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Old 09-04-2012, 09:16 PM   #1
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Water Heater on/off

There is a switch on the lower left corner of my outside master panel where the water heater compartment is. Is that the master on/off switch for my water heater? If I turn it off, does it kill the power to the water heater? Do I still need to turn the gas off to make sure the water heater is off?
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:22 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Kennn0 View Post
There is a switch on the lower left corner of my outside master panel where the water heater compartment is. Is that the master on/off switch for my water heater? If I turn it off, does it kill the power to the water heater? Do I still need to turn the gas off to make sure the water heater is off?
That just shuts off the electric element, but does not kill the propane. To shut off the propane there is a switch inside on the control panel.
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kennn0 View Post
There is a switch on the lower left corner of my outside master panel where the water heater compartment is. Is that the master on/off switch for my water heater? If I turn it off, does it kill the power to the water heater? Do I still need to turn the gas off to make sure the water heater is off?
All that switch is for the electric heating element inside the hot water tank. It can be left off unless you want to use electric or both propane and electric together for quick recovery.

You should always turn this switch off so that you don't accidently plug into shore power and not have any water in the tank. It will burn up the element within seconds. So make sure you purge the hot water line using the sinks or shower before turning electric element on.

Does this help?
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:25 PM   #4
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There are two completely separate and independent systems that heat the water in the suburban water heaters. The 120 VAC and 12 VDC/Propane systems.

The only thing the two systems have in common is the water in the tank.

Two different on/off switches (DC/Propane inside and the 120VAC outside - what you found) control the two ways to heat the water.

It is possible to use either or BOTH at the same time.
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:27 PM   #5
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Lately, manufacturers have been putting the gas switch on the inside of the trailer and the electric switch on the outside compartment only. Before you turn on that electric switch make sure you have water in the heater. The element will burn up within a minute if you don't have water. The gas can be controlled from inside via that switch. If you turn off propane you will not have it for your stove top, oven or refrig. if needed. I turn off the propane when I store my trailer. I turn off the "electric" toggle switch as soon as I unhook from my city water supply, or am done heating water.
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:31 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Kennn0 View Post
There is a switch on the lower left corner of my outside master panel where the water heater compartment is. Is that the master on/off switch for my water heater? If I turn it off, does it kill the power to the water heater? Do I still need to turn the gas off to make sure the water heater is off?
Without seeing a photo of your unit, I am guessing that the switch you are speaking of is a "toggle style" switcl with a small hole drilled in it for inserting a pin. This switch is used to turn on/off the elecric heating element in the WH. The pin is used to keep you from accidentially switching the electric element on until you should - that being sure there is water in the tank.

There is no connection, either mechianilly (sp) or electrically between the propane side of the WH and the electric side, so you do not have to turn the gas off to the WH off.

And I will repeat what probably every poster here will say to you - That being do not turn the electric element on until you are certain the WH is full of water.

This topic is probably one of the most discussed ones here - do a search and you will get many hits.

Were you not told about this switch and what it does during your PDI?
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:40 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by herk7769 View Post
There are two completely separate and independent systems that heat the water in the suburban water heaters. The 120 VAC and 12 VDC/Propane systems.

The only thing the two systems have in common is the water in the tank.

Two different on/off switches (DC/Propane inside and the 120VAC outside - what you found) control the two ways to heat the water.

It is possible to use either or BOTH at the same time.

Herk -Good to see you got your pin in the right place.
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Old 09-05-2012, 06:55 PM   #8
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Nearly everyone above (+ the dealer during the walkthrough) said to not turn on electric until there is water in the heater. I have a question about that. How do I know there is water in the heater or even enough water. I have been turning on the kitchen, bathroom, & shower hot faucet handles & letting them each run for about a minute. Is that not long enough or too long? It almost seems like the taps would need to be open long enough to move 6 gallons from the fresh tank to the hot tank & guessing that takes awhile.

(not sure if this matters when people answer but when we finish with the unit after a weekend we dump the gray / black, drain the fresh, & then refill the fresh before the next trip - although I understand the hot water tank retains water despite draining the fresh).

Also, why don't RV makers put a switch for the electric inside on the panel next to
the gas switch?
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:04 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by paulmlac
Nearly everyone above (+ the dealer during the walkthrough) said to not turn on electric until there is water in the heater. I have a question about that. How do I know there is water in the heater or even enough water. I have been turning on the kitchen, bathroom, & shower hot faucet handles & letting them each run for about a minute. Is that not long enough or too long? It almost seems like the taps would need to be open long enough to move 6 gallons from the fresh tank to the hot tank & guessing that takes awhile.

(not sure if this matters when people answer but when we finish with the unit after a weekend we dump the gray / black, drain the fresh, & then refill the fresh before the next trip - although I understand the hot water tank retains water despite draining the fresh).

Also, why don't RV makers put a switch for the electric inside on the panel next to
the gas switch?
slowly Open the pressure relief valve on outside .
You'll know if its full if water comes out.
My 5er has an inside switch.
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:05 PM   #10
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When we picked our V-Lite up the tech that did the demo said to leave that switch on and turn off the Water heater breaker inside the trailer. In our case below the fridge. We use electric to heat water vice burning propane.

I always hook up the water and turn on all the faucets in the trailer until there is no air coming thru. I do this for both cold and hot water. I also always drain the water out of the lines and water heater. Just what I do.
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:06 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by paulmlac View Post
Nearly everyone above (+ the dealer during the walkthrough) said to not turn on electric until there is water in the heater. I have a question about that. How do I know there is water in the heater or even enough water. I have been turning on the kitchen, bathroom, & shower hot faucet handles & letting them each run for about a minute. Is that not long enough or too long? It almost seems like the taps would need to be open long enough to move 6 gallons from the fresh tank to the hot tank & guessing that takes awhile.

(not sure if this matters when people answer but when we finish with the unit after a weekend we dump the gray / black, drain the fresh, & then refill the fresh before the next trip - although I understand the hot water tank retains water despite draining the fresh).

Also, why don't RV makers put a switch for the electric inside on the panel next to
the gas switch?


You are moving out any air pockets inside the hot water heater so the electric heating element is submerged. If you get solid flow that all you need to do.
That is what yo are doing.
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:11 PM   #12
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I like the pressure relief valve method because when your using fw tank as water source then your not wasting water just to get air out.

Also I fill my Hw heater at home before leaving.
I also drain mine after every trip unless there one week after another.
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:19 PM   #13
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Regarding the pressure relief valve -

That's the thing behind the outside panel, toward the top center area, a piece of aluminum, about an inch long or so, that you can lift up a little with a finger, right?

If so, on our first trip (literally 3 hrs after finishing our demo) (i.e., the dealer loaded all the water), when I lifted it up, water trickled out.

However, on our second trip (when I filled all the water), when I did the same thing, no water came out. Did I do something wrong since water didn't come out? I used the water heater on electric the whole trip & had plenty of hot water the whole time.
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:50 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by paulmlac
Regarding the pressure relief valve -

That's the thing behind the outside panel, toward the top center area, a piece of aluminum, about an inch long or so, that you can lift up a little with a finger, right?

If so, on our first trip (literally 3 hrs after finishing our demo) (i.e., the dealer loaded all the water), when I lifted it up, water trickled out.

However, on our second trip (when I filled all the water), when I did the same thing, no water came out. Did I do something wrong since water didn't come out? I used the water heater on electric the whole trip & had plenty of hot water the whole time.
I would assume there was still air in the tank.
Correct you looking at the right item.
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:52 PM   #15
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:57 PM   #16
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If you lift up slightly on the pressure relief valve you'll get water coming out if the WH tank is full. When I lift it up completely it shuts back off. So just lift up a little bit until you get water coming out.

Running the hot water spigots inside the camper until they stop sputtering prior to turning on the WH works too, which sounds like what you are already doing.

If you are NOT on city water hookup and running off the water tank, then make sure your water pump is turned on before filling the WH tank by either method.

As already mentioned, the advantage to using the pressure valve to get the air out of the WH tank is to reduce the amount of water lost if you are running off the water tank vs city water line, and to reduce cooresponding filling of the grey tank.
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:00 PM   #17
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As already mentioned, the advantage to using the pressure valve to get the air out of the WH tank is to reduce the amount of water lost if you are running off the water tank vs city water line, and to reduce cooresponding filling of the grey tank.



What he said
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:56 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by paulmlac View Post
Also, why don't RV makers put a switch for the electric inside on the panel next to
the gas switch?
Alot of manufacturers still do especially if you have an Attwood water heater. Bottom line, if you have a Suburban, it's cheaper to not have to run that seperate line for a switch inside.
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:58 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by bob213
Alot of manufacturers still do especially if you have an Attwood water heater. Bottom line, if you have a Suburban, it's cheaper to not have to run that seperate line for a switch inside.
You know this gets me thinking about a mod................
Stay tuned........
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:07 PM   #20
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If I'm not mistaken Herk has a mod link for that. Herk????
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