10/2 Or 10/3 Wire For Water Heater – Which Is the Best for Your Home?

Some appliances are absolutely necessary for every household – and heaters are one of them. 

And yet, we often postpone our duties towards electrical appliances in our homes simply because attending to them is time-consuming. There are so many different types of wires, and it appears as if every water heater is somewhat different from the other despite being such a simple device. 

So, the question arises- What should you do? Which wire should you go for? Let’s take a look!

A Primer On 10/2 vs. 10/3 Wire For Water Heaters

10/2 wires consist of one hot wire, one neutral wire, and one ground wire. On the other hand, 10/3 wires have two hot wires, one neutral wire, and one ground wire.

Many mechanic enthusiasts believe that a better-equipped wire leads to a better-equipped device – does that also stand true for water heaters? 10/2 and 10/3 non-metallic cables are both excellent performers, but there has been a lot of debate as to which one provides more efficiency to water heater devices.

Well, when it comes to standard water heaters, 10/3 wires, or a costlier variant, might not be of much use. Your water heater only requires good quality 10/2 wiring.

What Makes Wiring Different for Water Heaters

Now let’s take a look at why you should put a special focus on selecting the wiring. 

1. Wear and Tear

Water heaters have a primary job – heating. And heating inevitably involves a lot of wear and tear. You might even want to start getting used to wire replacements regularly so that other parts of the heater can perform optimally! Water heaters receive a lot of damage from the insufficient or erratic electricity supply. In the worst-case scenario, a wrong wire might lead to short circuits. 

2. Working with Home Sockets

Did you ever notice how your home’s internal wiring impacts how the electrical appliances perform? 

Some of the appliances most affected by bad wiring or faulty sockets are geysers, water heaters, irons, toasters, hair straighteners, curlers, etc. Wiring can be thought of as the internal energy system of an electrical appliance that keeps all its organs running. 

3. The Internal Room

Water heater wiring must be slightly flexible and loose to provide what is known as ‘jiggle room’. This is in direct contrast to many electronics that need tightly fitted wires and leave no space. 

This space, or jiggle room, is essential because it leaves enough area to replace heating elements. We can say, then, that your wires need to be slightly longer than you think they do. 

4. 240-volt circuit

240 Volt circuit carries live current in both the black and white wiring. This adequately divides the 240 volts into 2 × 120, and each wire is made to carry half of it. 

So both your wires will not differ when carrying electricity within the circuit. Water heaters must be connected to heavy-duty wires so that the house’s entire electrical system is not affected when the water heater is started.

How to Choose the Right Wiring for Your Water Heaters?

These are the things that you should look out for when choosing the right wiring for water heaters:

1. Wire at Sq mm

Most water heaters use a 4500-watt heater. They will work best on a 14 AWG copper gauge internal wiring. This does change depending on the capacity of the water heater, however. Small water heaters with a 20-gallon capacity might work better with a 16 or even 20-AWG capacity. 4.0 sq mm wires are made for such water heaters. So you can consider that a requirement as well!

2. Affordability

There is no point in spending more than you should on replacement materials. 10/ 2 wires cost significantly less than the 10/3 wires but have the required capacity to function well as a water heater wire.

3. Great Quality Build

Always opt for good-quality wires. Some specific brands suit specific water heaters – but any good brand that uses standard quality materials for its wires will work! At the end of the day, it is the build of the wires that determine how long the wire is going to perform and how much pressure it will be able to withstand. 

Tips and Tricks for Installing the Right Wires in Your Water Heater 

Now let’s discuss how you can make sure you install the wires correctly!

1. Conduct adequate research

Without going excessively theoretical, try to make it a point to do some extensive research on the wiring process of water heaters. Read about what professionals have to say and learn!

2. Consult a professional

Of course, consulting a professional is always a great idea before starting on any mechanical or electrical project. In the rare case that you might be overlooking some other damages on the water heater or might simply be unaware of it, a professional will point it out and help prevent any accident.

3. Make a list of the additional equipment required

Do you need a bonding wire? Do you need an additional neutral wire? Having a clear idea of all the tools and materials we need can drastically simplify the process. A good wire is useless without the proper tools that will fix it in place.

4. Spend enough time with the circuit diagram

While it does not matter exactly which wire is going to the heating element terminal, having a general idea of the route each wire will be taking is very important. Similar to the research process, at one point in time you will find yourself confident enough to now handle the practical project.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Installing Electrical Components

Listed below are some of the common mistakes that are best avoided when you’re installing an electrical component.

1. Not turning off the power supply

You might think to yourself “This is such a rookie mistake, who doesn’t know we are supposed to turn off the power supply?” And yet most people seem to overlook this one aspect so much that it leads to a majority of accidents with electrical components at home.

2. Not purchasing materials in inadequate quantity

While going materials shopping, the shopper must have a clear idea of what to buy and in what quantity. Many professionals and experts online can easily suggest how much buffer to go with while purchasing materials for any electrical renovation process. These materials also include safety gear.

3. Taking the appliance apart

There is absolutely no need to take off the water heater parts. As amateurs, there is almost no hope that we will be able to put all of it back together once we have dismantled the device. Even if the wiring process is a little uncomfortable, never take off any part of the water heater.

Benefits of Upgrading Your Home’s Electrical System

There are just so many benefits to upgrading the electrical system of one’s home! It not only feels great and makes the day free of any frustration, but it also acts as an investment in the long run. Home electrical upgrades lead to:

  • Increased performance
  • Lower electricity expenditure
  • Long-lasting electrical appliances
  • An excellent foundation for further electrical upgrades 
  • Conclusion

While all these distinctions and recommendations might appear quite complex, changing the wires of your water heater is simple and can be easily accomplished.  

Working on electrical appliances and systems in our own homes or workplaces can prove to be liberating in a world where professional replacements are so expensive and time-consuming. Replacing the wire might just be the first step towards elaborating electrical projects to upgrade your home. 

Until next time, take care!

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