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Old 01-07-2018, 07:58 AM   #1
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Suburban water heater only works when outdoor temp is above 60?

Title says it all. I live in my 2011 30' W&P. Not having hot water this past week has been a PITA. This has never been an issue in the past. Any ideas?
Thanks
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Old 01-07-2018, 08:10 AM   #2
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Gas & Elec? Youroo!!
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Old 01-07-2018, 08:20 AM   #3
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Yes
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Old 01-07-2018, 08:25 AM   #4
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Boy this is a New One,have heard about Propane Freezeing up but Never "Elect",it Really is Cold in FLA!
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Old 01-07-2018, 08:41 AM   #5
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So the water heater has come back on and worked above 60, then has stopped below 60? What have you checked or done so far to solve the problem.
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Old 01-07-2018, 08:51 AM   #6
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Title says it all. I live in my 2011 30' W&P. Not having hot water this past week has been a PITA. This has never been an issue in the past. Any ideas?
Thanks
I have several ideas, but need a LOT more details. Your sigline says you live off grid, so I'm not sure what you use for 120 volt AC power (if any) as the electric heating element has to have 120 volt AC power to work.

First off, what steps and switches do you turn on to use the water heater. I ask this because many members don't really understand how the Suburban operates and even years later have not been using the switches correct.

1. If the water heater has an electric heating element, does this work at all, and without using the propane side? How are you turning on the electric heating element?

2. Are you using the propane side of the water heater? Again, if so, what switches/steps do you take to accomplish this?

3. Since you live in the RV, I am assuming you have not changed any winterization valves during this cold snap, or did anything different than normal. Is this correct?
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Old 01-07-2018, 08:58 AM   #7
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4. I should have also asked, have you recently refilled your propane cylinders?
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Old 01-07-2018, 09:02 AM   #8
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I have several ideas, but need a LOT more details.

First off, what steps and switches do you turn on to use the water heater. I ask this because many members don't really understand how the Suburban operates and even years later have not been using the switches correct.

1. If the water heater has an electric heating element, does this work at all, and without using the propane side? How are you turning on the electric heating element?

2. Are you using the propane side of the water heater? Again, if so, what switches/steps do you take to accomplish this?

3. Since you live in the RV, I am assuming you have not changed any winterization valves during this cold snap, or did anything different than normal. Is this correct?
Propane water heater.

Have not changed anything with regard to water heater. I simply flip the heater switch to turn it on. Igniter clicks a few times and the heater comes on.
Yes, I have plenty of propane. (stove works fine at any temp)

Usually doesn't get below 32 here so no winterization stuff. We've had cold winters before but this, (water heater not coming on), is new.
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Old 01-07-2018, 09:08 AM   #9
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Propane water heater.

Have not changed anything with regard to water heater. I simply flip the heater switch to turn it on. Igniter clicks a few times and the heater comes on.
Yes, I have plenty of propane. (stove works fine at any temp)

Usually doesn't get below 32 here so no winterization stuff. We've had cold winters before but this, (water heater not coming on), is new.
OK, that helps. So you are not using the 120 volt AC electric heating element side of the water heater at all, so we should not expend our energies chasing that rabbit? Correct?

Youroo had asked if you had both sides in post #2 and you answered yes in post #3...so we assumed you were using both sides and having problems with both sides not working.

We are just troubleshooting the propane side of the water heater that is not working at temps below 60 degrees? Correct?
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Old 01-07-2018, 09:15 AM   #10
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OK, that helps. So you are not using the 120 volt AC electric heating element side of the water heater at all, so we should not expend our energies chasing that rabbit? Correct?

Youroo had asked if you had both sides in post #2 and you answered yes in post #3...so we assumed you were using both sides and having problems with both sides not working.

We are just troubleshooting the propane side of the water heater that is not working at temps below 60 degrees? Correct?
Correct. My apologies. I didn't realize that some units are dual gas/elec. Mine is strictly gas. It's pretty obvious that cold is the problem but why now after almost 8 yrs. (I bought new) and is there anything I can do about it?
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Old 01-07-2018, 09:24 AM   #11
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Correct. My apologies. I didn't realize that some units are dual gas/elec. Mine is strictly gas. It's pretty obvious that cold is the problem but why now after almost 8 yrs. (I bought new) and is there anything I can do about it?
The reason I asked if you had the propane cylinders refilled lately, was not pertaining to if you had propane, but something else that happens and was what I was initially thinking when I read your thread.

You can get bad propane or propane that has more of a butane mix in with the propane. Butane has a different boiling point that propane, and colder temps affect it. Anything below freezing can make it not work correct. We have previous threads on this.

You say it doesn't work unless temps are above 60 degrees. I'm wondering if some valve/regulator is freezing and it's just not thawing out till higher temps. Your water heaters gas valve is outside the RV and may could be more affected by colder temps.

Let me think on this a bit.

5. Does your DSI still make the clicking noises of trying to light the propane when you turn on your water heater switch? Does your DSI fault light illuminate after it fails to light?
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Old 01-07-2018, 09:31 AM   #12
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The reason I asked if you had the propane cylinders refilled lately, was not pertaining to if you had propane, but something else that happens and was what I was initially thinking when I read your thread.

You can get bad propane or propane that has more of a butane mix in with the propane. Butane has a different boiling point that propane, and colder temps affect it. Anything below freezing can make it not work correct.

You say it doesn't work unless temps are above 60 degrees. I'm wondering if some valve/regulator is freezing and it's just not thawing out till higher temps.

Let me think on this a bit.

5. Does your DSI still make the clicking noises of trying to light the propane when you turn on your water heater switch? Does your DSI fault light illuminate after it fails to light?
Yes, red light comes on and igniter clicks.
I get my propane from the same place every time. (for years)
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Old 01-07-2018, 09:42 AM   #13
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I get my propane from the same place every time. (for years)
Yes, and Florida doesn't usually have low temps either.

Please read these two threads. Start at post #10 here at the first link below and read forward to post #33 which has more links.

A genuine Propane Puzzler

Propane issue

I'm thinking your problem is propane related, due to the temps.
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Old 01-07-2018, 11:52 AM   #14
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Yes, and Florida doesn't usually have low temps either.

Please read these two threads. Start at post #10 here at the first link below and read forward to post #33 which has more links.

A genuine Propane Puzzler

Propane issue

I'm thinking your problem is propane related, due to the temps.
Thanks. Very helpful!

I'm assuming I need to try and find out if Butane has been added to my current batch?

Also, since the stove still works, it's not cold enough outside to hamper the delivery of the gas, just the heaters ignition of it?
The heater stuff is on the exterior of the unit and would be subjected to colder temps than the stove on the inside?

I do notice however that the stove seems to work regardless of the interior temps. As an example, we've had overnight temps this week in the mid 30's with interior temps in the low 40's. (when I get up around 5am) Stove works fine.

This really isn't a major problem, just annoying, as it generally warms up here pretty quickly. Tired of boiling water to wash dishes.
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Old 01-07-2018, 12:34 PM   #15
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As it is generally a warmer climate, I wonder if insects or critters are finding their way into or near the WH orifice when it gets colder and affecting combustion.
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Old 01-07-2018, 01:15 PM   #16
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igniter needs 12 volts. Your old battery holding a FULL charge in the cold weather??? Load test the battery. Weak spark will not ignite.
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Old 01-07-2018, 01:29 PM   #17
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Following this . . .
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Old 01-07-2018, 05:10 PM   #18
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igniter needs 12 volts. Your old battery holding a FULL charge in the cold weather??? Load test the battery. Weak spark will not ignite.
Plenty of spark. Totally on 1.8kw solar fed to the W&P
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Old 01-07-2018, 05:22 PM   #19
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Pull the unit out and clean the burner and burner assembly inside and out. Use a tube cleaning brush. Disconnect the propane line connection and put some pressurized air into it to see if it is clogged.
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Old 01-08-2018, 09:15 AM   #20
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I don't know a lot about these W/H but if a furnace were to act that way,,, I would check the HI Limit switch !!! Maybe the W/H thinks the water is hot enough ???
Brain Fart ???
GOOD LUCK !!!
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