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Old 04-29-2010, 10:22 AM   #1
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Electric/Gas Water Heater Repair

I thought I would share this info. I have a two year old Forest River Sandpiper which has a Suburban SW-10DEM hot water heater. Last week I noticed that the water heater was leaking from the pressure relief valve once the water got hot, so I decided to replace it. I figured that while I was in there, I might as well inspect and/or replace the heating element and anode. I found the anode was completed eaten away and the element was not in much better shape. To replace these I did the following: Used a small pipe wrench to remove and replace the pressure relief valve. Purchased a 1-1/16" socket to remove the anode and a 1-1/2" thin walled socket to remove the heating element. I could only find the 1-1/2" socket in 3/4" drive and it needs to be thin walled as the element is recessed in the opening and since I don't own a 3/4" drive, I had to buy a 1/2" to 3/4" drive adapter. I purchased all of these at Tractor Supply for about $15. With these tools, the job is pretty easy. The important part here is that if you have not checked your anode you probably ought to do so. Before starting all of this, I turned off the AC breaker to the heater, an important safety item.
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Old 04-29-2010, 10:29 AM   #2
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Thanks dd5087.

I haven't had to replace the element yet, but the info you provided will come in handy if or when I do.
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Old 04-29-2010, 10:42 AM   #3
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I forgot to add that you will need to remove the burner tube so you can get access to the element. Be careful not to lose the little jet, I think it's called the orifice, from the end of the burner.
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:00 AM   #4
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I usually replace the anode rod at the start of every season. For the $15 it cost, I think it is cheap insurance.
DD5087
The fact that your heating element needed replacing may be due to the fact that since the anode rod was used up, the heating element was taking the place of the anode rod. Just a thought.
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Old 04-29-2010, 11:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmmar View Post
I usually replace the anode rod at the start of every season. For the $15 it cost, I think it is cheap insurance.
DD5087
The fact that your heating element needed replacing may be due to the fact that since the anode rod was used up, the heating element was taking the place of the anode rod. Just a thought.
I believe you are correct.
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Old 04-29-2010, 05:55 PM   #6
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I have never used our heater on electric, always on gas. I think it heats up faster and uses less energy than electric. I think I should at least try it.
Thanks for the info,
Kev
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Old 04-29-2010, 06:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kev2504 View Post
I have never used our heater on electric, always on gas. I think it heats up faster and uses less energy than electric. I think I should at least try it.
Thanks for the info,
Kev
When you are plugged into power at a park it is definately preferable and cheaper to use the parks power to heat your water rather than your expensive propane. There isn't much difference in the recovery time unless you are taking showers then turn on both for the fastest recovery possible. If you have been running your water heater all the time on propane (not shutting if off) then you are definately not getting your money's worth out of the hookups you have paid for. So many people leave their water heater running on gas all day and all night for no reason. If I am using gas to heat my water then I only turn it on once in the morning and once in the evening or for showers but it stays off the rest of the time.

I NEVER use my propane if I can help it especially if I have paid upwards of $30 per night at an RV park for hookups. I run electric heaters rather than my propane furnace, run the fridge on electricity, etc.
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Old 04-29-2010, 07:26 PM   #8
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I do the same as NWJeeper except I do use the furnace, but that's only a 3 or 4 times in early spring and the same in the fall. We rarely use the oven and do most of our cooking outside.
I only turn the gas on the water heater once each spring just to make sure it's working properly. Same thing with the refrig. We have always had plenty of hot water for washing dishes and taking showers using the electric by itself.
Like NWJeeper pointed out, I've already paid for the electric so I might as well use it.
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Old 05-22-2010, 10:48 PM   #9
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Antifreeze will also kill the anode rod.
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