If you’re having trouble telling which breaker is for your hot water heater, this article is for you.
Electric water heaters are normally connected to a circuit breaker to protect them from high current surges. It is usually found in the main panel, a sub-panel, or next to the water heater. You might know where this panel is located, but as there are usually several breakers inside, you may be unsure which one is for the water heater.
Here’s how to tell:
Unless the breaker is labeled or marked, or the hot water one just tripped, or the breaker is next to the water heater, in which case identifying the right one is easy, you can check the breakers one by one, find out the amperage to narrow them down, check the home’s electrical diagram, or else ask an electrician.
Why Should You Know which Breaker is for the Hot Water Heater
If you have ever had to turn the breaker off for the hot water heater in an emergency, you will know how important it is to know which is the right breaker there and then.
However, it would be wise to know exactly which breaker is for your hot water heater beforehand, so you can always act immediately whenever the need arises. In an emergency, you don’t want to be guessing which breaker is the one for the water heater and let this be a cause of delay in taking necessary action.
Learn to know where the breaker for your hot water heater is located.
The Breaker for the Hot Water Heater
The breaker for the hot water heater is the one that controls the power to it according to the current level.
If the breakers are labeled, and the breaker for the hot water heater is also labeled, then telling which is the right one is straightforward. If it is labeled correctly, the one labeled for the hot water heater is the one. If you are sure, and you need to switch it on or off, then you can safely proceed to do just that.
However, if it is not labeled, and you are not sure which breaker is for the hot water heater, then you need to know other methods to identify it. (covered below)
How to Tell Which Breaker is for the Hot Water Heater
Here are different ways to tell which breaker is for the hot water heater:
If the breakers are labeled, they may be labeled as ‘hot water heater,’ ‘water heater,’ ‘hot water,’ or just ‘water’. Or, it may be labeled for the room in which the water heater is located.
If the breaker just tripped, then look for the breaker in the off position or between the on and off positions. If turning it on turns the water heater on, it will confirm that the breaker you just turned on is the one for the water heater. If more than one breaker is tripped, then you will have to try this one by one.
If a breaker is located near the water heater and directly connected to it, typically on a dedicated circuit, then it is most likely the breaker you want.
If you know the amperage of your hot water heater, you can narrow down the circuit breakers in your panel to help identify the right one. There might be a plate with this information on the water heater. It is usually near the bottom. Most standard water heaters are rated under 30 amps, but you might have a higher-powered one.
If all the breakers are on, and you have time to check, you can turn them off one by one or turn them all off first and then back on one by one to find out which one is for your hot water heater. You may need two people for this, one at the panel and the other checking in the home to see when the water heater turns on or off.
If you have an electrical diagram for your home, look in there.
If, after trying all the above, you still have difficulty locating the right breaker, you will have to invite an electrician to check for you.
After Locating the Breaker for the Hot Water Heater
Once you have located the right breaker for your hot water heater, and the breakers are not labeled, this might be a good time to label them, or at least the one for the water heater.
This will make it easy for you to identify the right breaker immediately.
To know which circuit breaker is for your hot water heater, firstly, you should know where the main panel or sub-panel is located unless it is on a dedicated circuit next to the water heater itself.
If the breakers are labeled, telling which one is for the water heater will be easy, but if not, we covered several more ways above to help you identify the right breaker. You should know which breaker is the one for your hot water heater in case you need to switch it off or on in an emergency.
Bill Newberry Second
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