From your description, that's what it sounded like to me. Once that
"railing", which is called buss, is annealed from overheating, it looses
it's conductive properties, and needs to be replaced. This would probably
mean replacing the entire panel. Have a qualified electrician inspect it, if
the metal is still in decent shape, it can possibly be cleaned, although the
breaker will certainly have to be replaced.
Sounds like a bad connection between the bus and the breaker. You'll
likely need a new breaker, and quite possibly a new panel as well if the
bus is too badly burnt up. I wouldn't wait on it, that sort of thing is
asking for a fire. The power company will likely have to come out and
pull the meter for that repair..
Robert Hancock Saskatoon, SK, Canada
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4500W / 240V = 18.75A
Should be OK on a 20A circuit, no? The 80% rule applies only to continuous
loads, defined as "maximum current expected to continue for three hours or
more." Shouldn't an electric water heater be able to reach temp in much less
than three hours?
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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