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Old 09-16-2015, 06:27 PM   #1
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Newbie Cannot Get WH to Work on Propane

Hello, all. We've been trying to get our water heater to run on propane. It works great on electric.

I'm sorry but the instructions on the WH seem incomplete to me. On the monitor panel, we have a Tank Heat switch and a Water Heater switch. Plus there is an on/off switch in the little water heater compartment as well.

Could someone please walk me through the process step by step please? FYI, we have propane to the stove and furnace and both operate correctly.

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Old 09-16-2015, 06:42 PM   #2
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Tank heat switch is for your heated tanks.

Outside switch is for electric.

Inside switch is for propane.

All this of course depending on make and model of your water heater .

When posing a question in the forum it would be great to have year make and model of camper as well as make and model of device in question.

Do you hear clicking sound when attempting to light wh on propane?

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Old 09-16-2015, 06:46 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TURBS View Post
Tank heat switch is for your heated tanks.

Outside switch is for electric.

Inside switch is for propane.

All this of course depending on make and model of your water heater .

When posing a question in the forum it would be great to have year make and model of camper as well as make and model of device in question.

Do you hear clicking sound when attempting to light wh on propane?

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Old 09-16-2015, 06:49 PM   #4
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First time trying to get mine going on propane I first turned on the stove top. Took a few tries to get it lite due to the air in the lines. When it finally lite. Everything else (fridge and WH) took off pretty fast.
edit, I should not be speed reading, you have your stove and furnace already working. it still might be air in the line to the WH, turn on the inside WH switch on and like turbs said you will hear a clicking. It's trying to light, but after a few times and if it fails, you'll have to turn it off, wait and try again...I believe after several attempt the air will be out of the line and it will light.
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Old 09-17-2015, 12:28 PM   #5
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@gashog.. took me a few tries to figure that one out back in the day.. gotta burp that gas line and the stove is the best one to do it with. :-)
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Old 09-17-2015, 12:32 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by gashog View Post
First time trying to get mine going on propane I first turned on the stove top. Took a few tries to get it lite due to the air in the lines. When it finally lite. Everything else (fridge and WH) took off pretty fast.
edit, I should not be speed reading, you have your stove and furnace already working. it still might be air in the line to the WH, turn on the inside WH switch on and like turbs said you will hear a clicking. It's trying to light, but after a few times and if it fails, you'll have to turn it off, wait and try again...I believe after several attempt the air will be out of the line and it will light.
We have a 2015 Forest River FR3, that is probably already little more than a year old. There are two switches on the control panel, one says Water Heater [on/off] and Tank Heater. There is also an on/off switch outside at the water heater. I don't know what sequence to follow and which switches to turn on/off and when. Hubby was inside at the control panel and I was outside at the WH. I told him to turn on the Water Heater on/off switch, I listened and heard nothing. We tried with the switch AT the WH on and again in the off position. I had him turn it on and off a third, still nothing. If we have propane to the stove, fridge and furnace, can I assume that there is nothing else to turn on at the water heater? I'm beginning to think there is a lot of air in the lines. What would really help me a lot is a step by step sequence to follow, at least the first couple of times.

As always, thank you for taking the time to give the advice and support.
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Old 09-17-2015, 12:39 PM   #7
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The tank heater is for winter for your holding tanks :-) I have have not changed anything on the outside since I bought ours in 2013. I use the switch inside for the water heater the one with the flame is gas the other is electric.
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Old 09-17-2015, 12:42 PM   #8
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I could be totally off base, but if you hear nothing I'm assuming there's should be 12 volts to power a valve and ignitor. Check Fuse?

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Old 09-17-2015, 12:42 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by JeffLynn View Post
The tank heater is for winter for your holding tanks :-) I have have not changed anything on the outside since I bought ours in 2013. I use the switch inside for the water heater the one with the flame is gas the other is electric.
I'm puzzled, which "inside" switch, inside the WH compartment or inside the unit. I have nothing that displays a flame.
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Old 09-17-2015, 12:46 PM   #10
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If you have not used the water heater in the past, it might be possible that the bypass valves are set to by pass the heater. Check that first. There are two small reset buttons on the heater, one for LP and one for the electric element. Give each a push. Even though you might be trying to heat water with LP, you still need 12V for the igniter. Check your 12V fuses to see if the fuse for this function could be blown.
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Old 09-17-2015, 12:57 PM   #11
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Inside my 5er (in the kitchen) I have a cabinet with all my light switches, slideouts, awning, system readout.. (battery and holding tanks) and my water heater. I see you don't have that, I had a Golf Stream a few years ago and a switch in the heater area. There was a pin to lock it in GAS position, once I pulled the pin out I was able to switch it to electric.
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Old 09-17-2015, 01:01 PM   #12
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The switch inside the water heater door outside the unit is for electric operation and the switch inside the RV at or near the command center (switch panel) is for gas operation.

The electric switch (outside) doesn't make a sound when it's switched on. On the last two heaters we've owned, on is down and off is up on this switch.

On the switch inside the RV once you turn it on, there's a wait time of several seconds before the burner tries to light. It isn't instantaneous. If you're not waiting long enough after you turn that switch on before you turn it back off, you'll never hear the gas valve open or the igniter fire.
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Old 09-17-2015, 01:03 PM   #13
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EXTREME CAUTION: be absolutely sure you have water in the heater before trying the electric element. It will burn out is seconds if the tank is dry.
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Old 09-17-2015, 01:05 PM   #14
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The switch in side the rv is for propane. prpane should be your 1st to go to. The switch out side the rv or in the wh compartment is for electric. If you are turning on the switch inside the rv and not getting a propane ignition then you may have one of two issues, Either the switch is bad or the icnitor for propane is bad. Your unit is almost 1 year old so air in the lines is not an issue at this point.
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Old 09-17-2015, 01:22 PM   #15
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Another note is that the gas won't come on if the electric already has the water heated to the proper temperature. (When more than one is taking a shower, we'll have both on but the gas won't light until it's at a cooler temperature.)
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Old 09-17-2015, 01:55 PM   #16
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My understanding is that the switch on the outside at the tank is for electric only. If on and plugged in to shore power, the heater will run on 110 volts. If you're in a campground and hooked up to electric you can save propane by turning this switch on. If you are not hooked up to electric, then you use the switch in the camper control panel to select propane. I'm not entirely sure but I think if you have both switches on, the heater defaults to electric. At least that's how my fridge works.

I don't need the water heater constantly heating water so I keep the outside switch off until i want hot water, then I'll either use the outside switch for electric use or use the panel switch for propane.
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Old 09-17-2015, 02:02 PM   #17
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Water heaters work a little different than fridges. On the water heaters you can use the electric element and the gas burner at the same time. It allows you to heat water a little faster than either alone. We usually use the electric exclusively unless we're camping where there's no electric hookups.
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Old 09-17-2015, 02:06 PM   #18
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thanks for that info.
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Old 09-17-2015, 02:07 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lexi2007 View Post
We have a 2015 Forest River FR3, that is probably already little more than a year old. There are two switches on the control panel, one says Water Heater [on/off] and Tank Heater. There is also an on/off switch outside at the water heater. I don't know what sequence to follow and which switches to turn on/off and when. Hubby was inside at the control panel and I was outside at the WH. I told him to turn on the Water Heater on/off switch, I listened and heard nothing. We tried with the switch AT the WH on and again in the off position. I had him turn it on and off a third, still nothing. If we have propane to the stove, fridge and furnace, can I assume that there is nothing else to turn on at the water heater? I'm beginning to think there is a lot of air in the lines. What would really help me a lot is a step by step sequence to follow, at least the first couple of times.

As always, thank you for taking the time to give the advice and support.
Let me rephrase this.... Search for this issue on the FR3 sub forum, someone there may have had your same issue. (Someone with the same rig and water heater as you) Good Luck!
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Old 09-17-2015, 02:09 PM   #20
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If you post this on the FR3 sub forum, someone there may have had your same issue. Good Luck!
Do not start a new post on the same subject in another sub section.

Have this one moved.

Frankly this subforum is the right place for it.

Forum posting rules.
http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ork&page=rules

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