3380 Water Heating Element - 3500W or 4500W?


Old 08-14-11, 05:50 PM
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3380 Water Heating Element - 3500W or 4500W?

Trying to change my lower water heating element. Label reads 3380 for both upper and lower element. Went to go find a replacement and only saw 3500W and 4500W. I'm leaning towards 4500W...read around the net and saw that it relates to 3380W, by the voltage 240/208V.
Also, read that it should be close in wattage...3380W and 3500W to not blow the fuse.

Please let me know if I'm thinking about this correctly and should be getting the 4500W water heating element. thanks!
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Old 08-14-11, 06:24 PM
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Not a electrician but from my knowledge as long as the breaker is 30 amp and a certain gauge wire, I think #10 from what I read, it should be OK.

The higher watt draws more amps. And most water heaters have only one element on at a time.

You will draw like 20 amps for a 4500 and about 15 amps for the 3500.

Wait for the electricians to come on and verify.

High voltage in there. If DIY and are not sure how to work with 220v higher a pro.

Also IMO if the water heater is older it may be more cost effective to replace the heater.

Mike NJ
Old 08-15-11, 06:25 PM
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What gauge wire is run to the water heater and what size breaker or fuse is used? If it's a 20 amp circuit, you cannot arbitrarily increase wattage to 4500 without installing a new 30 amp circuit.
Old 08-15-11, 10:19 PM
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There are couple items it will arise with this one the 3380 watts is used with 208 volt network system so if you have actually 208 volts supply then the wattage will be correct but if you have 240 volt actual supply the wattage will go up to 4500 watts due you can NOT beat the ohm's law.

The reason why due some circuit are restricted to 20 amp so therefore you only can use max of 3840 watts { this is on 80% of 20 amp 240 volt circuit The 208v circuit will be lower } but 3500 watts at 240 volts is right on par on 20 amp circuit but once you past the 3500 watt rating there are two thing will change the whole thing is you will have to bring out 30 amp circuit for this purpose and if water heater rating do say 4500 watts max then you are ok on 240 volt circuit.

So that why I just want to give you a head up with it and also be aware there are few diffrent style of heating elements majorty of them will be screw on type but some are standard element and some are low density element { it is used with hard water places } and some of water heater will have 4 bolts to hold the plate in { those usaeally found in older water heaters }

Last thing before you ever drain the water make sure you turn off the power before you drain or open the cover and one final reminer Jamias { NEVER } turn the power on until the water heater tank is really full first otherwise you may burn out the new element.


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