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Old 01-27-2014, 09:04 PM   #1
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Family lost everything - water heater questions

Sorry for the dramatic title, I just really want to help this family out. A couple with 3 children under the age of 5 lost everything in a house fire and purchased a 2005 Forest River travel trailer to live in for now.

The water heater does not work and they've asked for my help. The model is Suburban sw10d. After reading the forum, apparently the water heater will not work until a 12 volt battery is attached. It is currently only plugged into 110.

I have a few questions:

1) I'm going to purchase them a battery tomorrow. Will a standard deep cycle battery work, or will it require some special heavy duty behemoth?

2) Will the trailer keep the battery charged or will they need to charge it periodically?

3) After the water heater is lit, will the igniter turn off, or will it keep popping?

4) How long does it take the water heater to heat up the 10 gallon tank with propane? Sure wish their water heater had the electric option.

If I understand correctly, after installing the battery tomorrow. The process to heat the water should be as simple as pressing the on switch in the bathroom. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Any advice is really appreciated!

Adam
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Old 01-27-2014, 09:08 PM   #2
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the electronics require a 12 volt source...yes

a reg group 24 will suffice...dual purpose

the camper will charge it as long as it plugged in.
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Old 01-27-2014, 09:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamj View Post
Sorry for the dramatic title, I just really want to help this family out. A couple with 3 children under the age of 5 lost everything in a house fire and purchased a 2005 Forest River travel trailer to live in for now.

The water heater does not work and they've asked for my help. The model is Suburban sw10d. After reading the forum, apparently the water heater will not work until a 12 volt battery is attached. It is currently only plugged into 110.

I have a few questions:

1) I'm going to purchase them a battery tomorrow. Will a standard deep cycle battery work, or will it require some special heavy duty behemoth?

yes a standard 12v deep cycle will work....even a dual purpose rv/starting will work.....

2) Will the trailer keep the battery charged or will they need to charge it periodically?

the trailer (assming everything is working ok) will keep the battery charged while plugged in

3) After the water heater is lit, will the igniter turn off, or will it keep popping?

the popping indicates the pilot is attempting to light but is not...assuming the gas is on and getting to there it could be as simple as purging the lines (turn on stove) or there may be an issue with the pilot

4) How long does it take the water heater to heat up the 10 gallon tank with propane? Sure wish their water heater had the electric option.

10 gal on propane takes mine about 20min from a dead cold start....it will be shorter once up and heated

If I understand correctly, after installing the battery tomorrow. The process to heat the water should be as simple as pressing the on switch in the bathroom. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

all things working correctly, yes.....the switch turns on the propane heater....heat water and shower/wash....

Any advice is really appreciated!

Adam
sorry...my internet crapped....better answers above
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Old 01-27-2014, 09:21 PM   #4
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To answer the rest of your questions: Assuming the water heater has no other issues, it should light right up once the battery's installed and you've turned it on, HOWEVER, sometimes you get air in the line from the propane tank to the heater. It will try to light a few times then lock out until you turn it off and back on. Lighting the stove burners for a minute or two will help purge the line. Suggest you do this first. When it does light, it will turn off the igniter. Don't know about 10 gal, but my 6 gal heater will put out hot water in about 10 minutes.
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Old 01-27-2014, 09:30 PM   #5
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adamj, what a wonderful thing you are doing. I see you got your questions answered but I wanted to thank you for your selfless attitude in helping out those people.

I see this is your first post so I would also like to say welcome to FRF forum from mid California.
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Old 01-27-2014, 09:56 PM   #6
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adamj, it's a commendable thing that you're trying to do. I've updated your thread title to hopefully get more folks with water heater knowledge into the mix.
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Old 01-27-2014, 10:03 PM   #7
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adamj I pm'd you for some information about the family. Would like to make a contribution to help them.
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Old 01-27-2014, 10:05 PM   #8
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Yes a std deep cycle battery will work. If it hasn't been run in awhile you may have to crack the flare but at the gas valve and purge the propane up to water heater. Flip the switch on and see if the module tries to lite the sparker. Let us know what we can do to help! And welcome to the forum!
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Old 01-27-2014, 10:05 PM   #9
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It's truly wonderful of you to help them like this, Adam. God bless!

Here are my thoughts about the WH. Hope it helps. Best of luck for your friends!

Quote:
Originally Posted by adamj View Post

The water heater does not work and they've asked for my help. The model is Suburban sw10d. After reading the forum, apparently the water heater will not work until a 12 volt battery is attached. It is currently only plugged into 110.

That is a Suburban 10 gallon heater that works with gas only. It has no electric element but needs 12v for the thermostat and the direct spark ignition. Here are manuals for the Suburban heaters.

I have a few questions:

1) I'm going to purchase them a battery tomorrow. Will a standard deep cycle battery work, or will it require some special heavy duty behemoth? You should get a cheaper 12 volt group24 as ironJ said. This is all the battery needed assuming they are on shore power (120VAC).

2) Will the trailer keep the battery charged or will they need to charge it periodically? The trailer's converter/charger will charge it. They probably have a WFCO converter, which is fine. If you have troubles, common issues that you might run across are the wires might need to be cleaned at the battery terminals and ground or an inline fuse/resettable breaker might need be replaced/reset.

3) After the water heater is lit, will the igniter turn off, or will it keep popping?
it will stop popping when it senses a flame.

Make sure propane is on and lines are bled. Flip interior switch for DSI. It will attempt to light up to 3 times before lockout (you'll hear the fast clicking as it attempts to light). If lockout occurs, flip switch off and wait 10 seconds and retry. If that didn't work, first verify DSI switch is off and then check the front of the water heater and verify burner is not blocked (e.g., spider web).


4) How long does it take the water heater to heat up the 10 gallon tank with propane? Sure wish their water heater had the electric option. I'm guessing it should heat up within 30-60 minutes tops. Mine have always been 6gl heaters so not really sure.

If I understand correctly, after installing the battery tomorrow. The process to heat the water should be as simple as pressing the on switch in the bathroom. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Exactly. But read the manuals above if unsure.

Any advice is really appreciated!

Adam
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Old 01-27-2014, 10:27 PM   #10
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Good for you. This country needs more people like you.
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