Sizing a Circuit Breaker for Your Water Heater

By | December 3, 2019

A circuit breaker is installed in a water heater to regulate the amount of current flowing through the water heater. Any electrical appliance should have a breaker with a higher current rating as compared to its rating. This discrepancy is meant to ensure that there is a smooth flow of current when there is an increase in temperature.

An increase in temperature is likely to occur when current flows through a device continuously for more than three hours. For you to choose the best breaker for your heater, you should know the heater’s current ratting and its operating voltage. Selecting the breaker can lead to tipping or breaking down of your water heater.

Steps to Follow When Sizing a Circuit Breaker

Know the Power Rating of Your Heater

You should check the label specifications of your water. This label is attached to the housing of the heater next to where the cord is located. The power rating of a heater is given in watts. Most of the standard residential heaters have a power rating of 1,500 watts.

Calculate the Maximum Current Drawn By the Heater

To get the maximum current that a heater can draw, by dividing its power rating of the heater with its operating voltage. For instance, is your device has a power rating of 1500 watts, and it has a specified voltage of 120 voltage, it will draw a maximum current of 12.5 amps.

Determine the Current Rating of Your Breaker

The current rating breakers installed on water heaters is calculated by multiplying the value of the breaker maximum current rating by 125%. If the value obtained is minimal, you should pick a breaker that has the next highest current rating. For instance, if you need a breaker with a current rating of 15 .6 amps, you can pick the one with 20 amps.

What Leads to Tripping of a Water Heater?

The following are some of the leading causes that lead to tripping of a water heater:

Bad Wiring or Breaker

Some of the wiring issues that occur when one is installing a water heater can make the breaker to trip. You should hire an electrician to install your electrical appliance or check whether your heater is installed correctly. Bad wiring can make your breaker to trip or wear out for no reason. The technician hired should also check is your device has a loose connection.

Faulty Thermostat

a thermostat

A thermostat is designed to control each element of a breaker. The two elements of a breaker should heat effectively at any given time. The elements of water heaters turn on when the thermostat fails. This can, in turn, make your breaker draw more current, leading to tripping.



A Burned-Out Heating Element

Water heaters come with two heating elements. Your appliance with stop working effectively when one or both elements fail. A failure in the heating elements can also lead to the splitting of your water heater.