Question about breaker for water heater

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Jakester, Apr 19, 2018.

  1. Jakester

    Jakester Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2017
    Location:
    Lancaster County, PA
    I am selling a mobile home and we had the inspection done and one of the things I need to fix is replace the breaker for the water heater from 25amp to 30amp but the problem is nobody in the area has a 30amp breaker like I need. Would it work to get a double 15amp in its place?
     
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    No. A double 30 would work. For a 120 volt circuit, you would leave one pole unused.

    I am not an electrician, but I think that would be allowed.
     
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  4. Stuff

    Stuff Well-Known Member

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    Mar 7, 2013
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    How old is your panel? For newer ones Home Depot carries most odd breakers on their web site as well as Amazon. For older panels check http://www.breakerking.com/ or even eBay.
     
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    An electric WH needs the service wiring to be 125% of the power required to operate it (80% rule). At 25A, the unit can draw no more than 25*0.8, or 20A. The breaker is there to protect the wiring. What gauge is the supply wiring? If you go from a 25A breaker to a 30A one, the wiring may not be large enough. The breaker is to protect the wiring, not so much the device itself (unless it's in the device).

    What wattage are the elements in the WH?
     
  6. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

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    Can you post a picture of the water heater rating plate?

    If it was a house inspector used for house sales, he has no authority and probably no knowledge of circuit breaker other than about 80% of all homes do have 30 amp breakers for water heaters. But many mobile homes original water heaters were 3500 or 3800 watt element and your wiring may only be 12 gauge. Some only had one element. Mobile homes are built for low cost and if it passes code, 12 gauge will always be installed rather than 10 gauge. If it is a typical mobile home water heater it is probably 30 gallon under a cabinet or in a small closet space. The plumbing connection is usually throught the side of the tank, not the top. Water heaters placed in regular homes built in the last 35-40 years are usually 4500 watt elements but 3800 watt units are still available for older homes.

    25 amp is not usually used but you need to know the gauge of the wire to the water heater. It could be 12 gauge which requires 20 amp breaker and the water heater might have been replaced with a 4500 element heater, therefore the 20 amp breaker would be prone to tripping to someone put in 25 amp breaker. This all on assumption.

    Your breaker panel may not be manufactured anymore and maybe why 30 amps are not available. If this is really an issue for closing have a local licensed electrician that is familiar with mobile home work to sign off on what is there that it is perfectly safe, if not he can correct it and have the receipt for closing.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2018
  7. Jakester

    Jakester Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2017
    Location:
    Lancaster County, PA
    This is a 2001 mobile home with a regular house type water heater. The water heater was replaced about 5 years ago, it is a 50 gallon but I am not sure about the wattage. The house is in SC and i'm in PA so I have to have someone go and take care of it. I attached a few pics of the WH.
     

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  8. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    You see the label on the tank to the upper right, that says UL? Look at that, or post a photo of that.
     
  9. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

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    That cable to the WH looks like it’s yellow in color which makes it 12 gauge but the white PVC also looks yellow unless it’s CPVC. A closer picture is needed.
     
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    It looks like a two element heater which would imply that it is a 240v model, which WOULD require a double/two pole breaker.
     
  11. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

    Joined:
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    Retired
    Location:
    Orlando, Florida
    It's definitely a two element heater and it is 12 gauge so the breaker cannot be changed to 30 amp. If this water heater has 4500 watt at 240v then it's definitely does not pass muster. Another example of too many home inspectors not know what there talking about.

    When my last home was inspected after a sale, the inspector actually wrote down as a deficiency that most windows did not have screens? Really! But I do have to say this inspector did find a very small leak on a water line from the shut off valve to the bathroom faucet. The crimp connection of the SS hose to the faucet fitting was leaking so slow that the towels stored under the sink was absorbing all the water in this very little used bathroom.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018
  12. hidden 1

    hidden 1 Member

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