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Old 07-07-2016, 01:20 PM   #1
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Adding Switch for the Electric Water Heater Function

Getting ready to add an on/off switch for the 115 volt switch on my Surburban WH. Right now I'm controlling the on/off via the circuit breaker, the outside switch being left on all the time.
Rather than get fancy by hooking it up by the fuse panel, I can access the wire via a compartment in the bathroom. Could I not just cut the wire, attach it to the switch, and simply mount the switch in the bathroom?
Basically the outside on/off switch would be left on, and the new inside bathroom switch (with light to indicate on/off) would be mounted to the bathroom cabinet. Circuit breaker switch would be left "on".
Any input welcome.
Grumpy
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Old 07-07-2016, 01:34 PM   #2
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120 in the bathroom not on a gfci? I don't know if I would do it. If someone was in the shower and went to turn it on bad things could happen. You could add a 12 volt relay and wire up a 12 volt illuminated switch. Much safer.
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Old 07-07-2016, 01:44 PM   #3
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The 115 volt water heater switch that is mounted in the outside wh compartment is not on any kind of gfi now. The wireing runs from the back of the wh to the circuit breaker panel. Read of others adding a switch via the wire to the back of circuit breaker...all I want to do is cut wire and add switch in bathroom area.
All I want to do is add an inside switch that will be mounted to the bathroom cabinet. Bathroom gfi outlet is on another, seperate wiring circuit.
Shower is seperate. Where I will mount the switch is in room with pottie. No need for gfi.
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Old 07-07-2016, 02:10 PM   #4
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The problem is the WH does not have to be GFCI since it is a dedicated appliance. The trouble comes when you add a switch to a "wet area" or bathroom. If you can touch it when in the shower it is no longer code. Do it if you want I'm just letting you know I NEVER would put a 120 switch anywhere near a shower. $.02
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Old 07-07-2016, 02:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpy0374 View Post
The 115 volt water heater switch that is mounted in the outside wh compartment is not on any kind of gfi now. The wireing runs from the back of the wh to the circuit breaker panel. Read of others adding a switch via the wire to the back of circuit breaker...all I want to do is cut wire and add switch in bathroom area.
All I want to do is add an inside switch that will be mounted to the bathroom cabinet. Bathroom gfi outlet is on another, seperate wiring circuit.
Shower is seperate. Where I will mount the switch is in room with pottie. No need for gfi.
Grumpy
Yes, cutting the wire that runs to the WH from the breaker box and adding a switch (in line) is an acceptable way of doing it.

As long as you have convenient access to the wire that runs to the WH (in your bathroom area) it is a simple modification.
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Old 07-07-2016, 02:21 PM   #6
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Yes, cutting the wire that runs to the WH from the breaker box and adding a switch (in line) is an acceptable way of doing it.

As long as you have convenient access to the wire that runs to the WH (in your bathroom area) it is a simple modification.
Thats exactly what I want to do. And as for not having a gfi inline with it, the switch will be turned on when we set up at a spot, and left on as long as we're on shore power. Turned off when we break down. I basically keep it on the electric as I'm already paying for the electric, and no need to waste my gas.
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Old 07-07-2016, 02:27 PM   #7
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See post #13:

Inside water heater switch
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Old 07-07-2016, 02:38 PM   #8
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Thanks rock. I've read that post and forgot about it. But basically I want to follow along the info in post #4. The back of my wh is behind the sink/cabinet in the bathroom, and wire is very accessable via removing a drawer. Plenty of wire to splice into and mount switch on cabinet front.
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Old 07-08-2016, 04:51 PM   #9
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Re: bathroom switch for hot water

Hi guys. The switch mod for your water heater is fine as long as it is not located in the bathroom ! It is still a live wire coming from your breaker panel ! It can't be anywhere close to sinks or shower. If any other part of your body is touching water and you reached for this switch and a drip of water from your finger on that heater switch made a connection for the electricity to then run through your body and electrocute you ! Even if there was steam in the room that could also bring the live feed out on the moisture onto the switch lever.
You may never have that condition occur, but what if your grandchild touched it with a wet hand and got electrocuted ? Just not worth the risk !!
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Old 07-08-2016, 04:56 PM   #10
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Yes cut wire add switch and leave WH switch on or you could remove it and tie the two wires coming to it together with twist cap and just for safety sake put some tape over it.
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