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Old 08-26-2012, 08:07 PM   #1
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Hot water heater only works w/ gas

Our hot water heater only works while in propane mode. We've given it ampleturns to heat up with electricity, but it never does. Even when we switch from gas back to electric, it cools down. Is there a simple solution.
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Old 08-26-2012, 08:36 PM   #2
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The troubleshooting on the AC side of a dual propane/electric water heater is pretty straight forward.

Make sure the circuit breaker in the panel that feeds the water heater is set
Make sure the on/off switch is ON
Press both rubber disks that cover the high limit reset buttons

If that does not get you going:

Remove the rubber protective covers on the high/low limit thermostats
Examine them for melted connecting fuse link like the left one in the photograph
Replace thermostat if melted
If power is going to the electric heating element and still no heat; replace it.
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Old 08-26-2012, 09:16 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herk7769 View Post
The troubleshooting on the AC side of a dual propane/electric water heater is pretty straight forward.

Make sure the circuit breaker in the panel that feeds the water heater is set
Make sure the on/off switch is ON
Press both rubber disks that cover the high limit reset buttons

If that does not get you going:

Remove the rubber protective covers on the high/low limit thermostats
Examine them for melted connecting fuse link like the left one in the photograph
Replace thermostat if melted
If power is going to the electric heating element and still no heat; replace it.
Wow Lou, great information!! I'll check on this when we take the camper out this Friday for Labor Day weekend and let you know!
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Old 08-26-2012, 10:42 PM   #4
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LOL - We get this one a lot.
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Old 08-26-2012, 10:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herk7769 View Post
The troubleshooting on the AC side of a dual propane/electric water heater is pretty straight forward.

Make sure the circuit breaker in the panel that feeds the water heater is set
Make sure the on/off switch is ON
Press both rubber disks that cover the high limit reset buttons

If that does not get you going:

Remove the rubber protective covers on the high/low limit thermostats
Examine them for melted connecting fuse link like the left one in the photograph
Replace thermostat if melted
If power is going to the electric heating element and still no heat; replace it.
Lou - you say "Remove the rubber protective covers on the high/low limit thermostats."

My Suburban WH manual only says to press the covers if the WH doesn't run on AC. Is that a fix (replacing melted fuses) that you discovered or that a generic fix for all RV WH nakes?
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:41 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by B47 View Post
Lou - you say "Remove the rubber protective covers on the high/low limit thermostats."

My Suburban WH manual only says to press the covers if the WH doesn't run on AC. Is that a fix (replacing melted fuses) that you discovered or that a generic fix for all RV WH nakes?
Every water heater out there (except perhaps the "on demand" types) have some form of high/low limit thermostat. There are two in units that run on propane and AC because they are two separate and independent systems that share a water tank.

The reason is there has to be a way for the water heater to decide the water is hot enough to shut off (high limit thermostat opens) and cold enough start (low limit closes). The unit is sold as a "set" of thermostats and the thermostats are connected by a fusible wire.

As I said there are two different ones; one for AC (black wires) and one for the DC control of the propane burner (red wires) in this photo.

The reason the manual stops at pressing in the rubber covered buttons is that there is power on those thermostats (120VAC in the case of the one on the left) and you could get shocked if you don't know what you are doing.

If the high limit thermostat "bellows" gets stuck open, the electric will not heat the water. Pressing on then rubber disk will collapse the bellows and close the circuit. If the fusible wire is gone, this will not fix the problem and the entire thermostat unit must be replaced.

The Atwood thermostat looks like :

Atwood 140į Thermostat Kit with ECO, #91447

The Suburban one like

RV Suburban Water Heater Thermostat/High Limit Switch, Part # 232319 | eBay

They are not expensive and with care (and some electrical knowledge) are easy to fix.

This is from the Suburban manual.
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herk7769 View Post
Every water heater out there (except perhaps the "on demand" types) have some form of high/low limit thermostat. There are two in units that run on propane and AC because they are two separate and independent systems that share a water tank.

The reason is there has to be a way for the water heater to decide the water is hot enough to shut off (high limit thermostat opens) and cold enough start (low limit closes). The unit is sold as a "set" of thermostats and the thermostats are connected by a fusible wire.

As I said there are two different ones; one for AC (black wires) and one for the DC control of the propane burner (red wires) in this photo.

The reason the manual stops at pressing in the rubber covered buttons is that there is power on those thermostats (120VAC in the case of the one on the left) and you could get shocked if you don't know what you are doing.

If the high limit thermostat "bellows" gets stuck open, the electric will not heat the water. Pressing on then rubber disk will collapse the bellows and close the circuit. If the fusible wire is gone, this will not fix the problem and the entire thermostat unit must be replaced.

The Atwood thermostat looks like :

Atwood 140į Thermostat Kit with ECO, #91447

The Suburban one like

RV Suburban Water Heater Thermostat/High Limit Switch, Part # 232319 | eBay

They are not expensive and with care (and some electrical knowledge) are easy to fix.

This is from the Suburban manual.
Thanks for the explanation. The reason for asking is because I assumed that hecause the manual didn't mention "fuses" that there were only circuit breakers under the disks and no fuses.
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:53 AM   #8
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Now you can see it is not a "circuit breaker" per se, but a bellows switch that can get stuck open that you manually compress "closed."
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Old 08-27-2012, 01:34 PM   #9
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Now you can see it is not a "circuit breaker" per se, but a bellows switch that can get stuck open that you manually compress "closed."
Yep - I see that now.

Thanks.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:24 PM   #10
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Herk.

FR service team replaced my HW element with newer model not so susceptible to burn out. Btw free service for those at Frog Intl Rally

Do you know any details on this newer element??
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:05 PM   #11
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My outside toggle switch was bad from the get-go......just another idea if the other suggestions don't get your water heater up and running on electric.
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:08 PM   #12
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Herk.

FR service team replaced my HW element with newer model not so susceptible to burn out. Btw free service for those at Frog Intl Rally

Do you know any details on this newer element??
First I heard of it.
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herk7769

First I heard of it.
Hmmm somebody knows something.
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Old 05-08-2013, 10:09 AM   #14
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Quick diagnosis/repair with pic

Hey guys,

Instead of starting a new thread I figured adding to this one with great info already was a better idea. I have a propane/electric water heater that currently does not work on electric. I have attached a photo of what I believe to be an obvious cause. My questions is how do I go about repairing it? Is this part of the element or is this an easy fix? See photo attached for details.
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Old 05-08-2013, 10:10 AM   #15
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Attachment didn't seem to work. Here is a link:

imgur: the simple image sharer
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:31 AM   #16
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Hot water heater, Anode rod

I have a 2002 Wildwood Travel Trailer, I am not able to download the manuel here at work. Can someone tell me the size of anode rod I need for my trailer, I would greatly appreciate it
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:34 AM   #17
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I have a 2002 Wildwood Travel Trailer, I am not able to download the manuel here at work. Can someone tell me the size of anode rod I need for my trailer, I would greatly appreciate it
Suburban or attwood water heater?
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Old 05-08-2013, 03:50 PM   #18
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Attachment didn't seem to work. Here is a link:

imgur: the simple image sharer
That is a great photo of a bad thermostat.

Look at the wire on the left (AC) thermostat. It is melted.

You should replace it.

http://www.rvdealership.com/rvdstore...rNumber=885555


1) Turn off water heater breaker
2) Remove black wires
3) Remove nut (don't drop it)
4) Remove thermostat
5) Install new thermostat
6) Tighten nut snug
7) Attach black wires
8) Turn on breaker

Enjoy electric hot water.
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Old 05-08-2013, 03:56 PM   #19
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That's exactly what some further research showed. Hopefully this photo and thread will help others! Thanks for the input.
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Old 05-08-2013, 06:54 PM   #20
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That's exactly what some further research showed. Hopefully this photo and thread will help others! Thanks for the input.
I have used this photo to help others for a few years now.
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