Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-21-2008, 10:09 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 17
hot water heater - gas, electric or both?

UPDATE: We took it to the dealer. They said it was a loose sparkplug!

Hi all! We just took our first trip in our new '09 Rockwood 8317SS. The heater went off in the middle of the night because the gas tank was empty. DH had to go out and switch to the other tank.

Friends tell us that we shouldn't be using so much gas. This was a weekend trip. They say the hot water heater can be run on electric. Is this true? If so, how do you set it up?


justthe5ofus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2008, 12:41 AM   #2
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Arizona
Posts: 8
Are you sure you had a full tank to start with? Your friends are correct, you should not be using so much gas. I have used my 08 Rockwood 8280SS several trips using the heater all night for several nights, and the water heater, frig, and stove and not used a full LP tank yet. You may want to have someone check for leaks.

You can run your water heater on electric. If you lift the outside cover of the water heater, there is a small switch (mine is in the lower left hand corner) you have to pull a small carter pin to switch to electric. You will need to be hooked to shore power.

David & Marian

2005 Dodge 2500 Quad Cab Diesel
2008 Rockwood 8280SS FW
DRS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2008, 06:12 AM   #3
Head Rambler
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Southwest Alabama
Posts: 3,282
Our switch for the electric element is under the outside panel on the lower left also. That's the standard place for the Surburban heaters. Your unit probably has Gas/Electric with DSI.

Having said that you shouldn't have used 30#'s of propane just heating water. You didn't say where you camped or if (or how much) you ran the furnace. That's your biggest user of propane. Even at that you should have gotten at least a weekend out of a cylinder even if it was run almost constantly.

I'll agree with DRS, I'd suspect you didn't start out with a full cylinder or you have a leak.

P.S. If you use the WH on electric make a note to turn the switch off anytime there's a remote possibility of the tank being drained so you don't burn out the element.
Salem 29RKSS Pushing a 2500 Mega-Cab CTD!
Gotta go campin!
Bama Rambler is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2008, 06:56 AM   #4
Site Team
KyDan's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 5,648
Let my add my 2
Like these guys said, there is a little switch outside in the back of the water heater.
On mine it's also lower left but nearly hidden behind a pipe or something. You have
to get down and look closely to find it. It has a safety clip in it from the factory.
You'll have to pull out the clip to turn it on.
ALSO, since you are turning on the 120volt element, that is fed from a black
circuit breaker in your power panel. You should have a breaker (not a fuse)
that is labeled water heater and of course it must also be ON to have hot water!
Be sure you shut that off when you put the trailer away so you don't have to worry
about it ever being on when the heater is not full of water.

You should be able to go a week on one tank even with some showers.
If your 2nd tank runs out as fast as the first, look for a leak!!
Leaks can kill you-- BOOM-- so don't mess around if you think you have one!!
Good luck!
Dan & Rita D
2004 5.3L Silverado 1500 ext. cab 2WD
1999 Suzuki Intruder Motorcycle
Blue Ox WD hitch, AirLift load levelers

Camping days 2010-53, 2011-47, 2012-41,
2013-41, 2014-31, 2015-40, 2016-38
KyDan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2008, 07:52 AM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Greensburg In
Posts: 785
That is a lot of fuel to use in one night , i think you were cheated on fuel from your dealer i have ran mine on both ac and gas when everyone is going to shower for it will heat up faster with the gas but as far as gas usage i am still using the same tank from last year granted we have`nt camping a lot in it but we have used it aquite a few time last year and this year and when i was last in it ichecked the tank and it was starting to get a little light so it is almost empty.
2008 8296SS Rockwood Signature Ultralite
2002 Silverado 2500HD extended cab
chevy02 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2008, 09:02 AM   #6
Junior Member
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 17
Thank you all for your replies. I'll show this to my husband so he can look into it.

You might be right about being shorted on the gas. We really only used the gas for the heater, limited usage for hot water (washing hands & dishes) and used the sidekick grill once.

DH will look into it. We're going away for 5 days in October so we'll need to make sure we have enough gas to last.
justthe5ofus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2008, 05:09 PM   #7
Grape Escape
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Southern Ontario
Posts: 774
I never use more than 2 20# tanks all year and we have camped 30 plus nights this year.
Use BBQ every night, run our propane campfire an hr each night plus the stove
Never heat with the furnace as we use a portable electric unit or two
Run the water heater exclusively on hydro as well as the fridge when at hydro site
2008 Cardinal 30RKLE 5th wheel sold
2006 Rockwood 2607, 2001 Traillite
55 nights 2009, 53 for 2010
44 for 2011, 38 for 2012, 35 for 2013, 51 for 2014
dezolen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2008, 06:12 PM   #8
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 26
We can go at least 3-4 weeks (30-45 days) of travel time on one 30# bottle. It does vary a little depending on how many nights we stay without shore power. We always run the water heater on propane. Fridge on propane while we travel and usually on electric if we have power. Don't use our furnace much. Only if quite cold and windy, and only if we have shore power. Use an electric heater most of the time. Have stayed where it was cold and run the furnace at night (at about 60 degrees and supplemented with the electric heater) for 3 nights with no propane problems.

Don't know how many nights you ran the heater, or how warm you were trying to keep the unit, but a short outing should not have consumed a bottle of propane.
2014 Wildcat 282RKX
2014 GMC Duromax 4x4
retired2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2008, 09:15 PM   #9
Senior Member
MRimmer's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Memphis, TN
Posts: 1,067
I am on my fourth week temporarily living in my trailer until we get moved.

Gas is on

Hot water heater was first heated with electric then gas ignitor switch was turned on for hot water on gas/electric.

I have NOT had the gas come on to the hot water heater come on yet. Electric is holding well. Yes I do take a shower in the am and in the pm. Wife was down this weekend and after 10 minutes the electric had recovered and she got her shower with no gas heated water.

Heat as follows

I have a small ceramic heater sitting on the stove and set it to a comfortable temp and then drop the gas "trailer" heat to 65. The trailer heat has NOT come on the first time and we have had nights down to 53 where I am at.

Very comfortable and in 4 weeks I have only used gas for a small amount of cooking.

From DRS's post

Ours is the same setup.

"You can run your water heater on electric. If you lift the outside cover of the water heater, there is a small switch (mine is in the lower left hand corner) you have to pull a small carter pin to switch to electric. You will need to be hooked to

shore power".

DO NOT TURN THE ELECTRIC ON WITH NO WATER!!! It will burn out the element.

MRimmer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-2008, 05:33 AM   #10
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 3,260
And if you think you have a leak the best way to check is to use liquid soap on all of the fittings. The liquid soap will bubble if it detects a leak. One thing about propane, if there is a leak it will migrate and collect to the lowest point, the floor If the leak is inside because propane is heaver then air, in vented areas it dissipates. The more propane collects the more violent the explosion. NO SMOKING and NO SPARKS. I hope a leak is not the problem.

rockwood06 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

» Virginia Campgrounds

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

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:02 PM.