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Old 08-18-2019, 05:47 PM   #1
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Hot water switches

I have a 2004 Newmar Dutchstar. In the switch panel above the entryway to the coach,there are two switches for the water heater. I'm assuming one for propane and one for electric. Niether is labeled. How do I tell the difference?
Thank you.
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Old 08-18-2019, 05:59 PM   #2
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Turn on just one switch, run the shower with hot water blasting and see if the propane burner comes on, then you know that is the propane switch, right? If not, that is the electric heater. If so, see if the water warms up again in 20 minutes to verify the electric element works. This is the kind of simple testing skills that are critical for RV ownership unless you have a lot of money.
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Old 08-18-2019, 06:00 PM   #3
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I don't know if there were changes between 99 and 04 but my 120 volt switch for the water heater is a standard house style rocker switch and the 12 volt control for the propane is on a small rocker with an LED indicator beside.
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Old 08-18-2019, 06:16 PM   #4
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I don't know if there were changes between 99 and 04 but my 120 volt switch for the water heater is a standard house style rocker switch and the 12 volt control for the propane is on a small rocker with an LED indicator beside.
As mentioned above, there is usually a light of some type to indicate failure of the propane to light/burn. If there is a light on the switch, thatís likely the switch for gas. If there is a separate light, you can try this: Turn off propane at the tank. Flip both switches ON. Soon, the light should come ON because there is no gas available. Turn OFF one of the switches. If light goes out, that switch was for gas heating. If light stays ON, itís the other switch.
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Old 08-19-2019, 07:53 AM   #5
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Thanks for the ideas. Each switch is a household type switch,and each has an LED light. I'm currently plugged into 120 volt extension cord from my home. Does the heater automatically select which power source to use....like my refrigerator does?
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Old 08-19-2019, 08:50 AM   #6
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Thanks for the ideas. Each switch is a household type switch,and each has an LED light. I'm currently plugged into 120 volt extension cord from my home. Does the heater automatically select which power source to use....like my refrigerator does?
Typically, NO. The water heater is capable of heating using both electric and gas at the same time so there is no need nor desire to "select" between the two.


I'm not familiar with the setup on your MH so someone with the exact same design should correct anything that follows. Again, typically, the light glows only if there is a failure in the attempt to heat the water. I've not seen the light associated with the electrical element, but if it is, it may be to indicate the electrical element has been selected, which is the opposite of the light for the gas heating. Someone with a Dutchstar will, hopefully, explain the two lights and their function


Can you post a picture of the control panel showing the switches and lights?
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Old 08-19-2019, 09:06 AM   #7
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The best way to figure out which is gas and which is electrical is to flip one switch on. If the led comes on, then goes off after a few seconds, it's the gas switch. If it stays on, flip the other one on. If it stays on too, you have a problem with the gas ignition system. And it will take more investigation.
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Old 08-19-2019, 09:39 AM   #8
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Turn off your LP at the tank and connect to shore power. Flip a switch, do you have hot water? If yes lapel the switch "Electric" and the other switch "LP".
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Old 08-19-2019, 11:16 AM   #9
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Turn on just one switch, run the shower with hot water blasting and see if the propane burner comes on, then you know that is the propane switch, right? If not, that is the electric heater. If so, see if the water warms up again in 20 minutes to verify the electric element works. This is the kind of simple testing skills that are critical for RV ownership unless you have a lot of money.

This.
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Old 08-19-2019, 11:27 AM   #10
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Thanks for the ideas. Each switch is a household type switch,and each has an LED light. I'm currently plugged into 120 volt extension cord from my home. Does the heater automatically select which power source to use....like my refrigerator does?
The 2 household type switches, one is for the hot water heater(120 VAC) and the other is for the block heater(120 VAC)

There should be a 12 VDC rocker switch with a red light beside it for the propane side of the water heater, when I turn mine on, the red light comes on, and after the burner is lit, the red light goes out and the propane side of the heater is working.

Auto select, no.......you have to turn on which one you want to use or turn both on for high demand hot water.
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Old 08-19-2019, 11:50 AM   #11
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Use your amp meter

A water heater element takes a lot of current. If you have a current meter in that same area you will see a high demand amp jump when you activate the electric element. Do this when the tank is cold just to ensure the element comes on immediately.

I run electric when at a Campground and gas only when needed (30 amp campground I couldn't run AC and Water heater at the same time.)
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Old 08-19-2019, 12:00 PM   #12
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Have some one stand near your WH. When you hit the gas switch they should hear the igniter clicking and then the burner lighting. Also if on gas the WH vent on the side of your coach will be emitting hot Gases.
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Old 08-20-2019, 05:36 PM   #13
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Thank you all for the responses. I actually have three switches... propane,electric,and block heater. The block heater is marked but the other two are not. I have a lot of great ideas to try. I'll get to them tonight . Thanks to all.
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Old 08-23-2019, 07:10 PM   #14
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Got it all sorted out finally. Switches are labeled at last. Thank you all for your help.
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