Electrical switches for water heater

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SuwanneeDave

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On our old trailer, to turn on the electric element in the water heater you had to go outside and turn on the switch on the heater. Our new trailer has the same switch on the water heater but also has a switch on the inside switch panel. Am I correct in assuming that I can leave the outside switch on and control the electric heat from the inside panel?
 

Rene T

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yes. I assume you have a Suburban water heater. They have the outside switch. It's good to have 2 switches for when you winterize, you shut both of them off. Then when you dewinterized and someone turns on the heater using the inside switch, it won't start because you have shut off the outside switch.
 

Lou Schneider

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The outside switch is for the safety of someone working on the water heater.  Normally it stays on and the electric side is controlled by the inside switch.

But if someone is working on the unit, they can turn off the outside switch for extra assurance the power is indeed off.
 

scottydl

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SuwanneeDave said:
On our old trailer, to turn on the electric element in the water heater you had to go outside and turn on the switch on the heater. Our new trailer has the same switch on the water heater but also has a switch on the inside switch panel.

That's what mine has (a switch both outside and in), but the inside switch is for LP heating. I almost never use it, since and just turn on the outside switch when hooking up at a CG, then power it back off when breaking camp. However you could very well have two electric switches for the reasons that Rene and Lou described.
 

Senator

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scottydl said:
That's what mine has (a switch both outside and in), but the inside switch is for LP heating. I almost never use it, since and just turn on the outside switch when hooking up at a CG, then power it back off when breaking camp. However you could very well have two electric switches for the reasons that Rene and Lou described.

Mine is the same.  My outside switch, near the gas line to the water heater is the electric.  The inside switch is gas.  It is the opposite of what you would expect.
 

Frank B

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Senator said:
Mine is the same.  My outside switch, near the gas line to the water heater is the electric.  The inside switch is gas.  It is the opposite of what you would expect.


Are we talking about the same switches here?  There are often three of them.


OP seems to be talking about a 110 volt switch inside the unit, and another 110 volt rocker switch outside on the heater itself. In addition to those two, there is always a 12 volt switch in the unit somewhere that turns on the propane.
 

scottydl

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Frank B said:
Are we talking about the same switches here?  There are often three of them.

I think Senator and I only have 2 switches for our heaters... a 110v exterior switch, and an LP interior switch.
 

FF/PM

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I had this setup. It bothered me that I could only run 2 appliances on my 30 amp hookup. I added a 12v switch powering a relay that switched the 100v off the circuit breaker. This allows me to leave the outside switch on all the time, and power it off inside the trailer when I want to run the AC and the microwave. When I winterize I switch it off outside to prevent an accidental use with no water in the tank. It was easy for my system as the 12v switches for the lights, slides, etc were directly above the power center. Took about an hour and $20 in parts.

 

cpaulsen

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On my 5th wheel.....I have 3 switches....little black one on the water heater and 2 lighted switches in my switch cabinet ..........one for electric and one for gas.
 

gravesdiesel

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cpaulsen said:
On my 5th wheel.....I have 3 switches....little black one on the water heater and 2 lighted switches in my switch cabinet ..........one for electric and one for gas.
My KZ Spree is that way too, but the water pump, water heater electric and water heater propane switches are in the bathroom on the tank monitor panel.  I love that design and location. 
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Suburban brand heaters have a switch on the heater itself; Atwood brand heaters do not.  Therefore Atwoods always have a switch somewhere in/on the RV itself.  Suburban brand heaters may or may not, depending on the RV builders choice.


Since about 2004, Atwood brand heaters have used external 12v switches to activate both the gas and electric modes, so the switch is 12v. Earlier Atwoods required the RV builder to supply their own method of switching the 120v power on/off and the switch was usually a simple residential-style light switch or something similar..


 
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