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 > Suburban water heater limited hot water on electric

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solman

Deep in the heart of Jersey

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Posted: 06/16/19 05:33am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hello,
I have a Suburban SW6DEL gas/electric water heater in my toy hauler. Bought the rig new in 2011 and have been using it on electric mostly since new. Out on vacation I noticed that the hot water runs out long before I finish even a quick shower. I have to use it on propane now to get a full shower. It does work but water goes cold quickly. I am thinking perhaps the thermostat or maybe the element has gone bad.
What say you RVers out there? Any one have the same problem and what was the solution?


Solman
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2chiefsRus

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Posted: 06/16/19 06:16am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

have you ever drained and flushed the hot water tank? sometimes sediment builds up in the bottom of the tank.


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wa8yxm

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Posted: 06/16/19 06:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Most tanks on RV's are 6 gallons.. Most showers 2 GPM (and you need like 1.5 hot) that gives you 4 minutes of water flow.

Propane heats fast so you can extend that a couple minutes.. Eletric not so fast. and mine even slower (I "Dialed down" my electric to 375 Watts. Saves me going out and resetting 30 amp breakers from time to time).

Solution is a valve 1/2 inch There are two types I've used and I will report

1/2 inch IPT ball valve (Quarter turn full shut off) with adapters so it fit the shower hose.. Fully shutting off the water can often result in a blast of hot or cold when you restore flow

1/2 inch Valve I got at Mennards custom designed for shower use. It does not fully shut off. "Dribbles".. alternative is the "Smart pulse" Valve used with Oxygenics shower heads. Identical in function.. NO hot/cold blast upon restoring flow.

This means I wet down... SHut off. Soap up.. Restore flow and rinse off.

And that.. is how you do it

(Actually I hike to the park shower most of the time but when I was stuck in GA and it was 2 weeks of "Record number of days over 90 degrees" (Global warming is a myth they say.. A million to one are the odds of anything coming from Mars tehy say (From a musical of the war of the worlds). that's 14 new record length of days over 90 degrees.. Oh well)

I used the RV shower beccause by the time I walked back to the RV from teh park's facility..... I needed another shower.


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DownTheAvenue

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Posted: 06/16/19 06:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Two things could be at play.
1. Recovery time. The water heater on gas will recover quicker than on electric. Therefore, you may have a little more volume of hot water on gas than on electric.
2. Hot water temperature. The gas and electric systems on the water heater are completely separate. One could be set at a higher temperature than the other. If the electric is set to a lower temperature than the gas, then it will take more hot water from the heater tank to produce a comfortable shower, thereby reducing the amount of hot water available.

dougrainer

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Posted: 06/16/19 06:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

IF on 120 ONLY and you get a small amount of hot water, your element is good. Just replace the 120 ECO/Tstat assbly. Another remote possibility, since your unit is old, there could be calcium deposits on the 120 element degrading the heat transfer. This is rare but does happen. This happens when you do not replace the Anode rod and flush the heater yearly. If the element has excess Calcium build up, and you have to pull the element to verify this, replace the element. If my unit, and it is close to 10 years old, I would replace the 120 element and the 120 Tstat/ECO switch. Doug

PS, I would also check and replace the black MANUAL 120 switch on the outside of the water heater. It is probably marginal from the years of use.

solman

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Posted: 06/16/19 07:10am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the responses
I do drain and flush yearly also I used to get enough hot water for a shower on electric only. I figure something changed or went bad. Might try the thermostat first or change both the stat and the element and go from there.

Old-Biscuit

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Posted: 06/16/19 09:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Your SW6DEL uses 12VDC for control functions ---electric and propane

Both electric & propane om/off switch have 12VDC supplied to them from a FUSED DC Circuit.
Electric side uses a DC/AC Relay to trigger the 120VAC to element.....similar to Atwood combo unit

BUT the DEL still maintains separate sets of t-stats under the 'Push To Reset' Cover
120VAC/electric....Left side ---- normal t-stat/opens 130*F & manual rest High temp/opens 170*F
12VDC/propane......Right side --- normal t-stat/opens 130*F & manual rest High temp/opens 170*F

Inside the DC Junction Box (left side of water heater tank---from backside) is the DC/AC Relay
CHECK the AC wire connections on that relay


Changing out the element after 8 yrs is not unreasonable


Is it time for your medication or mine?


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solman

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Posted: 06/17/19 04:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks Old-Biscuit
I will check this out

dougrainer

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Posted: 06/17/19 06:12am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Old-Biscuit wrote:

Your SW6DEL uses 12VDC for control functions ---electric and propane

Both electric & propane om/off switch have 12VDC supplied to them from a FUSED DC Circuit.
Electric side uses a DC/AC Relay to trigger the 120VAC to element.....similar to Atwood combo unit

BUT the DEL still maintains separate sets of t-stats under the 'Push To Reset' Cover
120VAC/electric....Left side ---- normal t-stat/opens 130*F & manual rest High temp/opens 170*F
12VDC/propane......Right side --- normal t-stat/opens 130*F & manual rest High temp/opens 170*F

Inside the DC Junction Box (left side of water heater tank---from backside) is the DC/AC Relay
CHECK the AC wire connections on that relay


Changing out the element after 8 yrs is not unreasonable


I don't think you are correct. The Suburban 12 volt control of 120 and LP is a recent model change. The OP's is 8/9 years old. HIS should have direct 120 wiring control. Doug

Old-Biscuit

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Posted: 06/17/19 02:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

dougrainer wrote:

Old-Biscuit wrote:

Your SW6DEL uses 12VDC for control functions ---electric and propane

Both electric & propane om/off switch have 12VDC supplied to them from a FUSED DC Circuit.
Electric side uses a DC/AC Relay to trigger the 120VAC to element.....similar to Atwood combo unit

BUT the DEL still maintains separate sets of t-stats under the 'Push To Reset' Cover
120VAC/electric....Left side ---- normal t-stat/opens 130*F & manual rest High temp/opens 170*F
12VDC/propane......Right side --- normal t-stat/opens 130*F & manual rest High temp/opens 170*F

Inside the DC Junction Box (left side of water heater tank---from backside) is the DC/AC Relay
CHECK the AC wire connections on that relay


Changing out the element after 8 yrs is not unreasonable


I don't think you are correct. The Suburban 12 volt control of 120 and LP is a recent model change. The OP's is 8/9 years old. HIS should have direct 120 wiring control. Doug


OP POSTED
SUBURBAN 'SW6DEL'
Look up the DEL Models

Oh wait...here is the Manual for the 6,10,12 & 16 DELs (MARCH of 2009)
Suburban DEL Water Heaters

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