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How can I tell if a water heater is 240-volt or 120-volt?
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Most tank-type water heaters change from 120-volts to 240-volts at around the 20-gallon size. But there are some exceptions both sides of that line, so you should check the data plate on the side of the tank, like the example above. There is also the further complication that it is possible, although not recommended, to wire a 240-volt-rated water heater to a 120-volt circuit. It will only produce a quarter of the heat output, so recovery time is slow, but we have seen a few of them over the years.
For this reason, we also recommend checking the electric panel to determine whether one or two slots are used for the water heater. Double breaker, like below, means 240 volts.
Also, see our blog post Can you wire a 240-volt water heater with 120 volts?
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