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Electric Hot water Heater Operation

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  • Electric Hot water Heater Operation

    I have a question concerning the typical operation of the elements in an electric hot water heater. A typical heater has dual elements, each element being rated at 4500 Watts. From what I have been able to determine (research on the Internet) a 30 amp 240 volt circuit is the typical circuit required to power an average size water heater. A 30 amp, 240 volt circuit would provide 7200 watts of power. What is the sequence of operation of the dual elements to keep from over loading a 30 amp circuit. The above information is all assumptions. Would someone please give me a good explanation of how the heater operates electrically?

    Thanks.

  • #2
    Re: Electric Hot water Heater Operation

    Elements run one at a time Top first

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    • #3
      Re: Electric Hot water Heater Operation

      Thanks. I sure appreciate the reply.

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      • #4
        Re: Electric Hot water Heater Operation

        THE TOP ELEMENT IS THE MASTER,
        THE BOTTOM ONE IS THE SLAVE BECAUSE IT WORKS UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE TOP THERMOSTAT !
        WHEN THE TOP THERMOSTAT IS SATISFYED
        IT TRANSFERS POWER TO THE LOWER TERMOSTAT,

        BUT ALSO BECAUSE COLD WATER COMES INTO THE HEATER FROM THE BOTTOM FIRST
        THE LOWER ELEMENT DOE'S THE MOST WORK
        THE UPPER ONLY COMES ON WHEN YOU HAVE
        HAD A LONG DRAW ON HOT WATER AND THE
        UPPER THERMOSTAT SENSE'S COOLER WATER
        JERRYMAC
        E-MAILJERRYMAC777@GMAIL.COM
        CALIF. LIC. PLBG,HEAT,DRAINS,ELECTRIC,WATER HEATER, BOILER, POOL AND SPA HEATER
        FIRE SPRINKLER CONTRACTOR,
        SINCE JAN. 1989

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        • #5
          Re: Electric Hot water Heater Operation

          You are correct to notice that a 30 amp circuit could not support two 4500 watt loads at the same time. Virtually always...a residential WH is set up to run "non-simultaneous". The upper thermostat contols that operation, and is well explained by jerrymac.

          Commercial water heaters can be configured for simultaneous operation of the elements, and appropriate size wires and circuit breakers would be specified.

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