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Old 06-06-2013, 06:22 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by dbailey View Post
fwiw, I'd always turn off the electrical when I wasn't using it, for fear of forgetting it was turned on, and leaving it on when I emptied the tank.
Very true. Apparently the electric hot water tank element will burn itself out in a few seconds of operation if it is operated with no water in the tank.
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Old 05-31-2016, 11:46 PM   #12
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Caution with burned out hot water heater element!

Sorry to resurrect an old thread but I think this is important for people to see. My father was shocked on the trailer scissor jack and the trailer was also discovered to trip house GFI outlet when plugging in trailer (shore power). I want to stress that despite what is seen on some Internet posts it is NOT normal or ok for a trailer to trip GFI outlets. Something is wrong! After some investigation it became evident that the hot water heater switch (outside on face of heater) was inadvertently left on when the tank was drained (possibly by previous owner). This lead to the element burning out. With the element disconnected from power I checked for continuity to the trailer frame from the element terminals. I had intermittent continuity which means that the element sheath had to have failed with a hot-ground fault and was the cause of the shock to my father. This was also coupled with a bad ground pin on the extension cord to the outlet so the trailer was not properly grounded. The water heater element fault is also what was causing the GFI outlet to then trip. It is interesting to note that while troubleshooting we learned the house GFI tripped even with the inside water heater breaker OFF and other circuits with large loads were operated (A/C or microwave). This is the GFI detecting the issue, but can lead one to believe the issue is on a circuit that it is not. Also note that the trailer operated fine on a regular non-GFI outlet because without a GFI the fault could not be detected.

If my father was better grounded he could have been killed. I want to stress again that trailers tripping GFI's is not normal. Keep this water heater element issue in mind and always inspect your cords for proper grounding and plug in to a properly wired and tested GFI protected outlet.
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Old 06-01-2016, 12:42 AM   #13
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I guess I'm not completely understanding this. When I switch on the water heater in the trailer by the stove I'm using gas ? I thought that was the electrical switch and the gas one was outside somewhere
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Old 06-01-2016, 01:54 AM   #14
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Hot water

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Originally Posted by Fox hunt View Post
I guess I'm not completely understanding this. When I switch on the water heater in the trailer by the stove I'm using gas ? I thought that was the electrical switch and the gas one was outside somewhere

The remote switch (the one inside the trailer) is for normal LP operation. The light goes out once the water heater is successfully lit. For electric mode operation, you open the access panel (outside on the side of the trailer) and turn on the electric switch.


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Old 06-01-2016, 01:37 PM   #15
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Just to clarify I am speaking about the Suburban SW6DE dual mode (gas/120V electric) water heater. It appears to be an option to add the electric mode, with standard being just gas that would be model SW6D. The dual mode units are easily misunderstood, but very simple in operation. As rbryan4 stated the inside switch is for the gas mode of operation with 12 volt direct spark ignition (DSI). The switch for the electric mode of operation (120V AC) is outside on the face of the unit and is a bit obscured on the lower left. If the trailer is powered and this switch is turned on without water in the tank the element will burn out instantly. This was the cause of the problem I described above coupled with a poor ground on the trailer power cord. It should be noted that as far as I can tell the optional Progressive Industries surge protection devices inside the trailer do not appear to protect from ground faults in the trailer - only surge and other source power inlet conditions. Here are a couple of pictures to understand the switches being referenced and a link to the owner's manual that describes proper operation in detail. The Escape orientation video discusses operation on gas, but does not discuss operation on electric probably because the unit shown appears to be gas only.

www.livinlite.com/pdf/service/wh/SW6D-SW6DE-SW6DM-SW6DEM-Installation.pdf
Attached Images
File Type: jpg inside hot water heater switch - GAS.JPG (24.6 KB, 23 views)
File Type: jpg exploded view Suburban SW6DE.JPG (171.5 KB, 22 views)
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Old 06-01-2016, 01:53 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubicon327 View Post
Just to clarify I am speaking about the Suburban SW6DE dual mode (gas/120V electric) water heater. It appears to be an option to add the electric mode, with standard being just gas that would be model SW6D. The dual mode units are easily misunderstood, but very simple in operation. As rbryan4 stated the inside switch is for the gas mode of operation with 12 volt direct spark ignition (DSI). The switch for the electric mode of operation (120V AC) is outside on the face of the unit and is a bit obscured on the lower left. If the trailer is powered and this switch is turned on without water in the tank the element will burn out instantly. This was the cause of the problem I described above coupled with a poor ground on the trailer power cord. It should be noted that as far as I can tell the optional Progressive Industries surge protection devices inside the trailer do not appear to protect from ground faults in the trailer - only surge and other source power inlet conditions. Here are a couple of pictures to understand the switches being referenced and a link to the owner's manual that describes proper operation in detail. The Escape orientation video discusses operation on gas, but does not discuss operation on electric probably because the unit shown appears to be gas only.

www.livinlite.com/pdf/service/wh/SW6D-SW6DE-SW6DM-SW6DEM-Installation.pdf
The Progressive Industries HW30C does protect against open grounds between it and the power pedestal; From the Website: "Open Ground Protection:
If AC power has an open ground condition, the EMS will read an error code of E-2 and power will not be allowed to the RV."

It, and any other EMS that I'm familiar with cannot detect an open ground after its location...

As to the 120V switch built into the water heater, after replacing one I determined never to have to do it again (not much fun). I added an interior switch in series with the water heater circuit breaker letting me turn off the power when connected to 15 amp pedestals or during low voltage situations where I want to save every amp for other things.
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Old 06-01-2016, 02:02 PM   #17
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another good reason to stick with the propane only water heater....
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Old 06-01-2016, 02:42 PM   #18
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another good reason to stick with the propane only water heater....
Really didn't see the need for electric on the water heater . You turn it on for a little then turn it off and water stays warm for quite a while .You use very little gas doing it that way . Great idea to install light so you know when it is on or off . Can use that money you save for something else . And as Jim alluded to less problems just with the gas . Pat
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Old 06-01-2016, 02:52 PM   #19
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Though we rarely used the 120V in our trailer, I was glad we had it when it could be used. Just leave it on at all times when connected to the grid, plus it is much quieter.

It will definitely be on our TA build.
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Old 06-01-2016, 03:15 PM   #20
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Scratching my head trying to figure all the noise from water heater . Reason you need to install light to know whether it is on or off , it's silent when water is heated .Pat
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