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Old 05-30-2016, 12:27 AM   #1
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Hot Water heater

Grey Wolf 2016 DBH

We are heading camping next weekend and have a few quick Q's about the Hot water heater.

1. I flushed out the RV antifreeze and semi filled the fresh water tank today and got rid of all the pink stuff. How do I know when it's safe to switch the bypass back to the normal position? I hear that antifreeze will screw up the anode. I ran the 12 pump and flushed all the lines and drained the fresh water tank. Should I fill it again or an I going overboard here? It was winterized by the dealer when I bought it, should I hook up the city water connection too just in case there is any small amount in that part of the water circuit?

2. If I am hooked up to electrical I can switch on the Heater in the control panel and if I want to use gas I need to flip the switch in the outside water heater compartment - Is that correct??

Thanks!
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Old 05-30-2016, 12:38 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Dr-G View Post
Grey Wolf 2016 DBH

We are heading camping next weekend and have a few quick Q's about the Hot water heater.

1. I flushed out the RV antifreeze and semi filled the fresh water tank today and got rid of all the pink stuff. How do I know when it's safe to switch the bypass back to the normal position? I hear that antifreeze will screw up the anode. I ran the 12 pump and flushed all the lines and drained the fresh water tank. Should I fill it again or an I going overboard here? It was winterized by the dealer when I bought it, should I hook up the city water connection too just in case there is any small amount in that part of the water circuit?

What I do....put a little water in the tank and run it with a faucet open for 30 seconds or so. That'll more than get rid of any antifreeze in the water pump. Hook to city water and run hot and cold through all the lines until it runs clear at all faucets. Then open up the valves to the water heater and close the bypass. Open the pressure relief valve on the water heater until water starts to come out, then close it.

2. If I am hooked up to electrical I can switch on the Heater in the control panel and if I want to use gas I need to flip the switch in the outside water heater compartment - Is that correct??

Thanks!
No, not correct. I'm assuming you have a Suburban heater with a single switch inside. The switch inside (probably w/ a light next to it) is for the propane side. The little switch on the water heater is for the electric element. Under no circumstance should that be turned on unless you're positive it's full of water or you'll be replacing the element.
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Old 05-30-2016, 01:00 AM   #3
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No, not correct. I'm assuming you have a Suburban heater with a single switch inside. The switch inside (probably w/ a light next to it) is for the propane side. The little switch on the water heater is for the electric element. Under no circumstance should that be turned on unless you're positive it's full of water or you'll be replacing the element.
Oh OK. I got it backwards! Yes it is a Suburban heater with a lighted rocker switch. So flip the outside switch at the campground when hooked up to electrical and use gas when boondocking only? Tomorrow I will fill it with water again and sanitize and then fill the hot water tank.
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Old 05-30-2016, 03:31 AM   #4
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So flip the outside switch at the campground when hooked up to electrical and use gas when boondocking only?
Not necessarily. It's all about preference. You can use the propane when at the campground or both at the same time if you want the fastest heated water. Many campers use both simultaneously if several people are taking showers in succession, to have the fastest heated water recovery time. As per Suburban's web page:

http://www.airxcel.com/suburban/prod...n-gas-electric

Some Rv'ers never use the electric. Some never use the propane. You just have to find what works best for you. The water heater doesn't consume a lot of propane but it does consume some.

One consideration with the electric heating element, especially when connected to 30 amp power supplies, is that when the electric heating element is actually heating the water, it is also using 12 amps being it has a 1440 watt heating element. You need to be aware of this, so you don't overload circuits if you are using the air-conditioner, microwave, and other electric things at the same time period...as the electric heating element is actually on and heating the water.

Personally, I only use the electric heating element in cooler weather, when I won't have the air conditioner on...but that is just what I have found works best for me not to trip circuit breakers. Each RV is a little different in this aspect.

Here is a very detailed tutorial on the Suburban water heater that may help:

Suburban's electric switch and much more

Also, not knowing your experience level, I usually recommend these simple electrical tutorials by Mark Polk to those just starting out.

Basic RV Electricity - RV Information (RV Maintenance)

then this one

RV Converters and Amp Draw - RV Information (RV Maintenance)

Hope it helps.
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Old 05-31-2016, 11:33 AM   #5
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Thanks but one more question!

Thanks those articles helped a lot. I made the available offline in case I have a question without internet access. I do have all my manuals stored in the trailer also.

I filled my tank and tested it on propane first (I assume it heats faster that way) then switched over to electrical and waited a few hours and it was still hot.

In the article from Suburban it says and you said:
"You can power your water heater by propane with the DSI....as well as the electric heating element (as long as you have a form of 120 volt shore power/generator) at the same time and get the fastest heated water.......or either one individually. Just remember that if there is only one switch inside the RV to the water heater, it is going to ONLY control the DSI/propane side of the water heater. The switch outside on the face of the water heater ONLY controls the electric heating element."

However it never explains how. Do you just leave the gas on, the DSI switch on and the electrical switch on also?
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Old 05-31-2016, 11:50 AM   #6
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Thanks those articles helped a lot. I made the available offline in case I have a question without internet access. I do have all my manuals stored in the trailer also.

I filled my tank and tested it on propane first (I assume it heats faster that way) then switched over to electrical and waited a few hours and it was still hot.

In the article from Suburban it says and you said:
"You can power your water heater by propane with the DSI....as well as the electric heating element (as long as you have a form of 120 volt shore power/generator) at the same time and get the fastest heated water.......or either one individually. Just remember that if there is only one switch inside the RV to the water heater, it is going to ONLY control the DSI/propane side of the water heater. The switch outside on the face of the water heater ONLY controls the electric heating element."

However it never explains how. Do you just leave the gas on, the DSI switch on and the electrical switch on also?
Yes, the only way you can use them both at the same time would be to have both switches on.

You leave the DSI switch on to provide sparks to ignite the propane when it's thermostat calls for heat....and you leave the electric heating element switch on for it to come on when it's thermostat calls for heat.

You have two thermostats, one for the propane/dsi side and another one for the electric heating element side.

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Old 05-31-2016, 11:58 AM   #7
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Personally we never (or rarely) use the electric side of the water heater as we need the power elsewhere....... our trailer is 30A........ People say the water heater uses a lot of gas but that is simply not the case.

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Old 05-31-2016, 12:00 PM   #8
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Just make sure the water heater tank is full by opening the pressure relief valve at the top regardless of whether you use 110v, propane or both BEFORE you turn either on!
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Old 05-31-2016, 02:21 PM   #9
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Personally we never (or rarely) use the electric side of the water heater as we need the power elsewhere....... our trailer is 30A........
I've never had an issue on 30A while running AC, water heater, and microwave. Maybe if the AC started at the same time I nuked something and the heater was on it would be an issue, but I've yet to blow a breaker on 30A.
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Old 05-31-2016, 02:33 PM   #10
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I've never had an issue on 30A while running AC, water heater, and microwave. Maybe if the AC started at the same time I nuked something and the heater was on it would be an issue, but I've yet to blow a breaker on 30A.
Neither have I and we always use the 110v and propane for heating water and use anything and everything else at the same time. 30 A is more than enough for our trailer.
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