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Old 05-31-2017, 05:28 AM   #1
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Hot water tank shock

So i have been having troubles with my hot water heater. I had an undetected leak on my plumbing that i believe allowed my hot water tank to drain then fried my heating element. So i replaced it, but yet my hot water tank will not work on electric. I noticed when i went to push the on off switch on the heater outside that i got a little shock from it. Comparable to putting a used 9v battery on your tounge. Now this switch has always been very difficult to switch back and forth, and i have to apply a lot of pressure to do so. So i'm wondering if something hasn't just broken there and am going to attempt to replace it next. But if that does not work advise of where to try next would be appreciated.
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Old 05-31-2017, 05:47 AM   #2
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I don't have an answer but from past experience the gurus on here will need to know the unit you have and the make/model of water heater.

Good Luck!

Marty
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Old 05-31-2017, 05:53 AM   #3
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My bad i should of known better. It is a suburban SW6DE.
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Old 05-31-2017, 06:23 AM   #4
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It's common for the water heater to burn out the fusible link at the
hi-limit reset. See this FAQ- http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...d-r-50292.html

look at the last photo- I am pointing to the rubber cover. The 120v and LP
thermostats/hi-limit safetys are behind that rubber cover.
If you remove it you can visually see if one of the fuse wires is melted in
two.
Also the hi-limit might need to be pressed to re-set it and/or your circuit
breaker might be tripped in the electrical panel in your trailer.

The shock is worrysome. be careful!! Un-plug the trailer from any shore
power while trouble shooting.

Good luck- BE CAREFUL!!
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Old 05-31-2017, 06:29 AM   #5
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Follow up-
See the bottom photo in post 11 here- http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ved-28530.html

Look closely and you can see the left hand fusible link is burned out.
This requires the replacement of the thermostat/hi-limit switch.

You can usually find them on Ebay and any decent RV dealer will carry them.

REMEMBER- all power off before working on this!!

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Old 05-31-2017, 07:06 AM   #6
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Trying to post a picture of the wrecked element too in case it might help.
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Old 05-31-2017, 07:09 AM   #7
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If you changed the element it doesn't matter... check for a burned out fusible link as shown in the photos I referenced.
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Old 05-31-2017, 07:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mehboy View Post
So i have been having troubles with my hot water heater. I had an undetected leak on my plumbing that i believe allowed my hot water tank to drain then fried my heating element. So i replaced it, but yet my hot water tank will not work on electric. I noticed when i went to push the on off switch on the heater outside that i got a little shock from it. Comparable to putting a used 9v battery on your tounge. Now this switch has always been very difficult to switch back and forth, and i have to apply a lot of pressure to do so. So i'm wondering if something hasn't just broken there and am going to attempt to replace it next. But if that does not work advise of where to try next would be appreciated.
That black electric heating element switch on the face of water heater are bad about going out. The fact you are feeling a little tingle there, is enough to indicate you maybe should change it. They are only around $10 and most RV stores will have one in stock. As stated by Dan, make sure to have 120 volt power off before doing this.



As you can see from this schematic, the circuit will start at your electrical distribution box (the water heater usually has it's own circuit breaker). It then goes to an outlet behind the water heater, which your WH can be plugged into via a cord or direct wired.

Now from here (on schematic), the hot line goes to the black switch, then thru the...hi-limit-fusible link-thermostat------ then to electric element.

You want to trace power thru the aforementioned when troubleshooting. Remember though since you are tracing 120 volts thru a single line from the switch to the element.... when using a multitester set to AC power, then put the red probe on the hot line and the black probe on a ground somewhere to find the difference in potential (voltage).

If you try to put both probes on the same hot line (like both sides of the black switch or thermostat, you will get O voltage reading since you are on the same line, and not using a ground or neutral wire to find the difference in potential. We have many members make that common error when trying to troubleshoot.

Now once you get to the element, since it does have a hot line AND Neutral wire connected, you can test it by using both probes, one per side.

The neutral is on on the opposite side of the electric element for the return path.

One other thing when tracing voltage is the hi-limit and the thermostat. The hi-limit is just basically a resettable thermostat that opens at 180 degrees while the thermostat itself opens at usually 135 degrees. If either one is open (Like the water is already heated before troubleshooting), then you won't get a voltage reading past that point, since the thermostats have opened the circuit (stopping power) from reaching the element).

It's pretty easy and straightforward.
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Old 05-31-2017, 07:48 AM   #9
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As mentioned above check the fused link. As for the shock you feel, that is interesting as you say it is about the same as a 9V battery on your tongue. That is sufficient current to trip the GFCI that the WH is plugged into. If you are not working on electric, i would check the outlet to insure it has power.
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Old 05-31-2017, 08:39 AM   #10
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I took it apart and yes there was a burnt out link on the thermostat/hi-limit switch. Thanks everyone, hopefully i can get it fixed now.
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Old 05-31-2017, 08:43 AM   #11
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I took it apart and yes there was a burnt out link on the thermostat/hi-limit switch. Thanks everyone, hopefully i can get it fixed now.
Excellent. Now I'm sure you saw that there are actually TWO t'stat assemblies. The left one (black wires) goes to your 120 volt AC heating element, and the right (red wires) goes to your 12 volt DC propane burner.

These are two different t'stats and have two different part numbers. Make sure you get the correct one.




I'd still go ahead and pick up a black switch too.

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Old 05-31-2017, 12:22 PM   #12
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Inherited a bad AC side of our water heater (purchased the rig used by private party). Realized it had the electric side during second season. The switch froze "On" the first time I moved it and could not be budged. So both the element and switch were replaced. The tingle you feel might be "hot skin" which probably relates to a ground problem?
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Old 05-31-2017, 10:44 PM   #13
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Thanks everyone, i managed to get everything back together and working. Installed a new switch as well and no shocks. Thank you very much for your assistance.
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Old 06-01-2017, 03:48 AM   #14
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Thanks everyone, i managed to get everything back together and working. Installed a new switch as well and no shocks. Thank you very much for your assistance.
Good deal. You had a busy first day on the forums. Welcome aboard.
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Old 06-02-2017, 10:46 AM   #15
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Wmtire gave a lot of good troubleshooting tips. They should be helpful to anyone needing to check out the AC side of their water heater. BobHanke also raised a very valid issue. You shouldn't get a shock from your water heater's chassis unless there is a ground problem. Fixing the water heater may remove the source of the shock felt but it hasn't resolved why you were getting a shock. The RV should have its skin grounded when plugged into shore power.

A simple AC outlet tester can help identify a problem and when it has been fixed. Sometimes it's just a bad ground on your power cord, etc., that causes the problem.
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Old 06-02-2017, 10:54 AM   #16
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Just out of curiosity...How does that black rocker switch come out?
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Old 06-02-2017, 10:58 AM   #17
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Just out of curiosity...How does that black rocker switch come out?
If you will look at the pic of it in post #11, you will see a kind of tab on the top and there's another on bottom.

You can take a small flat head screwdriver and pry in at the top (or bottom) and push the tab down, which will allow you to pull the end of the switch outward, then pull the other end out.
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Old 06-02-2017, 06:41 PM   #18
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Thanks wmtire...
Always carry an extra but never thought about how it goes in.
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