A typical 50 gallon electric water heater runs at 4500 watts. In an electric circuit of 240 volts, 4500 watts is equivalent to 18.75 amps. This means that a 50 gallon water heater will not flip a circuit breaker of 20 amps, but it will force the circuit breaker to operate at 95% of its capacity, something most circuit breakers are not qualified to do.
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