Water heater on / off switch? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-26-2009, 12:03 PM   #1
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I have the combination Gas / Electric Water heater in the 2006 Liberty Casita I just bought. I have searched the manuals, and the water heater itself, out side, and I can't find a switch to turn the Electric part on or off. My question is; If I have full hook ups and have the Gas on, does the Water Heater default to Electric, or gas or what? I know there is a On / Off switch down on the face of the bench and it turns the heater on or off. But that doesn't answer my quetsion.

If I have to run the Honda Gen set to power my AC, I don't want to also have to heat water with Electricity. I'm sure it would overload the Honda.

Thanks,

EKW
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Old 05-26-2009, 12:06 PM   #2
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There should be a toggle switch on the water heater, accessed from the outside. Look real hard for it. I too had the same problem with mine, I could not find it right away, but Reace from Escape happened to be camping with us after I picked it up and showed me where it was.
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Old 05-26-2009, 01:09 PM   #3
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Quote:
There should be a toggle switch on the water heater, accessed from the outside. Look real hard for it. I too had the same problem with mine, I could not find it right away, but Reace from Escape happened to be camping with us after I picked it up and showed me where it was.


Well, I'll be dipped. You were correct, my man. I looked and looked, again, and was getting up from my knees when I spotted that little sucker. It was hiding to the left of the black cap that I assume was the cover over the electrodes. It was in the off position so I assume that means it's not going to draw electric.

Still, do you think that if it were turned to the "on" position, and gas and electricity were both present, it would default to the electric?

Thanks a bunch.

Keith
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Old 05-26-2009, 02:15 PM   #4
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OK, here's a summary of what I've learned.

There is a "rocker switch" outside on the water heater, just to the left of the Black cover over the Electrode insert opening.
When it's in the "off" position, the electric heating does not function.

There is the "rocker switch" inside the trailer down on the seat face and it is used with Gas and turns the water heater on or off as desired when using Gas.

So, it's an "either-or-situation" and you must decide whether you want to use Gas or Electric to heat the water. Then you don't have to worry about which energy source the water heater will use, because one switch will be "on" and the other switch will have to be "off"

Everybody, but me, probably knew that.

EKW
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Old 05-26-2009, 04:00 PM   #5
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Well, I'll be dipped. You were correct, my man. I looked and looked, again, and was getting up from my knees when I spotted that little sucker. It was hiding to the left of the black cap that I assume was the cover over the electrodes. It was in the off position so I assume that means it's not going to draw electric.

Still, do you think that if it were turned to the "on" position, and gas and electricity were both present, it would default to the electric?

Thanks a bunch.

Keith
Just glad to hear that someone else had the same problem I did.
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Old 05-26-2009, 08:38 PM   #6
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Hi: Gee...thanks guys... now I don't feel so bad. I thought my wife was right. I need GLASSES!!!
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Old 05-27-2009, 11:11 AM   #7
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A handy modification for the water heater switch problem:

When you reach the point of getting tired of having to go outside to turn it on or off, you may want to consider installing an inside switch to control your water heater's electrical side of things. I just reach under my side dinette bench and flip the switch to turn on the power to it. (Leave the switch on the outside of the water heater "always on", it will just become part of a complete circuit which is controlled solely by the inside switch.) Additionally, it provides me with a very visible indicator that the power is on. If you forget to turn off the power and don't have water in the water heater, you WILL fry your waterheater's heating element in about a minute or so. Not a very forgiving mistake to make, and expensive too. I like being able to see when the power is on or off. It's actually a pretty simple mod to do.

Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC00287.JPG
Views:	61
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ID:	20574


WARNING: DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS MODIFICATION UNTIL ALL 120VAC POWER HAS BEEN DISCONNECTED TO THE TRAILER TO PREVENT ELECTRICAL SHOCK HAZARD;
<span style="color:#000000">
Parts List: (All of which are available from Lowe's or any other "big box" store.)
Switch - Leviton 5226-W, 15 Amp. and cover plate.
Electrical junction box to mount the switch in.
Romex wire, 12/2 w/ground, (I used approx 8 feet length, but this will vary according to your new switch's location).
Wire nut, or crimp connector, and some electrical tape.

</span>
Installation:
Find a spot to mount your switch, preferably a spot that is visible, accessible, but not in a location where it will accidentally be bumped into. Mark out location for the electrical box (for the new switch), and cut the hole (a Roto-Zip works real good, but a jigsaw will do.) Run wire into back of new box and attach wires to the back terminals of the switch.

The black and white wires go on the two screw terminals of the new switch, and the bare ground wire goes to the silver terminal, which becomes the neutral leg for the pilot light. (Ground terminal on the switch is not used.)

Route the Romex wire back to the main power panel. Be sure to route it where it won't get damaged.

Using the black wire of the new Romex, (from the new switch,) hook it to the circuit breaker which controls power to the HWH. (Remove the factory installed wire that feeds power to the HWH from the circuit breaker first. Hook up the new black wire of the Romex from the new switch to that circuit breaker terminal.)

The other (white wire) joins the factory wire which was removed from the circuit breaker terminal. Use a wirenut or crimp connector rated for 120vac or higher, and tape up the connection real good to seal out moisture. The outside switch is now left in the "on" position (set it and forget it), as the electrical control will now be accomplished via your new switch.

The switch also needs a ground/neutral wire for the pilot light to work, so hook the non-insulated ground wire to the silver terminal for that purpose. It goes from the silver post on the switch to the common ground bus inside your power panel.

Check your work one last time, button up your power panel cover, ADD WATER SOURCE, and plug in your trailer again.
Switch on the front of water heater (outside) must be ON.
Switch on HWH circuit breaker, if not already on.
Switch on the new switch (remember to hook up your water first!) and the pilot light should show power is on.
Enjoy your new convenient HWH power control.

As an "aside", some of you out there might be wondering why bother installing another switch, when you could use the original circuit breaker to open and close the circuit? Well, circuit breakers are just that...circuit breakers. They were never designed to be, nor should be, used as on/off switches. They will not last long being used as ordinary everyday use switches, so this is why a "real" on/off switch needs to be incorporated into the circuit design.
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Old 05-27-2009, 12:56 PM   #8
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A good idea worth considering, Greg.
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Old 05-27-2009, 02:44 PM   #9
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What a great idea! I was bothered by the fact of having to go outside and deal with that switch and this mod will sove that Thanks a lot.

EKw
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Old 05-27-2009, 07:51 PM   #10
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OK, here's a summary of what I've learned.

There is a "rocker switch" outside on the water heater, just to the left of the Black cover over the Electrode insert opening.
When it's in the "off" position, the electric heating does not function.

There is the "rocker switch" inside the trailer down on the seat face and it is used with Gas and turns the water heater on or off as desired when using Gas.

So, it's an "either-or-situation" and you must decide whether you want to use Gas or Electric to heat the water. Then you don't have to worry about which energy source the water heater will use, because one switch will be "on" and the other switch will have to be "off"

Everybody, but me, probably knew that.

EKW
Keith,

There is no connection between the electric heating circuit and the gas. You can actually run both at the same time. I've heard of people doing just that for faster recovery.

Tell Jake I said he shouldn't let you do it though.
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
A handy modification for the water heater switch problem:

. . .


Attachment 20574


. . .
I did something very similar when I added a Hott Rod water heater element to our water heater, installed under our kitchen sink.


[ATTACH][/ATTACH]


Our switch illuminates when the power to the water heater is turned off. The second plug goes to our refrigerator, and each of the two outlets are wired separately.
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:21 PM   #12
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Keith,

There is no connection between the electric heating circuit and the gas. You can actually run both at the same time. I've heard of people doing just that for faster recovery.

Tell Jake I said he shouldn't let you do it though.
Thanks Morgan. Also, I ran that by Jake and he said he doesn't care what I do. Just feed him and make sure Shirley is close. That's about all he needs these days.

Regards,

EKW
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