Electrical Wiring for a Water Heater Circuit
What type of wire should I use for a water heater circuit? How to Wire a Water Heater, Selecting Electrical Wire for a Water Heater Circuit, Correct Wiring Methods are the Key to safe Electrical Circuits, 240 Volt Electric Water Heater Circuit.
Water Heater Wire
Electrical Question:What type of wire should I use for a water heater circuit?
- I need to relocate an electrical heater, which uses a 50 amp circuit breaker.
- 6/3 AWG wire is pretty expensive, but I have hundreds of feet of 12 AWG wire.
- Can I use 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 lines of 12 AWG, connected to one 6 AWG and still be safe?
This home electrical wiring question came from: Richard, from Lakewood, California.
Additional Comments: Terrific web-site, which has helped me with a complete kitchen remodel, only 120 there, so I knew I could figure things out safely.
Thanks for your Electrical Wiring Question Richard.
Wire for a Water Heater
Application: Wiring a 240 Volt Electric Water Heater.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced, Best installed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor. Work in electrical panels is not recommended for homeowners, non-experienced individuals or non-electricians.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, electric drill, auger bits and extension cord as needed depending on the scope of the project.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and install 240 volt electrical circuit wiring.
Precaution: Identify the main circuit in the panel, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring or installing the 240 volt wiring and circuit breaker.
Notice: Installing an additional 240 volt circuit should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
Wire for a 240 Volt Electric Water Heater
- Selecting Electrical Wire for a Water Heater Circuit
- Note: Correct Wiring Methods are the Key to safe Electrical Circuits when installing the wiring for a water heater.
- Reusing Existing Electrical Wire
- I get this question every once and a while, and I understand you don’t want to buy more electrical wire, but it really would not be right to use a bunch of #12 wire to parallel feed a water heater circuit, so my advice it not to, this way you will avoid a lot of confusion and the possibility of a problem in the future.
- A Typical 240 Volt Electric Water Heater Circuit
- The most common electric water heater requires a dedicated 30 amp 240 volt circuit consisting of 2 hots and a ground wire.
- The typical circuit for a water heater is a 10/2 NM with Ground Copper cable, 3 wires in all including the ground wire.
- Different Circuit Requirements for Different Water Heater Volume or Capacity
- This particular question refers to a water heater that may have a larger capacity and therefore larger heating elements, so the water heater requires a larger dedicated 240 volt 50 amp circuit.
- Be sure to verify your specific electrical circuit requirement by consulting the Installation or Owners Manual which came with the water heater.
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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.