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Old 09-13-2013, 11:22 AM   #1
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Turning on the Heater

This is my first time camping when it's cold outside, so I have never used the heater in my camper which is a Shamrock 233S model. We are running everything on electric, however I know there is a panel on the outside of our camper but I do not remember what needs to be done in order to turn the heater on. Leave it to me to forget everything we were taught in our walk through. Any assistance you can give would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 09-13-2013, 11:24 AM   #2
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This is my first time camping when it's cold outside, so I have never used the heater in my camper which is a Shamrock 233S model. We are running everything on electric, however I know there is a panel on the outside of our camper but I do not remember what needs to be done in order to turn the heater on. Leave it to me to forget everything we were taught in our walk through. Any assistance you can give would be greatly appreciated!
Are you talking about your furnace or your water heater?

The furnace runs off of propane and 12 volt. You don't have to be hooked to electricity to run the furnace....but you do have to have propane and a 12 volt power supply (battery..... or converter, which takes 120 volt electricity and converts it to 12 volt)

Many water heaters can run off of propane and then have a separate electric heating element also that can only be run off of 120 volt electricity. Some have a switch (see link below) to turn this element on that is accessed from outside the camper:

http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ore-36197.html
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Old 09-13-2013, 11:27 AM   #3
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I'm guessing water heater since there's never been an access panel for furnace.

With that being said. ......

If "water heater" is full, look for this switch.
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Old 09-13-2013, 11:28 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by kasm4kidz View Post
This is my first time camping when it's cold outside, so I have never used the heater in my camper which is a Shamrock 233S model. We are running everything on electric, however I know there is a panel on the outside of our camper but I do not remember what needs to be done in order to turn the heater on. Leave it to me to forget everything we were taught in our walk through. Any assistance you can give would be greatly appreciated!
You should be able to set the thermostat to the desired temp and enjoy the warmth (as long as the propane is on, of course...) Make sure the selector switch at the bottom of the thermostat is on HEAT and the fan is AUTO.

Running the water heater on electric requires turning it on in the wh panel outside, but you shouldn't need to do anythng outside for the furnace.
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Old 09-13-2013, 11:33 AM   #5
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I am asking about both, the water heater is at present time working off of electric. I do recall something about a switch in the outside panel. If we turn the water heater over to proprane and flip the switch on the outside will the camper use propane for water heater and furnace? Do you know how long the propane usually lasts if you use it daily?
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Old 09-13-2013, 11:37 AM   #6
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I am asking about both, the water heater is at present time working off of electric. I do recall something about a switch in the outside panel. If we turn the water heater over to proprane and flip the switch on the outside will the camper use propane for water heater and furnace? Do you know how long the propane usually lasts if you use it daily?
The switch on the outside is for the electrci heating element. If you have never turned it on, then most likely you are running the water heater off of propane. If you only have one switch INSIDE the trailer for the water heater, it is for the propane Direct Spark Ignitor. This switch only controls the propane DSI........and not the electric heating element.

If you get time, read the link I posted above about the hidden electric switch, as it explains this oft confused process.

Of course, all of this advice is given under the assumption you have a Suburban brand water heater.......and not an Atwood.

BTW, the furnace NEVER runs off of 120 volt electricity. It is propane powered and you must have propane for it to work.

The water heaters, when running off of propane doesn't really use a whole lot of propane.....but your furnace sure can suck quite a bit. It's hard to answer a question about how long your propane will last, cause it really depends on the temp and how much your furnace needs to run.
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Old 09-13-2013, 11:58 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by kasm4kidz View Post
I am asking about both, the water heater is at present time working off of electric. I do recall something about a switch in the outside panel. If we turn the water heater over to proprane and flip the switch on the outside will the camper use propane for water heater and furnace? Do you know how long the propane usually lasts if you use it daily?

When you are done camping, turn the electric switch OFF from out side the camper. You can burn the element up if your water drains from the tank and the electric is on.... (best case, element goes bad, worse case TT burns down)
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Old 09-13-2013, 01:32 PM   #8
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... (best case, element goes bad, worse case TT burns down)
How does an overheated electric heating element totally enclosed in a steel or aluminum tank cause the TT to burn down?
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Old 09-13-2013, 01:41 PM   #9
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How does an overheated electric heating element totally enclosed in a steel or aluminum tank cause the TT to burn down?
Magic. Especially since, as you know, the element will burn out in about 8 seconds and the overtemp sensor would click off if it didn't.

Whats a little exaggeration one in awhile...

One other issue, the first time the furnace is turned on it will likely SMELL like EWWW, burning oil and smoke a bit. Best to do this BEFORE you are depending on it for heat. Should be fine after running for about 15 minutes. Just turn the thermostat on high and leave the camper for awhile, AND make sure it ignites before you leave, it is quite noisy and you should be able to hear it.
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Old 09-13-2013, 03:18 PM   #10
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How does an overheated electric heating element totally enclosed in a steel or aluminum tank cause the TT to burn down?

Very good question. I said worse case... anything is possible. Steel and aluminum will conduct electricity. I am using my experience with home electric water heaters that I have worked on. For the last 15 years I have been cleaning out calcium build up at a complex of 16 units for the manager. The calcium build up over the elements will burn out elements quickly. I have had elements that have burned out and will not heat the water, but continue to arch and cause the thermostat and wires to melt on the outside and to on rare occasions 'ground'/arch to the inside of the water heater and flow an electrical current to the out side metal body of the water heater. Shorted out heating elements do not always blow fuses on the water heart or the fuse box. I have been 'bitten', just by leaning on a water heater reaching to turn the water off. A burned out camper water heart element with power to it imo can be just as hazardous. The water heaters that I work on sit on concrete floors and the water heater itself grounds back to the grounding wire. Leaving a burned out camper element in the water heater imo is not a good idea. 'You' may know that it is burned out, but someone 'down the road' may not and some not so good things could happen if it is 'turned on'. If it is burned out, install a new one or make it where the electrical power will not come on. Lock it out and tag it. The magic of electricity...shocking
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