Today we watch to see the proper way to hook up power to an electric hot water heater


Hey, guys, welcome to plumbing with tim.

I've had a lot of people in the last few months, ask me, tim, could you show us a video on how to hook the power up to an electric hot, water, heater? Well, that's exactly what we're going to do today and I'm going to show you what we need to do to get started once down.

The first thing that you're going to want to do is locate where the breaker panel box is to the house locate and try to find and decipher which one of those breakers.

Usually on a water.

Heater usually is going to be a double breaker, that's rated at 240.

But not all electrical panels are marked correctly.

So you're going to have to make sure that you get the right one and I'm going to show you the tools needed to make that happen tools that you will need to do.

This is a simple multimeter pair of side clips needle, nose, sometimes possibly a six and one screwdriver, phillips head screwdriver, an electrical whip adapter, good wire nuts.

Once you remove the electrical whip make sure nothing's touching remember we don't know, if that breaker you turned off was right or not you're gonna end up taking your multimeter you're gonna set it to where it says, acv or 250, 200 volts right? And then turn it on and test your leads.

If the power is still on to this water, heater most water heaters, it should read 240 volts as you can see.

We found the proper breaker and we're rated zero, which means these lines have no juice going through them let's take to the next step.

You want to start by taking off your screws on the top panels where the tower is, usually they have phillip head screws.

But some of these water heaters that's, why you have a six phone screwdriver.

You can take one of these ends off and it'll act as a socket to take that hexagon top screw out of there.

In this case, it's phillip head screws.

We've loosened them up and we'll.

Remove it.

Remove the second one and here's, what we're looking at looking at a red and a black wire let's go to the next step we're going to take these panels off set them aside and secure your screws somewhere usually that's, a pretty good spot to have them.

First thing we're going to do is we're going to take our little electrical adapter.

Now, a lot of these water heaters when you take them out, there usually might be one already in the existing one that you can take and replace and put over to the new one.

But in this case, we didn't have any if you don't have any of these it's, a good idea to carry some of these on your van pick them up at a big box store, or an electrical supply I'm going to take by starting with our little adapter we're going to slide that through and get all three of our wires, our ground as well, it's, a little tricky doing this one-handed as our hot, our lead or common, whatever neutral you have that sitting there like that.

And let me show you do next well now that we have our little adapter electrical adapter sitting here, we're going to take our plate that covers our electrical panel, our water heater.

The one that's got the hole in it.

This is the top side, usually when you see the green ground, screw and we're going to slide that through the top plate, like so we're going to slide that up until that adapter attaches and take our little nut slide it in there, nice and easy, don't skin, the wiring and then we're going to go ahead and tighten that nut up.

This is the bottom side of there, see that that's what we're looking at just like that on to the next step, all right we're going to take our plate with our power lead from the house, kind of just bend them up like that see that and get these other two lines that are coming out of the water here out of the way I'm going to take and place that thing down on top, where it goes on the water, heater kind of like this see that I'm going to have a screw here and a screw over here, we're going to secure that down and I'll show you how to tie in the electric lines together, one, screw in get the first screw secure, don't tighten, it all the way yet you might have to make a couple adjustments.

Go ahead with your second, screw kind of just get that.

So it sits down in place that's, what you're looking at now we have our main feeds coming from the house around.

So those two lines come from the heater, pretty no-brainer.

It doesn't matter which one of these you hook to those two ground being by itself it's going to work.

So there is no right or wrong when it comes to putting those two together, just hook them up those two to those two with wire nuts, right before you hook that all up that's a small compartment.

So you're going to want to have to finagle these lines in here to stuff them into place enough.

So you can get everything in there usually bend.

This is the lines that are coming from the water heaters.

We still got our live veins from the house, get them down to a shorter area, which is more manageable to get tucked up inside of that.

Little compartment just be careful.

You don't want to skin.

These lines when I say skin is rub, any of that coating off there, because you've got a bare line and something hits bang, it's going to short out.

Okay, let's, go ahead and get these tied into there, all right red to white good wire nut and that's going to catch both of those wires all right before you start tucking and doing any of that stuff make sure you get both of these tied in with wire nuts.

And while they're, nice and tight do not substitute wire nuts with electrical tape.

All right, take the time to get the right stuff.

Now words get tricky.

Take and bend this down, don't skin, the lines and keep saying that trust me, tuck them down so they're down in that compartment for the other panel to go on something like that nice and tidy got room to put the panel on.


Listen ground is very very important.

Especially here in florida.

We live in the lightning capital of the world.

Everything needs to get ground.

If you don't you're gonna fry something out if you go on a hot water, heater and there's, no ground available make sure to let the customer know that they may need to get an electrician out here to protect their investment and make them sign off on it.

There was no ground.

So they don't come back on you saying that you never grounded it.

And now you're out of the money to have to replace that heater, because it got struck by lightning.

Let me show you the best way to do this.

Now this ground wire is a little bit longer than I want.

My whole premise is, I want to cut this about right up in here, take and bring it down and loop it around that ground.

Screw right? I don't want too much excess just hanging out we're going to take our side snips.

I showed you it's got the little needle nose and we're going to clip that bend it over here and around that, screw see that pinch that together so it's up underneath that screw now we can tighten that screw down.

So we have everything secured up underneath there, it's time to take our other plate, kind of focus it down right like that get our last little screw that we held onto see if we can't line that hole up right there.

I said, I'm doing this one-handed.

So this is interesting there.

We go find that hole and get it in there it'll be tricky.

Just don't give up have some patience.

There we go beautiful voila that my friends is how you hook up the power to an electric hot water, heater all right.

Take your time.

Don't force.

Anything be patient.

Never turn these hot water, heaters onto the power until it's full of water.

That's all the time we got for this one.

Thanks so much for watching the video any questions or comments about how to hook up the power to electric water.

Here I by no means am a licensed electrician by being a plumber and have to work around things like this.

I find myself having to work around power and knowing how to hook these kind of things up.

Thanks so much and don't, forget to keep plumbing.


How do you power an electric water heater? ›

For an electric water heater, you'll need to locate the circuit breaker that controls the heater and turn it on. If the breaker isn't labeled, look for a double-pole breaker that has the same amp rating as the heater. Simply switch on the breaker to turn on the electric water heater.

Where is the breaker on an electric water heater? ›

They are inside the fuse box, a metal box that's usually flush to a wall. Circuit breakers are typically located in the basement, garage, storage, or utility room, but they can be located other places. Open the metal door and see if you can find a breaker labeled for the hot water heater.

Does an electric water heater need its own breaker? ›

When it comes to water heaters, there is no option other than to have a dedicated double-pole breaker rated for 30 amps. This is the case for just about any water heater, whether it be traditional or tankless.

Why is there no power to my electric hot water heater? ›

Check Your Power

One of the most common issues is that a hot water heater is not receiving power. First, check the circuit breaker or fuse box. If the breaker has been tripped or a fuse has blown, it will need to be reset or replaced before you can continue using your water heater.

How much power does an electric water heater need? ›

The average water heater runs at around 1125 watts, though some more powerful water heaters can use up to 4000 watts.

Is there a reset breaker on electric hot water tank? ›

Somewhere on your electric hot water tank, you'll find a reset button. It's usually red and often located near the thermostat. It may also be hidden behind a removable metal panel on the unit—and then behind some insulation.

Which breaker turns water heater off? ›

Repairs - Any time you're working on your water heater you should shut down your water heater's power. Electric water heaters typically run off a 30amp breaker with 240 volts of electricity.

How many wires does an electric hot water heater have? ›

Basic Home Electric Water Heater Circuit Requirements

The circuit cable wiring includes two insulated wires designated as Line-1, Line-2 and the ground conductor. IMPORTANT: Not all water heaters are alike.

Does an electric water heater have to be hardwired? ›

Whether you're replacing an old water heater or installing a new one for the first time, your electric water heater will need to be wired to your electrical panel. It's important to note, that you'll be working with electricity.

Why is my electric water heater not working breaker not tripped? ›

If your electric water heater isn't producing hot water and it hasn't tripped a breaker, then it might have tripped a limit switch, or you might be looking at a failed heating element. Remove the upper heating element's access panel and then take off the plastic safety guard and insulation.

What kind of fuse do I need for an electric water heater? ›

60 gallon (240v) water heaters require: Voltage 208 or 240. Conductor Size 10/2. Fuse Size 30 amps.

Do electric water heaters have a fuse? ›

The heater is usually fused in the main electrical panel but some electric water heaters may be fed from a separate fuse or circuit breaker box. If the fuse is blown or breaker is tripped, replace the fuse or re-set the circuit breaker.

What trips the reset button on a electric hot water heater? ›

In this article, we'll explore four common reasons why your reset button keeps tripping:
  1. Bad thermostat.
  2. Burnt out heating element.
  3. Bad reset button.
  4. Loose wiring or a bad breaker.
May 16, 2021

How to check electric water heater element and thermostat with power? ›

How to Test the Element
  1. Shut off the Power. ...
  2. Remove the Metal Covers. ...
  3. Remove the Insulation and Plastic Covers. ...
  4. Locate the Heating Element. ...
  5. Verify the Electricity Is Off. ...
  6. Check the Heater Element With Your Multimeter. ...
  7. Reassemble the Water Heater.
Jun 4, 2021

Is there a check valve in an electric water heater? ›

Modern tanks contain a check valve on the cold inlet side of the water heater to save energy. It prevents hot water from running up the cold inlet waterline when there is a drop in pressure on the cold side.

What voltage are electric water heaters? ›

The label on the water heater indicates what voltage the water heater requires. Most residential units are 220/240 volts (but some are 110/120 volts). Verify your water heater is getting the correct voltage.

Do electric hot water heaters use a lot of electricity? ›

Typically, a hot water heater that uses a tank will run for three to five hours per day. So, a 4,000-watt heater used for three hours a day at $. 10 per kWh will cost $1.20 per day, about $36.50 per month, or $438 per year.

How much electricity does a 40 gallon electric water heater use? ›

For instance, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses 4500 watts and is active for 2 hours a day at a rate of $0.13 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) costs about $1.17 to run per day, which arrives at $35 each month or $426 annually.

How many amps does an electric water heater use? ›

In short, most commonly sized water heaters use 18.8 amps when running at 100% output. Most hot water heaters will draw a maximum of 18.8 amps when operating at 100% heating output (these are 4500W 240V heaters).

Is it safe to turn off electric water heater? ›

Generally, it's best to keep your water tank full and heated throughout the year. You can turn off your water heater when it is done safely, but only do this when you have a problem or if the tank won't be heated anytime soon. Turning off your water heater to save on energy bills is not usually recommended.

Is it safe to turn off hot water heater breaker? ›

Shutting off the circuit breaker leaves your water heater vulnerable to fluctuating temperatures, which can damage the heater. Metal shrinks when it's cold, and expands with heat. Over time, this expansion and contraction can make the fittings on the heater permanently loose, or too tight.

Does shutting off main water affect water heater? ›

If your main water supply is turned off for any reason, it's best to shut down the water heater as a precaution until the supply resumes. Continuing to run your water heater when the tank isn't full could cause heat damage to the internal components.

Does the red wire go with black or white? ›

A simple standard electrical circuit has a black or red "hot" wire that carries power from the power source to the device (e.g., switch, fixture, outlet, appliance), a white neutral wire that carries the power back to the power source, and a green or bare copper ground wire that connects the device to the home's ...

What color wires go together on hot water heater? ›

The typical 240 volt water heater has a red and black wire located in a junction box at the top of the water heater. The incoming circuit wires and the water heater wires are normally black and red, and are splices or connected together, color to color using red or gray wire nuts.

Does it matter which wire goes where on a hot water heater element? ›

No, it does not matter which wire goes to which heating element terminal in this case - electricity can flow in either direction.

Can an electric water heater be plugged into an outlet? ›

You can now plug a heat pump water heater into a regular 120-volt outlet, making installation easier and reducing running costs. Four manufacturers (A.O. Smith, GE, Nyle Water Heating Systems, Rheem) have developed this technology to meet the retrofitting market's needs.

Can a water heater be wired to a plug? ›

Only small capacity (5 gallons or less) electric household storage tank water heaters or electric commercial water heaters that are designed to permit removal for maintenance and repair have been Listed for cord-and-plug connection.

Does an electric water heater need a GFCI breaker? ›

Yes, it is recommended to use a GFCI breaker for an electric water heater. GFCI protection can help prevent electrical shocks and ensure the safe operation of the water heater, particularly in areas that are damp or wet.

How do I know if my water heater fuse is blown? ›

A tripped breaker or blown fuse will result in total loss of hot water and is always the first thing to check. If, for any reason the tank gets too hot, the high temperature safety switch will shut off all power to the water heater. You must then firmly push the red button on the top thermostat to reset it.

Does an electric water heater use electricity? ›

The consumption for an electric water heater also depends on whether you use more or less hot water throughout the day. As a general rule, a water heater uses electricity 24 hours a day, either because it is heating water or when it is idle.

How long does it take for an electric water heater to recharge? ›

Average Water Heater Recovery Times

60-70 minutes (for a gas tank water heater) 120 minutes (for an electric tank water heater)

Do hot water heaters have to be hardwired? ›

Whether you're replacing an old water heater or installing a new one for the first time, your electric water heater will need to be wired to your electrical panel. It's important to note, that you'll be working with electricity.

How many watts does it take to start an electric water heater? ›

The average water heater runs at around 1125 watts, though some more powerful water heaters can use up to 4000 watts. Check out the specs on the back of your water heater to get the most accurate wattage number. You can also calculate kilowatts by multiplying amps and volts and dividing by 1000.

What electrical does an electric water heater need? ›

Electric water heaters require a 240-volt dedicated circuit, which serves only the water heater and no other appliances or devices. The circuit wiring typically includes a 30-amp double-pole breaker and 10-2 non-metallic (NM) or MC cable.

Do electric water heaters run all the time? ›

In the average home, the water heater will run for about three hours each day. Total run time can range from one to two hours for new tankless water heaters to five or more hours for older tank style water heaters.

Why does my electric hot water heater take forever to heat up? ›

Sediment buildup in the hot water tank makes it hard for the burners to heat properly, and you end up getting lukewarm water from the water heater. You likely need water heater maintenance to drain and clean the tank, and look for any faulty parts.

How long does it take a 40 gallon electric water heater to heat water? ›

An average 40-gallon heater will only take about 30 to 40 minutes to provide heat water, while you can expect hot water from a larger tank (80-gallons) in approximately 60 to 70 minutes.

Is installing an electric water heater hard? ›

CONCLUSION. Installing a water heater is no average DIY project. You must have plumbing, electrical, heating ventilating, and carpentry skills, know state and local building codes, obtain a permit for the work and arrange with your municipality for an inspection of the work.

How many wires are needed for electric water heater? ›

Basic Home Electric Water Heater Circuit Requirements

The circuit cable wiring includes two insulated wires designated as Line-1, Line-2 and the ground conductor. IMPORTANT: Not all water heaters are alike.

How long does it take an electric water heater to heat up for the first time? ›

Here are some common heat up times for different water heaters, assuming the appliances are new and properly sized for the home: Electric storage tank water heater: 60–80 minutes. Propane storage tank water heater: 30–40 minutes. Propane tankless water heater: 0 minutes.

How much power does a 40-gallon electric water heater use? ›

For instance, a medium-sized, 40-gallon water heater that uses 4500 watts and is active for 2 hours a day at a rate of $0.13 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) costs about $1.17 to run per day, which arrives at $35 each month or $426 annually.

How many volts are most electric water heaters? ›

The label on the water heater indicates what voltage the water heater requires. Most residential units are 220/240 volts (but some are 110/120 volts).

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