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Old 11-05-2020, 12:46 AM   #1
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2 Gallons of Hot out of 6 Gallon Hot Water Heater

I'm only getting 2 gallons of hot water out of my hot water heater.

2021 Surveyor 240BHLE
Hot Water Heater = Suburban SW6DE

Modes: (Tried all 3 numerous times)
Gas
Electric
Gas/Electric combined

Fresh tank full at 30 gallons, run hot and cold water for 10 minutes. Let hot water heater run for 30 - 60 minutes.

Go to kitchen sink with 1 gallon jug. Fill 1st gallon with nice hot water. Fill 2nd gallon with nice hot water. Beginning of gallon number 3, the water is barely warm and proceeds to become colder by the end of the 3rd gallon. I'm not even close to 6 gallons of hot water.

Here's a picture of the valve positions on the tank.



No other taps are on in the trailer, I do not have an outdoor shower.

Why am I only getting 2 gallons of hot water?
Is there any way to manually increase the water temperature? My previous trailer was very hot, probably 130 degrees or more.
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Old 11-05-2020, 12:59 AM   #2
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Have you pulled the annode and looked inside? I will admit I am a little stumped because you picked out the obvious suspects.
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Old 11-05-2020, 03:21 AM   #3
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Sounds normal to me. 6 gal. of hot water, 3 gal. removed and replaced with cool water. This will drop the temp of the water coming out of your water heater significantly. This is from memory, but I think the recovery time for this heater is 1 hour. The recovery time is about the same for either gas or electric, will be faster for both running at the same time.


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Old 11-05-2020, 06:37 AM   #4
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Yeah, you're not going to get 6 gallons of "HOT" water out of a 6 gallon tank. Just a couple gallons of cold water is going to drop the temperature dramatically.
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Old 11-05-2020, 09:46 AM   #5
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Going from memory but I believe that RV water heaters are rated on how much hot water they can produce in an hour, not how much they actually hold.

Yes, water capacity is shown but as others have said, cold in limits hot out.
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Old 11-05-2020, 10:03 AM   #6
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Amen to all of above. Rapidly removing a couple gallons of hot water means rapidly replacing it with a couple gallons of cold water. Think of it as a big pot of water you heated up. Pour out a third, and replace it with cold water. Not so hot anymore.
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Old 11-05-2020, 10:20 AM   #7
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We don't turn on our hot water heater unless we need it. It heats up in about 10 to 15 min max and we have never ran out of hot water when showering or doing dishes ever. After we finish we then turn it back off until the next time we need some.
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Old 11-05-2020, 10:59 AM   #8
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You have to consider how cold the incoming water is. The colder the incoming ground water is the faster it will cool down the hot water in your water heater. City water utility supplies are usually not all that cold because of the large tank setting in the sun. Most campgrounds have their own well or the water is pumped from a lake or river. I know of a small campground where the water comes from an artesian well, the water is so cold you will get brain freeze if you drink a 16 ounces too fast.
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Old 11-05-2020, 11:58 AM   #9
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Just an outside possibility. While doing your kitchen sink test, grab the top pipe and make sure the hot water is coming out there and cold is, in fact, going in the bottom. Could be that the pipes were hooked up backwards. A possibility since the pipes aren't color coded pex.
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Old 11-05-2020, 12:21 PM   #10
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Due to the size of the heating element, my 12 gallon tank of water would not be ďhotĒ in 30 minutes.

Maybe 2 hours the first time.

Water temp coming in matters.

Try turning on the electric and gas and wait two hours.
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Old 11-05-2020, 12:23 PM   #11
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Another thought.

If your outside shower valve or shower is on with the hose end off. That causes issues like this.
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Old 11-05-2020, 12:23 PM   #12
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I appreciate the advice from everyone.

The water is coming from the fresh water tank, it's probably about 45-50 degrees. The outside temperature is 75 degrees. These are very normal warm conditions, it's not like the hot water heater needs to work that hard.

2 gallons from a six gallon tank is not normal. Especially considering I'm plugged into 30 amp shore power with 2 full tanks of propane. The water heater is running in dual electric/gas mode. I'm giving it a minimum of 30 minutes, but generally 60 minutes to recover between these tests.

All plumbing is correct in its routing and function... if I was running a test of a 2 gallon water heater, I would say everything is normal.

I never ran out of hot water on my Jayco, it was scalding hot, and you had to add cold to the hot water stream to avoid getting burned. Even with a "full" 6 gallon tank on my new Surveyor, I can almost stand putting my hand in the direct hot water stream at full hot. It's a little painful, but definitely wouldn't cause a severe burn.

How do you bump the hot water heater temp up on the Suburban SW6DE? If the above comments are true about the cold water diluting the heat after only 2 gallons of use, I need to have much hotter water sitting in the tank.
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Old 11-05-2020, 12:36 PM   #13
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Could the cold water bypass be on and adding cold water into the hot water circuit?

Think i have close to the same thing going on with mine and the valves look to be in the same position as shown above. Then again I'm learning to deal with only a 3 minute shower...
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Old 11-05-2020, 12:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmackIt View Post
I appreciate the advice from everyone.

The water is coming from the fresh water tank, it's probably about 45-50 degrees. The outside temperature is 75 degrees. These are very normal warm conditions, it's not like the hot water heater needs to work that hard.

2 gallons from a six gallon tank is not normal. Especially considering I'm plugged into 30 amp shore power with 2 full tanks of propane. The water heater is running in dual electric/gas mode. I'm giving it a minimum of 30 minutes, but generally 60 minutes to recover between these tests.

All plumbing is correct in its routing and function... if I was running a test of a 2 gallon water heater, I would say everything is normal.

I never ran out of hot water on my Jayco, it was scalding hot, and you had to add cold to the hot water stream to avoid getting burned. Even with a "full" 6 gallon tank on my new Surveyor, I can almost stand putting my hand in the direct hot water stream at full hot. It's a little painful, but definitely wouldn't cause a severe burn.

How do you bump the hot water heater temp up on the Suburban SW6DE? If the above comments are true about the cold water diluting the heat after only 2 gallons of use, I need to have much hotter water sitting in the tank.
The thermostats are not adjustable so you can't 'bump' them up.

They do make one or two different degree 'stats so you could see what you have and see if you can get a hotter one.

Be sure to check the things that have been mentioned. (hoses reversed, outside shower, etc.) It's also possible the dip/mixing tube inside the tank fell off or is faulty somehow mixing the cold into the hot at a much higher level in the tank.

Here's what it should look like when looking in the removed anode bung...
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Old 11-05-2020, 12:39 PM   #15
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Another thought.

If your outside shower valve or shower is on with the hose end off. That causes issues like this.

Thank you. As stated in the original post, I don't have an outside shower, I know about the issue of other valves being open. The bathroom shower doesn't have one of those water stop buttons on the shower head.

The lack of outside shower still has me rather upset, I never even looked while purchasing the camper. All online data and all previous versions of the Surveyor 240BHLE had the outdoor shower, can't believe Forest River would exclude such a critical feature from a family camper.
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Old 11-05-2020, 12:41 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by KJ6MTJ - John View Post
Could the cold water bypass be on and adding cold water into the hot water circuit?

Think i have close to the same thing going on with mine and the valves look to be in the same position as shown above. Then again I'm learning to deal with only a 3 minute shower...
I'm amazed at how fast I can shower when water is cold.
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Old 11-05-2020, 01:08 PM   #17
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I have a 10 gal hot water heater and never takes longer than 15min at max to heat water and that is just on gas. Sounds like other isues happening or faulty heater. Later RJD
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Old 11-05-2020, 01:11 PM   #18
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To get max hot water shower right after the propane burner stops. This will ensure water is at peak temperature
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Old 11-05-2020, 01:34 PM   #19
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No outside shower

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomkatb View Post
Another thought.

If your outside shower valve or shower is on with the hose end off. That causes issues like this.
In his original post, the OP says he has no outside shower.

BUT he could have the inside shower knobs on, with shutoff at the spray head. That would have the effect of never getting really hot water, which conflicts with his statement that he gets 2 gallons of hot water before it begins to cool.
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Old 11-05-2020, 01:36 PM   #20
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Admittedly, your hot water heater's recovery time seems a bit slow - especially since you are using both electric and propane to heat the water. That said, your testing methodology may not emulate most real life situations. You didn't mention how you ran the hot and cold water before allowing the hot water heater to "catch up." Both at full volume for the entire 10 minutes? Hot for 5, cold for 5? Typically you would be mixing hot and cold water in the shower to reach your comfort range (and you might be using the cut-off button keep the water from running while you are "soaping-up" if you had that feature); and unless you wash and rinse dishes using only hot water.....and with that water running constantly.....you would not be using the hot water as quickly as in your test. So if your Jayco never ran out of hot water with regular use, compared to the Surveyor using the test methodology, you would be comparing apples to oranges. If the Jayco was tested using the same methodology, you make a good point that the current rig doesn't compare favorably. Others have mentioned that using the hot water so quickly leads to an influx of cool water that will take a while to heat, and I agree with that observation; but if you are indeed comparing apples to apples your Surveyor's performance is disappointing. I would suggest using an appropriate thermometer to determine exactly how hot the water is getting with each gallon used for your test. That may give you some idea of whether the hot water heater is functioning as it should and how quickly - and by what amount - the hot water is cooled when it is replaced with the cooler water from the FW tank. Good luck!
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