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Old 04-13-2011, 02:12 PM   #1
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Small Electric on-demand water heater and a 20A plug

So, all you circuit heads out there: I am thinking of retrofitting with solar to run the HW and fridge on my 1964 Globetrotter. That comes next year. In the mean time, I'm thinking of using a small Stiebel Eltron Mini 4 on demand unit, to be located under the sink and plugged into the fridge outlet. We don't have a fridge and use an icebox, which is fine. We're used to very low water consumption and quick showers, so I think the application issues are worked out, but the thing draws 15.2 amps and I'm wondering if we'd overload something using the fridge outlet. OR, can I add another breaker to the box (30amp with two breakers in it) and add an outlet. Thanks
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Old 04-13-2011, 06:08 PM   #2
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Yes, BUT!

Does this unit plug into a standard 120 volt outlet?
Do you have space in the panel for a 20 amp breaker?
If so, it is feasable; You will need to run #12 Romex and wire it in to an outlet that is rated for 20 amps. When you buy the outlet, make sure it is rated for 20 amps; the most common outlets are rated for 15 amps.
If you have an air conditioner and it is running when your water heater kicks in, it may exceed the 30 amps limit. Or if you are running an electric space heater, they are usually around 1500 watts or 12 amps. For that matter any high wattage appliance will get you close to your limit of 30 amps when the water heater kicks in. Those would be areas of concern.
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Old 04-13-2011, 06:24 PM   #3
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I had a three element unit. I think it was around 60 amps I moved before installing it so gave it to my daughter. It lasted a couple of months and burned two element. It would heat to warm water. They replaced all three elements. It failed again in about 6 months so they bought a conventional unit. The unit was a Botch. Maybe you will have better luck with a single element unit.
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Old 04-14-2011, 01:48 AM   #4
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Thanks again TG. Air Conditioning? We're in northern California, I have it in my car but thats it. We'd have to be mindful of what was plugged in at the same time. More thinking is in order for this.. thanks
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Old 04-14-2011, 06:35 AM   #5
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If anyone is going to do a proper job of electrical re-wiring, you should use a high quality stranded marine grade cable rather than Romex. Solid copper conductors have their place in houses that don't bump and bounce down the road, but I have seen many electrical faults in RVs that are the direct result of broken solid copper wires which break from the work hardening it receives from bouncing and vibration. I use nothing but marine cable. The slight price difference is minimal for your piece of mind and the labor you expend in doing the job.

Do it right......DO IT ONCE!!!
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Old 04-14-2011, 08:49 AM   #6
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Wow, that is simply fascinating, I love finding out details like that- it is counterintuitive to me, I had thought that the solid wire would hold up better against vibration, that the stranded would fray. I try to use marine grade stuff for everything as an extra precaution against moisture.
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