Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-04-2012, 02:03 PM   #11
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 13
Thanx for your input and comment. I understand that the AC outlet is a good place to verify AC power is available at the HWH.

Chuckster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2012, 07:33 AM   #12
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 13
Problem re-defined!

Thanks to everyone who had taken the time to respond with ideas, tips and resources they have all been great and highly appreciated.
After hours of crawling around and tracing plumbing and wiring, I believe the HWH works on AC after all, but the water temp is barely above the temp of the cold water tap.

Does anyone know if the thermostat is adjustable and how to access it if so? My manual implies it is behind the black rubber boot covering the reset buttons (I have pressed both many times by the way).

LP provides hot water with no problems...

Any additional thoughts are appreciated.

Brand new 2012 Catalina, 4th trip


Chuckster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2012, 03:58 PM   #13
Site Team
KyDan's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 7,138
No the thermostat is not adjustable.
At first I immediately thought you have a winterize valve in the wrong
position or maybe only partially turned in the correct position.
That happens all the time.
Folks complain they have luke warm water and it turns out to be a miss-positioned
winterize valve handle.
But you say the gas heat hot water is hot??

If that is true it might be a bad thermostat, maybe.
I'm not totally convinced but maybe.
IF you start with a cold hot water tank and the electric heater is off,
and you turn the electric heater on, you should be able to hear the element
"sing" in the tank. It sounds like ....... whales talking to each other or
it sounds like a pan of water heating on the stove.
It's not real loud but if it's quiet around you, you should be able to hear it.
IF that happens and the singing stops carefully pull the pop off valve
handle briefly. That is found near the top of your water heater tank outside
in the burner area.
Be careful and don't burn yourself. IF you pull the pop off and get luke warm
water out then I'll agree your thermostat is bad.

Here is a photo of both the 12v and the 120v thermostats.
They are located under the rubber "reset" cover.
In this photo the one on the left is the 120v one.
You'll have to figure out which is the 120v in your heater.

You can replace it for about $20.
They can be got from most any RV parts desk or online at lots of places.
The come in 120 deg F and 140 deg F.
Get the 140 fer sure.
Dig out your water heater manual and there should be a parts listing
there with the thermostat part number.
Google that and you'll find lots of places to order it from with a range
of prices.

Good luck.
Dan & Rita D
2017 Nissan Titan 5.6L King cab 4wd
1999 Suzuki Intruder Motorcycle
Blue Ox WD hitch

Camping days 2010-53, 2011-47, 2012-41,
2013-41, 2014-31, 2015-40, 2016-44, 2017-63, 2018-30
KyDan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2012, 07:52 PM   #14
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 13
Thanx for the response. I suspected a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker (or some secret additional connector or something) but I can't find any problem with the AC circuits so while testing the AC heating, I finally noticed the hot water wasn't quite as cold as the cold water from the tap which got me thinking about the thermostat. We get plenty of hot water using LP but nothing using AC. Since the thermostat cannot be adjusted, I guess its time to purchase a replacement one maybe tomorrow and install it.
Thanx again...
Chuckster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-01-2012, 08:28 AM   #15
Junior Member
pcmr's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 3
Hot Water Heater Only running on Propane

We just bought a Salem 30KQBSS and I noticed that our hot water heater is only running on propane even though it should be able to run on electricity. I read a post on here that mentioned the dedicated power outlet for the heater and noticed the heater wasn't plugged in.

The real problem now is that I can't reach the outlet to plug it in. It's located under the sink behind the drawers. I have a pretty long reach but still it's over a foot away!
pcmr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-01-2012, 08:54 AM   #16
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 13
I still haven't resolved my problem but I'm going to a Coachmen rally next week so I'll get to speak with some Coachmen experts!

I must comment that the problem you have identified is something I haven't noticed or looked for. With the installed HWH by-pass there is not much space available so it is difficult to see much, much less get access to anything. I bought a new HWH element, but so far haven't figured out how to access the element.

You might be able to use some long BBQ thongs, or some specialty automotive pliers to hold the plug while you make the stretch to plug-in the connector.

Good luck and let us know how you make out...

Chuckster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2012, 08:48 AM   #17
Junior Member
pcmr's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 3
Hot Water Heater Only running on Propane

Fixed the problem. My wife took a set of sturdy BBQ tongs and wrapped a bungee cord tight around the end to make sure it wouldn't let go of the plug. Then we used a stick to reach in and unravel the bungee cord.

It was quite the ordeal for something so simple but glad it's done!

Happy Camping.
pcmr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2012, 09:01 AM   #18
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 13
Success is sooooo sweet!
Enjoy your "home on wheels," ad be safe!

Chuckster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-11-2012, 08:07 PM   #19
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Glen St. Mary, Florida
Posts: 5
Joined this forum to say...

Originally Posted by Dave_Monica View Post
Chuckster...if you can access the back of the WH, look to make sure that the electrical element is plugged in. There'll be a dedicated AC outlet to plug into.

THANKS... like many, I was surfing the net seeking answers on my maiden voyage in my new 2013 Rockwood 8289WS, Diamond Pkg. Having already left the dealer with the Revolution wedge installed 180 degrees backwards (figured this out when I got home), I was spending my first night in the 5er with plenty of propane HW, and no joy for AC HW. After chasing wiring for a while, I found this forum, found the above post, and immediately knew this was the problem... and it was. I had to unscrew the fixed cabinet door in the galley to access the back of the HWH, saw the dedicated AC outlet with nothing plugged in, then reached behind the HWH and retrieved the hidden plug. Plugger her in, and shazamm, AC HW.

Such a simple fix, just one more thing that Dick Gore's RV World in St. Augustine, FL missed during the useless PID.

Thanks again,

Nights Camping in 2013: 2 (including tonight!)
MOJO13 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-12-2012, 06:34 PM   #20
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Soddy Daisy, TN
Posts: 50
I also have a Suburban SW6DE WH in my 2006 Surveyor that I recently acquired and this thread has helped me a lot in understanding how it should work. Could someone advise me as to the std. size of the circuit breaker in the control panel for the water heater. It's hard to make out what the breakers are actually for based on the description scribbling next to each breaker. I'm assuming it's the 20 amp but I'm not sure. If I could reach the dedicated plugin I could check the circuit but it's behind a small panel located between the sink and the refrigerator and it would take someone a lot smaller than me to reach it. Is there any other easy way to reach the plug and receptacle from outside of the tt?

Stingingfork is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by is not in any way associated with Forest River, Inc. or its associated RV manufacturing divisions.

Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:15 AM.