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Old 07-14-2020, 05:33 PM   #1
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suburban 6 gal HW heater help

I have a used 2014 Rockwood mini lite. My question is: can/does my hot water heater ever run off electric for the heat or just propane, leaving the electric to control the thermostat, etc ? Thanks.
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Old 07-14-2020, 05:40 PM   #2
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What is the model # of the water heater?
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Old 07-14-2020, 05:52 PM   #3
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SW6DE
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Old 07-14-2020, 05:52 PM   #4
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Open the outside panel on the side of the RV for your water heater. Look in the lower left corner of the water heater for an on/off switch. If there is an on/off switch there, that is for the electric heating element of the water heater. If that switch is on (and assuming you do not have an inside on/off electric water heater switch), then whenever you have 120 volts AC available (shore power or generator) the electric heating element will cycle on and off via a thermostat switch in the water heater. You have to be careful with this because if you have power available to the electric element, and you connect to shore power with no water in the water heater, the electric heating element will burn out in less than a minute.

And yes, the SW6DE has an electric heating element (120 volts AC).
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Old 07-14-2020, 05:56 PM   #5
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The switch is located behind the loop of the propane feeding into the burn chamber. Not the easiest location to see, but itís there.
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Old 07-14-2020, 06:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dueeast View Post
I have a used 2014 Rockwood mini lite. My question is: can/does my hot water heater ever run off electric for the heat or just propane, leaving the electric to control the thermostat, etc ? Thanks.
Here is a good thread

https://www.forestriverforums.com/fo...tml#post327988
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Old 07-14-2020, 06:03 PM   #7
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Confusing. I have the on/off switch on the lower left of the heater itself , and a hot water switch in the trailer on the switch panel. I've just always fill with city water, run until air is out of the lines, then turn on the switch at the inside panel and it works. Am I using propane this way instead of electric? Thanks, Rob
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Old 07-14-2020, 06:06 PM   #8
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If you only have 1 switch inside for the water heater it is for propane. That single switch has nothing to do with the electric side of the water heater, that is controlled by the outside switch.

On these water heaters you can use propane only (inside switch on, outside switch off), electric only (inside switch off, outside switch on), or both (inside and outside switches on).

If you had two switches inside for the water heater, one would be for propane and one would be for electric. But you would also have the outside switch which you could then just leave on because the inside switch would control the electric side.
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Old 07-14-2020, 06:12 PM   #9
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Thank you all! I understand exactly NOW. The owners manual APP is lacking for info like you've provided. God Bless, Rob.
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Old 07-15-2020, 01:33 PM   #10
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I use both. 6 gal of hot water can go pretty quick, and recovery time is much shorter with both on. Just put turning the switch off on the list of things to do before pulling out.
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Old 07-15-2020, 02:06 PM   #11
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They are great simple little heaters and don’t cost an arm and a leg if something goes out!
But you do have to always be sure you have water in the tank before using the electric! I believe I did that by accident and took a while to figure it out! There is a pressure relief valve there also On the water heater control board. You can pull it to be sure you have water in the tank before you turn either on on! (Electric or Propane) it will release cold water so you know that tank is not empty. DO NOT DO THIS IF WATER HEATER HAS BEEN ON IN EITHER ELECTTIC OR PROPANE MODE!!
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Old 07-15-2020, 02:28 PM   #12
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Model SW6DE is both propane and electric. Find the switch as described above.
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Old 07-15-2020, 02:53 PM   #13
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On my 2017 I left the electric element on and winterized, draining the tank of course. A few days later I noticed the tank was warm, not hot, I shut the power off and removed the heater element and it was fine. Filled the tank with water and heated it up with electric and everything was fine, still is after several uses.

The only thing I can figure is that I did change the control (circuit) board before winterizing so I am wondering if the newer boards have a way to prevent burning out. Hard to figure out how this would work as there is no sensor in the tank to determine if there is or is not water in the tank.
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Old 07-15-2020, 03:21 PM   #14
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Suburban says

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Originally Posted by cariboo camper View Post
On my 2017 I left the electric element on and winterized, draining the tank of course. A few days later I noticed the tank was warm, not hot, I shut the power off and removed the heater element and it was fine. Filled the tank with water and heated it up with electric and everything was fine, still is after several uses.

The only thing I can figure is that I did change the control (circuit) board before winterizing so I am wondering if the newer boards have a way to prevent burning out. Hard to figure out how this would work as there is no sensor in the tank to determine if there is or is not water in the tank.
Suburban says that their newest elements are more robust against accidental dry turn-on. Many folks (including me) have older units that lack that feature.
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Old 07-15-2020, 03:30 PM   #15
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Suburban says that their newest elements are more robust against accidental dry turn-on. Many folks (including me) have older units that lack that feature.
Yes, but it extended the burn-out time from a few seconds to only a few minutes. It only gives you enough time for that oh $$$$ moment to unplug the RV - not going to last days. The older ones were more like a plug the RV into shore and POP goes the element.
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Old 07-15-2020, 10:09 PM   #16
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Yes, but it extended the burn-out time from a few seconds to only a few minutes. It only gives you enough time for that oh $$$$ moment to unplug the RV - not going to last days. The older ones were more like a plug the RV into shore and POP goes the element.
Strange! I may just run the scenario over again and see what happens. Wondering if the minus 10 - 15 degree F had anything to do with it. Actually got that cold in March where we live after our quick evac from Yuma due to Corvid.
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