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Old 05-22-2012, 06:29 PM   #1
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Hot Water Heater

We have a 2011 Wildwood travel trailer & we are confused with the hot water heater . When we put the switch to ON inside the trailer the light will appear red .After a couple of seconds the light will go out . A camper close by to us said that the heater is trying to go to electric but there is something stopping the electrical from working properly . So we use the heater on propane instead of electric . Does anyone know what might be the problem ? We had this problem last year as well -since the trailer was new we thought that it was just us being new to camping & not knowing what to do with it .The manual provides very little info . My husband said that he did not start the heater until it was full of water .
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Old 05-22-2012, 06:32 PM   #2
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I am not sure what your camping neighbor means.....the inside switch has nothing to do with the electric element.

When you turn on the inside switch, the light beside it will remain lit while the propane burner tries to light. Once the burner lights, the light goes out. Sounds like things are working properly. Am I missing something ??

The electric element is turned on (cut on ) by a well hidden toggle switch on the bottom left part of the outside portion of your water heater. The water heater breaker also needs to be on in your power center.

These systems are independent of each other, or can be run together for quick hot water recovery.
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Old 05-22-2012, 06:36 PM   #3
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I have an electric/Propane heater, and according to ther manual, that light is not supposed to come on at all unless there is a fault...once the fault is reset or resolved, the light will go back out.
I use my heater on both electric and propane, as the manual states too...my red light has never come on..
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Old 05-22-2012, 06:41 PM   #4
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My neighbour said that the light must stay lit at all times if we have it on electric instead of propane .
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Old 05-22-2012, 06:47 PM   #5
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My neighbour said that the light must stay lit at all times if we have it on electric instead of propane .
Your neighbor is WRONG! The light goes on while it is trying to light the flame, once the flame is going, the light goes off. mtnguy is correct. The light has NOTHING to do with the electric heating element of the water heater.
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Old 05-22-2012, 06:50 PM   #6
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Thank you .
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Old 05-22-2012, 06:56 PM   #7
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Might not want to take a drink from your neighbor if offered.

Or, maybe so.
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Old 05-22-2012, 11:49 PM   #8
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it would be better if you read the WH's owner's manual.

or post the model of WH you have or the model Wildwood you have.

sounds like the inside switch is the DSI feature. this is the auto-lighting feature for the propane side of the WH.
depending on brand and model of WH, you may have the electric switch outside, behind the WH's outside compartment.

sounds like your dealer did a pretty poor PDI/walkthrough. this is basic stuff that any good PDI would explain to new owners.
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Old 05-23-2012, 12:02 AM   #9
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it would be better if you read the WH's owner's manual.

or post the model of WH you have or the model Wildwood you have.

sounds like the inside switch is the DSI feature. this is the auto-lighting feature for the propane side of the WH.
depending on brand and model of WH, you may have the electric switch outside, behind the WH's outside compartment.

sounds like your dealer did a pretty poor PDI/walkthrough. this is basic stuff that any good PDI would explain to new owners.


We were told that DSI stands for "Direct Spark Ignition". The name says it all - it is the DC spark from your battery that starts the WH on propane and the red light on the inside switch should go off after the flame is ignited. Our manual says it will try to ignite the propane 3 times automaticly and if it doesn't after the third attempt there is something wrong.
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Old 05-23-2012, 12:26 AM   #10
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Everyone is giving you good info.

I would like to add one thing. The red light will stay on until the water heater fires up. If you have a problem, which could be as simple as air in the gas line, the red light will stay on. It will make 3 attempts before you need to troubleshoot or recycle the switch.

It's a good idea to light the range first to purge the gas line. After the burners are working for a minute or so, then try lighting the water heater. Be sure the tank is full first.

Oh yeah, when you open the propane tanks, turn the knob slowly. After they're fully open I always turn them back a quarter turn.

As mentioned earlier, you can use both electric and gas at the same time. I have always used the electric side only except when testing the gas side. We've always had plenty of hot water. Just makes more sense to use the campgrounds electricity rather than my propane.

Hope this helps you. If not, keep asking. Someone will have the answer you're looking for.
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