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Old 07-22-2011, 10:22 PM   #1
BigSkys
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How I installed a water heater switch inside.

Hello
We are staying in an RV park in Orlando, FL. We are paying the mouthy rate witch dose noe include the electric, to cut down on the electric bill I turn on the electric water heater in the morning for showers and stuff, after that I shut it back of till the neck morning.

Like most of the RVs the switch is located on the water heater behind the heater compartment door. So I decided to wire in a inside water heater switch.

My RV is a 2005 Montana 3500RL, the water heater is located on the street side and electric breaker box is on the opposite side of the RV close to straight across from each other, I found the heater wire coming from the breaker box to the water heater going across in the area under the steps that go up to the bed room, this wire is Romex White 14/2 Gauge.

Here is my parts list, all picked up at The Home Depot.

15ft of Romex White 14/2 Gauge inside wire.
1 Combination Switch & Pilot Light.
1 Outlet Cover Plate.
1 Pack Of 20 Wire Nuts.

I then took the holding tank monitor panel off the pantry side wall and pulled the wiring out of the wall a bit, I then cut one of the larger wires off the back of the monitor panel living enough wire to reconnect it back later, I then attached a long peace of cord to the wire that I cut off to use as a pull cord to pull the new wires back up thought the wall, I then pulled the cut off wire down though the wall until the cord came out though the hole into the area under the steps, then I attached two peaces of 7 ft of romex 14/2 gauge wires to the cord and then pulled all the wires back up though the wall and out though the hole for the monitor panel.

I then cut a hole though the wall paneling below the monitor panel to mount the new switch in, then I took the pull cord off all the wires and reconnected the wire I cut off the back of the monitor panel, then I was able to reach and pull the two new wires down and out though the hole I cut for the new switch, then I reinstalled the monitor panel back into the wall.

Now to wiring in the new switch, I used the wiring diagram that came with the new switch, the hot water heater wire that is located under the steps I cut it in two, the new wire going to the input of the new switch, the other end of it I connected it to the end of the cut wire coming from the breaker box, the other new wire coming from the output of the new switch I connected it to the cut wire going to the water heater.

Then I installed the new switch and cover plate into the new hole in the wall and then tried it out, it works & looks as if it were done at the factory.

I hope this is clear enough to under stand what I did so as to help others do this mod also that is thinking about it.

Here is a link to some photos that may help under stand what I did.

Some how I got the photos backwards, The last photo is starting frist.

http://s806.photobucket.com/albums/y...ater%20Switch/

Thank You.
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Old 07-23-2011, 01:22 AM   #2
bobsals
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Harold & Jill, thanks for taking the time to post your mod here on the MOC. This is a great location for the switch. I installed a switch on ours last year when we first got the rig. I mounted our switch just above the heater on the wall next to the stove. It was the first mod I did out of many to indicate how important this is to have the switch inside. I have said before that if the designers and engineers were made to camp for a week in the units they design and build, we would see many improvements in the quality and usability of them.
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Old 07-23-2011, 02:35 AM   #3
Lambchop
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Thanks , Harold...now I have another project!

Nice job, Harold..


Roy
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Old 07-23-2011, 03:10 AM   #4
Cyrus
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You guys have got met thinking about if I need to do this mod. I turned the switch on at the tank when we got to campground and have not turned it off as I have always done. I am assuming it is controlling the temp and turning elements off unless needed to heat or maintain temp, am I wrong?
This CG has meters on each site and we pay usage when we leave. I have checked the meter but don't know the impact of the water heater relavtive to normal lights, TV etc usage? We were told to expect $25-30 electric bill after month plus stay. Paid monthly site rate minus this which is a great deal unleass the water heater is worse then expected, maybe I should check again?
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Old 07-23-2011, 03:17 AM   #5
Lambchop
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Cyrus

You guys have got met thinking about if I need to do this mod. I turned the switch on at the tank when we got to campground and have not turned it off as I have always done. I am assuming it is controlling the temp and turning elements off unless needed to heat or maintain temp, am I wrong?
This CG has meters on each site and we pay usage when we leave. I have checked the meter but don't know the impact of the water heater relavtive to normal lights, TV etc usage? We were told to expect $25-30 electric bill after month plus stay. Paid monthly site rate minus this which is a great deal unleass the water heater is worse then expected, maybe I should check again?
Cyrus,
As frugal as I am, I think gas is cheaper? I use gas when I have to pay for my electric...besides gas heats the water faster, but when electric is included, I use electric to heat our water. Maybe I'm wrong? Anybody out there care to contribute to this?

Roy
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Old 07-23-2011, 03:19 AM   #6
bncinwv
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The engineers must have listened and went camping. Our rig has a water heater switch on the inside. It still has the switch on the outside as well, so now there are two switched to remember. It is a good mod though.
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Bingo and Cathy - Our adventures begin in the hills of WV. We are blessed by our 2014 3850FL Big Sky (previous 2011 3750FL and 2007 3400RL) that we pull with a 2007 Chevy Silverado Classic DRW CC dually.
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Old 07-23-2011, 03:22 AM   #7
Cyrus
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I just answered my own question. Looked at meter with one 12v light on, TV on, PC on and water heater switch on. Turned WH swithch off and meter speed decreased by approx 1/2. Don't know what this means in dollars or convenience? I will work on that since I have the reading when we arrived.
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Old 07-23-2011, 03:47 AM   #8
Cyrus
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Just ran the numbers and figure it's costing me approx $1.50 a day to leave water heater turned on. I assume the water heater does have a thermostate and I just caught it when it was heating? Compared to price of diesel fuel, food etc and convience of not hearing someone say the water is not hot the price sounds cheap? I didn't say that, I must have a virus in my pc.
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Old 07-23-2011, 06:37 AM   #9
BigSkys
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Cyrus

I just answered my own question. Looked at meter with one 12v light on, TV on, PC on and water heater switch on. Turned WH swithch off and meter speed decreased by approx 1/2. Don't know what this means in dollars or convenience? I will work on that since I have the reading when we arrived.
Hello Cyrus
My last month electric bill was $130, that was just turing on the HWT just in the morning for 15 to 20 min. and then back off till the nect morning, how ever here in Florida we are runing two AC units just about full time.
I was told by two or three Full Timers that runing the HWH all the time would cost $40 to $60 a month.
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Old 07-23-2011, 07:18 AM   #10
Ozz
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Great Job! Thanks for documenting it for us, I know how much time and effort it takes to do this, you are a team player.
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Old 07-23-2011, 05:07 PM   #11
snfexpress
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Nicely done and good write-up.
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Old 07-24-2011, 04:14 PM   #12
Steve Ryan
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Great job. After the outside switch gave up, I did the same thing to ours a few years back.
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Old 07-24-2011, 04:42 PM   #13
stevemc
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We did this mod this spring as well. Our water heater is under the cabinet next to the sink so it was a pretty easy job to put a switch in the cabinet by the sink. Works great.
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Old 07-25-2011, 09:19 AM   #14
BigSkys
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Thank you all for all the comments, love this froum, and all the members are great.
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Old 07-26-2011, 12:23 PM   #15
Art-n-Marge
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I wonder if the next mod is to put a programmable timer on the water heater line and the interior switch. That would make it truly automatic.
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Old 07-26-2011, 12:32 PM   #16
Ozz
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Yep, I did that Art. Didn't want to step on BigSkys' post. Mine is a little different.
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Old 07-26-2011, 04:22 PM   #17
BigSkys
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Art-n-Marge

I wonder if the next mod is to put a programmable timer on the water heater line and the interior switch. That would make it truly automatic.
Wow, Great idea Art
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Old 07-26-2011, 04:24 PM   #18
BigSkys
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Ozz

Yep, I did that Art. Didn't want to step on BigSkys' post. Mine is a little different.
No problem Ozz.
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