Missing Something


Old 09-12-05, 10:31 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 76
Missing Something

I know amperage can be found by dividing wattage by volts but does the equation hold true for a water heater. When I divide 11000 (2 x 5500) by 240 I get almost 46 amps but I know for a fact it is on 10/2 wire and a 30 amp breaker. Am I missing something here?


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Old 09-12-05, 10:34 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
In a typical residential electric water heater only one element is charged at a time.
Old 09-12-05, 10:36 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 76
Thanks for the quick response. Didn't have a clue that they weren't both energized at the same time but it does make the equation work.

Thanks again
Old 09-12-05, 10:52 AM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
The top element gets first priority. It runs until its thermostat is happy with the water temperature at the midpoint of the tank. Only then does the top thermostat shut off power to the top element, and allow power to be passed down to the lower thermostat, which will pass power to the lower element if necessary. This shortens the recovery time for the top part of the tank, allowing you to get at least some hot water more quickly after a large usage.

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