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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    62

    Default Hot water heater electrical requirements

    I am a little stumped on this one. I am replacing my old electrical hot water heater soon. a 240v breaker in there, pretty sure 30amp, though I haven't checked.

    I know my old hot water heater uses a single 4,500w cathode so it is possible it is a 20amp 240v breaker (if such an animal exists).

    I am looking at getting a Whirlpool EE3J50RD045V which states that it has two 4,500w cathodes, however in the user's manual it says the electrical hookup is a single 240v 30amp breaker, which only comes out to a max of 7,200w, well below what two 4,500w cathodes would draw. So I am a little confused by this. Is the user's manual wrong and it requires a single 240v 50amp breaker? Or does it use a pair of 4,500w 240v cathodes, but doesn't power either cathode at the full 4,500w?

    I am trying to figure out if I need to upgrade my circuit or not, also a little confused by the 4,500 dual cathodes. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    693

    Default Re: Hot water heater electrical requirements

    Quote Originally Posted by azazel1024@hotmail.com View Post
    I am a little stumped on this one. I am replacing my old electrical hot water heater soon. a 240v breaker in there, pretty sure 30amp, though I haven't checked.

    I know my old hot water heater uses a single 4,500w cathode so it is possible it is a 20amp 240v breaker (if such an animal exists).

    I am looking at getting a Whirlpool EE3J50RD045V which states that it has two 4,500w cathodes, however in the user's manual it says the electrical hookup is a single 240v 30amp breaker, which only comes out to a max of 7,200w, well below what two 4,500w cathodes would draw. So I am a little confused by this. Is the user's manual wrong and it requires a single 240v 50amp breaker? Or does it use a pair of 4,500w 240v cathodes, but doesn't power either cathode at the full 4,500w?

    I am trying to figure out if I need to upgrade my circuit or not, also a little confused by the 4,500 dual cathodes. Thanks.
    A while back member Jack made the comment on another WH thread that the two elements are wired such that they cannot be on simultaneously. I raised an eyebrow at that one but he may be right.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    jersey
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: Hot water heater electrical requirements

    Just follow the manufactuerers directions, dont over think it. A single two pole 30 amp breaker.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    693

    Default Re: Hot water heater electrical requirements

    Yeah, took a look at your owners manual and it is listed at 4500 watts and not 9000. This would tell me the control board only allows one element to be on at any given time.

    You should be good to go at 240volts/30amps.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    62

    Default Re: Hot water heater electrical requirements

    Okay thanks. I was feeling like I was over thinking it, but seeing it say dual 4500w elements, but only needing a 240v 30amp circuit was worrying me that there was a missprint somewhere.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,557

    Default Re: Hot water heater electrical requirements

    90 % of the time only the lower element is used. If all the hot water is removed from the WH the thermostat for the upper element turns it on and cuts the power to the lower element until the water in the top of the tank heats up. Once the top is heated the upper thermostat shuts off and allows power to the lower unit.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    62

    Default Re: Hot water heater electrical requirements

    Quote Originally Posted by JLMCDANIEL View Post
    90 % of the time only the lower element is used. If all the hot water is removed from the WH the thermostat for the upper element turns it on and cuts the power to the lower element until the water in the top of the tank heats up. Once the top is heated the upper thermostat shuts off and allows power to the lower unit.
    Jack
    Ahhh makes sense to me. Sounds like a pretty good design feature to speed hot water recovery.

    Thanks!
    -Matt

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Shamokin, Pa.
    Posts
    645

    Default Re: Hot water heater electrical requirements

    Quote Originally Posted by NEC View Post
    Yeah, took a look at your owners manual and it is listed at 4500 watts and not 9000. This would tell me the control board only allows one element to be on at any given time.

    You should be good to go at 240volts/30amps.
    Methinks that as well. Gee, I sound like Al Micheals of MNF fame with that one.

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