples, etc. After you are done with all of them, cover its open holes back up before turning the main power switch back on again.

Step 9 – Replace Thermocouple

Electric voltage is created when two different types of metal are joined together and then made to touch each other. This type of metal is usually found on the elements and heating units of your water heater. A bad connection or broken wire here could cause problems. Such as an error code being sent out. No hot water coming from your faucet, or a faulty thermostat among others. If testing shows that the problem lies with this thermocouple. Then you will need to replace it entirely before turning on the power again at your home’s electrical panel.

Step 10 – Replace Element

A large number of these parts can be found within your water heater’s tank. And they may age faster than any other part in there because of its hot temperature. If you suspect that the heating element has gone bad, then remove it for testing or replacement right away. Turn off the main power switch to your heater at your breaker box. Before removing any wires connected to it with pliers.


These are the ten most common problems with electric hot water heaters and how to fix them. Before calling a professional plumber, you can attempt to fix these problems on your own. By following the steps described in this article for each of them. If nothing seems to work even after trying everything, then it is best to consult an expert. Because they could be able to inspect and test your heater more accurately than you can at home.