I'd like to install a switch for the lower element of my water heater. I haven't even looked inside the water heater yet, but I'm a little confused about what the best way to go about doing this would be. When I open it up, I'm assuming that it's going to be easy to understand -- the element is probably just pigtailed off with wire nuts or connected to a bus. Getting the switch to work should be easy: shut off power, run the hot wire through a switch, reconnect power.
The hard part is making the whole thing look respectable. I've only come up with one option in that regard:
- take apart the 240v receptacle, pigtail the +/- 120v lines
- run one of the pigtails to a switch directly above/below the receptacle
- run the two new lines (one being the switched leg) into another 240v receptacle box
- drill hole in metal plate on top of water heater to accommodate the second cord
- put the bottom element on the switched cord
That's a lot of work just to make the lower element switched, though, so if anyone can think of a more reasonable alternative, I'm all ears!