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Old 03-20-2017, 03:39 PM   #1
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Electric Water Heater in 2017 Cherokee 274DBH

I am new to the camping world and have a question that has been answered over and over, I'm sure! We bought our new 2017 Cherokee 274DBH in February. The first two times we took it out, we had no issues with the electric water heater. When we packed up camp the second trip, I forgot to turn the outside heater switch to the off position (I did remember the first time). So, when we setup the 3rd time, the switch was already in the on position for electric. My son tried to take a shower and of course no hot water came on. Then I realized I never turned on the heater switch inside the camper. I turned that on. When he got out of the shower, he said it still wasn't hot. I know you can burn up the element if there's no water in the tank when you start it. What I can't wrap my head around is that there was obviously water in the tank the first two times we camped because it was in electric mode and we had hot water. So what was different the 3rd time, even though the outside switch was never turned off (and my son ran the hot water faucet in the shower before I turned the inside heater switch on)?
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Old 03-20-2017, 03:41 PM   #2
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Did you drain the water heater and/or open the low point drains in between that 2nd and 3rd trip? Have you messed with the winterizaition/bypass valves by chance either?

EDIT: How many switches to the water heater do you have INSIDE the RV. I'm not asking about the electric switch on the outside face of the water heater....just inside switches. The reason I'm asking is I'm trying to ascertain which model of Suburban water heater you have, either the SWDE or SWDEL. The number of inside switches will answer that for me.

This thread may help too

Suburban's electric switch and much more
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Old 03-20-2017, 03:56 PM   #3
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I have no idea how to drain the water heater or open the low point drains, so there should still be water in the tank. I also have not messed with the valves. There is just one switch inside the RV. I read your link before I posted. Lots of good information, but not specific to my problem... I feel like I've Googled everything!
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Old 03-20-2017, 05:41 PM   #4
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Any ideas wmtire?
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Old 03-20-2017, 05:52 PM   #5
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Any ideas wmtire?

This may sound simplistic, but did you have a 120VAC hookup at the site the third trip?
The switch inside is most likely for the gas side of the WH. If you turned that on while DS was in the shower you should not expect hot water right away. It needs a good 15 minutes minimum to come up to heat on gas or electric.
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Old 03-20-2017, 05:54 PM   #6
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I feel like it's something simple! I'm not convinced I burnt the element. Yes, we were hooked to 120V at campground everytime.
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Old 03-20-2017, 05:55 PM   #7
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If this was the first time you ever used the water heater on propane, it is possible there was air in the propane line. The WH will attempt to light on propane 3-4 times and will then go into safety mode. You need to turn it off and back on to reset the saftey. It is therefore possible that on this trip you had two issues, burned up elect element and propane in safe mode. Also check the outside shower to make sure the faucets are not on. It will cause the water to be only warm. Probably far out there, but you did not by any chance change the bypass valves on the WH.
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Old 03-20-2017, 06:01 PM   #8
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Have you always turned on the inside switch? Maybe your electric element has never worked.
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Old 03-20-2017, 06:02 PM   #9
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Back to the question of how many switches do you have inside for the water heater?
One or two?
If only one, that is for propane only.
If two you have one for propane and another for the electric element.
BOTH the outside switch and the inside electric switch must be on for it to heat on electric.
Also check the 120v breaker for the water heater. It may have accidentally tripped.

Also... don't confuse a 'tank heater' switch for something to do with the water heater.
It is for the heated tank heaters for your holding tanks.
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Old 03-20-2017, 06:17 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by 5picker View Post
Back to the question of how many switches do you have inside for the water heater?
One or two?
If only one, that is for propane only.
If two you have one for propane and another for the electric element.
BOTH the outside switch and the inside electric switch must be on for it to heat on electric.
Also check the 120v breaker for the water heater. It may have accidentally tripped.

Also... don't confuse a 'tank heater' switch for something to do with the water heater.
It is for the heated tank heaters for your holding tanks.
One switch on the outside under the water heater tubing (behind the panel). And one switch inside the TT. We rest the breaker to no avail, it wasn't tripped.
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