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Old 04-03-2018, 05:15 PM   #1
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Angry Fireplace & Water heater on same breaker!

Greetings All, I know this is a revival of an old thread, but similar problem.

We have a brand new 2018 255RKS and out on our first trip with it. While getting it prepped the weeks prior to our departure, we had it in our driveway and would typically leave the fireplace on--even overnight for days. (Remember, just weeks prior to this, we had those 4 Nor'easters come through our area--trying to keep it warm to work on/in).

After the freezing temperatures lifted, I finally ran water through the system to flush the antifreeze out, and familiarize myself with the hot water heater.

Ever since then, the fireplace has occasionally started randomly popping the circuit breaker. The circuit breaker is a dual 15 amp breaker, and is also connected to the hot water heater.

The fireplace worked fine--uninterrupted--for days on end until the hot water heater was finally filled with water. Now, issues...

Why have the fireplace wired to the same breaker with the hot water heater? If I want the fireplace on, having priority over the hot water heater, I have to go outside to shut off the switch to the heater--which would likely mean it's cold out! This even happened last night whereas we had the fireplace on just to keep the chill out of the camper. But once the hot water kicked on at some point in the middle of the night, the breaker popped. So, we woke to a chilly camper AND water that was barely luke warm!

Anyone else experiencing this????
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Old 04-04-2018, 08:07 AM   #2
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I don't know if others have had this problem. Work around might be to run the water heater on propane or wire the fire place to a different breaker
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Old 04-04-2018, 08:13 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Owen View Post
Greetings All, I know this is a revival of an old thread, but similar problem.

We have a brand new 2018 255RKS and out on our first trip with it. While getting it prepped the weeks prior to our departure, we had it in our driveway and would typically leave the fireplace on--even overnight for days. (Remember, just weeks prior to this, we had those 4 Nor'easters come through our area--trying to keep it warm to work on/in).

After the freezing temperatures lifted, I finally ran water through the system to flush the antifreeze out, and familiarize myself with the hot water heater.

Ever since then, the fireplace has occasionally started randomly popping the circuit breaker. The circuit breaker is a dual 15 amp breaker, and is also connected to the hot water heater.

The fireplace worked fine--uninterrupted--for days on end until the hot water heater was finally filled with water. Now, issues...

Why have the fireplace wired to the same breaker with the hot water heater? If I want the fireplace on, having priority over the hot water heater, I have to go outside to shut off the switch to the heater--which would likely mean it's cold out! This even happened last night whereas we had the fireplace on just to keep the chill out of the camper. But once the hot water kicked on at some point in the middle of the night, the breaker popped. So, we woke to a chilly camper AND water that was barely luke warm!

Anyone else experiencing this????
Yeah, that doesn't sound right. The Suburban water heater (which I assume you have judging by your statement of an outside switch to the heating element) has a 1440 watt element, which uses 12 amps of the 15 amp circuit when it's heating.

That doesn't leave much for the fireplace.



Is your RV a 30 amp or 50 amp type?
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Old 04-04-2018, 08:15 AM   #4
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We have a 2018 Grey Wolf and the fireplace is on the same fuse as the microwave. We actually have a 'light switch' in the cabinet above the fireplace that has to be flipped in order to use the microwave (and flipped back to use the fireplace). The microwave is much less of an issue than the water heater would be. If you are handy, I would try what SeaDog suggested and rewire the fireplace to something not used as frequently.
Good luck.
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Old 04-04-2018, 08:19 AM   #5
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The duel 15 amp breaker you speak of is two separate 15 amp breakers. The fireplace would be on one and water heater on the other. Did you have the WH on with no water in it? If so the element is burned and or shorted out.
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Old 04-04-2018, 08:22 AM   #6
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Can you remove the dual and replace with 2 singles? I think my FP is a 20amp?
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Old 04-04-2018, 08:49 AM   #7
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I take it for granted you have a 30 amp trailer. I also take it for granted you are using the electric element to heat the water.

So if my two assumptions are correct the solution is to use propane only for the water heater when you are going to use the fireplace. It's one of the limitations of having a 30 amp trailer.
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Old 04-04-2018, 12:44 PM   #8
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As to cavie's point, did you switch from bypass to normal operation on your water heater valves. Just putting water in the fresh tank does not automatically put water in the heater unless these valves are correctly set.
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Old 04-04-2018, 07:27 PM   #9
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Well on my Sierra 360PDK my fireplace and my plugs around the back of the stove are on the same breaker. So if I have the fireplace going and the wife starts a new pot of coffee the breaker trips right away. So maybe the fireplace and your hot water heater may not be tied together are you using other receptacles in the camper?
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Old 04-04-2018, 07:41 PM   #10
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One of the reasons I have grown fond of old fashioned stove top percolator coffee. Actually find the flavor better than a drip coffee pot that gets plugged in. Sometimes going backwards is a good thing!
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Old 04-04-2018, 07:42 PM   #11
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Without seeing your set up, or having access to a proper wiring diagram for it. I can only hazard a guess.

On my 2016 Concord, the water heater and the fireplace share a 15 amp circuit. However there is a cut out relay that defaults to the water heater. If the fireplace is on and the water heater creates a demand the fireplace will shut off. It may not be hooked up correctly.

Unfortunately my fireplace was not plugged up to the correct circuit initially and we kept blowing the main breaker when both would kick on. After pulling the fireplace to do some additional wiring, AND having a wiring diagram in hand it was obvious what had happened. Once the fireplace was plugged up in the correct place everything works fine now. I would pull the fire place and see if there is relay box back there. Mine is in a standard covered metal junction box with a plug on it.

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Old 04-05-2018, 06:51 AM   #12
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I'm going to try and answer all of your questions here...

Yes, it is only a 30 amp trailer.

Yes, I did open the bypass valve when I first added water, so there is water in the heater.

The dual breaker I mentioned is a single breaker occupying 2 slots.

And yes, we have been compromising using gas to heat the hot water, and electric to keep the chill out.

I'd RATHER have what the others of you have mentioned--the fireplace & the microwave tied in together with a "selector" switch. We hardly ever use the microwave, and at least the switch would be more convenient versus going outside to turn on/off the water heater.
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Old 04-05-2018, 07:03 AM   #13
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The dual breaker I mentioned is a single breaker occupying 2 slots.
Greg, could you post a pic of your circuit breaker panel, if/when you get time. There has been advice given that assumes you may have tandem circuit breakers. A picture would clear this up.

Thanks
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Old 04-05-2018, 07:08 AM   #14
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Greg you might consider what I do. I use a 12 gauge extension cord and plug my water heater into the 20 amp outlet that is available on most pedestals. This takes it off my 30 amp supply completely. I made up a short extension cord (3 feet) and routed it through a floor opening for water pipes, properly sealed. The male plug the hangs down about 6 inches below the floor, making it easy to connect the extension cord. My water heater then remains on all the time.
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Old 04-05-2018, 07:23 AM   #15
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is the tripping occurring with your MAIN 30 amp breaker, or is it tripping one or both of the 'tandem breakers' for these devices?

does your 'tandem breaker' have a single handle for both 'sides'? do you have a picture of it?

a true 'tandem breaker', which looks like two thin separate breakers taking up the same space as a standard breaker, both have separate trip handles and would not 'trip' the other. Tandem breakers, though, are susceptible to 'nuisance' or 'sensitive' tripping, since they are thinner and more likely to 'over heat' more easily, which is what trips a breaker in the first place. This could be an issue.

a 'double pole breaker' is actually 240v and probably not in your box, but is like two separate breakers sharing a single trip handle.

....................................

tandem breakers are designed for smaller breaker boxes where space is a premium, I imagine this is your case. One side is for the water heater(15 or 20a), and the other is for the Fireplace(15 or 20a). Both of these are 'heat' devices and are heavy draws, at times, especially when both are operating in 'high' mode, essentially when they are at their peak power needs.

And, since both of these items can come close to drawing 15amps or more at their peak, you are close to your RV's full power usage with these two devices alone. Add much of anything else that is 120v, such as a phone charger or computer plugged into an outlet, and you might be over the limit and tripping a breaker.

some options are to always be aware of when both of these items are in use. As some others say, have your water heater on propane if you are really wanting to use it and the Fireplace at the same time. Does the fireplace have a 'low' and 'high' heat setting? Keep it on 'low' if possible.

you are not alone, even us with 50amp coaches(that's actually 100amps because it's TWO 50amp incoming lines to the coach) have issues with tripping breakers in situations where extra air conditioning or heating is required. We all have to learn to manage our electrical usage, no matter.

The manufacturers who provide these 'benefits' of electrical services and niceties, like fireplaces, also have an engineering question of how to integrate that into a 30amp system.... it 'aint always as simple as it seems. We sometimes want it all, but on a limited budget, as well as a limited 30amp electrical system!

I have many devices in my 50amp coach, and they are great options, but I also have to make sure that I don't overload the system and start tripping breakers - it's aggravating and annoying at times, especially in the heat of the summer when both air conditioners are running, the water heater is heating, the tv's and receivers are playing, the computers are humming, and then the wife turns on the microwave or coffee maker and everything goes 'ka put'!..... aaarrrrgggh.!
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Old 04-24-2018, 10:28 PM   #16
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Greg,
You probably have solved your problem by now, but I will throw this solution out anyway since I have a similar issue with my brand new 2018 Palemino Solaire travel trailer. My fireplace is connected to the same circuit as my microwave (with a toggle switch between the two). I am planning on moving the fireplace circuit over to the air conditioner since they will both never be turned on at the same time. Frankly, I don't understand why any RV manufacturer would do it like in your rig and mine.
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Old 04-25-2018, 08:55 AM   #17
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Greg,
You probably have solved your problem by now, but I will throw this solution out anyway since I have a similar issue with my brand new 2018 Palemino Solaire travel trailer. My fireplace is connected to the same circuit as my microwave (with a toggle switch between the two). I am planning on moving the fireplace circuit over to the air conditioner since they will both never be turned on at the same time. Frankly, I don't understand why any RV manufacturer would do it like in your rig and mine.
Thanks Robert! Great idea!

No, I haven't monkeyed with it yet. I was actually thinking of going a different way, but I like your idea better.

Thanks again!
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Old 04-25-2018, 11:03 AM   #18
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With 30 amp service, I would not be running both hot water heater or fireplace heater at the same time regardless if they were on the same breaker or not.

With fridge running on 120 V AC, converter charging batteries, and other loads, you are probably will come close to exceeding the max 30 amp rating of your power panel anyway.

I turn on my hot water heater about 1 1/2 hours before we take our scheduled showers, in the morning. After we finish showering, we leave the hot water heater on for another 30 minutes. We find that we have plenty of warn water to wash greasy dishes for the rest of the day and don't have to worry about exceeding our 30 amp capacity. Nowadays, I don't bother with using electricity to heat our water. I've unplugged the water heater from its 120 volt outlet and propane only. For fridge, I run it on electricity in the day time courtesy of solar inverter and switch to propane at night.

Camping is often about resource management that includes water, food, propane, and electricity-especially if you boondock!

Good luck in sorting out your issues.
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Old 05-04-2018, 02:22 PM   #19
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Greg, could you post a pic of your circuit breaker panel, if/when you get time. There has been advice given that assumes you may have tandem circuit breakers. A picture would clear this up.

Thanks
Ok, it took until today before I was able to take a picture of the panel & breaker. Although it's not labeled (I'll have to write it in when I find a Sharpie), the bottom blank space should be labeled "Fireplace".

Notice--one breaker for both "appliances", not like the other breakers above it.

Actually, I'm not going to label it as a "Fireplace" until I determine exactly how I'm going to re-wire it. No worries anytime soon as I'm sure the fireplace isn't going to be an option anytime soon.

But a couple people mentioned wanting to see a pic of the panel/breaker, so here it is...
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Old 05-04-2018, 02:41 PM   #20
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Since you have a 30 amp RV and more than 5 breakers, with more than two thermostatically controlled loads, you undoubtedly have one of these already installed. The reason that the water heater and the fireplace are on the same breaker is that the AESS will "shed" the water heater when the fireplace draws current.

In short, you already have a selector switch between the fireplace and the water heater...it is an AESS! NEC code does not permit that many breakers on a 30 amp feed without one!

No changes necessary!
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