What Size Breaker For Water Heater: Everything You Need To Know

Do you have a water heater at home? Is it an electrical water heater? Do you have doubts on what size breaker for water heater should you use in your home? Well, you have come to the right place.

Having an electric breaker is extremely important to protect your water heater from any damage. The buildup of pressure and temperature could cause the water heater to malfunction and even blow up in extreme cases. And, this is when a breaker comes to the rescue and stops the flow of current in water heater as a safety precaution.


How does a circuit breaker work?

So, you might ask as to how a breaker protects your water heater? A circuit breaker disrupts the electrical input to an appliance in case of short circuits or other malfunctions. Similarly, in the case of a water heater, the breaker disrupts the electric output to the water heater in case of any malfunction or error.

How do you find the best electric breaker for your water heater?

Now, that you have made your mind to install a breaker for your heater, how would you find the best suitable breaker for your water heater system? This can be done easily with the help of some simple steps that I am gonna tell you.

The National Electrical Code requires the circuit breaker to be able to withstand up to 125 per cent than the circuit it controls. This discrepancy is supposed to allow the water heater to work continuously for three to four hours without any break.

Determine the current rating of water heater

In order to determine the size of the electric breaker, we have to first know the current rating of the water heater. This can be found with the help of the power output of the heater and the working voltage which are present on the heater’s specification tag.

The specification tag can be normally found attached to the heater housing, through which the wires exits the main system. Note the given power output of the system. A normal standard residential heater coil can take up to 1500 watts of energy.

The current rating of a device is currently utilized by the device. To find the current rating of the water heater, divide the power output with the voltage potential that the device is working on. If the heater is used by drawing power from a normal wall socket, the specified voltage will be 120 volts in the USA. In a US household, the current draw for a 1500 watt water heater is 12.5 amps.

Multiply the current rating of the water heater with 125%

Now, in order to choose an electric breaker, multiply the current draw of the water heater with 125 per cent in order to determine the size of the breaker you will need.

In the above example, we would require a 15.6 amp circuit breaker for our US readers. As a 15 amp circuit breaker is too less, we have to opt for the next higher value to ensure proper working of the water heater.

Check the video below to know how to find the current rating of the water heater and how to change a circuit breaker:

Things to take into consideration while choosing a circuit breaker

There are a few more suggestions and advice you have to keep in mind while choosing a breaker.

  • The brand and the quality of the circuit breaker should be given utmost importance.
  • Also, in case there are other devices connected to the same circuit as the water heater, it is necessary to add the current draw of those devices into consideration while choosing your breaker.
  • Similarly, you can reduce the 125 percent increase to 100 percent if you plan to use the water heater intermittently. This would reduce the limit on the circuit breaker.

Over To You

Having a proper and working circuit breaker is very important. The lack of a suitable shut-off system at the time of emergency can lead to many complications along with disasters.

This is especially true when it comes to electric water heaters. These are used to heat water to high temperature and high pressures and can lead to disaster in case of short circuit and malfunctioning.

By keeping these simple steps and measures in your mind, you can easily choose the perfect circuit breaker for your needs. Don’t be afraid to contact your plumber or electrician in the case of any doubts or query. Also feel free to drop in any query as a comment below and I will get to you as soon as possible. A safe home is a happy home.

Abigail Jones

Hi, I'm Abigail. I like spending time tearing my house apart and putting it together back again. Join me on home improvement tutorials, tips on my blog.

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