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Old 11-02-2017, 09:31 PM   #1
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Water heater burn smell

I am using my hot water heater with electricity only, tonight it smells like something burning, l can not pin point it, but its under the cabinet with water heater. I do not leave the water heater on all the time, but had it on most of the afternoon. There is no gas hooked up, i have unpluged it, but there are 3 wires going to the back of water heater i think goes to gas igniter but l am not sure, there is electricity there through the battery,the green /white goes to the fuse box on AC side, the white l think is ground, the yellow has current and l don't no where its feed from??? Click image for larger version

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Old 11-02-2017, 09:44 PM   #2
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I can't help you identify the source as I called a mobile RV tech- but definitely make a point to find it. Hot burning smell = bad.

Here are wires from my water heater:

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Old 11-02-2017, 09:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ependydad View Post
I can't help you identify the source as I called a mobile RV tech- but definitely make a point to find it. Hot burning smell = bad.

Here are wires from my water heater:

Yikes!
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Old 11-02-2017, 10:04 PM   #4
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You didn't say what model HWH you have. I've attached a service manual for the most common Suburban, and also a manual for an Atwood.

Both have wiring diagrams that may help you.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Suburban Hot Water Heater Service Manual.pdf (3.55 MB, 82 views)
File Type: pdf Atwood-Water-Heater-Service.pdf (951.1 KB, 72 views)
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Old 11-02-2017, 10:07 PM   #5
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Suburban, thank you
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Old 11-02-2017, 10:09 PM   #6
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I have all electricity off, AC or DC ,there are three wall plugd under the same cabinet but the smell isn't coming from them.
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Old 11-02-2017, 11:05 PM   #7
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Have AC and DC power off to water heater
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Old 11-03-2017, 03:06 AM   #8
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Your electric heating element runs ONLY off of 120 volt AC power. It will most likely have a power cord plugged into an outlet behind the water heater somewhere. This is one place to look for the cause of the burning smell.

Here is a pic that may help, that shows the 120 volt AC power cord just laying on the top of the tank. You can use it as a reference:



Another part that is bad about possibly burning is the electric element power switch on the face of the water heater. You have to pry it out of the housing to see if the lines/terminals on the backside of it are melted/burned. You can usually just stick a small flat-head screwdriver in at the top of the switch and push a tab down that lets you pull the switch out.



This is only a suggestion, and I'm not there to know exactly what/where it is that is burning, so I'm not at liberty to play with your safety. If you ascertain for sure it is something electrical with your water heater, you MAY (and I emphasize may) can just turn off the 120 volt AC circuit breaker to the water heater inside your RV's distribution panel...and still be able to camp until you can get it back home.

It will usually be a 15 amp circuit breaker like the one labeled below W/H

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Old 11-03-2017, 07:34 PM   #9
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I still get amazed at people who own a "hot" water heater
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Old 11-03-2017, 08:12 PM   #10
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Well I took the water heater out where l could give it a good inspection, the wires going the heating element were melting, started where it's plugged in to the element, where it was burnt worse and was starting to melt the wire. The water heater is 10 years old, so l have a new one coming should be here mid-week, l am going to update the electrical plug also,has a cheap plug that just crimps the wire.
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