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Electrical Wiring in the Home/Hot water heater constantly trips breaker


My hot water heater is about 5 years old, but it constantly trips the breaker, leaving us in the cold. The breaker box is a really old model and our landlady has no money for upgrading the place. The breakers the hot water heater are on are two GE TQL 1115 breakers joined together. We recently took them out and noticed that one of the two shows slight damage to the plastic (on the side), which might just be age-related. Both of them have a fair bit of play in the switch. I was planning to find the best replacement breakers I can on Ebay. Then it occurred to me that maybe what made the switches loose in the first place is that they've been tripped and turned back on so many times--I don't know how many in the three years we've been here, let alone the preceding forty or more years. That makes me wonder if there could be another problem that is tripping the breakers. If so, can you see any potential risks in my replacing these breakers with the best ones I can find? And do you have any recommendations to minimize such problems? Thanks!

15 amp breakers? 2 single poles tied together? For a water heater?

What gauge wire feeds water heater?

What is water heater wattage?

Send photo of panel interior busbar with the water heater breaker(s) removed.

Which manufacturer's panel? Is it really GE?

Send panel catalog number.

It could be a bad element too.
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Electrical Wiring in the Home

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Robert Wilber


Licensed Philadelphia electrician serving Delaware, Chester, Montgomery and Philadelphia County in Pennsylvania. I install and repair residential, commercial and industrial wiring and lighting. Troubleshooting and repair of problems that stump other people is my favorite. I am willing to help people figure out why things don`t work. I understand motor controls, transformers and machine wiring. I do not teach basics to novices or do free design work.


Experience in the area I have 44 years experience in residential, commercial and industrial electrical construction and repair, 480 volts and below. This is not to be confused with one week repeated two thousand times.

44 years experience in residential, commercial and industrial electrical construction and repair

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