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Old 08-24-2018, 06:44 AM   #21
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Ok, this is all making sense now. Not sure what brand of WH we have but I do know both gas and elec switches are inside on the panel.
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Old 08-24-2018, 07:54 AM   #22
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Hello all,



I have learned so much from this forum, it is close to a blessing, so first, thank you.


As I mellow out in my old age (70) and work at becoming one with nature and the universe, unfortunately I still find a few things that annoy me.


-the comment "not necessarily"
- the term " irregardless"
-at this point in time"
-a hot CUP of coffee vs a cup of hot coffee
AND.............wait for it...


.hot WATER heater...if the water is already hot, why the heater


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Because "hot" is relative. At what temperature does water go from warm to hot?

If the water is considered hot at say... 120 degrees and the heater is heating it up to 130 degrees, it's literally heating hot water.
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Old 08-24-2018, 07:58 AM   #23
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Ok, this is all making sense now. Not sure what brand of WH we have but I do know both gas and elec switches are inside on the panel.
Probably the easiest way to tell which one you have is whether you have an anode rod or not. Typically only Suburban heaters need them, Atwoods don't.

I have a suburban in my fiver with the gas and electric switches on the inside, but it also has the black switch on the heater itself, which I simply leave on all the time.
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Old 08-24-2018, 11:33 AM   #24
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Our new VIBE came with a Ďcourtesy from the dealerí burnt out heating element for the hot water heater (we watched this happen during PDI). After I installed a replacement heating element we added this red tag with small d-ring to our camping kit to remind us to switch the unit off after we turned it on the prevent future burn outs.
Attachment 184069
I like the idea of the red tag, but, why didn't the dealer replace the element if they caused the burnout in the first place? It was an "oops," but, it was the dealer that did it. Maybe at least give you a new heating element.
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Old 08-24-2018, 03:52 PM   #25
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Ok, this is all making sense now. Not sure what brand of WH we have but I do know both gas and elec switches are inside on the panel.
You probably have an Atwood WH.
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Old 08-24-2018, 04:18 PM   #26
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If you have a Suburban WH, the inside switch is for the propane side only. There is no element to burn out, only for the electric side.
The electric side switch is accessed from outside, through the WH hatch door. It's a black rocker switch. Turning it on, with no water in the WH, will fry the element.
My 2018 Micro-Lite has switches for both, Elec and Prop. as well as the electric switch on the water heater itself. It almost seems that switches are added or left out at the whim of whoever is wiring any given trailer.

I've seen pic's of panels that look just like mine with blanks where the water heater switch is on mine. Is it all that much trouble to run the wire from the power panel through the switch panel on it's way to the heater? Are the switches all that expensive and they're cutting costs?

Even my super cheap 1995 Terry had a remote hot water heater switch for the electric element inside as well as my old 1972 Prowler.

Makes no sense.
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Old 08-24-2018, 04:35 PM   #27
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Every penny saved adds up with the number of units built. Stupid but that's the penny pinching side of manufacturing.
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Old 08-27-2018, 10:15 PM   #28
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I like the idea of the red tag, but, why didn't the dealer replace the element if they caused the burnout in the first place? It was an "oops," but, it was the dealer that did it. Maybe at least give you a new heating element.


Yes, but at $28 bucks and not having to justify that they did it since I know we didnít catch it initially at PDI, it made sense to not hassle with taking the rig in during camping season. Waiting on a few other dealer fixes we intend to schedule after our last trip of the season.
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Old 08-27-2018, 10:15 PM   #29
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Every penny saved adds up with the number of units built. Stupid but that's the penny pinching side of manufacturing.


Ya, I wish this switch was on the inside.
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Old 08-27-2018, 10:41 PM   #30
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I use a ďfail safeĒ system on our 2504s. To get the hot water to work, first reinstall the anode rod. ( surburan). As soon as we are done Camping the rod is pulled unless we are going back out in a few days. Next to gent to work on electric, 3 different switches must be closed. 1. The switch on the heater itself.
2. The circuit breaker.
3. The switch on the control panel.
Itís all ready saved the day once when the DW accidentally threw the wrong switch on the panel. Jay
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Old 08-27-2018, 10:51 PM   #31
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Yes, but at $28 bucks and not having to justify that they did it since I know we didnít catch it initially at PDI, it made sense to not hassle with taking the rig in during camping season. Waiting on a few other dealer fixes we intend to schedule after our last trip of the season.
Would more likely have spent more on fuel taking it to the dealer than just paying for the element.

I turn off the outside switch when winterizing. As additional insurance I carry a spare element. Whenever I have a spare I never have a problem with that item. Only things I dont have spares or items I cant fix.
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Old 08-27-2018, 11:13 PM   #32
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What am I not getting? I like the idea but the problem is the switch on the inside being turned on / left on with no water in the tank. I fill the tank up in the spring and leave it full until winterizing. So long as there is water in the tank I can't burn the element, can I?
I do the same. Once the water heater has been filled with water it will remain filled. Cold water is pushed thru the tank either by pump or shore water. That water is always in the tank even if you run out of holding tank water. The water pump canít pump the water heater dry. I guess the low point drain could leak but that is a pretty unlikely event. How many folks have winterized their water heater and no water came out when you removed the anode?
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Old 08-28-2018, 12:20 AM   #33
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I do the same. Once the water heater has been filled with water it will remain filled. Cold water is pushed thru the tank either by pump or shore water. That water is always in the tank even if you run out of holding tank water. The water pump canít pump the water heater dry. I guess the low point drain could leak but that is a pretty unlikely event. How many folks have winterized their water heater and no water came out when you removed the anode?
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Ya, I wish this switch was on the inside.
Get an Atwood WH, which has both switches inside.
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Old 09-03-2018, 06:59 PM   #34
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Regarding Pet Peeves... how about VIN number.....?
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Old 09-03-2018, 07:25 PM   #35
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Get an Atwood WH, which has both switches inside.

or a Suburban SWDEL model which also has switches inside for the electric heating element and propane dsi.


As some have already explained in this thread, they do indeed have the Suburban SWDEL model of water heater...while some have the SWDE model (no inside switch for the electric element).


If just depends on which Suburban model, which RV manufacturer uses at the time, as to whether or not it has an inside switch. Some members here will have a SWDEL model and some will have a SWDE,


Both are explained fully in this FAQ thread:


http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ore-36197.html
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Old 09-04-2018, 12:13 PM   #36
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A sidebar to this conversation:

Electric hot water heating elements create scale. The high concentration of heat on the electric element builds scale, and the scale flakes off and is deposited in the bottom of the heater tank. Gas heating does far less of this.

Those with electrically heated hot water in their homes have experience with this. Regular draining of the holding tank to dump scale is part of routine maintenance. If you don't do it often enough, the drain petcock in the home hot water heater can become plugged with scale...often several inches deep in the bottom of the tank. In 2009, I bought my home, and the electric hot water heater had failed. The tank was sound, so I pulled both elements and discovered that the bottom element was buried in scale. I had to flush out the tank using a garden hose into the lower element aperture AND back flush the drain petcock periodically to unplug it.

Since you've gathered adequate feedback on why the element failed (running dry), and the cost of replacement (negligible), and ways to prevent this in the future (several good options), I'll suggest that part of your routine maintenance include somewhat regular draining/flushing of the holding tank (through the anode/plug) and annual removal, inspection, and careful descaling of the electric element. Then replace and test it. If available, buy stainless elements. They perform better and scale less.

Scale can be reduced with softened or filtered water. Softening tends to neutralize the "hard-water" elements that create the most scale. Filtration is another matter. It depends on the type of filter you use. It's difficult to find an unbiased source of info on the difference between softening and filtration, but this may be a good place to start. Depending on your circumstances, adding filtration could require a substantial investment not only in filters, but also in a "dog-house" to house your filters.

As for carrying a spare electric element, that's always good advice, but bear in mind that propane is your spare. And it's important to regularly exercise your gas-fired mechanism and that of your fridge for that matter. A neglected gas-fired mechanism can give you fits to get going when you need it.

P.S. Keep the receipt for the replacement element and bring it to the selling dealer at your first service visit. Explain the problem and ask them to "good-will" comp you the cost of the element. This will tell you a lot about the selling dealer. That's probably equivalent to knocking 15 minutes of labor off the total bill. Should be a no-brainer for a reputable dealer.
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