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Old 08-05-2016, 06:13 PM   #1
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Forester SW6DE water heater not shutting off when hot

Forester SW6DE water heater not shutting off on electric (not tried gas but would think the same). I have done some research and I belive the thermostats need to be replaced. The issue is the water heater just keeps heating the water until the 30 amp breaker on the main camp ground poll blows. I know the the little on/off switch needs to be replaced as that won't turn off. Any one have any ideas or does it sound like the thermostats ? Also, does anyone know where to purchase the thermostats ? I believe the switch is any single pole 120 volt 20 amp switch.

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Old 08-06-2016, 03:47 PM   #2
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I don't think the water heater is tripping the pedestal breaker from staying on too long.

There are two devices that will de-energize the heating element. The thermostat is the first one, and if that fails, there's a hi limit cutout that will trip once the water reaches a certain temp (~190F). If both of those devices fail to shut it off, the T&P (Temp & Press) valve will open and hot water will spew out letting you know it's over heated.

The element draws ~ 1500 watts and will do that forever. It doesn't draw more current when it gets hot, so not shutting off in a certain amount of time or at a certain temp will not trip the breaker.

If the pedestal breaker is tripping, it's something else, or there's something powering on while the water is heating.

Running it on gas may solve the problem of tripping the breaker because you'll be using less total current.
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Old 08-06-2016, 03:53 PM   #3
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I don't think the water heater is tripping the pedestal breaker from staying on too long.

There are two devices that will de-energize the heating element. The thermostat is the first one, and if that fails, there's a hi limit cutout that will trip once the water reaches a certain temp (~190F). If both of those devices fail to shut it off, the T&P (Temp & Press) valve will open and hot water will spew out letting you know it's over heated.

The element draws ~ 1500 watts and will do that forever. It doesn't draw more current when it gets hot, so not shutting off in a certain amount of time or at a certain temp will not trip the breaker.

If the pedestal breaker is tripping, it's something else, or there's something powering on while the water is heating.

Running it on gas may solve the problem of tripping the breaker because you'll be using less total current.
I don't think there is a thermostat, just 2 high limits, one for the 110v and one for propane. I switched both from the factory 130d to 140d or 142d to get hotter water. Never found a thermostat.
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Old 08-06-2016, 05:03 PM   #4
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The thermostat base contains both the thermostat and the hi-limit cutout.

The device on the left is the thermostat and the one on the right is the hi-limit.
It also contains a third device. The piece of wire connecting the other devices is actually a fusible link. If the element shorts out it will melt open.

The gas side has a similar thermostat base as well.

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Old 08-06-2016, 06:00 PM   #5
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Thanks for the information
I turned off the AC unit which is I high draw device and the water heater would stay on for about 20 min the water would be very hot and after about 15 - 20 min the pole breaker would blow.
I thought the pole breaker may be weak so I had the AC unit on and a coffee machine on and it worked fine. I would have thought them two would or should be more than just the water heater. Any thoughts of what in the water heater path could draw that many amps ?
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Old 08-06-2016, 06:01 PM   #6
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Forester SW6DE water heater not shutting off on electric (not tried gas but would think the same). I have done some research and I belive the thermostats need to be replaced. The issue is the water heater just keeps heating the water until the 30 amp breaker on the main camp ground poll blows. I know the the little on/off switch needs to be replaced as that won't turn off. Any one have any ideas or does it sound like the thermostats ? Also, does anyone know where to purchase the thermostats ? I believe the switch is any single pole 120 volt 20 amp switch.

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As others have explained, the thermostat/hi-limit is built into one unit, that attaches to the front of the tank. You have two of these devices, one for the electric element side and one for the propane/dsi side.

If for example, the electric element hi-limit ECO/thermostat was loose and not making good contact with the tank (or the thermostat and eco went bad together), then the element stays on, drawing 12 amps continuously. Eventually as the temp rises too much, then you pressure/relief valve on the face of the water heater will start spewing water too.

None of this would just cause a power pedestal breaker to trip, without other factors present. I'm actually wondering if you are correctly using the water heater (and if the electric element has not been burned out), as the Suburban water heater is ill-explained by many service techs in PDI's and several people are using the gas/propane switch incorrectly thinking it controls the electric part too..

I think this FAQ link below may help somewhat, as it explains a lot on the Suburban water heater, including amp draws. I would recommend reading it, to verify some things, then we can go from there.

If nothing else, you should perhaps flip off the 15 amp circuit breaker inside your RV that controls the water heaters electric heating element. Then just use the propane side to see how it goes, also explained in the link below.

Suburban's electric switch and much more

Also this is a great link that all RV'ers need to know, in how to manage 30 amp electrical loads.....which you may be overloading, and why the pedestal breaker is tripping. One more thing, especially in hot weather and air conditioning use, is that many parks have weak 30 amp breakers, and summer usage electrical demands on a park also up the amps, and lower the voltage that the park provides......another reason your parks pedestal breaker may be tripping.

Basic RV Electricity - RV Information (RV Maintenance)
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Old 08-06-2016, 07:06 PM   #7
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I have been looking at the camper and I know the switch on the outside of the water heater is broke.I also looked at the 30 amp plug that connects to the camp ground post and the plastic around one of the pins shows burning. When I had the water heater off I was running the AC unit fridge and a fan. Also had the coffee machine on at times and the campground breaker never tripped. However, with just the water heater and the fridge on the water heater would low the breaker on the main camp ground post. The water heater was not on gas as the gas wasn't turned on anytime while camping. I just can't seem to find any reason the water heater would work for 15 - 20 min then turn off. The water seemed very hot but not sure if hot enough to blow the water pressure valve. The breaker would always blow before the valve. Thanks


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Old 08-06-2016, 07:18 PM   #8
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It's possible that the electric element sheath is split exposing the element to the water, but that would trip the breaker immediately upon energization.

I would suggest turning everything off except the water heater and see if it still trips the pedestal breaker. Remember to turn off the converter breaker as well.
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Old 08-06-2016, 07:44 PM   #9
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I have been looking at the camper and I know the switch on the outside of the water heater is broke.I also looked at the 30 amp plug that connects to the camp ground post and the plastic around one of the pins shows burning. When I had the water heater off
Zoe-Woody, as emboldened in red above, how exactly are you turning off the electric heating element since the outside switch is broke?

I'm just trying to make sure we are on the same page with things, as to offer proper advice.
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Old 08-06-2016, 08:27 PM   #10
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I have to turn off the 20 amp breaker inside the camper. The outside switch will sometimes work but I have read information where the outside switch will sometimes melt in side and stop allowing it to be pushed on or off
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