Winnie had Faulty Wiring – a Fire Avoided

Many travel trailers including Winnie have a combination of  electric and gas hot water. The electric hot water is essentially free when at a campground since power is included in the capping fee. The propane option heats more quickly but is limited to what we can carry in the two 20-pound propane containers that also provide energy for our refrigerator and central heat when we are not in a campground.

We try to conserve the gas heat and use it only when we camp without electricity or when we want a long hot shower since the combination of the gas and electric heating make hot water faster than we use it while showering.

Look at the featured image above. The black wire feeding power to the control relay is burned thru. The white wire has the insulation burned off but the wiring is still intact, and the green safety ground is partially melted.

When the trailer was built, rather than proper splices, the hot water relay connections were done with twist on connectors that are known to fail. To make matters worse, the builders filled box that holds the connections and the hot water relay with saw dust that apparently entered the box during trailer construction.  The sawdust made it likely that the wiring fire would catch and cause a more serious disaster. We were lucky, the hot water stopped hearing before the sawdust caught fire.

Hot Water Relay box with improper splice and sawdust.

We were lucky. The wires melted, the insulation burned, the circuit breaker did not trip (?) and the fire did not spread.

Stu checked the relay and found it working, checked the incoming power and found it OK, and he checked the relay and found the melt-down above.

A proper installation of a hot water heater requires high temperature connections that are waterproof.

Damaged wiring removed, remaining wiring properly spliced and protected with high temperature insulation. Winnie has hot water again.

Lots of hot water now. Little risk of another electrical problem.