What Size Wire For 120v Water Heater?[Everything Explained]

In recent years, the use of water heaters has increased both in the domestic and industrial sectors. Most modern water heaters can operate at different voltages and are generally safer. By the way, do you know what size wire for 120v water heater? 12 to 15 gauge wire can finely do the job. However, some other factors like the amperage and other things should be considered as well.

Well, 120V water heaters are commonly used for cleaning, space heating, bathing, and cooking. So, these water heaters are great choices for household work. Maybe you also have a one-piece 120v water heater.

Thus, determining your 120v water heater’s wire size is critical. And in this article, our professional team will explain everything about 120 volt electric water heater wiring.

What Size Wire For 120v Water Heater?

Every wire is designed to transmit current over a certain distance with the least amount of resistance. Consequently, bigger wires are required the larger the equipment and power.

In general, you require a minimum of 12 to a maximum of 15 gauge wire for your 120v water heater. But our recommendation is always to use a slightly larger gauge than the one required for your 120 volt electric water heater wiring.

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Now you can ask us why you use a wire larger than 12 gauge for a 120v water heater? Using a 12 gauge size wire is okay for a 120v water heater, but safety is the number one concern that’s why we advise you to use the maximum gauge you can.

Benefits of Using the Maximum Size of Wire

Although you will have to pay a little more money for these extra gauge wires, we also don’t deny that. It is essential to explain what happens when you connect a 120v water heater with a smaller wire. The following points will clarify everything:

  • The small size wire can melt at any time if there is too much current flowing through it.
  • If you use small size wire, your 120v water heater is also unlikely to get the proper current and voltage it needs to operate. Insufficient supplies of current and voltage will need more time to heat water and as well as decrease the overall performance of your 120v water heater too.

However, you generally require 10/2 wire for hot water heater. Both the white and black conductors will be hot when you use this type of wire with your water heater. In this case, you must also connect the neutral lug to the bare ground wire.

You should check the specifications of your 120v water heater because then you will know how many watts and electrical circuits it needs. You can find this info on the nameplate or the label that is attached to your 120v water heater.

Typically, 13.75 amps are required for the 120v water heater. You will see circuit breaker wiring in the water heater panel, as well as the number 10 wire connected to the amp circuit breaker. There is usually a fuse box in the older home, so disconnect it before wiring the water heater.

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We recommend that you hire a qualified person, certified electrician, or licensed electrical contractor to complete 120v water heater wiring projects. You also need a permit from the local building authority, and the work should be inspected.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Wire Do I Use For A 120v Water Heater?

If you have a 120v water heater, you should use shielded wires made of metallic material. In addition, you should take the gauge and the distance into consideration.
However, people always think that a thicker wire with a smaller gauge is for a higher amp rating. Yes, they are right. But most of the time, they neglect that the wire thickness should also increase with the distance.

What Size Breaker Needed For A 120 Volt Water Heater?

For a 120 volt circuit, a 1500 wattage heater generally needs a 15.6 amp breaker. However, a 15-amp breaker is too small for the 120 volt water heater. In that case, you can use a 20 amp breaker.

Can You Use A 40 Amp Breaker For Water Heater?

The straight answer is, ‘no.’ You should not use a 40 ampere breaker for a water heater. If you do that, then there is a high risk of starting a fire. Anyway, a 30A breaker is required for 10 gauge wire, while a 40A breaker is needed for 8 gauge.

Last Few Words

After reading our article, we hope you don’t have any confusion about what size wire for a 120v water heater. Invest in high-quality wire to prevent electrical accidents. And always turn off the circuit power before working on electrical wiring projects.

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If you have any questions or queries regarding 120 volt electric water heater wiring, don’t hesitate to reach us.

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