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Old 04-04-2016, 06:52 PM   #1
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Suburban Water Heater problem

The electric side of my water heater is not working. I checked the element. It is good. I checked the on off switch. It is good. The receptacle where the heater plugs in is hot. Yes, I do have the control panel switch on. I don't know what else to check. There is no power getting to the element. Could there be a thermostat somewhere that may be bad and not calling for heat?
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Old 04-04-2016, 06:59 PM   #2
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Check the reset buttons behind the black cover.


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Old 04-04-2016, 07:01 PM   #3
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Where it says push to reset.



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Old 04-04-2016, 08:24 PM   #4
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Sorry I didn't mention that I did the reset thing. There must be something between the switch and the plug. The plug is hot but there is no power at the switch. I wonder if the reset gizmo could be defective? The heater works fine on propane. The power cord goes into a box on the side of the heater but I don't have room enough to look in there.
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Old 04-04-2016, 08:36 PM   #5
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Sorry I didn't mention that I did the reset thing. There must be something between the switch and the plug. The plug is hot but there is no power at the switch. I wonder if the reset gizmo could be defective? The heater works fine on propane. The power cord goes into a box on the side of the heater but I don't have room enough to look in there.
Not questioning your abilities, but I have seen this happen a few times. How are you testing the switch for voltage. It's an inline switch, that only cut's continuity. You can NOT use a multimeter and check from one terminal to the other terminal on the switch for voltage.

You have to put the positive lead of the multimeter to the terminal, and the black probe to a ground point somewhere.

Just checking.
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When you say the control panel switch....do you have two switches for the water heater there (one for gas, and another one for electric) or just one. If only one, then it's only for the gas portion?

The reason I ask this, if there is only one switch on the control panel, there is really nothing but a junction box between where your water heater plugs in and the outside switch on the face of the water heater. You have a SW?DE model water heater.

If there are two switches inside the RV, then there is also a relay that could be bad between the inside switch and the outside switch. You would have a SW?DEL model.
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Old 04-04-2016, 08:42 PM   #6
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Mine did the same thing. I found the electric side thermostat was open. I had to replace it. Turn the power off to WH then remove the cover with 2 reset buttons. Check each thermostat with an ohm meter. Chances are the meter will show an open on one of them. I hope this helps Best of luck
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Old 04-04-2016, 08:52 PM   #7
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Would guess the 120v hi limit switch is toast. I replaced both of mine with 142 degree ones so we use get more hot water.
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Old 04-04-2016, 08:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
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The plug is hot but there is no power at the switch.
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Mine did the same thing. I found the electric side thermostat was open. I had to replace it. Turn the power off to WH then remove the cover with 2 reset buttons. Check each thermostat with an ohm meter. Chances are the meter will show an open on one of them. I hope this helps Best of luck
If there is truly no power to the electric switch, it is inline BEFORE the hi-limit/thermostat (this is what is under the rubber covers that you are pushing to reset). If the hi-limit/thermostat is bad, although it would cause no power to reach the element, it would be after the switch, and wouldn't cause any power failing to at least get to that point....assuming there is no electric at the switch.

If the switch does turn out to be good, then the next place to check for voltage is both sides of the ECO hi-limit/thermostat.

Here are some schematics for the SW?DE (only one inside switch for the propane)



but if you have two inside switches (one for propane, and another for the electric), here is the schematic for the SW?DEL. You would have a 12 volt inside switch that controls a relay that then allows 120 volt power to flow to the outside switch, hi-limit/thermostat, and to the heating element.



As you can see from the schematics, you cannot check for voltage on the switch using the terminals only since they are both connected to the same single hot line. You have to check each terminal side with only the positive probe and then place the negative on a ground...being there is no neutral wire connected to the switch (only a hot). The same holds true for both sides of the hi-limit/thermostat too.

Now once you get to the electric element, there is a hot and neutral wire connected to it, so you can check for voltage on it between the two terminals.
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Old 04-04-2016, 11:22 PM   #9
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I am so glad I asked this question. You have given me some homework. I will take all of your input and see what I can find. I learned a few things from some of you. Thanks all.
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Old 04-04-2016, 11:51 PM   #10
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Replace the limit switch pack. Simple four wire one screw replcement. Just had ro do mine last fall. Cost less than 30 dollars at any RV dealer parts counter. Under the cover you will find two thermostat packs. The one on the left is 120VAC. The one on the right is propane control pack.
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