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post #1 of 6 Old 03-09-2014 Thread Starter
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Water Pump/Hot Water Heater/Breaker Trips

Two weeks ago, Sunday night my water pump started to run as it normally does. Then I heard a "click" sound from somewhere else. At that point two things happened.
Hot water started to drain from the hot water tank via the pressure relief valve and the pump continued to run in a "slower mode" until the water pressure circuit breaker tripped. Three systems affected 11pm the night before I start a new job...of course

I left the water pressure breaker off, put it back on in the morning and all was okay. Mind you I have been turning off the water pressure breaker when leaving the boat.

Yesterday, two weeks later on Saturday, it reared its head again. Exact same symptoms as described above. After other boat work all day, I left the breaker off and decided to take a look this morning. I tested it and it continued to do as stated above. My next move was to to turn off the hot water breaker (as I should have already done, oops). Then I tried the pump again and wahlah! It worked fine. I then flipped the hot water heater breaker on and we are back in business.

I expect this to be short lived and have to start diagnosing what is failing.
Initial thought is the pressure relief valve on the hot water tank. Second thought is the pump is over pressurizing. Third thought is a bad breaker. However for the moment all seems good...haha.

Any thoughts or tips to diagnose?

Pump is a Shurflo mod# 2088-434-344, 3.75 gpm.
Hot water heater is a Raritan R-6.
I didn't bother taking off the back of the panel yet to check the water pressure circuit breaker size. But I will if anyone thinks that may be the culprit.

Please help with any thoughts or advice. With 3 systems effected it is a tough one to figure out.

Thanks!
Tim and Jill
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post #2 of 6 Old 03-09-2014
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Re: Water Pump/Hot Water Heater/Breaker Trips

Sounds like the pressure switch in the water pump is bad. Could be a pressure relief valve spring is going soft. I would try to get a pressure gauge in line and see what the value is.

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post #3 of 6 Old 03-09-2014
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Re: Water Pump/Hot Water Heater/Breaker Trips

How old is your water heater? What kind of water do you put in your tanks e.g. is it hard - lots of minerals? I started to have the same kinds of problems. When I removed the water heater element it was covered with mineral deposits and was shorting out.

I ended up changing out all four of the water heater parts: element, over pressure valve, circuit breaker (on the unit) and thermostat. Total cost of parts was $110. (Didn't buy them at West Marine) Most of the parts you can purchase at Lowes or Home Depot. I most likely could have gotten away with just replacing the element but my heater is very hard to get to. I decided I wanted to do it all so I didn't have to crawl back in next month or year.

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post #4 of 6 Old 03-10-2014
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Re: Water Pump/Hot Water Heater/Breaker Trips

I'm thinking that the pressure relief valve is bad causing water to run out and the system lose pressure, causing the pump to run. Maybe the slow running caused by high power demand: hot water element on drawing big amps at the same time as pump and maybe fridge?? Not sure what caused the breaker to trip though. When that was occurring, were you able to see how many amps were being used? Another possibility is the heater element running away and increasing the heat until the pressure exceeded the valve rating and overflow. That would cause a breaker trip.

Easy enough, assuming access, to replace both.

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post #5 of 6 Old 03-10-2014
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Re: Water Pump/Hot Water Heater/Breaker Trips

OK, this maybe a stretch. Hard to figure out without being there. I had a hot water heater that was set too hot once...maybe clouding this diagnosis. But here you go

I'm thinking that your hot water tank is getting too hot on shore power. This is causing the pressure to build to the point where the relief valve pops. With the relief valve open, the pressure drops. The pump then seeing the pressure drop starts to run and runs continuously. The circuit breaker which maybe sized for intermittent service gradually heats up from continuously running, and pops on the water pump.

If this is correct, the aqua stat on the hot water heater is to blame. Try turning it down or replace. If not, at least I tried...good luck!
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post #6 of 6 Old 03-10-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: Water Pump/Hot Water Heater/Breaker Trips

Thanks everyone. I ran this through some more people and we think the pressure switch on the pump is not closing. Pump runs, over pressurizes, pops the pressure relief and builds up enough resistance to pop the circuit breaker. And the pump is from 1989....it lasted us living aboard for the last year and a half. Im going to swap it out and will report back. Thanks!


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hot water heater , plumbing , pressure relief valve , water pressure , water pump

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