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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Hot Water Heater

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franlu

Topeka

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Posted: 05/02/12 02:57pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I hope I haven't messed up something as I am a newbie in the RV'ing department. Last weekend my husband and I went out for the 1st time this year in our RV. Noticed the hot water heater was not working when electric switch turned on but you could hear the it trying to kick on. Checked everything, but still wouldn't light and we finally swithced to gas to have some hot water and that worked. I assume (yes I know what that means) that we need to check the electrodes (?) and make sure it's now dirty. Any thoughts on the matter.
Also, I inadvertantly left the gas switch on but the gas and fridge was off. DH found the red light on when he went to put blocks in the fridge doors and turned the switch off. Did I mess anything up? Thanks for any information you give.

SWD

Land of Living Skies

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Posted: 05/02/12 03:23pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Unsure what you are trying to convey here. Did the electric element not work on your hot water heater so that is why you switched to gas? Gas switch??? Not sure. Gas switch for the hot water heater? The red light usually signifies that the hot water heater burner (DSI) didnt kick in. No problem there. I dont think you messed anything up. Firstly I would check to see if you have propane in your tanks, then light the stove/furnace to make sure the lines have gas in them. If your gas burner for the hot water heater doesnt kick in then you may have a plugged orifice. Take the burner tube out and blow out with compressed air. Dont put anything into the small gas orifice in the tube. Clean out the burner chamber and flue area. The electric element may have another switch at the hot water heater. Make sure that is switched on.

Old-Biscuit

Verde Valley

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Posted: 05/02/12 03:27pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

First off the electric heating is just an immersion element that gets hot when 110V current runs thru it......think electric stove burner element.

Nothing to hear or light for electric. Sometimes you might hear a relay pick up when energizing but that's it.

You had water in heater BEFORE trying the electric....correct? No water in tank and it only takes a few minutes to burn electric heating element out.....the water absorbing the heat from element keeps the element from burning up.

How long did you wait before deciding that the electric wasn't working?
Initial heating of water with electric element can take 60-90 minutes.

Gas can heat in about 30 minutes and gas/electric together about 20 minutes.
(approx. recovery times depending on temp. of source water).

So if you had water in your 'water heater' and waited long enough you might have gotten 'hot water' from your 'water heater'.

The 'red' light was because you had it selected to gas but then had valved out propane and so when water cooled off enough the thermostat signaled the gas valve to open and ignite but no gas so it failed to light off and light came on (visual indication that it didn't work).
No harm...no foul


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skipnchar

Topeka or somewhere else

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Posted: 05/02/12 03:36pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Kind of rare to hear anything when it's working on electric. I'm wondering if it wasn't getting any electric power so was trying to light in LP mode instead? I'd at least begin there by checking the electric power to the heater.


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pulsar

Lewisville, NC

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Posted: 05/02/12 03:53pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Moved from Forum Technical Support to Tech Issues.

chuggs

Florida

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Posted: 05/02/12 04:59pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Franlu,

This is just a long shot...

Look inside your Circuit Breaker box to make sure the water heater breaker hasn't been tripped.

Go to the outside of your RV and locate the cover for the hot water heater. Twist the little tab up top 90 degrees to align with the slot...and tip the top of the cover toward you. Then lift it off the two little pegs that it rests on.

With the cover removed...

1) Make sure you're filled... I'm assuming that it is --- since you had hot water from the gas burner. But if you were just putting a unit into service for the season --- lifting up on the Pressure/Temperature Safety Relief valve...will weep water, if the tank is full. This vavle should be located right near the top of the tank.

2)Take a peek behind the gas burner jet...on the back wall, lower left corner, there is a little ON/OFF switch. IF it's been left OFF. There's your problem. You might have to remove a little safety pin to move it to the ON position.

Now try the electric switch inside.

Replace the cover outside...

NOTE...this is how my Suburban 6 gallon unit works... you may have a different one.

Hope that helps...

chuggs

Florida

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Posted: 05/02/12 05:04pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Oh...and as for the red light. No...I beleive it will try to start on gas 3 times...then fault and turn the little red light on. Just turn if off. NEXT time you want to use it...make sure the gas is turned on. (we usually light a burner on the stove to make sure the line is charged with propane)...and then turn the switch back on. It will act as though it's a new day...and nother ever happened.

While you're getting use to your new unit... You might make a checklist to follow. It will become routine very quickly...but it will save you repeating the same mistakes.

After a few outings...it's all second nature.

chuggs

Florida

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Posted: 05/02/12 05:08pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Forgot to mention...

IF by some unfortunate circumstance you turned the hot water (electric) switch ON...and the heating element was not submerged (tank not full of water)... They burn out quickly in air. You'll have to replace the element. I'm hoping that didn't happen.

Parts are easy to find... There should be a decal inside the unit with the model number. If you do a Froogle search for the model and the part you need... you'll get lots of hits. I just ordered a new anode for mine today....and flushed it out.

Kanyonkitty

Gerrardstown, WV

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Posted: 05/02/12 07:15pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

"IF" your tank had NO water in it and you turned on the electric heating element, let me tell you it will NOT takes minutes to kill the heating element, 10 - 15 seconds can kill it !!! (Don't ask me how I know this). I had had an Atwood water heater and "thought" I had the bypass vales in the proper positions when I turned the electric heating element on. I suddenly thought about the valve positions and TOO LATE, in I'd say less that 15 seconds the heating element was toast.

I removed the heating element and off to Lowes to get a new one. Installed it, and all was well again.



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chuggs

Florida

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Posted: 05/02/12 07:19pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Manual

There's one OTHER thing... Sorry, I wish I could organize all my thoughts into one concise post.

On page 7...there is a reset procedure for the thermostat.

If for some reason it tripped (180 degrees)...you can let the temp get below 110 degrees and attempt a reset.

On my suburban model...just below the Temp/PRES. relief there is a black panel with two buttons and the word RESET printed on the cover.

OKay...I think after you've tried ALL those things...we should have a water heater working on electric!!!

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