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Old 09-17-2010, 05:22 PM   #1
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Hot Water Heater Wire Gauge


I have just bought a cottage and am busy fixing the previous DIY maintenance. The hot water heater is a fairly new 60 gal electric that internally uses 14 gauge wire from the connection point. He has it wired to the the panel (about 50 ft) with only 12/2 wire and a 30 amp breaker. Should I replace this wire with 10/2 ?

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Old 09-17-2010, 05:27 PM   #2
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Hot Water Heater Wire Gauge


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Should I replace this wire with 10/2 ?
Absolutely. The circuit to this unit should NOT be wired with #12.

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Old 09-17-2010, 05:34 PM   #3
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Hot Water Heater Wire Gauge


Speedy, I'm curious about this because I will be wiring up a heater this fall.
What if this water heater is 3800 watts and not 4500 watts. Could it be wired with #12 and a 20 amp breaker?
bphilip, what is the wattage of this heater?
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Old 09-17-2010, 05:45 PM   #4
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Hot Water Heater Wire Gauge


Go by the nameplate specs. I've had to make 40 gal.waters into 120 volt,1500 watt because thats all there was. Just remark the spec tag.
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Old 09-17-2010, 06:44 PM   #5
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What if this water heater is 3800 watts and not 4500 watts. Could it be wired with #12 and a 20 amp breaker?
Yes, but the OP stated a 60 gal heater. I would assume this would be a 4500 watt heater.
Besides, he states it is on a 30A breaker.
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Old 09-17-2010, 08:14 PM   #6
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Hot Water Heater Wire Gauge


IIRC, a 30 amp requires 10 AWG or thicker...
20 amp, IIRC, is the largest that allows 12AWG.
This being 220v.
Brent
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Old 09-17-2010, 09:15 PM   #7
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Hot Water Heater Wire Gauge


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I.
This being 220v.
Brent
voltage is irrelevant
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Old 09-17-2010, 10:05 PM   #8
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Nap, Yep... I wasn't sure if amps and wire size restrictions changed as voltage increased... my code book reading was usually for 220v and below, when over 220v, I went with the boss' calls as I was usually busy in the panel...

Brent
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Old 09-17-2010, 10:22 PM   #9
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Nap, Yep... I wasn't sure if amps and wire size restrictions changed as voltage increased... my code book reading was usually for 220v and below, when over 220v, I went with the boss' calls as I was usually busy in the panel...

Brent
You need to quit posting about electrical work. The more you post, the more you prove your lack of knowledge in the field. The code separates low voltage into over and under 600 volts, not 220.
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Old 09-17-2010, 10:42 PM   #10
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Hot Water Heater Wire Gauge


There was no discussion or distinction mentioned regarding high or low voltage. I never made such a reference either...

But I think you are better at voltage drop and ampacity formula than me since you likely calculate these often...

Am I wrong that voltage drop and ampacity are going to require a larger AWG size with 110v than with 220v? or 440? NO I AM NOT!!!

But the fact that my last CURRENT code book was possibly 2003 (if that was a published year) and I don't claim to memorize the stuff...

I done told you it was many years ago... THUS THE "IIRC"...
You sound a lot like an IBEW type guy...
brent

Just to clarify... it is a "Water Heater" if it was already heated it wouldn't require heating
Brent
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Old 09-17-2010, 11:51 PM   #11
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Hot Water Heater Wire Gauge


Majorty of resdentail electric water heater useally required 30 amp circuit with 6.0mm˛ { #10 AWG } that will useally cover most of it unless you have oddball size then follow the manufacter details.

But the best answer is check the heater wattage it will stamped on the heater itself that useally give the correct info.

For commercal water heater the bet is out of the window due there are too many diffrent size and setting it need.

Merci.
Marc
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Old 09-18-2010, 01:23 AM   #12
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Hot Water Heater Wire Gauge


Quote:
But I think you are better at voltage drop and ampacity formula than me since you likely calculate these often...
I'll go along with that.....

Quote:
Am I wrong that voltage drop and ampacity are going to require a larger AWG size with 110v than with 220v? or 440? NO I AM NOT!!!
BTW its 120 and 240 and 480

Your statement is not true as written

Over the same distance and the same load requirement the voltage drop is the same if the wire is the same size.

200 feet one way 120 volts using copper 12 awg 20 amp load = 14.9 volts of voltage drop

200 feet one way 240 volts copper 12 awg 20 amp load = 14.9 volts of voltage drop

And I calculated the actual conductor temperature at 30C ambient under the full 20 amps to be more accurate with the voltage drop.

What increases the wire size for 120 volts vs 240 volts is obtaining the same percent of voltage drop between the two voltages.....

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You sound a lot like an IBEW type guy..
As NAPs avatar says "You talking to me?"....
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Old 09-18-2010, 06:19 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by hogdogs View Post

But the fact that my last CURRENT code book was possibly 2003 (if that was a published year) and I don't claim to memorize the stuff...

I done told you it was many years ago... THUS THE "IIRC"...
You sound a lot like an IBEW type guy...
brent
Sorry dude, Nap is absolutely correct here.

You do not have to memorize the code book, but you have to have a good clue where stuff is and how to find it. "IIRC" does NOT cut it when giving advice based on code. Either get a recent code book and learn how to use it, and not just "220 and below" (which was a pretty scary statement in itself), or stop giving advice to others on electrical work. You are going to get someone hurt.
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Old 09-18-2010, 08:01 AM   #14
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Hot Water Heater Wire Gauge


Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchelectrican View Post
Majorty of resdentail electric water heater useally required 30 amp circuit with 6.0mm˛ { #10 AWG } that will useally cover most of it unless you have oddball size then follow the manufacter details.

But the best answer is check the heater wattage it will stamped on the heater itself that useally give the correct info.

For commercal water heater the bet is out of the window due there are too many diffrent size and setting it need.

Merci.
Marc
I will check the heater wattage this weekend. I realize I can't leave the 12/2 on the 30 amp breaker, but I am changing the panel as well , since it is an old fuse panel, and I thought I could change the water heater circuit to a 20 amp.
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Old 09-18-2010, 08:16 AM   #15
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Hot Water Heater Wire Gauge


When I bought my house 5 years ago, the home inspection showed the water heater was leaking. I negotiated with the seller to replace it. The WH was a 30 gallon model and I paid to upgrade to a 50 gallon. The seller hired a licensed plumber to do the work. After the closing (dumb me), I noticed that the plumber had reused the existing circuit on the new WH. It was 12-2 on a 20 amp breaker. It was my nickle to upgrade to 10-2, 30 amp.

I guess my point it that there are water heaters that can be used on a 12-2, 20 amp circuit, but you never know what it be changed to in the future. Best to use 10-2, 30 amp.

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