Why Does My Gas Water Heater Have a Breaker?
It may seem odd for a home to have a circuit breaker for a gas hot water heater, as most gas models do not require an electrical connection. Surprisingly, it is quite common for this to be the case—for a number of different reasons.
Some gas hot water heaters can have electrical circuits, requiring a power connection, to monitor and control the heater, making it more efficient. If this is the case, it is wired to its own circuit breaker in accordance with the National Electrical Code, article 220-30 for new construction or 220-31 for existing structures.
It may well be that there is a circuit breaker marked as the water heater that is not actually connected to the gas water heater. It is possible there was an electric model present prior to a gas model. It is also common practice for electricians to include breakers for electric water heaters, ranges, dryers, etc. when installing the main electrical panel—whether they will see immediate use or not.
While the NEC does not require a water heater breaker for a home without an electric water heater, local codes may require a breaker to be installed for an electric model, even if not used. The reason for this is simply to ensure a house has a complete electrical system for all possible situations.
- "National Electrical Code 2011"; National Fire Prevention Association; 2011
Living in Ohio, Gerry Poulos began writing professionally in 1999. He has been a columnist for the Nation News Bureau, a contributing editor for “Protoculture Addicts Magazine,” an accomplished freelance journalist and photographer, a Web author and is the author of several books. Poulos attended Syracuse University and holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical and mechanical engineering.
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
- How to Reset GE Power Vent Water Heaters
- How to Light a Viking Pilot Light
- How to Repair the Electrical Control Box for a Submersible Pump
- Difference Between 3-Prong & 4-Prong Pigtail for Electric Ranges
- Error Codes for a Noritz Water Heater
- Virginia Code & Requirements for Liquid Propane Piping Design