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Old 01-17-2015, 10:21 PM   #1
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Water Heater won't work on 110

Hello,

This is likely the first of many posts from me as I learn my way around the rig we just bought....a used 2013 Forest River Flagstaff 8528 fifth wheel.
Using a checklist I found here I did a good inspection (I hope).
Everything worked as expected except the water heater....it heated with propane but not with AC power. The previous owner said he "thought" that it was not AC capable but there is a switch behind the outside cover and I turned it to the on position and the gas off but no luck. Any ideas on where to start troubleshooting would be appreciated....or is it possible that it does not have AC option?

Thanks in advance for any input!

wdw0528
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Old 01-17-2015, 10:32 PM   #2
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if the previous owner didn't even know it had 110vAC capability, he probably burnt the electrode/heating element out.
check that first.
by the way, you may have burnt it out yourself, if you didn't make sure the WH had water in it.
that's what usually happens when owners find that the 110v side doesn't work anymore.
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Old 01-17-2015, 10:34 PM   #3
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I would start with the search bar. It has been discussed before. There are different types and pictures will help identify it. I know it only takes once left on without water and it's cooked. You might be able to do the repair yourself. Is there a square rubber cover behind the WH panel?
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Old 01-17-2015, 10:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdw0528 View Post
Hello,

This is likely the first of many posts from me as I learn my way around the rig we just bought....a used 2013 Forest River Flagstaff 8528 fifth wheel.
Using a checklist I found here I did a good inspection (I hope).
Everything worked as expected except the water heater....it heated with propane but not with AC power. The previous owner said he "thought" that it was not AC capable but there is a switch behind the outside cover and I turned it to the on position and the gas off but no luck. Any ideas on where to start troubleshooting would be appreciated....or is it possible that it does not have AC option?

Thanks in advance for any input!

wdw0528
It takes a little while for the electric heating element to heat up the water, more so than on propane.

Make sure there is water inside the water heater. Do this by opening the pressure relief valve near the top of the water heater. Make sure the propane side is off.


Now make sure you are hooked to 120/110 volt shore power

Flip the black switch to the on position that is on the face of the water heater. You turn it on by pressing "in" on the word ON.

Suburban's electric switch and much more

If no hot water after 30 minutes, let's check the obvious. Make sure the breaker for the water heater is turned on inside the RV's electrical panel. Now find how to access the backside of the water heater to see if the water heater is even plugged in (common occurence, it's not). Also make sure the outlet is hot that the water heater plugs into. You may have to open a false panel, remove a drawer, or other to access the backside of the water heater.

If all of that is good let us know and we'll go to the next set of steps.
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Old 01-17-2015, 10:45 PM   #5
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Suburban type with great pictures. It also states the thermostat as a possible cause.


Suburban Water Heater Reset Button
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Old 01-17-2015, 11:13 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the replies/info.....your advice is much appreciated.
Plan to set it up tomorrow and troubleshoot.
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Old 01-18-2015, 07:33 AM   #7
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Agree with wmtire....many times you will find it's not even plugged in. Check the access panel inside the trailer where hot water tank is located. Sniff around in there...you will find the electrical cord for the electric heater and there will be a receptacle in there. Sometimes people unplug them as part of their winterizing to avoid accidentally turning it on when the hot water tank is empty.
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Old 01-18-2015, 08:35 AM   #8
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It only takes seconds for the AC heater element to be damaged if you plug into shore and have no water in the water heater tank. I did it myself a couple years ago. Plugged into shore, saw the meter rotating, before I could even think what could be drawing the electricity I heard a pop sound and knew what happened. Lucky its not that expensive to repair. They can be picked up from your local Box Store for under $20 and changed out in less than 1 hr.
I believe there is a write-up here somewhere that outlines the process on a Suburban.

http://www.amazon.com/Suburban-52078...1588170&sr=1-2

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Old 01-18-2015, 09:27 AM   #9
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Here's my moment of shame- I tagged onto a thread last year saying my electric side of the water heater didn't work. It took me 70 nights of camping before I was winterizing it and realized the switch on the water heater itself was turned off. I have one inside in my control panel and one outside at the water heater itself. Works just fine now that I've turned the dang thing on.
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Old 01-18-2015, 12:28 PM   #10
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Circuit might also be on one with a GFI plug that is thrown. Had that happen to me with my refrigerator.
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Old 01-18-2015, 01:27 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by wdw0528 View Post
Hello,

This is likely the first of many posts from me as I learn my way around the rig we just bought....a used 2013 Forest River Flagstaff 8528 fifth wheel.
Using a checklist I found here I did a good inspection (I hope).
Everything worked as expected except the water heater....it heated with propane but not with AC power. The previous owner said he "thought" that it was not AC capable but there is a switch behind the outside cover and I turned it to the on position and the gas off but no luck. Any ideas on where to start troubleshooting would be appreciated....or is it possible that it does not have AC option?

Thanks in advance for any input!

wdw0528
We have that same year and model. It DOES have both propane AND electric capability for the water heater. There are two switches, one behind the outside water heater door and it seems you have found that one. The second switch is the 15A circuit breaker in the electrical panel just to the right as you enter the trailer. Reset the breaker by moving the handle OFF, then back ON. If you still aren't heating water on electric, then indeed you may have a damaged electrical element as another poster described. The water heater MUST be filled with water prior to turning on the electrical switches.
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Old 01-18-2015, 04:07 PM   #12
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Problem solved guys.....thanks much for all the input. I checked circuits, made sure of water and tried again and its working nicely. Not sure if I corrected an electrical input problem or if I just hadn't alloed enough time yesterday to get good results.
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Old 01-18-2015, 05:46 PM   #13
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Water heater on 110

Based on what you have said, the previous owner probably drained his Hot water tank and left the 110 switch on before he filled it again (winterized). That would burn out the 110 element. Relatiely inexpensive to replace but you may need a special tool to remove the element (unusuall socket size) But that too is available from most RV dealers.
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Old 01-18-2015, 05:57 PM   #14
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Based on what you have said, the previous owner probably drained his Hot water tank and left the 110 switch on before he filled it again (winterized). That would burn out the 110 element. Relatiely inexpensive to replace but you may need a special tool to remove the element (unusuall socket size) But that too is available from most RV dealers.
Read post #12 (just above yours)... problem solved.
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Old 01-18-2015, 06:39 PM   #15
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Problem solved guys.....thanks much for all the input. I checked circuits, made sure of water and tried again and its working nicely. Not sure if I corrected an electrical input problem or if I just hadn't alloed enough time yesterday to get good results.
Excellent.
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Old 03-12-2015, 10:55 PM   #16
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Water Heater won't work on 110

I have a 2011 Wildwood that I bought used. Took it in to Camping World to have a HotRodd installed for electric. Service called me back and told me it only needed the electric run to a dedicated outlet. Factory never finished the installation! They hooked it up at a very nominal cost and I saved a pretty penny. Disappointed though in the manufacturer quality control. By the way, the breaker was in the box and marked.
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