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Old 11-16-2017, 05:22 PM   #1
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Water Heater; LP or Electric...how to choose

2003 Eagle with a lighted WH wall switch in the MBA, and another toggle switch at the kitchen sink. (there's a third switch below the MBA sink, but I think that is for the HurricaneHeat?)

I don't know how to control the fuel for the heater. In cases when we're at CGs with 30-amp service, it would be good for us to be able to switch the water heater onto LP only.

Without my doing a bunch of testing here at home, is there a simple way to do it?

No, the coach came with no manuals.
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Old 11-16-2017, 05:27 PM   #2
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If I understand you correctly, if you want to positively turn OFF the electric WH element, find the 120v circuit breaker in the panel.
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Old 11-16-2017, 05:52 PM   #3
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If it's like my Eagle, The wall switch in the bathroom turns it on electric, the one in kitchen turns on LP gas.
On mine if both the wall switch is on and kitchen switch are on, the heater will run all the time with electric being the 1st choice, if there's no power, it switches to LP.
The W/H will change from electric to LP if I'm not plugged up or gen-set not running.
If kitchen switch is on, you should be able turn off bath switch and run on LP even if plugged in.
I have to turn both off to turn W/H completely off.
BTW, you can find owners manual on American Coach web site...
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Old 11-17-2017, 06:04 AM   #4
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Aha! KI switch is for LP, OK, that's easy enough.

Now, if I turn off the circuit breaker (to kill electric power for the heater) will the LP work?

My question is whether electricity is needed for the spark to light up the LP?
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Old 11-17-2017, 07:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bamaboy473 View Post
Aha! KI switch is for LP, OK, that's easy enough.

Now, if I turn off the circuit breaker (to kill electric power for the heater) will the LP work?

My question is whether electricity is needed for the spark to light up the LP?
No, the heater is 120v AC and the spark is 12v DC
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Old 11-17-2017, 07:43 AM   #6
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The answer depends on the make/model of the water heater. Mine for example there are two clearly labeled switches.

Some the switch is outside

Some it's two switches One ON/OFF the other Gas/Electric

Suggestion.. This if from RV101byfred.com (Fred himeslf)

When I replaced my Water Hater Tank.. I replaced the 1500 watt 120 volt element (anyone need a brand new one?) with a 1500 Watt 240 volt element.. Thaqt means my water heater is now about 375 watts or just over 3 amps instead of 12.. Way better on 30 amps.

Does take a few hours to get hot.. But not a problem as I just turn it on a few hours before I need hot water.. (I leave it off for other reasons just now).
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Old 11-17-2017, 03:51 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by bamaboy473 View Post
Aha! KI switch is for LP, OK, that's easy enough.

Now, if I turn off the circuit breaker (to kill electric power for the heater) will the LP work?

My question is whether electricity is needed for the spark to light up the LP?
There's no need to turn off breaker at box, the wall switch in bathroom turns of AC current. It will run on LP with that switch off as long as the kitchen switch is on.
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Old 11-18-2017, 06:20 AM   #8
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Thanks, guys. Now it all makes sense.
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Old 11-18-2017, 01:20 PM   #9
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You mentioned Hurricane heat. 1st, the direct, short answer.

While the two systems work together, they are independent so there's no problem using one or the other - I know, sounds like a contradiction.

Now, the 2nd longer answer.


On my Hurricane system I have an electric switch too that runs a coil in my hot water tank. My Hurricane also heats the hot water in the tank through a heat exchanger any time it is running. Usually when we are at a campsite with power, I have the 110v hot water heater switch on, especially in mild weather where we aren't using the Hurricane for heat. Sometimes my wife wants to take a long shower then I leave the 110v on, and fire the Hurricane for the "endless" hot water. Hurricane runs off diesel and is 12v powered, no 110v needed. I also leave the 110v switch on when on power, in the spring and fall when the mornings are cool and I only fire up the hurricane to quickly take the chill off.

Yes, the hydronic systems can be a little confusing and aren't as user transparent as the standard furnace and hot water systems, but I really like mine. For many years I dealt with hydronic heat in my job so maintenance and operation of the system is familiar to me.
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