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Old 01-19-2010, 06:56 PM   #1
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water heater on electricity

OK, I've had this rv for a year, and since 95% of the time I'm boondocking, I've only used the propane to heat water. It works great by the way!

So here are a couple of pictures. I left the big switch off and turned on the little one, no hot water after 2 hours. Does the on/off switch on the heater itself need to be in the on position? If so, is it only on for using electric as the power source?

My owners manual was NO help.

David
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:05 PM   #2
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David.....I'm not sure on your coach, but on mine there are two separate switches, side by side on the interior panel. You can turn on either one or both.

On older models like yours, I know you had to go out to the water heater to turn it on. I'm guessing you probably have a blown fuse or a bad electric heating element. I would put a volt meter on the leads to the electric heating element and see if you're getting 110 volts. If not, start searching back from there for a fuse/power.

If you decide to work on it, you might want to relocate the exterior electric switch to your control panel on the inside. The electric heating elements draw 10 plus amps. It's a pain if you're on 30 amp power and you're trying to manage your consumption and you have to run out to the water heater to turn it on and off.
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:09 AM   #3
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There should be two switches for the electric heater element ...one inside to turn it on/off and a "local" disconnect switch at the tank itself..that must remain on to use electric.I think its an electrical code for servicing the burner.
If the tank is ever drained with the inside and tank switch in the ON position the submersible burner inside the tank will be toast is Red hot to no hot 10 seconds.....
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:30 AM   #4
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I'm gonna try it!

Next time I run the genset I will test the electrical element in the heater. I haven't yet flipped that switch, I wanted make sure it was what I thought it was. I sure hope it works, I hate it when things don't work even when I don't use them (is that wierd?) Heating with propane works great and last long time in my coach.

David
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:05 PM   #5
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I have two switches: One for Gas and One for electric.. If I turn off the gas switch, the water heater runs on electric only. If the GAS switch is on, I believe it selects auto to gas unless gas gets below a certain level. I noticed the water heater recovery is definitely a lot faster with gas. With either, you can hear the water heater cycling.

I have heard (heard only) that some units run both gas and electric or one or the other. It might be best to contact the manufacture.
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:20 PM   #6
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On my 1995 Monaco Dynasty, I have two separate switches. The switch for the propane looks just like your picture. When I turn the switch on, the light remains lit until the burner starts, then the light goes out. The other switch is for the electric heat, and the light on it stays on as long as the switch is in the on position. And yes, there's a master switch outside behind the hot water tank outside door for the electric heat.

I use propane to heat the hot water tank most of the time. However, if we're hooked up to shore power, I'll let the electric keep the tank hot. If we're using quite a bit of hot water, I'll run both heaters. Speeds up the recovery.
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Old 01-21-2010, 12:02 PM   #7
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There are about a dozen different ways they set those things up David.... On my coach there are two switches labeled "GAS" and "ELECTRIC" Some coaches have but one switch and the presence or absence of shore power makes the decision, Some one switch chooses the fuel (Gas/electric) and the other turns it on and off

Some you have to plug in

Some the systems have shared resources.. Some they don't

I mean it's just way too many systems to be able to diagnose long distance
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Old 03-15-2010, 08:26 AM   #8
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You guys were right again!

A long time coming but here's the solution to my original question. INSIDE the RV i selected the big Black swtch to the off position and the little red switch to the on position. Why on is down for these 2 switches is beyond me but the big green one was labeled on/off so the unlabeled red one matched in direction.

On the outside all I had to do turn the switch on the water heater (which was labeled Thank Goodness) to the on position. As posted above this must be the ELECTRICAL disconnect required by code. The propane heat works with the switch off but not the electric.

Since I usually heat the water with propane, I'll just leave this outside switch off. For the couple of times a year I'm in a campground with 50 amp. I'll go outside and turn on the switch at the water heater and use the electric feature.

I was just very happy that electric element worked! I didn't check that pre purchase so I dodged a bullet there. . . . But of course Don was ready to help me trouble shoot it if it hadn't worked, just like he did with my battery equalizer!

David
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Old 03-15-2010, 08:58 AM   #9
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David
Just for a comparison.....electric element is 100% efficient and gas is around 65%....I use electric full time and is cheaper than propane......for quicker hot water use both.Just for info each heat soarce has it own thermostat.
COLTS ARE GOING....Barrie I assume
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Old 03-15-2010, 09:15 AM   #10
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Good Info

Dennis, Thanks for the thoughts. I guess my concern stems from long boondocking weekends, for instance this week I will be free camping at the Sebring race for 5 days, I try to spread the "fuel" use between diesel and propane. The efficiency of electirc heating would be wiped out if I have to pack up and go to town for more diesel fuel.

Now, given your rig, you should be intimately familar with my setup, am I kidding myself running my water heat and fridge on propane? Maybe the extra diesel burned by the gen is tiny compared to running AC's etc.? I have the 7.5 onan QD. You probably have the 10k in your 99?

Thanks again.

David

I know the Colts "went", but it was fun having skin in the big game!!! The pre season is just around the corner!
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Old 03-15-2010, 09:53 AM   #11
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There are two different ways they set them up

In some cases the "Big Switch" as you called it is "Water heater on/off" and the "Little Switch" as you called it is "Gas/Electric"

In other cases one switch is Gas, and the other is electric

(Mine is the 2nd way and I can turn on both gas and electric if I feel the need.. When I do that it's hard to run out of hot water as the recover time is dang near as fast as I can drain it... Ok, not quite that fast, but it's good.
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Old 03-15-2010, 08:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diplomat Don View Post
David.....I'm not sure on your coach, but on mine there are two separate switches, side by side on the interior panel. You can turn on either one or both.

On older models like yours, I know you had to go out to the water heater to turn it on. I'm guessing you probably have a blown fuse or a bad electric heating element. I would put a volt meter on the leads to the electric heating element and see if you're getting 110 volts. If not, start searching back from there for a fuse/power.

If you decide to work on it, you might want to relocate the exterior electric switch to your control panel on the inside. The electric heating elements draw 10 plus amps. It's a pain if you're on 30 amp power and you're trying to manage your consumption and you have to run out to the water heater to turn it on and off.
Is it safe to use both electric and gas at the same time?? If so how long can you do this and are there any dangers?
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Old 03-16-2010, 05:18 AM   #13
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Is it safe to use both electric and gas at the same time?? If so how long can you do this and are there any dangers?
Yes. As long as you wish, but it only helps to heat up the water faster. Once the water reaches temp there is not much benifit. There may be a slight advantage in how long the water will run before its to cold for a shower.

Bob
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Old 03-16-2010, 07:34 AM   #14
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Yes. As long as you wish, but it only helps to heat up the water faster. Once the water reaches temp there is not much benifit. There may be a slight advantage in how long the water will run before its to cold for a shower.

Bob
Thanks Bob, I don't have a lot of expertise with this water heater system and we moved up to the MH from a trailer recently. These MH's have so many systems and safeguards its a little overwhelming.
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