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Old 08-13-2015, 06:46 PM   #1
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Suburban Water Heater Electric Switch

Evening everyone. My Lexi has one of the Suburban water heaters, gas/electric, with the electric switch almost hidden in the outside compartment.
Have any of you with a similar setup run a switch into the interior?
I can see how it could be done, and the switch, a rocker type looks like it can simply be pried out.
But, how much wire is behind the switch? Enough to pull some out to splice new wire on to run into the interior? I have partial access to the back, but not enough to find or trace wiring. Thinking of simply popping factory switch out, splicing wire and running it to the interior/bathroom, and adding a new lighted rocker switch.
Opinions???
Grumpy
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Old 08-14-2015, 07:34 AM   #2
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I wired my switch right from the outlet the water heater plugs into. Kept the little black switch and used a red lighted switch from ACE.
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Old 08-17-2015, 02:43 PM   #3
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I'm trying to decide what to do with my HW electric on/off switch or outlet as well as the outlet for the fridge as I want to force propane when I'm using the inverter I installed. I'm thinking I may try a wireless on/off control using something like this:
Etekcity Power Saving Remote Control Electrical Plug & Outlet Wireless Switch Adapter & Converter Kit for Household Appliances (Fixed Code, 3Rx-1Tx) - Electric Plugs - Amazon.com
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Old 08-17-2015, 02:55 PM   #4
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I was shown this switch when my Dealer went through the walk through. i either didnt listen or didn't comprehend what I was told (or both). Can someone explain operation. When the switch if off it runs on.....? when the switch is on it runs on.....? the instruction do about as good of a job explaining as I do listening.
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Old 08-17-2015, 03:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rclogg View Post
I was shown this switch when my Dealer went through the walk through. i either didnt listen or didn't comprehend what I was told (or both). Can someone explain operation. When the switch if off it runs on.....? when the switch is on it runs on.....? the instruction do about as good of a job explaining as I do listening.
For me when the switch is off it runs on propane. I have to then turn the propane on/off using a switch inside my trailer.

I was just playing with this today as we just got our first TT and I wanted to test the electric heating as it's been using propane only in the month and a half we had it. I thought it might not be working right because I would turn the electric switch 'on' then go and turn the switch on inside and the burner would fire up!

Finally figured out that the switch inside is for the propane only on/off. So to use electric the inside switch is off and the switch outside is on! Only took 6-7 tries to figure that out.

Not sure what happens if you have electric switch on and then turn on the propane switch!??
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Old 08-17-2015, 03:05 PM   #6
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Electric switch on (the one next to water heater) runs on electric . Now if you turn on gas (located by entry door in camper) this will also use gas to heat the water with electric also (works faster) if you turn off only electric it will be heated by gas only if switch on. Make sure to have your propane valve open if using gas.
Option are electric, gas or both to heat faster since its only 6 gallons.
**I use gas only so i can use the AC without drawing to many amps in the summer.***
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Old 08-17-2015, 03:10 PM   #7
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rc, when the switch is "off", the heater will run on gas only, and obviously requires the gas supply to be on. When the switch is "on", its running off of shore power as long as your plugged in (won't run off your converter/12 volt). If your plugged in and both the gas and electric are on, the heater will use both power sources to heat water, which is overkill.
Thats why there are two seperate switches. Gas will heat the water quicker, but using the shore power at a campground is cheaper, as your already paying for it, so why not use it.
Unfortunately, most manufacturers don't put both switches inside the rig, usually only the gas switch.
If both were inside, you could cycle between the two, as needed. Gas for a quick heat up or electric to just maintain the water temp.
Two things to remember...on electric there MUST be water in the heater tank or the element will burn out, and when using electric it will draw quite a bit of power, so you may not be able to use other appliances or it may throw a breaker.
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Old 08-17-2015, 03:10 PM   #8
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Ours has the option for both. We have a electric switch inside the rv in our control panel cabinet. I personally use propane when I can cause it heats it up much quicker. I believe our unit will only work on one or the other. When we are full hookups I will usually set to electric as soon as we are setup and it works alright.
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Old 08-17-2015, 03:23 PM   #9
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Mine only has the gas inside. For electric I have to go in n out to turn on n off. Thats why I'm trying to rig an inside switch. Probably do what others have recommended, tap off the breaker/fuse box.
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Old 08-17-2015, 03:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rclogg View Post
I was shown this switch when my Dealer went through the walk through. i either didnt listen or didn't comprehend what I was told (or both). Can someone explain operation. When the switch if off it runs on.....? when the switch is on it runs on.....? the instruction do about as good of a job explaining as I do listening.
See if this detailed FAQ helps, as the Suburban water heater is one of the most ill-explained things when purchasing a RV.

http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ore-36197.html
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Old 08-17-2015, 03:37 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by grumpy0374 View Post
Mine only has the gas inside. For electric I have to go in n out to turn on n off. Thats why I'm trying to rig an inside switch. Probably do what others have recommended, tap off the breaker/fuse box.
Grumpy
There are several threads on this in the modification section. Here is one:

http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ter-54847.html
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Old 08-17-2015, 03:39 PM   #12
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Grumpy, we have the same water heater in our Lexington also and the electric switch is a royal pain especially when attempting to re install the pin back in the switch after you turn the power off.
I read a thread in the forum awhile back and the author interrupted the power at the breaker/fuse panel and routed the power thru a switch and just left the original switch in the on position. Personally I would not use a cheap rocker switch since I doubt they are rated for the amount of amps the water heater draws. I would use a 15 or 20 amp switch with a pilot light similar to a Leviton Model # R52-05226-0WS. I was thinking about mounting the switch right next to the power panel for ease of installation.
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Old 08-17-2015, 03:40 PM   #13
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Ours has the option for both. We have a electric switch inside the rv in our control panel cabinet. I personally use propane when I can cause it heats it up much quicker. I believe our unit will only work on one or the other. When we are full hookups I will usually set to electric as soon as we are setup and it works alright.
It can work on one or the other, or both simultaneously. It's explained here in more detail:

http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ore-36197.html

Even if you have both the electric and propane/DSI switch on the inside of the RV, they both can used simultaneously to get the fastest heated water. This is good if several people are taking showers in succession.

We talked about recovery rates recently here:

http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ion-89578.html
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Old 08-17-2015, 03:48 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by wmtire View Post
Even if you have both the electric and propane/DSI switch on the inside of the RV, they both can used simultaneously to get the fastest heated water. This is good if several people are taking showers in succession.
Well I'll be a monkeys uncle. Thats really good to know!
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Old 08-17-2015, 03:50 PM   #15
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cljash, my original plan was the "kiss" plan. Just pull the original rocker switch from the unit, splice correct size wire to lengthen and run wire stright up thru the water heater cubby into the bathroom (water heater is directly below sink). Attach a new, quality lighted switch and mount to bathroom cabinet.
This way I would avoud having to tap into fuse/breaker panel. Basically I would just be relocating the switch.
Was just trying to find out, if I pry the original switch out of its original location, is there enough wire there for me to access for a splice.
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Old 08-17-2015, 03:58 PM   #16
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Personally in all the campers I have owned I have never used electric to heat water always propane. Works great and does not use much gas. Camp all summer long and never have emty a 30 # tank.
Just something else you may burn up at some point in time by forgetting to turn off and having an emty tank. Later RJD
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Old 08-17-2015, 04:49 PM   #17
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Personally, I keep both on unless shore power is inadequate. I have two DD's so long showers...'nuff said. I ignore the Suburban external switch (until winterizing) and use the breaker. Last HTT had both electric and propane hw switches on the control center.
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Old 08-17-2015, 05:26 PM   #18
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I did it on my last 5er. Just mounted a household 110 light switch on the wall inside. Tapped into the power where the water heater plugged in.
I leave elec wh on all the time unless on generator.
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