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# Can a 4500 watt water heater run on a double pole 15 amp breaker?

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## Related Questions

###### Asked in Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning, Home Electricity, Plumbing

### How is an electric water heater wired?

Hot water tanks
Amps = Watts/Voltage. 4500/240 = 18 amps. You would use a #12
copper wire which is rated at 20 amps. On a hot water tank there is
only one of the elements on at a time. The incoming cold water is
taken to the bottom of the tank through a pipe inside the tank.
When the lower thermostat senses the cold water, the lower element
turns on. As you draw hot water from the top of the tank the cooler
water from the bottom will rise. When the top thermostat senses the
cool water it shuts off the bottom element and turns on the top
element. When this water is heated to the tank set point it shuts
off and the lower element turns on to heat the rest of the water.
When the total tank temperature is at the set point all elements
turn off. By using this type of procedure there is always hot water
at the top of the tank for use.
Actually, not all of this first answer is correct! A 4500 watt
heater will draw around 18.75 amps. However, electric water heaters
are considered "continuous loads". This means you can't load it's
circuit more than 80%. So a 4500 watt heater circuit must be "sized
up" to either a 25 amp or 30 amp circuit. This means that #10
copper wire will also be used. Now, a 3800 watt heater will draw
around 15.8 amps. In this case, a 20 amp breaker and #12 copper
wire can be used. Always check the heater's nameplate to be certain
of it's ratings. The calculation used is correct.

###### Asked in Home Electricity

### What wire gauge for electric water heater?

This will depend upon how many watts your water heater is rated
for, as well as its voltage rating. Some smaller ones may be rated
at 3800 watts, which means it is drawing about 15.8 amps (assuming
a 240 volt circuit). In this case a 20 amp, double pole breaker can
be used and #12 copper wire. Larger heaters are rated at 4500
watts, which means it is drawing 18.75 amps (again, assuming a 240
volt circuit). In this case, a 25 or 30 amp, double pole breaker
can be used and #10 copper wire. Remember that an electric water
heater is considered a "continuous load", which means that it can
run for three hours or longer at a time. Since this is the case,
one should never load it's circuit more than 80%. This means that a
20 amp circuit should never be loaded with a load greater than 16
amps; a 25 circuit, with more than 20 amps; and a 30 amp circuit,
with more than 24 amps. Also, some heaters are rated for 120 volts,
which means that your amps will increase, but only a single pole
breaker is needed. Always check your heater's nameplate to see what
it is rated for. To calculate, divide your watts by your voltage.
This will give you the amps being drawn. Also, if your heater has
two elements, they are rated the same, but an internal relay switch
prevents them from operating at the same time. So, there is no need
to add the two together to get your load calculation. You may have
two 3800-watt elements, but the heater is just rated at 3800 watts,
not 7600 watts.

###### Asked in Home Electricity, New Electrical Work

### What size wiring do you need to wire in an electric water heater?

a # 12 wire is inadequate
a typical 60gal electric water heater takes 20 amps
this is a permanently connected permanently installed load
this is too much for #12 wire it will never see less than
20A
you must use the next larger size wire #10
20A fuse will blow in 20 minutes with 20A load it must be next
larger size
30A fuse will protect #10 wire
25A fuse will carry 20A for indefinite period
if you have several people who like to shower with warm water
you will see 20A for 5 hour periods
<<>>
New homes will be wired for a 40 gallon tank. This will be a #
12 wire rated at 20 amps on a two pole 20 amp breaker. A 4500 watt
tank will draw 4500/240 = 18.75 amps.