What Wire and Breaker Size for a 5,000 watt Heater?

Are you planning to install a 5,000 watt heater in your garage or workshop for warmth during the cold winter months?

Well, getting the heater is only the first step. You’ll need to decide on the right size of wire gauge and circuit breaker to use the heater safely and reliably.

This post offers suggestions on what wire gauge and breaker size (amps) to use for a 5,000 watt heater.

Note: Always consult a licensed electrician. Make sure to refer to the electric heater owner manual for wiring instructions.

What Wire Size for a 5,000 watt Heater?

Use a wire size of at least 10 AWG or larger diameter to safely handle the estimated current draw of about 22 amps by the 5000 watt heater at 208-240V.

Also, check if your heater requires a neutral wire. In case it requires 2 hot/live wire connections at 110V then a 10/2 NM wire can work.

Always consult your electric heater’s owner manual.

Make sure that the heater is connected to a dedicated electric circuit with a special purpose-built plug to handle the large current draw.

What Circuit Breaker Size (amps) for a 5,000 watt Heater?

Use a circuit breaker of at least 30 amps to protect the electric circuit wiring for a 5,000 watt heater connected to single phase a 208 – 240V AC supply.

Related Questions

How Much Electricity (kWh) the Heater Uses?

A 5,000 watt heater uses an estimated 120 units of electricity (120 kWh) a day from 5,000 watts x 24 hours. This assumes that the heater is working continuously at maximum heat output. In practice, it may cycle on or off and the actual electricity consumption may be lower.

How Much it Costs to Run for 24 Hours?

Over a 24 hours period, the 5,000 watt heater costs about USD 14 to run. This assumes an electricity tariff of 0.12 USD per kWh.

The Calculation

Daily electricity consumption of 120 kWh x electricity tariff of USD 0.12 = USD 14.4.

How Much it Costs to Run for a Month (30 days)?

The monthly electricity consumption of the heater (assuming working continuously at full power) is 3,600 kWh.

The estimated associated energy bill assumes a tariff of USD 0.12 = 3,600 x 0.12 = USD 432.

Is it Expensive to Run?

It is expensive when compared to the utility bill of an average American household. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average American household consumes about 886 kWh over 30 days.

In comparative terms, the costs of running this heater alone at full power amount to four times (400%) the monthly electric utility bill of an average home in the US according to the 2021 EIA data.

What Wire Size for a 5,000 watt Garage heater?

A 5,000 watt garage heater using two live wire connections (no neutral) will likely use 10/2 AWG wire to supply electricity safely to it when connected to a 208-240V AC supply. Use a 30 amp circuit breaker to protect this wiring.

That said, always refer to the heater’s wiring instructions or contact a licensed electrician.

How Much Space a 5,000 Watt Heater heats?

A 5,000 watt electric heater with its estimated heat output of 17,000 BTU/hr should be able to easily heat up an area of about 500 sq. ft.

Actual performance depends on the heater design, installation, and insulation of the space.

Closing Thoughts

Consider a 10 AWG wire and 30 amp circuit breaker for your 5,000 watt heater installation. Always contact a licensed electrician or refer to the heater’s wiring instructions.

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