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Old 09-15-2019, 10:03 AM   #1
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Question on 2 way water heater

I remember reading somewhere about how you can fry the element if youíre not careful about when you turn on or off the electric switch on the outside. But I canít find that now and wonder if maybe I misread something? If I m traveling and will have electric hookups everywhere I go is it ok to leave the outside switch on? We always turn off the inside switch before disconnecting from power.
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Old 09-15-2019, 10:07 AM   #2
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I remember reading somewhere about how you can fry the element if youíre not careful about when you turn on or off the electric switch on the outside. But I canít find that now and wonder if maybe I misread something? If I m traveling and will have electric hookups everywhere I go is it ok to leave the outside switch on? We always turn off the inside switch before disconnecting from power.
Whether the electric element gets fried or not has ALL to do if the water heater is full of water. No water, element turned on... INSTANTLY fried. I'm now on my THIRD element. You would think I'd learn Fortunately it's only a $20 part and changing it out isn't difficult.... but so unnecessary if I JUST PAID ATTENTION.
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Old 09-15-2019, 10:18 AM   #3
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One time on our 19 we burned out an element. I had drained the water heater in the fall but forgot to turn off the switch. In the spring when I brought it home to get set up for our first trip, before I filled the water tank and heater, my wife plugged the trailer in to cool the fridge.

The good news is the element is cheap, and with 30 minutes to go to Home Depot to pick one up, and 39 minutes to do the install, and all was good.

We have not done this since, but have also gone to using a switch inside which pretty much eliminates the chance of error.
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Old 09-15-2019, 11:04 AM   #4
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One time on our 19 we burned out an element. I had drained the water heater in the fall but forgot to turn off the switch. In the spring when I brought it home to get set up for our first trip, before I filled the water tank and heater, my wife plugged the trailer in to cool the fridge.

The good news is the element is cheap, and with 30 minutes to go to Home Depot to pick one up, and 39 minutes to do the install, and all was good.

We have not done this since, but have also gone to using a switch inside which pretty much eliminates the chance of error.
Jim Did you install the "inside switch" yourself? I have the two way and would prefer an inside switch but I don't know how to solve that puzzle
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Old 09-15-2019, 11:09 AM   #5
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you can turn off the heater on the breaker panel, it is on a dedicated circuit.
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Old 09-15-2019, 11:13 AM   #6
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you can turn off the heater on the breaker panel, it is on a dedicated circuit.
Thanks It should be easy to locate that circuit then and place a more conveniently located secondary switch.
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Old 09-15-2019, 11:16 AM   #7
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Jim Did you install the "inside switch" yourself? I have the two way and would prefer an inside switch but I don't know how to solve that puzzle
Electric Hot Water Heater Switch

The KIB M1086 Tank monitor came in today

Turning off the 2-Way Hot Water Tank
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Old 09-15-2019, 11:25 AM   #8
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you can turn off the heater on the breaker panel, it is on a dedicated circuit.
The breaker is in the converter panel - at least on my trailer, I would have to get on my knees to turn that breaker off.

Much prefer a switch that is easily accessible and I can just glance at.
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Old 09-15-2019, 11:34 AM   #9
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I'm planning on installing a SeeLevel tank monitoring system. It has a switch for the water heater. Problem solved. Thanks
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Old 09-15-2019, 11:42 AM   #10
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I'm planning on installing a SeeLevel tank monitoring system. It has a switch for the water heater. Problem solved. Thanks
Please post info when you install the SeeLevel. The Horst probes aren't all that I thought they would be!
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Old 09-15-2019, 11:43 AM   #11
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Jim Did you install the "inside switch" yourself? I have the two way and would prefer an inside switch but I don't know how to solve that puzzle
In my 19 I added a switch and on light inside to the cable feeding the heater. On my 5.0TA I added a new control panel with a switch for electric like Tom showed.
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Old 09-15-2019, 11:44 AM   #12
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you can turn off the heater on the breaker panel, it is on a dedicated circuit.
You can but it is not recommended to use a breaker as a switch. Not what they are designed for.
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Old 09-15-2019, 11:57 AM   #13
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Thanks for all the help. Sounds like I donít need to worry about the timing of setting that external switch as long as the heater has water in it.
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Old 09-15-2019, 11:58 PM   #14
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I'm planning on installing a SeeLevel tank monitoring system. It has a switch for the water heater. Problem solved. Thanks
The switch on the panel is probably for a low-power 12 volt circuit which controls a relay at the water heater... because that's how these heaters should be controlled. I assume that this is a SeeLevel 709-HP3W; it has a small 12 V switch connected to an 18-gauge wire pigtail. As you may already know, since the model of water heater in an Escape doesn't have that relay, you will need to add one to use the monitor panel's switch.

From the 709-HP3W manual:
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The pump and heater switches are rated for a maximum of 10 amps. The use of a relay is required if more than 10 amps is needed. A 10 amp (max) fuse must be installed in series with the 12V power circuit to the switch!
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Old 09-16-2019, 12:31 AM   #15
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The switch on the panel is probably for a low-power 12 volt circuit which controls a relay at the water heater... because that's how these heaters should be controlled. I assume that this is a SeeLevel 709-HP3W; it has a small 12 V switch connected to an 18-gauge wire pigtail. As you may already know, since the model of water heater in an Escape doesn't have that relay, you will need to add one to use the monitor panel's switch.

From the 709-HP3W manual:
The 709-HP3W was my initial choice because of that switch. I have since decided to go with the 709-P3 which only has the pump switch and get a separate Suburban switch that has both LPG and Elec heater switches.
Thanks for pointing out that relay. I had read that but had forgotten about it. I have three trips coming up in the next few weeks so I'm delaying this install until I have sufficient time to correct any potential screwups I may make.
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Old 09-16-2019, 12:38 AM   #16
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In my 19 I added a switch and on light inside to the cable feeding the heater. On my 5.0TA I added a new control panel with a switch for electric like Tom showed.
That's what I think I'm going to do about the water heater switches. Use a separate panel for the heaters and another for the tank monitors and water pump switch. I also like the idea of adding some nice bight LEDs to remind me that this stuff is on
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Old 09-20-2019, 04:30 PM   #17
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So my 2-way water heater does not work on 110. The breakers are all on. Perhaps I fried the element when not paying attention.

How do I test this? Short of ordering a new element and putting it in no matter what?
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Old 09-20-2019, 04:52 PM   #18
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So my 2-way water heater does not work on 110. The breakers are all on. Perhaps I fried the element when not paying attention.

How do I test this? Short of ordering a new element and putting it in no matter what?
Use a multimeter set on AC volts at the element connections with the water heater electric on. Should see 120V or so. If you do, shut off the power, disconnect both of the leads to the element, and, with the multimeter on ohms, measure across the element. Around 10 ohms is typical, infinite or no reading is an open element, usually caused by firing up the water heater without water. Only takes a minute to do it in...
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Old 09-20-2019, 04:55 PM   #19
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Thank you.

I just looked. The "reset" switch looked like a soft black round rubber gasket with two circles. I pushed both. It felt like there was nothing there. Which I think is a bad sign.

I do have a multimeter. When it's not raining I'll test it. I also think I'll order an element no matter what. For $20 bucks it makes sense to have an extra on hand anyway.
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Old 09-20-2019, 05:01 PM   #20
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Reinforces our decision to go with propane-only water heater.
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