Electric Water Heater Installation: What You Need to Know

In most places, if the installation is done by an expert or by a homeowner, installing an electric water heater necessitates a permit. An inspector will inspect the work as part of the permit procedure to ensure that the plumbing and electrical components are connected correctly and safely and that the system meets local code standards. We’ll go over the basic electrical requirements for a traditional tank-style electric heater, not an on-demand (tankless) heater. If you intend to replace the existing electric water heater, now would be the time to double-check that the wiring is in good working order.

Switching Off the Lights

Turn off the electricity to the circuit that powers the water heater before inspecting or touching the water heater cabling or electrical connections. A 30-amp, double-pole breaker is usually used to protect the course. Switch-off of the appropriate switch in the electrical panel, then verify the circuit at the water heater with an electrical voltage meter to ensure that it is off.

Electrical Connections: How to Recognize Them

The electrical cables for the water heater are connected by a constructed junction box located right above the water heater tank.  A plate covers this, which can be removed to see the electrical connections inside. The wire conductors that run to the heater are typically housed in flexible conduit or constructed of flexible metal cable, such as steel (MC) cable. This flexibility allows for some wiggle room, making it much easier to repair the water heater, and it’s a requirement in many earthquake-prone areas.

You can test for power by placing a non-contact voltage detector close to the wire connections with the casing removed. The sensor will not brighten up if the circuit has been correctly cut off.

Understanding How a Water Heater Is Wired

Electric water heaters need a 240-volt circuit with no other appliances or devices. A 30-amp double-pole switch and 10-2 nonmetallic (NM) or metallic (MC) cable are commonly used in circuit wiring. The black circuit line is linked to the black wire lead on the water heater, whereas the white circuit cable is attached to the red or white cable lead on the water heater.

The white circuits wire should be covered in black or red-black tape at the relationship at both ends of the link (at the heater as well as the switch box) to indicate that it is a “hot” cable, not a neutral wire. Moreover, a 240-volt circuit, unlike a typical 120-volt course, has live electricity flowing through both the black and white wires. The circuit ground wire is connected to the water heater’s green ground screw or the ground lead, whichever is appropriate.

Wiring for Heating Element

Although you won’t have to deal with thermostats or heating devices during a simple electric water heater replacement, it’s beneficial to understand that electric water heaters have inner wiring that runs from the wire linkage box down the side of the tank to 2 distinct heating elements, each governed by its thermostat. The heaters and the controllers that regulate them are located inside access panels on the sides of the water heater tank. The wire leads in the water heater are connected to screw terminals, along with each pair of thermostat and heating devices. You won’t be dealing with all these connections unless you’re replacing a regulator and heating element on an outdated water heater.

Bonding Issues

Some building codes need a bonding wire, also known as a bonding jumper, to be installed between the cold and hot water pipes that serve the water heater. The National Electrical Code or the Uniform Plumbing Code does not need the bonding jumper, but your local building authority may require it.

In a stainless steel water piping system, the bonding wire may be necessary to ensure a reliable bond. According to some experts, a bonding jumper extends the life of a water heater by minimising rust in the tank produced by electrolysis. The bonding wire also serves to keep the electrical grounding channel on the water pipes intact. Without the jumper, there is a gap between both the cold and hot water pipes, which could disrupt the electrical system’s continual grounding pathway.

Moreover, if a bonding wire is required, it is commonly a 6 AWG exposed copper cable linked to a ground connection on the cold and hot water pipes. Each clamp should be placed on a smooth line section, away from any fittings, as the clamp’s pressure may stress solder joints and valve contacts. It’s as simple as making sure the jumper wires are in position after you complete installing the new water heater when upgrading an electric water heater Perth.


Electric water heaters do not all have a ten-year life expectancy. The sole exception is gas water heaters, which only last six to eight years on average. As a result, if you only reside in a house for seven or eight years, you’re probably responsible for upgrading the gas-powered water heater.


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