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Old 05-27-2011, 05:35 PM   #1
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Suburban water heater questions

What is the quickest way to test the electrical heating element for a water heater? Assuming an electrical heating element failure (for whatever reason) what is the approximate cost to replace one? My RV has a Suburban heater, so I assume any RV service centre should be able to provide one, seeing how as Suburban and Atwood seem to be the models most common.

For a Suburban, is the element that black oval shaped object located at the 10 0'clock position to the anode rod? Are there any secrets to it's removal? With all electricity and propane turned off, anything else to disconnect during replacement?

Thanks
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Old 05-27-2011, 05:53 PM   #2
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The quickest way is with a multimeter. You can check for voltage across the two wires going to the element, voltage + no heat = bad element.
It is behind the black oval thing which is a cover which you need to remove to access the wires. The only issue with removing it is you need a special socket which you can pick up at any hardware store. You may need to remove the burner though to get to it, it is all nuts and bolts though. I have done it twice, you would think I would have learned the first time I turned it on without water in it!
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Old 05-27-2011, 08:46 PM   #3
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I have found new elements at Home Depot for past units we have had to repair. Lots cheaper than CW or other RV supply stores. HD stocks various length elements for small home 110V home hot water heaters.
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Old 05-27-2011, 11:04 PM   #4
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i replaced mine right after buying the trailer. i don't remember what i paid for the element but think it was $15.
may be better to go ahead and buy the socket. i found the one i bought would work on a home unit as well as the travel trailer. that would lead me to believe the size is common. then i would pull the element and have it for comparison when i bought the replacement. i purchaced mine from a local trailer and rv supply.
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Old 05-28-2011, 07:50 AM   #5
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These guys have it pretty well covered but I just want to
stress to be SURE you get a 120v element. Most at Home Depot
or Lowes are 240v but you can usually find the 120v and a reasonably
priced special socket to fit them.

And you might want to be sure the water pump/supply is off and
there is no pressure in the water system.
I forgot that once myself
I can tell you this, a whole lotta water can come out that hole
in a very little time!

Good Luck!
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Old 05-29-2011, 05:19 PM   #6
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Camco 2000 Watt, 120 Volt Screw-In Water Heater Element - 15120 at The Home Depot

I believe they sell a 1500 watt and a 2000 watt. Check your breaker in the electric panel to see which you have 15 amp for the 1500 watt or 20 amp for the 2000 watt.
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