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Old 05-23-2016, 02:01 PM   #11
KAS
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Yes, it would burn up the electric heating element with no water in the heater, and it was on.

However, are sure the circuit breaker to the water heater is turned on inside your RV's electrical distribution box. Many people will turn off this circuit breaker, thus no 120 volt AC power can reach the electric heating element. Also, we have seen that the water heater is not plugged into an outlet behind the heater sometimes, again not allowing 120 volt AC power to reach the element. Maybe you are extremely lucky and one of these things may have happened prior to you owning it.

If not, it's not hard to replace the electric element, if you even want to use that option. Sounds like you may have been getting along fine without it anyway.
Now I am wondering what model WH I do have. I had a hard time reading the (mutilated) label, it sure looked like SW6DE. I do have a switch INSIDE the camper (like the SWDEL) that turns the WH on and off, it is always off unless I need hot water when camping. Maybe I was lucky.
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Old 05-23-2016, 02:19 PM   #12
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Now I am wondering what model WH I do have. I had a hard time reading the (mutilated) label, it sure looked like SW6DE. I do have a switch INSIDE the camper (like the SWDEL) that turns the WH on and off, it is always off unless I need hot water when camping. Maybe I was lucky.
How many switches to the water heater do you have INSIDE the RV?

If you only have ONE switch, it's to the dsi/propane side of your water heater.

If you have TWO switches inside (one for the dsi/propane side and another one for the electric heating element), then you would be OK just leaving the outside switch on the face of the water heater in the ON position.

But here again, if you only have ONE switch to the water heater inside the RV, then it's to the propane side...and you can only control the electric heating element from the outside switch on the face of the water heater.
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Old 05-23-2016, 02:48 PM   #13
KAS
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How many switches to the water heater do you have INSIDE the RV?

If you only have ONE switch, it's to the dsi/propane side of your water heater.

If you have TWO switches inside (one for the dsi/propane side and another one for the electric heating element), then you would be OK just leaving the outside switch on the face of the water heater in the ON position.

But here again, if you only have ONE switch to the water heater inside the RV, then it's to the propane side...and you can only control the electric heating element from the outside switch on the face of the water heater.
I only have ONE switch inside on the control panel, that's the only one the dealer showed me. I guess the electric element burned out right after I bought the camper, because the outside switch was ON from the beginning. Because it is kind of hidden, I never even knew there was a switch (and nobody had mentioned it) until I noticed it last fall and turned it off for the winter, just in case. I'm sure the el. heating element is not working, because the water is cold unless I turn on the INSIDE switch.

I guess I'll either have the element replaced ($$$) or use propane only ($$ )

P.S.: THANK YOU FOR THE INFO, IT IS VERY HELPFUL!
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Old 05-23-2016, 03:01 PM   #14
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I only have ONE switch inside on the control panel, that's the only one the dealer showed me. I guess the electric element burned out right after I bought the camper, because the outside switch was ON from the beginning. Because it is kind of hidden, I never even knew there was a switch (and nobody had mentioned it) until I noticed it last fall and turned it off for the winter, just in case. I'm sure the el. heating element is not working, because the water is cold unless I turn on the INSIDE switch.

I guess I'll either have the element replaced ($$$) or use propane only ($$ )

P.S.: THANK YOU FOR THE INFO, IT IS VERY HELPFUL!
Yes, unfortunately you most likely have a ruined electric heating element. It's not hard/expensive to replace this puppy if you want to do it yourself, and we have tutorials on that. Just do what you feel comfortable in attempting.

Suburban water heater electric element R&R

The operation of the Suburban water heaters are one of the things that it seems many dealers fail to properly explain in PDI's....... thus the extremely detailed post in the FAQ section here. We do hope it helps many members. For the record, I think I link to that FAQ more than any other.
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Old 05-23-2016, 03:59 PM   #15
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I'm quite handy, doing this myself should be no problem at all (love that Youtube!). Thank you for the tip!




Speaking of dealers, they should go through a MANDATORY factory-sponsored training class and have a walkthrough checklist that they have to share with the buyer. My dealer mis-/non-informed me on several issues. TG for this forum!
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