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.
WARNING: DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS MODIFICATION UNTIL ALL 120VAC POWER HAS BEEN DISCONNECTED TO THE TRAILER TO PREVENT ELECTRICAL
(All of which are available from Lowe's or any other "big box" store.)
Switch - Leviton 5226-W, 15 Amp. and cover plate.
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.
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.