Travel Trailer (RV) Mods!! Electric Water Heater Element

December 1, 2016 Trailer Mods / Repairs




This is a four part video series on choosing, gathering parts and tools, preparing for and finally installing an electric water heater element.  The only reason it is four parts is to keep each individual video around or below the 10 minute range.


Part 1:  Choosing the electric water heater system and gathering the parts and tools to do the job.

Unpacking and unboxing the parts for modding an Atwood Propane Water Heater and fitting it with an Electric Heating Element.

Also description of tools one might need for the job.


Diamond Group HR6 Water Heater Parts Kit
Light Switch with or Without Pilot Light
Single Gang Old Work Box or Similar


6 Way Screwdriver
Electrical Wire Cutter / Stripper
Razor Knife
Wrenches / Pliers
Drill Bits 1/4 and 1/2
15/16 Socket
1-1/16 Socket


Spade Lugs (Assorted Types)
Crimping Tool



Part 2 – Prep Work and Installation of Outside Components

Looking over possible obstacles and planning for drilling the hole for cable entry.  Installing the bushing and heating element.  Making up outside electrical connections.


Part 3 – Inside Wiring and Switch Installation

Looking over possible places to get electricity to the heater.  Installing the on/off switch.  Making up inside electrical connections.



Part 4 – Final Connections and Testing

Making up all of the switch connections, crimping spade lugs, another tool recommendation. Discussion of Stranded as opposed to solid cable and the need for spade lugs.

While I realize that a ratcheting crimper is fairly expensive, in the 30+ years I’ve spent in the electronics industry, I have seen lots of connection breakdowns over time. Especially those subjected to more harsh conditions (like in a trailer or RV). To date, I have never seen a properly crimped connector fail at the crimp …. under a screw terminal, yes …. at the crimp, no.

I highly recommend the Paladin PA1305 or PA8021. I use the 1305 and I have several interchangeable die sets that allow me to crimp all sorts of connectors. One of the best tool investments I ever made. There are several manufacturers, out there that make similar crimpers, I just chose Paladin, when I was shopping, years ago. Greenlee and Ideal are two other manufacturers that come to mind as having very similar crimpers.