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HOW TO: Hot Water Heater 110v element switch, two SAFETY labels

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My Suburban heater has the hidden electric element switch ...  not really hidden, but really hard to see since it is buried up and out of sight, unless you squat down low. The normal convention for all Single Pole switches (in this country) is for UP to be ON. The Suburban switches are backwards.




It is important to leave the outside heater switch turned OFF when you have drained the tank, so that somebody cannot inadvertently close the inside circuit breaker (where ON is UP) and burn out the element when you are hooked to shore power. Without water in the tank, the element will burn out in a minute less than no time, as Mr Rodgers said.


[attachment file=HWH label annotated.jpg]


[attachment file=HWH Switch location.jpg]


This way I can feel with my finger and verify it is switched off. A replacement element is less than $20 so it isn't a disaster if you do screw up. Just frustrating. It would be nice if this switch was visible and oriented correctly. I suppose you could rotate it 180 degrees, but that would cause problems if you took it to a shop and they were used to the wrong "normal" orientation.


I got this following tip from another member: color the door latch!


Switch turned OFF:


[attachment file=HWH Switch OFF.jpg]


Switch turned ON:


[attachment file=HWH Switch ON.jpg]


I used a black Sharpie instead of red. I figured the red would turn pink quickly.


Interesting side note. I found this comment on an electrical forum about switch orientation (in a circuit breaker panel): "The reason that "down for off" is correct is for when you are being electrocuted whilst working on the fusebox, you can pull down on the switch by so doing cut the power as you slide down the wall..." LOL.


John Davies


Spokane WA





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