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Old 10-14-2019, 09:38 PM   #1
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Hot water tank always on

I have a 31L5 and I think the hot water tank is always on electric. I brought the coach home to winterize it. I plugged it in to charge the house batteries, and I fired up the android control panel where the heat is normally controlled from. The gas, and electric hot water were both turned off. Later when I was the emptying the hot water tank the water that came out was hot, not cold. The switch on the hot water heater was ON, but the soft controls were set to OFF.

Anyone else notice that the hot water tank is always on?

Any ideas as to why my hot water heater might always be on?
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Old 10-14-2019, 09:53 PM   #2
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If you have a suburban tank type heater, you have a switch on the face of the water heater on the bottom left hand corner, that must be turned off.

A lot of the precision Plex type control panels, even though they have a place for the electric heating element, it's only controlled actually from that switch on the face of the water heater. That may be why the electric heating element is always on for you as the panel control is not doing anything.

Also the water could still be hot from previous heating as we have no time frame of when you turned it all off, vs draining the tank.

If the electric element is still on, and you drained the tank, you have probably ruined the electric heating element by now, unless you were disconnected from any form of shore power.
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Old 10-14-2019, 10:20 PM   #3
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If you have a suburban tank type heater, you have a switch on the face of the water heater on the bottom left hand corner, that must be turned off.

A lot of the precision Plex type control panels, even though they have a place for the electric heating element, it's only controlled actually from that switch on the face of the water heater. That may be why the electric heating element is always on for you as the panel control is not doing anything.

Also the water could still be hot from previous heating as we have no time frame of when you turned it all off, vs draining the tank.

If the electric element is still on, and you drained the tank, you have probably ruined the electric heating element by now, unless you were disconnected from any form of shore power.


The coach was in storage so the the water heater was never on. As soon as I felt the hot water I turned off the switch on that is on the heater.

Maybe I am confused about the operation, but I assumed that the switch on the water heater would be turned on once a season, and then I would control turning on and off of the heater from inside the coach. Didn’t make sense to me that every time I wanted hot water I would need to remove a panel to turn it on. That was the what the switch in the coach was for. Am I wrong?
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Old 10-14-2019, 10:23 PM   #4
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Is your switches to the water heater inside the RV, in a digital control panel or are they physical manual type rocker switches
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Old 10-14-2019, 11:07 PM   #5
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Is your switches to the water heater inside the RV, in a digital control panel or are they physical manual type rocker switches


Digital panel inside Coach.
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Old 10-15-2019, 02:20 AM   #6
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Digital panel inside Coach.
We have threads where even though your digital panel has the electric heating element option in the panel itself, it does not actually control the electric heating element. In these instances, the actual rocker switch on the face of the water heater is the only way to turn the element on/off.

I have a feeling this may be the way yours is too. Others with the same digital panel may chime in to confirm or deny this.


If yours is this way, then with the rocker switch ON, anytime your connected to 120 volt AC power, the electric heating element will be ON, no matter what the digital panel switch is.


Here is a recent thread on this matter at least where Cedar Creeks are concerned and their digital control panel not being able to control the electric heating element side:


http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ml#post2162658


and another using the in-command system, where the electric heating element option is not controlled by the digital panel:


http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ml#post2061638


http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ml#post2120600
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Old 10-15-2019, 06:58 AM   #7
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Suburban makes several different models of their tank type water heaters (and Forest River uses them), which are mainly the SWDE and SWDEL models. The difference between the two is that the SWDEL model has a 12 volt DC/120 volt AC relay incorporated into it that allows for the addition of an inside switch/control to turn OFF/ON the electric heating element.


Both the SWDE and SWDEL models have that same rocker switch on the face of the water heater for the electric element too.


You may can go outside and open up the cover to your water heater. There will be a tag there that tells what model water heater you have. If it is the SWDE model, then most likely your digital control panel, even though it shows an electric heating element option...will NOT actually function.


From Suburbans website: "The model and serial number information can be located by opening the water heater access door on the outside of your RV. The silver colored data plate with black printing is located on the right side of the metal control housing as you face it from the outside. The model number will be located on the top line of the data plate and will begin with "SW", "SAW" or "V". The nine digit serial number will be on the bottom line."


This thread explains the differences between the SWDE and SWDEL models, with the wiring schematics.

http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ore-36197.html
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Old 10-15-2019, 08:26 AM   #8
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I also have a 31L5. I think the icon on the control is for tank heater not water heater. Only gas can be controlled from the pad. That’s only an assumption though as I didn’t get any manuals whatsoever with my RV.I was told by the dealer that they weren’t provided anymore and had to be downloaded.
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Old 10-15-2019, 12:20 PM   #9
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Is your switches to the water heater inside the RV, in a digital control panel or are they physical manual type rocker switches

Ours is a Sandstorm, toy hauler and while I have some complaints about that factory, I am greatful to have a hardwired switch, right next to the gas waterheater switch that gives me positive on off control inside, after I switch the electric on at the suburban heater outside.

That extra ten bucks worth of hardware is a great investment.
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Old 10-16-2019, 08:57 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by wmtire View Post
Suburban makes several different models of their tank type water heaters (and Forest River uses them), which are mainly the SWDE and SWDEL models. The difference between the two is that the SWDEL model has a 12 volt DC/120 volt AC relay incorporated into it that allows for the addition of an inside switch/control to turn OFF/ON the electric heating element.


Both the SWDE and SWDEL models have that same rocker switch on the face of the water heater for the electric element too.


You may can go outside and open up the cover to your water heater. There will be a tag there that tells what model water heater you have. If it is the SWDE model, then most likely your digital control panel, even though it shows an electric heating element option...will NOT actually function.


From Suburbans website: "The model and serial number information can be located by opening the water heater access door on the outside of your RV. The silver colored data plate with black printing is located on the right side of the metal control housing as you face it from the outside. The model number will be located on the top line of the data plate and will begin with "SW", "SAW" or "V". The nine digit serial number will be on the bottom line."


This thread explains the differences between the SWDE and SWDEL models, with the wiring schematics.

http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ore-36197.html


Looks like I have SWDE model, so the software switch is just for show. One funny thing I “think” my hot water electrical power source might be from inverted power. Is this normal?
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Old 10-16-2019, 09:04 AM   #11
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Looks like I have SWDE model, so the software switch is just for show. One funny thing I “think” my hot water electrical power source might be from inverted power. Is this normal?
The switch just turns on/off the gas. If the inverter is wired directly into the main bus (powers everything 120 volts) then yes it is inverter powered and you certainly don't want that element on when you're on battery/inverter.


We do a lot of boondocking and rarely use the electric element but it is nice to have when we are hooked up.
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Old 10-16-2019, 09:35 AM   #12
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Looks like I have SWDE model, so the software switch is just for show. One funny thing I “think” my hot water electrical power source might be from inverted power. Is this normal?
R/Vs with inverters are wired differently between models.

I see you don't have a signature line telling us what R/V you own nor did I see that information in your profile so when you ask the question... "Is that normal?"... we have no way of knowing what is normal for your unit and are only guessing.

Many inverters are wired to only power up an outlet for a residential refrigerator.
Some are wired up to include another couple outlets, like for the tv.
A few are wired to power the entire rig.

If you are not familiar with how to use a multimeter... with the shore power off and the inverter on... plug a light into the outlet where the water heater is plugged in and then turn off the inverter. If the light goes out, the water heater element would be powered by the inverter. Not a good thing!
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Old 10-16-2019, 11:05 AM   #13
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Looks like I have SWDE model, so the software switch is just for show. One funny thing I “think” my hot water electrical power source might be from inverted power. Is this normal?
No, it's not normal for the Georgetown GT5 series.

If you have an inverter control panel that shows how many battery amps the inverter is using, watch that number while flipping that rocker switch inside the water heater on and off with shore power disconnected. If the inverter is powering the water heater that number will go way high.

If you have a Xantrex inverter, the inverter is bypassed when shore power is in use. At least it is on our 2,000 watt inverter.

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Old 10-17-2019, 07:49 AM   #14
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Only Electric Switch on Heater

I made the same mistake on my 2018 31L5. The "switch" on the One Touch is for your tank heaters.....not water heater. The only switch on this rig is on the water heater itself for electric. Look close at your One Touch....it says TANK HEATER, not water heater. Save yourself some time....took mine to dealer for this problem only to be laughed at.

Bob
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Old 10-17-2019, 08:02 AM   #15
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I made the same mistake on my 2018 31L5. The "switch" on the One Touch is for your tank heaters.....not water heater. The only switch on this rig is on the water heater itself for electric. Look close at your One Touch....it says TANK HEATER, not water heater. Save yourself some time....took mine to dealer for this problem only to be laughed at.

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Old 10-17-2019, 08:14 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Gordalder View Post
I have a 31L5 and I think the hot water tank is always on electric. I brought the coach home to winterize it. I plugged it in to charge the house batteries, and I fired up the android control panel where the heat is normally controlled from. The gas, and electric hot water were both turned off. Later when I was the emptying the hot water tank the water that came out was hot, not cold. The switch on the hot water heater was ON, but the soft controls were set to OFF.

Anyone else notice that the hot water tank is always on?

Any ideas as to why my hot water heater might always be on?
With my GT5,the switch on the app (and on the panel inside marked "Water Heater") turns on the propane water heater. The electric water heater is on all the time unless I trip the breaker or open the water heater outside panel and turn the rocker switch in the lower left corner to "Off".

Open the panel for the water heater and find the model. SW6DE, the one I have, does not have a remote switch for the electric heater. SW6DEL does.

Yes, a good way to burn out that electric heater is to think the heater is off, drain it and the electric heater is actually on. That may have happened to you if you also have the "DE" version.

Running both is supposed to give you faster recovery when using hot water.

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Old 10-17-2019, 09:10 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by bobotty View Post
I made the same mistake on my 2018 31L5. The "switch" on the One Touch is for your tank heaters.....not water heater. The only switch on this rig is on the water heater itself for electric. Look close at your One Touch....it says TANK HEATER, not water heater. Save yourself some time....took mine to dealer for this problem only to be laughed at.



Bob


Very interesting, now I can’t wait to get the coach out of storage next week to check the label on my One Touch app. Do you know which “Tank” get heated. I looked at the User Manual (unless) and found no information on the One Touch app for my rig.
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Old 10-17-2019, 09:11 AM   #18
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Gordalder: If you're comfortable with rewiring your WH's outlet, you can easily add a standard house switch inside the coach to turn the electric on/off. Some pics of mine, with a wiring diagram is attached.

If you have a "speed outlet" like this one,
Click image for larger version

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replace it with a standard duplex outlet and electrical box
Click image for larger version

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Cut a hole where you want the switch and install an electrical box
Click image for larger version

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Use a standard house light switch with a pilot light (so you know when it's on/off), and wire it to the outlet with 12-3 romex.
Click image for larger version

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Attached Files
File Type: pdf WH Switch.pdf (68.2 KB, 7 views)
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Old 10-17-2019, 09:21 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by rockfordroo View Post
Gordalder: If you're comfortable with rewiring your WH's outlet, you can easily add a standard house switch inside the coach to turn the electric on/off. Some pics of mine, with a wiring diagram is attached.

If you have a "speed outlet" like this one,
Attachment 217464

replace it with a standard duplex outlet and electrical box
Attachment 217465

Cut a hole where you want the switch and install an electrical box
Attachment 217466

Use a standard house light switch with a pilot light (so you know when it's on/off), and wire it to the outlet with 12-3 romex.
Attachment 217467


That looks excellent. Another project for me to complete this winter in Florida. It just annoys me that I have so many RV projects on a unit that I purchased new, that should be standard equipment.
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Old 10-17-2019, 09:32 AM   #20
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That looks excellent. Another project for me to complete this winter in Florida. It just annoys me that I have so many RV projects on a unit that I purchased new, that should be standard equipment.
There's another option, too. You can wire a 12VDC switch similar to how Suburban does it, but you'd need to wire a 12VDC relay into the 110VAC line. Here are the Suburban wiring diagrams.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

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