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Old 09-05-2008, 08:07 PM   #1
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Electric to gas water heaters?

Stupid question here. How do you know if you have a water heater that switches from gas to electric? I looked to see if it was listed as an option but didn't find it. We have a Signature Ultralite 8314 2009. Wondering if maybe it is a standard feature on these models.
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Old 09-05-2008, 08:46 PM   #2
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If I'am looking at the right one on the Forest River wed site it shows gas/electric with dsi to be standard on this unit.
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Old 09-05-2008, 09:38 PM   #3
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No stupid questions here. The DSI Gas/electric is standard across most of the Forest River lines. You probably have a Suburban water heater. The switch for it is located on the water heater itself. It is a small brown toggle switch.
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Old 09-06-2008, 05:18 PM   #4
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Water Heater 101

This is the WH from my Rockwood Signature Ultralight 5th wheel, should be very much like yours.

From top to bottom:

The pressure relief valve. Keeps your WH from blowing itself to kindom come. When you set up camp, before you light the WH, open the valve just a little bit by lifting the lever. Water should spurt out if the WH is full. If you don't get water, wait until the water heater fills to turn it on, otherwise it will destroy itself, and possibly the entire trailer. Not to fear, just make sure there's water in there.

Reset switches. If the thing will not automaticly light, press both these rubber buttons and try again. Also, make sure the gas is on and lines are clear of air by lighting the stove top eyes and let them burn a minute.

Drain plug. Also your anode rod. This magic device keeps your WH from rusting out. Replace it when it looks nasty.

Electric Element Switch. It has a safety cotter in that must be removed to use. I've never used mine. I understand gas gets more water hotter faster. Again, make sure there's water in there. I guess I don't use mine for fear I'll not turn it off and then plug in the trailer with the WH empty. Not good.

There's a 120 volt breaker in your fuse box that goes to the WH. If you want to run the electric element then obviously that must be on.

To save gas, I turn the WH off when leaving the trailer all day or at night.

Enjoy!
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Old 09-06-2008, 05:25 PM   #5
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Oh and by the way, the WH doesn't swich from gas to electric like the refridgerator does. You have to set it on one, or the other, and I think it may run on both at the same time.

Like I said, I just leave mine on gas. The refrigerator I keep on "Auto" so it will run on electric, like it is now just sitting out in the yard. (The WH is off, though)

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Old 09-06-2008, 07:58 PM   #6
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Great replies! Nice picture! The electric switch is really difficult to reach. And yes it is sometimes difficult to remember to shut it off before breaking camp. So far so good, but you make some very good points. The main reason I use the electric option is the placement on my Cardinal 5th wheel the water heater and of course the exhaust is next to the entry door and exhausts near where we place the tables or chairs. FR engineers must have had a bad night the night before they designed this layout.
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Old 09-06-2008, 10:46 PM   #7
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Thanks Everyone! And Radio that was nice of you to post the picture.
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Old 09-07-2008, 07:29 AM   #8
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Note that the drain plug in Radio's picture is the anode rod. This needs to be checked periodically as it disintegrates over time and needs to be replaced, probably every two years. This is by design and prevents the tank itself from corroding away. To get water hot faster, you can use both electric and gas at the same time, although these heaters seem to have a fairly fast recovery rate. Mr. B, when I go to the RV shows to look at trailers, I sometimes wonder on some units if the designers were drinking while laying out the design.
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Old 09-07-2008, 09:34 AM   #9
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When I turn on the electric switch I still hear burner fire up. Could it be that if it sees the electrical element not keep up it will automatically fire up the burner?
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Old 09-07-2008, 09:45 AM   #10
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Whom ever designed the water heater with the switch located where it is almost impossible to find should be sent back to preschool. (I am being nice as to where he should be sent)
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