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Old 05-27-2016, 10:41 PM   #21
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It's not shorted. If it was shorted then it would trip the circuit breaker. I believe there's was some water buildup around the switch which provided a current path through you to the wet ground you were standing on.

On a side note, most of the time a HW heater element with fail due to corrosion which allows water to contact the ni-chrome element. Then there will be around 1 amp of ground fault leakage current. There's a pretty simple current test can could be performed on RV's using a clamp meter, but no one to my knowledge has documented or performed this test. It's just something in my bag-of-tricks for troubleshooting electrical systems.

If you do turn on the electricity without any water, then the element can melt-down internally. Most of the time it should open-up, but there's a possibility it could short to the outer tube. But that won't be a hard short between two electric wires. In any case, if you have a properly ground-bonded RV, it can't possibly cause a hot-skin voltage condition.
Do you suppose replacing the socket that the water heater is plugged into with a ground fault interrupter has value? I'm not sure how this would behave if the ground to the trailer is open, but in the case of surface leakage from moisture on a switch to someone standing on wet ground it should trip just fine.

If this doesn't cause nuisance trips due to internal leakages in the water heater, it might save someone from a nasty shock.
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Old 05-27-2016, 11:01 PM   #22
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I think better yet would be a redesign of the water heater. Remote the switch inside the trailer by control panel. Also shield the overtemp valve so water doesn't run down the whole water heater face.
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Old 05-27-2016, 11:33 PM   #23
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I think better yet would be a redesign of the water heater. Remote the switch inside the trailer by control panel. Also shield the overtemp valve so water doesn't run down the whole water heater face.
Someone in a recent thread (last few days) had a pic where he put a fitting in the end of his valve and piece of PEX running down to the bottom of the heater, with an elbow at the bottom. This directed the water down and out.
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Old 05-27-2016, 11:40 PM   #24
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I think better yet would be a redesign of the water heater. Remote the switch inside the trailer by control panel. Also shield the overtemp valve so water doesn't run down the whole water heater face.
Yeah. I really like the idea of a remote switch and pilot light.
In my trailer it's a little hard to run the wires from the heater to a decent location inside, so it'll be a while before I do this...
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