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Old 09-04-2013, 02:38 PM   #1
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Water heater issue

Hey everyone, I have questions about my water heater in a 2007 28a travel trailer. I turned the heater on before filling the water tank, I believe burning out the element leaving us without hot water on our trip. I have replaced the element, filled the water tank purging all the air out. Turned the heater on and waited 2 hours, still no hot water. saw a reset button on the heater, pushed that and the gas burner came on to heat water. Is this normal? I thought the heater would run on electric unless the power went out.
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Old 09-04-2013, 02:52 PM   #2
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Welcome. I'm sure someone can help, but can you confirm the make and model number of your water heater? Probably a Suburban of some type, but just making sure.
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Old 09-04-2013, 02:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gord k View Post
Hey everyone, I have questions about my water heater in a 2007 28a travel trailer. I turned the heater on before filling the water tank, I believe burning out the element leaving us without hot water on our trip. I have replaced the element, filled the water tank purging all the air out. Turned the heater on and waited 2 hours, still no hot water. saw a reset button on the heater, pushed that and the gas burner came on to heat water. Is this normal? I thought the heater would run on electric unless the power went out.
I am assuming you have a Suburban brand water heater (not an Atwood). When you say you turned on the electric heating element did you do this with a black switch on the front of the water heater itself or with a switch inside the trailer?

What you described above (in bold type) sounds like you have the inside propane switch turned on, and when you reset the 12 volt hi-temp thermostat, it turned on the gas side of the water heater.

This may help you understand the electric heating element side as opposed to the gas/propane side of the water heater...as well as what switch controls which side...... if you have the Suburban water heater..

http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ore-36197.html
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Old 09-04-2013, 03:16 PM   #4
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It's a Suburban model sw6de. I turned it on with a switch inside. There is a black switch on the front of the tank which has a cotter pin in it to prevent from turning it to on. What is that switch for?
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Old 09-04-2013, 03:23 PM   #5
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It's a Suburban model sw6de. I turned it on with a switch inside. There is a black switch on the front of the tank which has a cotter pin in it to prevent from turning it to on. What is that switch for?
The sw6de is both electric and direct spark ignition. The switch inside the trailer allows the heater to heat with propane.

This switch turns on the electric side of the heater.

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Old 09-04-2013, 03:25 PM   #6
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I believe if you pull the cotter pin out and turn that switch to the on postion and the trailer is on 120 volt power. Your hot water tank should heat up using the electric element.
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Old 09-04-2013, 03:29 PM   #7
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That's the same model as mine. The black switch with the pin is to turn on the electric. The switch inside the unit is to turn on the propane. I know, it seems backwards to me too.

To run on electric, you need to pull the pin out and flip the black switch. Just remember to flip it back off when you're done camping. I've made that mistake a few times, but luckily I've caught it during my walk storage walk around.

You can run on electric, propane or both (for fast hot water replenishment). I usually just run electric to avoid wasting my propane, but some CGs have requested people to run on propane to keep the costs down.
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Old 09-04-2013, 03:29 PM   #8
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It's a Suburban model sw6de. I turned it on with a switch inside. There is a black switch on the front of the tank which has a cotter pin in it to prevent from turning it to on. What is that switch for?
The switch inside the trailer is to turn the propane side of the heater on. The black switch on the front of the heater is for the electric heating element side of the heater. If you never pulled the cotter pin to turn the heating element on, you couldn't have burned it out. I think you may have replaced it unneccessarily.

It can be kind of confusing. It's all explained in the link posted in my first response or here below:

http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ore-36197.html
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Old 09-04-2013, 03:32 PM   #9
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You learn so much reading through these posts. Thanks guys for all this great info!

James.
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Old 09-04-2013, 03:34 PM   #10
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You might not have a manual (especially if this is a used trailer). Here's a copy for you...

Forest River Forums - Downloads - Water Heater - Suburban Operation
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