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Old 10-03-2016, 07:40 PM   #1
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Question Suburban Water Heater - Doesn't on Electric...

I did what many have done before me... left the Electric Switch in the on position and the water tank empty. I replaced the heating element and confirmed that I do have 110 at the element yet it won't heat. The propane side works fine, no issues. Thoughts? How do I move forward with troubleshooting the issue so that I don't have to start replacing parts until I find the culprit?
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Old 10-03-2016, 07:53 PM   #2
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One side of the electric element goes thru the temp sensor pack. On Dometic water heaters there are two packs. One for 120VAC which is on the left and one for 12VDC which is on the right.
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Old 10-03-2016, 07:57 PM   #3
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Did you also push the "Rubber Resets"? Youroo!!
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Old 10-03-2016, 08:01 PM   #4
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I did check the resets, both are good. In addition, I checked and I do have 120 on the left side limit switch (blue electrical connectors). Could it be the circuit board? How would I know?
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Old 10-04-2016, 10:22 AM   #5
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If there is 120 volts to the element, and the neutral is intact, the only way the element isn't heating is if it's bad. It won't be a circuit board issue. The 120 volt side only runs through the hi limit --- thermostat --- element --- neutral.

Having said that, if the winterizing valve(s) are in the winterize position it will be heating the water, but you won't get any out of the faucets? Also, if the water is already hot from the gas side, it may not turn on because the thermostat is already satisfied.
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Old 10-04-2016, 10:30 AM   #6
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Thanks Rambler - that is why I am so puzzled. Valves are in correct position, I have checked multiple times... I left it on Electric all night and nothing - still cold this morning. The element continuity is good - 2nd element that I have tried - possible that the neutral has an issue although it is difficult to understand how but again possible. Not certain how I can determine the continuity of the neutral... any thoughts?
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Old 10-04-2016, 10:41 AM   #7
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The 110v goes through the switch first, then the hi limit/ thermostat and finally to the element. if you have 110v in the black wire at the element, you can rule out all the circuitry before the element.

If you have 110v in the white wire terminal at the element, you can rule out the element and start looking at the neutral wiring from the element back to the electrical box connection and/or 110v plug/outlet.
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Old 10-04-2016, 10:46 AM   #8
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Is the water heater hard wired or plugs into a receptacle?

If plugged in, unplug the heater and plug a lamp or something into the receptacle.
It's possible the wiring connection inside the receptacle is bad.
Most of the inexpensive receptacles/outlets just 'pinch' onto the romex wires.
Could be a bad connection on the neutral side.

If the outlet is good, start looking at the neutral between the element and the outlet. Sometimes there is a small electrical box on the water heater where the 110v pigtail attaches. Check the wire nuts and connections there.

If hard wired, remove and check connections at wire nuts at the connection at the water heater.
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Old 10-04-2016, 11:15 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5picker View Post
The 110v goes through the switch first, then the hi limit/ thermostat and finally to the element. if you have 110v in the black wire at the element, you can rule out all the circuitry before the element.

If you have 110v in the white wire terminal at the element, you can rule out the element and start looking at the neutral wiring from the element back to the electrical box connection and/or 110v plug/outlet.

5picker, not understanding this comment in red. Voltage at the element comes from the power supply. Just having voltage at the black (hot) and white wire (neutral) connecting to the element, will not indicate if the element is good or bad.....just that there is voltage. You don't even have to have the wires connected to the element to test them for 120 volts.

Testing for voltage is different than resistance.

Did you perhaps mean to state Ohm(or resistance) at the element is indicative?
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Old 10-04-2016, 11:24 AM   #10
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For a quick and dirty check:

Pull the plug from the receptacle. Turn on the electric switch. Check resistance (ohms) from one blade of the plug to the other. If you have some resistance, the switch, thermostat and element are all good.

If you don't get any resistance, then either the switch is bad, the thermostats are bad, or the element is bad. You can then start working your way through those components.
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