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Old 11-18-2013, 11:50 AM   #1
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Added Inside Switch for Water Heater

I have a 2012 378TS and it only has the 120 volt switch outside at the hot water heater. I know why but still wanted to add a switch inside.
I could use the circuit breaker but they are not meant to be used as a switch.

So I bought a switch light combo at Home Depot and used a small amount of wire.

1. I removed the electrical panel and removed the 3 wires from the hot water heater. (black, white and bare copper)
It was long enough to reach the hole I cut above the electric panel.

2. I added about 18" of romex wire from the electrical panel to the new switch and mounted in the wall with a blue electric box. NOTE:I found all the wiring was with #12 AWG (rated 20amps) instead of #14 AWG (rated at 15 amps) . Good job FR.

3. Now when I want to turn on my electric for the water heater in the morning before showering all I have to do it turn on the switch and the red light comes on to show me it is ON.

I could have located it at a different location but I always try to keep it simple and the present location would be hard to accidently turn it on or off. I plan to add stickers to make it look more professional.

Very easy project for about $10 and an hour of time.
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Old 11-18-2013, 03:13 PM   #2
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Iggy, did you keep the breaker in the circuit? If so, did you need extra wire for that connection?

Bill
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Old 11-18-2013, 03:31 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bend302 View Post
Iggy, did you keep the breaker in the circuit? If so, did you need extra wire for that connection?

Bill

I just wired from the breaker to the new switch using about 18" of 12/2 with ground romex then use the existing wire from the switch to the heater.
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Old 11-18-2013, 03:46 PM   #4
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I did the same-------------------

Iggy, I did the same mod two years ago. But what I found out is you should cycle the OFF/ON switch several times on the hot water tank ever so often.

The reason is I guess the switch becomes corroded and will lose contact. I found this to be true after 18 months of the mod being performed. My Hot water tank stopped getting hot on the electrical side. After investigating the problem, I found the switch was working but at high internal resistance and thus lower voltage at the element.
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Old 11-18-2013, 04:22 PM   #5
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Yes, those small black switches on the actual heater aren't rated high enough to handle constant uses ON/OFFs. The switch I installed is rated at 20 amps and should easily handle the load of the electric element going on. I'm happy.
Have a great day!

[Edit Note - The on/off actually cleans the contacts. Not using it at all allows the contacts to corrode]
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Old 02-14-2014, 04:42 PM   #6
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Water heater switch

Iggy, When you spliced in the extra wire did you use wire nuts or butt splice connecters?

Getting ready to do mine.
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Old 02-15-2014, 12:18 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Iggy, When you spliced in the extra wire did you use wire nuts or butt splice connecters?

Getting ready to do mine.


Orange or yellow wire nuts are fine for #14 gauge wire. Its fine for the neutral and ground wires. The black are attached to the new switch and one neutral for the light.
All I did was disconnected the black hot wire from the 15 amp circuit breaker and pulled out of the panel box and fed it into my new switch box above. I also pulled the neutral(white) as well as the bare ground wire into the new switch box.
You really don't need to do the white or ground wire just the black hot wire.

I then added the black, white and bare copper from the new switch box back into the electrical panel and hooked up the black to the circuit breaker, white to the neutral buss and the bare copper to the ground buss.

Hope this explain more for you.
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