Electrical Fire WARNING
We have a 2004 JAYCO Legacy. Last week we awoke to the smell of burning insulation. The fire alarm did NOT go off. I located the smell at the hot water heater and when I moved the blue cable, sparks flew. I imeadiately turned off the electric switch and circuit breaker. The circuit breaker did NOT trip. To investigate the problem I removed the black plastic cover, with dificulty, to see what had happened. The electrical wires were balled up together, one wire nut had completely burned up, 6 inches of the 115V white wire burned up, and BOTH of the screws on the electric heating element were so loose that the wires fell off. The difficulty I had with removing the box was due to the ground wire to the thermal switch being only 3 inches long. I have no idea how JAYCO got this hooked up. I ohmed the element and switch. They checked good, so after cleaning up, extending wires, and electrical taping wire nuts, I reinstalled. Everything works fine.
There is some controversy on taping wire nuts. On my rv.net post some said yes & some no. One person said it was a RVIA requirement to tape wire nuts, but I could not confirm. Non in my JAYCO are taped & I tape as I find them.
I notified JAYCO of the problem and received no response.
I was concered about the circuit breaker and discovered that a regular circuit breaker may or may not trip. There are new circuit breakers that came out around 2000 that have a "Arc Fault" that takes care of the problem, but they are expensive. I was also concerned about the fire detector and learned that there are 2 types: 1. "Ionization" cheapest, and 2. "Photo Electric" best. JAYCO is cheapest and I am replacing.
I contacted the National Fire Prevention Association, NFPA, that regulates fire standards for RVs. They had an interesting RV Fire Report for 2003-2006. These are annual averages: 1,960 RV Fires, 22 Deaths, 58 Injuries, 13.7 Million Cost. Origination of fires: 15% refrigerator, 13% electrical distribution, 11% heating.
Be safe out there and I hope that this may help someone. At 68 I am too young to die in an RV fire.