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Old 06-22-2011, 07:29 AM   #1
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Location: Kingston, Ontario
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Using water heater on electric with fresh water tank

I was camping at a provincial park in Canada with 30 amp electric without water or sewer. This is a pretty standard set-up for Ontario provincial parks (maybe Canada).

I almost always use the electric option on the water heater as I was this time as well. On our last morning as I was finishing up my shower I realized the pump wasn't shutting off so the fresh water tank was likely empty which a quick check confirmed. When this happens should I also assume the hot water tank is empty and sprint out to turn off the element before damage occurs. I'm hoping the water heater needs water coming in to force the hot water out so there's no risk of running it empty unless you in fact empty it.


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Old 06-22-2011, 07:35 AM   #2
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I hope others will confirm, but I think it runs even without water. Often been told to leave the electric element turned off when setting up camp until water has had chance to fill WH do you don't burn up the element. That sounds like it runs without water. So I'll be anxious to hear confirmation too.

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Old 06-22-2011, 07:42 AM   #3
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Water pressure is what pushes the water out of the tank. However if the faucet in use is lower than the HW tank gravity will take over. With that said your tank depending on install location should hold the water. I would not leave the heater on for any length of time but sure wouldnt take off running naked or in a towel to turn off
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Old 06-22-2011, 07:47 AM   #4
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I agree ! Running naked might turn off a lot more than the water heater element.
Having said that, you may just meet new friends along the way
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:50 AM   #5
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You COULD turn off the breaker for the WH in the converter panel box. That way, you stay inside, and minimize flashing the neighbors! Inside guests may be traumatized for life, however! Randy
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Old 06-22-2011, 10:31 AM   #6
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I did notice that after using the using the electric on the water heater it was a little difficult putting the safety pin back in the switch. I needed a needle nose plier to get the clip back into the switch.

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