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Old 06-07-2012, 09:02 PM   #1
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Testing Hot Water Heater Element

Can I test for 10 ohm resistence on a water heater element with water in the tank or do I have to drain it? Can I just test for the presence of 120 at the two leads into the element, and if it is there, assume the element is toast? If no 120 at element assume 120 thermostat switch assembly becomes the suspect?

Propane heater works fine, AC breaker not tripped, thermostat reset buttons been pressed, tank is full as tested by pressure relief valve, but still no heat when on shore power....suspect element....

Have a suburban model SW10DE. Any one know if I pull the element to inspect it if the gaskets are typically reusable so I can put it back in? Or do the gaskets tend to tear up when you remove the element?

Tks all
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Old 06-07-2012, 09:32 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SinkorSwim
Can I test for 10 ohm resistence on a water heater element with water in the tank or do I have to drain it? Can I just test for the presence of 120 at the two leads into the element, and if it is there, assume the element is toast? If no 120 at element assume 120 thermostat switch assembly becomes the suspect?

Propane heater works fine, AC breaker not tripped, thermostat reset buttons been pressed, tank is full as tested by pressure relief valve, but still no heat when on shore power....suspect element....

Have a suburban model SW10DE. Any one know if I pull the element to inspect it if the gaskets are typically reusable so I can put it back in? Or do the gaskets tend to tear up when you remove the element?

Tks all

No you do not need to pull it to test.
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Old 06-07-2012, 10:23 PM   #3
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No need to drain the tank, if you have 120 at the element and it does not heat it is a goner. If you don't have voltage it probably is the switch.
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Old 06-08-2012, 08:20 AM   #4
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This might help you isolate the problem. Download this manual for its trouble shooting guide for your water heater. Several tests are recommended. Check the flow charts towards the back in the guide (p 23).
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Old 06-08-2012, 10:32 AM   #5
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Dang, that would have been very handy about 4 hours ago.

Resistence on element is at 10 ohms(did not have to drain tank), but 120V only present at element for about 60 seconds after powering up, then the 120 thermostat clicks off killing the AC feed to the element. Off to get a new thermostat and change it myself as I don't want to tear down and move the RV the 76 miles to the closest service center. Looks like a single nut and two spade electrical connector install. I think the wiff can even handle that one
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Old 06-08-2012, 07:38 PM   #6
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Less than 5 minute install and lots of hot water again. NOTHING at all hard about troubleshooting/repairing hot water heaters if you have basic multimeter skills.
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Old 06-08-2012, 08:10 PM   #7
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Good job! Glad you got it fixed.
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Old 06-08-2012, 09:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SinkorSwim
Less than 5 minute install and lots of hot water again. NOTHING at all hard about troubleshooting/repairing hot water heaters if you have basic multimeter skills.
Multimeter 101 should be a basic course for all campers.

Good job with the fix
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