I had a rheem retex-13 (13kw) electric hot water heater installed and it requires 60-A breaker and it was put on a 2 pole double 30-A can I switch that with a 2 pole double 60-A?

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    That depends on (a) whether your panel can handle it and (b) whether your wires can handle it. Post a picture of your panel, plus closeups on the existing breaker/wires and also the wires where they are connected to the heater. Commented Sep 2, 2020 at 23:09
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    @EdBeal Specs have the 13kW using 1 60A 240V breaker - see images.homedepot-static.com/catalog/pdfImages/a8/… Larger sizes bump up to multiple 40A circuits. Commented Sep 2, 2020 at 23:41
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    the original wire was switched with a 6AWG wire
    – bill
    Commented Sep 2, 2020 at 23:45
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    What make and model is your electric panel, and can you post a photo of it showing which position the water heater breaker is in? Commented Sep 3, 2020 at 0:05
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    How does the water heater's manual tell you to wire it? Does it tell you to use dual 30A circuits, or are you just freestylin'? Commented Sep 3, 2020 at 5:59

1 Answer 1


That would be paralleling. You can't do that.

Certainly, 120/240V split-phase can be confusing to the novice. But when an amperage is stated, such as 60A, that always means exactly what it says -- you never halve or double it because of the split-phase.

Being a 240V breaker/circuit merely means it has 2 poles instead of 1. "120V per pole" is actually how you think of it, but again, never multiply/divide.
So for instance it would have been acceptable to use two 120V 60A breakers and handle-tie them... (of course 60A 120V breakers are not made, but if they were; yes).

The only possible way to make two 2-pole 30A breakers work would be a cobbled-together version of paralleling... the paralleling rules are quite narrow and don't allow anything like that, for a variety of reasons. Paralleling equipment is really special.

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