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Old 05-24-2019, 03:21 PM   #1
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2018 20' Flying Cloud
Puyallup , Washington
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 15
Hot Water Heater - Tripping Breaker

Hello folks! Quick question.. We have a 2018 FC20 with a dual electric / propane water heater. Everything works fine on propane but if I try to use the water heater on electric while using the heat pump, it always trips the 30 amp breaker. This will happen no matter where we are plugged into, home or at the campgrounds. It doesn't happen right away either, it may take 5 or 10 minutes.

I did notice on out last outing, the circuit breaker was extremely hot when I went to reset the breaker. Since, I have been sticking with propane only. Any thoughts to the problem, or is this somewhat expected running both the heat pump and water heater?

PS, we only ever plug into 30 amp RV receptacles.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 05-24-2019, 06:27 PM   #2
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Longmont , Colorado
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Do you also have your fridge on electric? Are you using anything else electric?

We try to avoid running our fridge, heat pump, and water heater at the same time. The total draws 20-something amps. We haven't popped the breaker at that point. But we know we're stressing the electrical system when we do run all three. (wires are getting hot)

And here's something important to know about circuit breakers: the rated number is not a hard/sharp cutoff. A breaker is supposed to pop in a short amount of time when hit by its rated current draw. But for a range of smaller current draws, the breaker is also supposed to pop, it just takes longer to do it. I don't know where to find some actual specs, but what I've read on the forum indicated that something like 5 or 10% below the rating is supposed to pop eventually.

And at some current level, the spec says the breaker should never pop.

Still, given that you have a smaller trailer than mine, I think you have a smaller HP/AC unit, so I would expect you to not have your breaker pop. So you may have a defective breaker.

Another thought: heat is what causes breakers to pop. If you have some loose connections in your breaker panel, that would cause extra heat. It's a good idea to open up the box and tighten everything (if you know how to do it safely). Or maybe the breaker itself is not seated securely.

In our trailer, we found several wires were melted/blackened where they attached to the common bus bar in the breaker box. We think this was pretty close to starting a fire.
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Old 05-25-2019, 03:53 AM   #3
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Couple of things. First, although I have the 15k btu A/C, I never run it with the water heater on AC. The water heater plus refrig and other loads can be 14-15 amps, as I observe it. The starting surge on the A/C then takes it well over 30 amps, although running amps would be just about 30, so I don't even try.
Second, when I had to replace my water heater element(another story), I found that Airstream had done a terrible job of connecting the AC wiring to the element, resulting in a high resistance and overheating connection. Never tripped the breaker but was overheating. You might want to look at yours.
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Old 05-25-2019, 09:13 AM   #4
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Saw an almost identical situation last week. The newbies were using an electric coffee maker and a toaster and had everything else on electric too. Funny part? They were munching breakfast under the awning 10 feet from their power post and an unused 20 amp outlet. Once they put a heavy duty extension cord and their appliances on the second circuit - no problem!

Other posters have made excellent points to CHECK THE WIRING CONTACTS! I second that even if you have to pay a pro to do it for you. Fire hazards are no joking matter.
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Old 05-25-2019, 10:57 AM   #5
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This is how I make it simple for my wife:

For the following appliances: Heat Pump, Electric Water htr, toaster, microwave, hair dryer, only one can be on at any given time

This is a pain that is removed in 50 amp trailers, generally, but she has accepted the rule.

Larry
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Old 05-28-2019, 05:33 PM   #6
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2018 20' Flying Cloud
Puyallup , Washington
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Wanted to come back and say thanks for all the responses. I'll be double checking the connections to and from the water heater. If nothing else, I'll add it to my list of warranty work before our winter camping season starts.
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Old 05-29-2019, 08:32 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeS View Post
Hello folks! Quick question.. We have a 2018 FC20 with a dual electric / propane water heater. Everything works fine on propane but if I try to use the water heater on electric while using the heat pump, it always trips the 30 amp breaker. This will happen no matter where we are plugged into, home or at the campgrounds. It doesn't happen right away either, it may take 5 or 10 minutes.

I did notice on out last outing, the circuit breaker was extremely hot when I went to reset the breaker. Since, I have been sticking with propane only. Any thoughts to the problem, or is this somewhat expected running both the heat pump and water heater?

PS, we only ever plug into 30 amp RV receptacles.

Thanks in advance!
Hi JakeS,*

Please send us a direct message with your contact information and the last 6 digits of your VIN so we can share it with our Customer Service and Technical Support team and help you get this resolved.


Thank you.*
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