Ecosmart Tankless Water Heater Tripping Breaker [Reasons + Solutions]

A faulty thermostat or bad heating elements are mostly responsible for your Ecosmart tankless water heater tripping the breaker.

However, you can simply repair or replace the defective elements to prevent your breaker from tripping. Even if your breaker keeps flipping continuously, you shouldn’t neglect other reasons, like loose connections, leakage, and breaker issues.

ecosmart tankless water heater

Fortunately, we have identified each culprit behind your breaker trouble and sorted out their solutions. So, keep reading to know in detail.

Table of Contents

Ecosmart Tankless Water Heater Tripping Breaker [Reasons + Solutions]

Here, we will explore why your Ecosmart water heater breaker is kicking off frequently and shortlist all the solutions so that you can fix them instantly by yourself. Let’s dive in…

ecosmart tankless water heater tripping breaker

Note: Also read to know how to reset the EcoSmart tankless water heater & fix error codes.

1. Faulty Thermostat

Most of the time, your water heater breaker is tripping due to a faulty thermostat. Normally, there is a limit switch on most tankless water heaters. It works as a safety device that keeps your heater from exceeding 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

tankless water heater faulty thermostat

When your heater goes beyond this limit, the reset button starts tripping to protect it from getting burned or scalded due to excessive heat. This might happen if the thermostat becomes faulty.

The Eco tankless water heater has three heating elements as well as a thermostat. The thermostat ensures that the elements are being heated simultaneously. But unfortunately, when the thermostats go bad, it causes the heating elements to remain on and roughly heat the water.

As a result, one or both elements remain ON at the same time, causing the circuit to overload. This causes a significant draw of current on the circuit which then gets too hot. Finally, it causes the breaker to trip. However, you can easily test the continuity of your thermostat.

How To Fix:

To verify the thermostat, shut off the power to the heater and disconnect the wires from the thermostat. To get a better look at the thermostat, use a multimeter to see if it’s working properly.

disconnect the wires from the thermostat

Place the multimeter probe at both terminals of the thermostat to inspect their resistance. Now, you should get 0 ohms for a normally open thermistor. But it might show 0.5 ohms on a multimeter for a normally closed thermostat which is acceptable.

If you get a significantly different reading for each of the thermostats, be sure one of them is faulty.

In this case, you’ll need to replace the thermistor. But we recommend inspecting the heating elements before replacing the thermostat.

2. Bad Heating Element

The next problem that causes your heater’s breaker to trip frequently is a cracked or faulty heating element. 

bad heating element

However, eco-smart tankless water heaters have three heating elements. Typically, they work at the same time to produce hot water. 

ecosmart tankless water heater bad heating element

However, if they become faulty, they begin to exert pressure on the circuitry areas and trip the brakes. For example, you might face the following scenarios because of the malfunctioning of the elements:

Split Heating Elements: This causes the electric portion of the elements to be exposed to water. As a result, the elements could be damaged or shorted out, causing the limit switch to trip. And then, it will trip the circuit and eventually shut off your water heater.

Shorted heating elements: If it happens, it causes the elements to heat water imperfectly, eventually tripping the limit switch and circuit breakers due to the excessive heat produced. Let’s know how to fix the issue.

How To Fix:

Similar to the problem with the thermostat, you should take a look at the elements. In order to check out the elements’ functionality, go through the  two following steps:

Step-1:

Make sure the power of your heater is shut down. Locate the heating elements and remove the access panel to inspect them.

remove the tankless water heater access panel

Take a multimeter. Now, keep your multimeter at the terminals of the individual heating elements.

Then test across the point where the wires are attached to the elements. In this test, you should get the below-calculated resistance reading with your multimeter.

Watt Per ElementsResistance Ohms 
5500-wattAbout 10-12 ohms
4500-watt About 12-13 ohms
For 3500 wattOnly 16 ohms

Remember, if you get the right resistance with individual elements during testing, the elements are fine. But, when you get a higher or lower reading than the calculated value shown in above, be sure the elements are defective.

So, it would be essential to replace the elements ASAP to stop tripping your water heater breakers. Here, you can also apply the second method to justify your heating elements. 

Step-2:

Remove the wires from the two terminal screws of the heating element and place your multimeter on the continuity (audio) setting.

Then touch the screw with the two probes. You should hear a sound “beep.” But if the millimeter doesn’t beep, it indicates that the element is faulty. But if you get a good sign, go for the next step to test your element.

test the tankless water heater heating element

Now, place one probe on the one-side terminal screw and the other on the metal tank itself. Then, keep one probe on the metal tank and the other probe on the second terminal screw.

When the multimeter doesn’t produce a sound for both screws, your element is fine. Otherwise, it hints that the elements have worn out and should be replaced immediately.

Now, place one probe on the one-side terminal screw and the other on the metal tank itself. Then, keep one probe on the metal tank and the other probe on the second terminal screw.

When the multimeter doesn’t produce a sound for both screws, your element is fine. Otherwise, it hints that the elements have worn out and should be replaced immediately.

To replace the elements, place them in the same position as when you disconnected them. Then, tighten up the wires in the upper and lower parts of the units. Finally, attach the insulation and cover panel to the point.

If you don’t have enough experience to change the elements, watch the below video to learn how to replace heating elements. When your heating elements are fine, then the breaker is tripping due to bad wiring.

3. Loose/ Bad Wiring

When it comes to electrical wiring, it includes not only the water heater cable but also the entire dedicated circuit board and the water tank. Because the best wiring provides the best electric supply for your appliances,

loose & bad wiring

Manually, your Ecosmart water heater breaker flips due to bad wiring. The following are the reasons that you should know why your wiring becomes loose or damaged:

  • Mice can chew the wiring leads to the heater.
  • An overload creates an electrical short circuit or melted connections.
  • Old wiring

So, normally, a breaker can trip when the electric lines get damaged by any of the above means.

Besides, the electrical expert has explained that the breaker will trip if the terminal on the dryer becomes loose and fails to protect against overload.

Solution

First, turn the power off to the heater. Check the lines for broken or loosened wires. After identifying any internal loose wiring, simply tighten it up.

But while there’s no significant internal wiring issue, pay attention to checking for broken wiring. If there is an arc, you will smell smoke or a burnt or foul odor coming from the wires. So, replace any damaged wiring as soon as possible.

If there are no problems or faults with the visual wiring line but the breaker is tripping now and then, we bet there is great trouble with your circuit breaker itself.

4. Defective Circuit Breaker

There is a dedicated circuit breaker for your Ecosmart tankless heater. It’s also a safety device that monitors whether something electrically goes wrong with your water heater.

ecosmart tankless heater defective circuit breaker

Normally, the electric water heater breaker gets tripped frequently and shuts down power immediately due to:

  • Overvoltage (surge of electricity)
  • Short circuit/ ground fault.
  • Faulty wiring in the electric lines
  • Worn out breakers

A circuit is typically designed to handle a specific load capacity. Actually, most of the electronic water heaters require a 20- to 30-amp circuit breaker to work well. Because when the breaker size doesn’t suit your water heater, it maltreats from time to time.

Suppose, your circuit breaker is capable of taking a load of 15 amps but you’re using 20 amps, this isn’t a fault with your heater but an issue with the system you’re operating. Because you anticipate a higher demand for electricity than your circuit breaker can load.

Therefore, the breaker is falling to prevent itself from receiving additional electric flow because of overloading. And this overloaded issue causes the hot water heater breaker to keep tripping. However, there are big signs that your breaker has worn out and collapsed.

  • A burning smell in the electrical panel
  • Scorch marks and melted wires

Whatever the case, follow the below instructions for repairing or bringing back to your breaker issues.

How To Fix:

First, you should figure out the actual fault for why the breaker is tripping either for overloading or a loose connection.

However, and whatever the reasons, you will need electric safety gloves and a digital multimeter to test the circuit box.

If it has already tripped due to overload, simply turn it back on to restore power to your Ecosmart water heater. In this step, don’t expect to get back a large amount of electricity at once to restore power to your water heater. 

Because the breakers remain in a neutral position once they’ve tripped, just wait for five minutes. You can use a multimeter to verify the gradual restoration of power; otherwise, it may trip again.

Next, check if the wiring on the line is damaged. If you find worn-out wiring, you just need to rewire the breaker’s line.

Finally, consider the below points periodically to prevent your breakers from tripping.

  • Take a look at everything that is connected to the same circuit.
  • Always try to avoid overload.
  • The useful life of a breaker decreases over time (30–40 years, depending on voltage and power availability).
  • Make sure you have the right size breaker (30 AMPS is the best to protect a tripping breaker).
  • Periodically inspect the wiring of your CB panel.

At last, verify your units to see if they’re fine for passing electricity through the electric lines.

Note: If there’s no problem with the line but your breaker is flipping again, you’ll need to replace the same size circuit breakers for your tankless water heater.

5. Water Leakage Issue

While there are no problems with the thermostat, heating element, wiring, or circuit itself, probably, a water leak is a suspect that could keep your water heater breaker tripping after a couple of minutes. In fact, your water heater might be leaked due to:

tankless water heater water leakage
  • A falling gasket
  • Excessive water pressure
  • Build up hard sediment in the water lines.
  • Older water heater

All the above reasons are responsible for leaks with the pumping connection and pressure release valves.

And then the leaks allow the water to come into contact with all the electronic parts and components, which causes the breaker to trip.

This is a very dangerous situation because it could cause an electric shock and shorten the entire electrical system. However, this is not too difficult to fix.

How To Fix:

Locate the leakage sources. If you identify water pooling at the bottom of the water heater, turn off the circuit breaker before taking a closer look. Then, make sure you have switched off all the power flowing to the water heater.

Now, look at the heating elements to see if they have come into contact with any water. If the breaker has already flipped, don’t neglect to turn the breaker off and repair the leaks.

Then, inspect the pressure release valve for leakage. If it leaks, set up a water expansion device to reduce the flow pressure.

But when the sediment is an issue for it. Periodically, flush out the buildup of sediment with vinegar. Even if it is needed, change or replace the faulty pipelines and connection with an intake one.

Last but not least, don’t forget to consider if the leakage is because of an older water heater. Though the case is totally different. If this occurs, you can consult with a professional.

He will inspect the case and definitely suggest whether the leak is repairable or if the replacement of the tank can be the solution to the issue. After completing the steps successfully, you can turn on your water heater. 

FAQs:

Why my circuit breaker won’t reset?

If your circuit breaker won’t reset but tips continuously, there might be an issue with a short or overloaded circuit. Again, it may not permit resetting because of its being broken. So, replace it ASAP.

What should be an ideal temperature setting for my Ecosmart tankless water heater?

Though there are three options, 105°F, 120°F, and 140°F, you can’t set it higher than 140°F. with your Ecosmart tankless water heater.

Which breaker is ideal for the tankless water heater?

Typically, a 30Amp breaker is the best for a tankless water heater. But for a small water heater, a 20 Amp breaker might be just enough to work perfectly.

Final Thought

When your Ecosmart tankless water heater breaker is tripping frequently or continuously, you shouldn’t ignore it or leave it unexamined. Anyway, the case is simple to fix.

Already, we have figured out that a malfunctioning breaker, bad heating element, or damaged wiring is the major culprit for tripping your breakers. 

Whatever the case with these anomalies, you’ll just need to identify where the problem takes place. If one of the discussed issues turns out to be a problem with your water heater, you can resolve it now by following our well-proven guide.

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