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Old 07-11-2018, 05:07 PM   #1
drjjj
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Stuck water heater switch

Just got set up yesterday for 33 days on Mustang Island on the Texas Gulf Coast. Noticed last night the water in the shower was only lukewarm. Went out this morning to check, thought maybe the anode needed replacement. Since we almost always have full hookups we run the water heater on electric. The switch to turn of the water heater outside is stuck in the "On" position. Anybody ever have just the switch go bad? This morning I did turn on the gas inside and got hot water, and this afternoon the water heater seems to work fine, but the switch is still stuck in the ON position. I have always been told to never drain the water heater or change the anode without turning the switch OFF or something might get get "burnt up". Thanks for any advice.
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Old 07-11-2018, 05:40 PM   #2
carl n susan
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That switch fails regularly. While it is in the ON position, it obviously working as in the OFF position. There is no reason to suspect a fried heater element as long as you haven't drained the WH while hooked up to electricity.

The switch just pops out of it's slot. Easy to replace.
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Old 07-11-2018, 08:36 PM   #3
BB_TX
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Assuming you have a Suburban water heater. There have been a number of posts about that little black rocker switch going bad.

FYI. There is an electrical heating element that heats the water. And there is a non-electrical anode rod that protects the water heater from corrosion. Two different devices.
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Old 07-11-2018, 09:17 PM   #4
1retired06
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When ours failed, I spliced the switch wires in the on position and used the inside switch. Never did get around to replacing the outside switch.
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Old 07-13-2018, 06:34 AM   #5
pyoung47
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It is very inexpensive to replace this switch. It is also very easy to pry out -- wires just plug in. Be sure to retain the rubber gasket which fits around the switch, since this is not included with the new switch.
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Old 07-13-2018, 12:50 PM   #6
timandsusan
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DrJJJ---you might see if the RV Park has a few Mobile RV techs that they recommend and have the repair done by the RV Tech. I would guess that Port Aransas will probably not have a store with that switch--might have to get it in Corpus. Tell the mobile tech to bring a switch for the water heater with him out to the island--other wise it is a long trip to CC and back. Hope this helps,
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Old 07-13-2018, 01:49 PM   #7
drjjj
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Thanks for all the advice. The park we are staying in recommended an excellent mobile RV service. They came the next day and replaced the switch at a very reasonable cost.
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Old 11-10-2018, 09:52 AM   #8
ps146364
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Can someone please tell me what is the purpose of the little rocker switch ?
My switch went bad , fried the wires. I made up new wires and by passed the switch altogether. Left the switch in place just to keep the hole plugged.
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Old 11-10-2018, 10:02 AM   #9
pyoung47
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Originally Posted by ps146364 View Post
Can someone please tell me what is the purpose of the little rocker switch ?
My switch went bad , fried the wires. I made up new wires and by passed the switch altogether. Left the switch in place just to keep the hole plugged.
It allows you to turn off/on the electric heating element for the water heater. You can also do this with the breaker inside the coach. Why would you turn this off/disable the electric element?

1. If you are using a genny, it draws quite a bit of current, and your unit may not handle it.
2. If you winterize the unit, and drain the water heater, leaving the element energized will burn out the element very quickly.
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Old 11-10-2018, 10:10 AM   #10
ps146364
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So what is the purpose of the switch on the control panel inside the trailer? It accomplishes the same thing only going through a relay.
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Old 11-10-2018, 10:34 AM   #11
BB_TX
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Originally Posted by ps146364 View Post
So what is the purpose of the switch on the control panel inside the trailer? It accomplishes the same thing only going through a relay.
Some units do not have an inside water heater switch and the only way to turn them on/off is via the outside switch. So the water heater comes with that switch to account for those installations. Like mine.
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Old 11-10-2018, 11:23 AM   #12
ps146364
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Originally Posted by BB_TX View Post
Some units do not have an inside water heater switch and the only way to turn them on/off is via the outside switch. So the water heater comes with that switch to account for those installations. Like mine.
Thank you. I did not realize that some trailers don’t have a inside switch.
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Old 11-10-2018, 02:38 PM   #13
BB_TX
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I should clarify. I have one inside WH switch that operates the WH on propane. But there is no inside switch for operating the WH on electric. So I have to use the outside switch for that. Mine is 2007 and I think the inside electric switches became standard later.
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Old 11-10-2018, 09:53 PM   #14
rohrmann
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The real reason for the outside switch is to protect the electric element from someone turning on the electric without water in the tank. The original switches also came with a small cotter pin which kept the switch in the off position. When winterizing, it is advised to turn the switch off, just in case someone forgets to fill the water heater with water before turning on the electric after de-winterizing, of course no one would ever forget to fill the WH tank.
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Old 11-11-2018, 07:56 AM   #15
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My unit also did not come with a switch inside to control the electric side of water heater. I took the 120 volt wire from water heater to circuit breaker and wired it to an added switch on control panel. But as stated you could leave outside switch on and control with circuit breaker since water heater is on breaker by itself.
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