Quantcast

Crackling from circuit breaker for electric water heater

Help Support House Repair Talk:

uvalaw

Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2009
Messages
6
Reaction score
0
I'm getting a crackling sound from the circuit breaker (a 40A pair) serving my electric water heater when I switch it on. The crackling only happens when the temperature dial on the boiler is set to the point where it triggers the boiler to fire up.

I don't see any sparking at the circuit breaker.

However, I do see slight sparking at one of the wiring terminals on the boiler when I turn the temperature dial back to the point where it is no longer triggering the boiler, as shown in the red circle on this picture:



My multimeter shows I'm getting 210V where the boiler is wired to the house.

Does this seem like a problem with the circuit breaker, the boiler, or both?
 

joecaption

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2011
Messages
2,476
Reaction score
442
Lots of things can cause this.
Cut the breaker off double check there's no power at the heating element.
Check for any loose connections.
Next check the element.
Remove the two wires on the element.
Set the meter to OHM, touch one probe to one of the screws and the other to the metal where where it screws into the tank, then touch the other and do the same thing.
If the needle pegs out the element needs to be replaced.
 

uvalaw

Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2009
Messages
6
Reaction score
0
Thanks. I'll check the element.
 
Last edited:

oldognewtrick

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Jul 26, 2009
Messages
11,594
Reaction score
1,783
Location
Nashville, TN
Is the crackling coming from the breaker box or the element control on the water heater?
 

uvalaw

Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2009
Messages
6
Reaction score
0
The crackling is coming from the breaker box. The arcing is coming from the control panel on the water heater. None of the other breakers in the box are crackling. The water heater and building are both 10 years old, FWIW.
 

joecaption

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2011
Messages
2,476
Reaction score
442
I had more to post but had to go to work.
Feel comfortable working in a panel with the cover off?
If so I would be checking that the screws are tight on the breaker, if so then I shut off the breaker, remove the wires, pull out the breaker to see if the buss bar is damaged.
 

oldognewtrick

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Jul 26, 2009
Messages
11,594
Reaction score
1,783
Location
Nashville, TN
I had the same issue in a house I use to own. The breakers were coroding on the bus bar and the lights would sometimes flicker. Ended up replacing the whole panel and all breakers, problem solved.
 

Redy321

New Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2020
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
Location
Washington
I'm getting a crackling sound from the circuit breaker (a 40A pair) serving my electric water heater when I switch it on. The crackling only happens when the temperature dial on the boiler is set to the point where it triggers the boiler to fire up.

I don't see any sparking at the circuit breaker.

However, I do see slight sparking at one of the wiring terminals on the boiler when I turn the temperature dial back to the point where it is no longer triggering the boiler, as shown in the red circle on this picture:



My multimeter shows I'm getting 210V where the boiler is wired to the house.

Does this seem like a problem with the circuit breaker, the boiler, or both?
I think that the problem is bad contact, check the contact points of the wires.
 

Eddie_T

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2015
Messages
160
Reaction score
46
If its the breaker/bus bar contact the breaker should be replaced and moved to another bus position if available.
 

Latest posts

Top