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Old 12-08-2019, 04:21 PM   #1
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THOR #13058
Lockout Hot Water Heater or Warning Winterized Labels

Has anyone seen a simple way to lockout the hot water heater? (meaning to prevent a user from flipping the switch inside the coach to turn the heater on)

I guess I could put tape over the switch maybe even some notes in coach to say the hot water is not available.

Now let me elaborate on why I ask.

I am in Dallas area and do not wish to have true winterizing as I wish to use the coach year around. Not a fan of that RV antifreeze pink stuff although I have bought and will use if needed

I have drained the hot water heater, set bypass switch on so no new water flows to the heater. However, all of my other plumbing is fine. I just have cold water through all faucets. I am good with that. But if someone hits that switch wanting hot water I could burn up my heating elements. Seems like there ought to be a way to ensure heater does not engage from switch or way to cover switch or tag the switch inside as locked out?

My plan is if I take a trip I simply turn off heater bypass and have hot water if needed. If a freeze is coming, all I need to be worried about are the waterlines; but if furnace is on, cabinet doors open, that should not be major concern. If major freeze is coming, then I simply drain the waterlines and perhaps even the fresh water tank?
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Old 12-08-2019, 04:54 PM   #2
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Ummmm, the breaker for the 120 VAC heating element?
The fuse for the 12 VDC controller?
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Old 12-08-2019, 04:54 PM   #3
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You can't just tell the people so close to you, you intimately travel with them
'don't touch that switch?'

When you looked for a circuit breaker, did you find one?

It sorta sounds like you're going to have people without any regard for you staying in your rv.
Are you going to airbnb it during the superbowl or something similar?

Late edit:
OK, I found an instance where I might understand.
Are you going to use it as extra living space during the holidays for overflow guests? We're going to to do this.
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Old 12-08-2019, 05:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 16ACE27 View Post
Ummmm, the breaker for the 120 VAC heating element?
The fuse for the 12 VDC controller?
I don't know how it plumbed, but my water heater is 6 gallon propane with electronic ignition. So I guess it could be both? I may need to check manual on heater or see if I can find breaker or fuse. If it is specifically for water heater and nothing else, that will be my safest bet.
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Old 12-08-2019, 06:11 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by dkoldman View Post
I don't know how it plumbed, but my water heater is 6 gallon propane with electronic ignition. So I guess it could be both? I may need to check manual on heater or see if I can find breaker or fuse. If it is specifically for water heater and nothing else, that will be my safest bet.
If you have separate switches for Gas and Electric for you water heater it will be both.
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Old 12-08-2019, 06:19 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by ducksface View Post
You can't just tell the people so close to you, you intimately travel with them
'don't touch that switch?'

For now, I put a post it sticky note over the panel saying heater winterized Do not turn water heater on.

When you looked for a circuit breaker, did you find one? I need to check manual to see if I can find , this is great idea; if I turn off the entire LP gas heater system to effectively render hot water switch useless

It sorta sounds like you're going to have people without any regard for you staying in your rv.
Are you going to airbnb it during the superbowl or something similar? No, no way I rent out our new RV. It is mine Since I have stored in my driveway, I am in and out of quite a bit. I don't think anybody would flip that switch, but note I said I don't "think". Heck I may even forget as I am the one most likely to flip to switch. My wife is still scared to shut door. It keeps opening on her when she is trying to close on inside. I finally figure out why. She has tendency to lift up on the inside handle; so the latch is open when it makes contact and opens back up.

Late edit:
OK, I found an instance where I might understand.
Are you going to use it as extra living space during the holidays for overflow guests? We're going to to do this.

Think of it as a man cave outside our garage now. During holidays and when we travel, I will likely turn off the bypass and allow water to flow back to water heater tank. My only objective is take the potential for any damage to hot water heater outside the equation when it is in my driveway when I know I don't have any real need for. At the same time, I still will have flowing water, but no hot water. If temperatures drop to 38 degrees or so, I can easily run furnace to keep the other waterlines warm or simply drain all of the water lines. If I drain the full fresh water tank, I could be dumping as much as 70 gallons.

If I were in Michigan and knew I would not use RV at all until next Spring this would not be in play. But I am in Dallas and we may go below 32 degrees maybe 5 times a year, and almost never below 27. But even if I were to drain everything, someone could still turn the water heater on by mistake. I was just surprise that the winterization procedure did not have a plan for that scenario as to me it (burning up heating element) may be more disastrous than frozen water line in water heater?

BTW; I dumped for the first time yesterday with my new Camco Rhino Flex. When I finished; I finally got a chance to use that San T Flush!!!! Oh the joy I ran it until all the water was clear, and my wife said what are we waiting on now
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Old 12-08-2019, 06:26 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by 16ACE27 View Post
If you have separate switches for Gas and Electric for you water heater it will be both.
Only one hot water switch, and it it appears to be tied to House battery. You just may have pointed to at least one work around option

If the House disconnect switch is off; then water heater will not turn on. I need to see if there is 12VDC breaker I can switch on /off for water heater.
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Old 12-08-2019, 06:43 PM   #8
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Turn the electric circuit breaker off! You can't turn off the 12 volt side because it is shared with the fridge and the furnace, You'll just have to tape it off.
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Old 12-08-2019, 07:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkoldman View Post
Only one hot water switch, and it it appears to be tied to House battery. You just may have pointed to at least one work around option

If the House disconnect switch is off; then water heater will not turn on. I need to see if there is 12VDC breaker I can switch on /off for water heater.
I forgot you had a SOB. If you have a Suburban Water Heater the electric part (if equipped) will be outside behind the access door towards the bottom left corner:



There will not be a DC breaker for the water heater, it will be a fuse and as previously mentioned - that fuse may supply power to other appliances as well. If that is the case you can pull the connectors off the controller card to disable the propane side of the water heater for an Atwood; a Surburban may be more difficult:

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Old 12-08-2019, 08:12 PM   #10
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If you only have 1 switch inside, it's gas only...You will not burn up ANYTHING if you accidently turn it on. If it's electric also there will be 2 switches inside + another switch on the heater as shown in the picture above. THAT IS your safety switch. Not too complicated
There is NO reason to go looking for low voltage wiring and fuses. KISS

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Old 12-08-2019, 08:36 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Porkchop View Post
If you only have 1 switch inside, it's gas only...You will not burn up ANYTHING if you accidently turn it on. If it's electric also there will be 2 switches inside + another switch on the heater as shown in the picture above. THAT IS your safety switch. Not too complicated
There is NO reason to go looking for low voltage wiring and fuses. KISS

Bill
Only if it is s SW6DEL model. The SW6DE does not have the remote switch.

Never run a water heater on either gas or electric if it is empty.

Even on gas! If there is any water in there at all it will boil to steam and then superheated steam/pressure as the thermostatic cut-off may not read the internal tank temperature accurately in a steam environment.
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Old 12-08-2019, 08:42 PM   #12
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The op never looked for a breaker, never opened the access door, didn't read the manual, didn't contemplate a 1500w electric $15 coach heater set at 45.
Should we be coaching or suggesting professionals?

Now we're down the rabbit hole to individual models....


Op, just put a mint tin and tape over the switch or call for on site help.
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Old 12-08-2019, 09:03 PM   #13
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THOR #13058
Quote:
Originally Posted by 16ACE27 View Post
I forgot you had a SOB. If you have a Suburban Water Heater the electric part (if equipped) will be outside behind the access door towards the bottom left corner:

There will not be a DC breaker for the water heater, it will be a fuse and as previously mentioned - that fuse may supply power to other appliances as well. If that is the case you can pull the connectors off the controller card to disable the propane side of the water heater for an Atwood; a Surburban may be more difficult:
This is what mine heater looks like. It is Suburban. I drained the water this morning and will put plug back in soon enough. I don't see any switches; just reset buttons; so I assume I just will have to go with the post it note also in picture.

Of course I can't rotate the pictures.
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Old 12-08-2019, 09:07 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 16ACE27 View Post
[B]

Never run a water heater on either gas or electric if it is empty.

Even on gas! If there is any water in there at all it will boil to steam and then superheated steam/pressure as the thermostatic cut-off may not read the internal tank temperature accurately in a steam environment.
You are correct manual says to not run heater with water drained. Thus my dilemma, trying to figure out a foolproof way to ensure it is not turned on by accident when the coach may otherwise still have activity
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Old 12-09-2019, 12:10 AM   #15
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Not to be a wet blanket but what more is really required other than tape off the switch and leave note as you have done?
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Old 12-09-2019, 12:34 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkoldman View Post
You are correct manual says to not run heater with water drained. Thus my dilemma, trying to figure out a foolproof way to ensure it is not turned on by accident when the coach may otherwise still have activity
My coach has a circuit breaker for the water heater. Turn off the breaker and then someone would have to intentionally turn on the breaker and it would not be an accident. The other thing is to unplug the leads on the water heater's circuit board.

The only true fool proof method would be to remove the water heater and put it in storage. Or, remove the switch panel and disconnect the wires from the back of the switch.

I'm sorry, but if I was that concerned I would have to tell the relatives or whoever there are 5 hotels within 3 miles of the house, dinner is served at 3:00. If I have that little trust in someone they are not welcome in my coach.
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Old 12-09-2019, 01:06 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by EA37TS View Post
My coach has a circuit breaker for the water heater. Turn off the breaker and then someone would have to intentionally turn on the breaker and it would not be an accident. The other thing is to unplug the leads on the water heater's circuit board.

The only true fool proof method would be to remove the water heater and put it in storage. Or, remove the switch panel and disconnect the wires from the back of the switch.

I'm sorry, but if I was that concerned I would have to tell the relatives or whoever there are 5 hotels within 3 miles of the house, dinner is served at 3:00. If I have that little trust in someone they are not welcome in my coach.
I don't think the question was about trust, but if it could be done simply? The manual made big broadcast about NOT turning on the heater when drained. I thought it would be simple but apparently NOT.

I did find breaker inside the coach. It is 15 amp breaker but controls the Water Heater and Converter. My plan was to NOT shut down any other aspect of the coach. If I wanted to do that; I could just turn off the house disconnect switch.

I will stick with my Post It Note solution. No one is going inside unless I unlock the door anyway. The note reminder may actually be more so for me than others. My boat has tags that say winterize that I use so it is easy for me to remember. i.e. it is my first RV and I have only had 10 days but I figure I will fill that heater and drain it again 5 times between now and March. This is not a major deal, but I simply plan to have heater drain during winter until I need it. drain the waterlines when/ if temperature hits 32, pump out the water tank if forecast is going to be 27 or below overnight.
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Old 12-09-2019, 01:13 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by MJC62 View Post
Not to be a wet blanket but what more is really required other than tape off the switch and leave note as you have done?
That appears to be my conclusion. No one will flip that switch underneath that Post it Note.

My winterization plan (for Dallas Texas)

1. Keep water heater drained Dec, Jan & Feb but fill whenever I travel or need during the winter.
2. Drain the waterlines when / if temperature is forecasted to hit 32 degrees (add 1 cup of RV Antifreeze directly in all sinks for P traps
3. Pump out the water tank if forecast is going to be 27 or below overnight. Blow it out with compressed air (30 psi) (add 1 cup of RV Antifreeze directly in all sinks for P traps
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Old 12-09-2019, 11:31 AM   #19
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Borrow some of your wife's red nail polish and paint the switch, town too if you have the time!!! I have several switches and breakers painted red to remind me “do I really want to use this and why”.
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Old 12-09-2019, 01:27 PM   #20
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hhmmmmmm.... it seems you should just keep your water heater ON all winter....hot water CAN NOT FREEZE!

Simple... don't fret it. Hot water in the tank is actually your BEST option, not the opposite. If you are plugged in, it's a no brainer.

Also, since water does not freeze until WELL BELOW 32degrees for many hours, especially for water lines WITHIN your RV, you don't need to over worry about the temperatures and your 'new' RV. It's quite possible in your area that you'll not need to worry about 'winterizing' at all.
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