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Old 06-02-2016, 04:25 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by float5 View Post
Yes, only for propane. You go outside to move rocker switch for electric. Escape will not install a switch inside for electric but never found out if that is due to code or what.
It appears that Attwood has offered a dual switch option for years now, but Suburban does not appear to. Interestingly I did find an old image of what appears to be a Suburban dual mode switch though. For those that don't know, if you need a faster recovery rate you can use gas and electric simultaneously. Specs according to Suburban:

Recovery Gals./Hr. (Gas/Electric): 10.2/6.0
Combined: 16.2
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File Type: jpg attwood dual switch1.JPG (21.3 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg suburban dual switch.JPG (15.9 KB, 119 views)
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Old 06-02-2016, 05:38 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Patandlinda View Post
Still think that money could be used elsewhere . Never in all my years had problems with propane . For heat it is always prudent to carry a little heater if you have hookups in stead of ,or a backup . The potential for damaging your water heater , electrical on , no water , is just not worth it . Pat
The water heater is typically only ever damaged by someone at the beginning of the season when the tank is not filled first. We and many never empty the tank until winterizing so can't have that problem any time the whole season.

And if you have A/C and need it much, you would by necessity have hook-ups much of the time.

We never had to fill a propane tank because we had electric hook-ups as many do. Only makes sense to have electric if you are routinely or always at campgrounds and paying for it. People who primarily boondock are always using their propane. We have not. We expect to use the propane much more with this trailer but never had to deal with propane at all before.
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Old 06-02-2016, 05:41 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by rubicon327 View Post
It appears that Attwood has offered a dual switch option for years now, but Suburban does not appear to. Interestingly I did find an old image of what appears to be a Suburban dual mode switch though. For those that don't know, if you need a faster recovery rate you can use gas and electric simultaneously. Specs according to Suburban:

Recovery Gals./Hr. (Gas/Electric): 10.2/6.0
Combined: 16.2
That is interesting to see the dual.

Escape told us that when both are on, it will go to the electric first. Not sure what that means, whether both would be on simultaneously or not.
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Old 06-02-2016, 05:51 PM   #34
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Does anyone know how the electric hot water conversion kits compare to the factory propane/electric water heater? I have the propane only unit, and was considering buying and installing a kit just to have that option available. The installation looks easy enough...
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Old 06-02-2016, 06:01 PM   #35
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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.
I am an idiot at electrical but from what you are saying, I take it that your father would not have been shocked had the element not burned out? That is definitely a very dangerous situation. Glad he is okay.

When you say it is not common to have the GFI tripping, it trips if you overload it turning on too many items, and that is common I believe and the reason, I guess, for the GFCI. And then it has to be reset. I am supposing that you are not saying that it does not have that function. We have tripped it, only once I think, and am surprised that we have not tripped more.

Having heard about lack of water in the tank, we try to make sure we don't make that mistake but have an extra element with us. A note at the switch when winterizing can be helpful, or such notes taped inside the trailer for spring. We also have a note about our exterior furnace vent, that has been covered (on the thermostat when we winterize) so as not to forget it in spring.
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Old 06-02-2016, 06:03 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by FlaGman View Post
Does anyone know how the electric hot water conversion kits compare to the factory propane/electric water heater? I have the propane only unit, and was considering buying and installing a kit just to have that option available. The installation looks easy enough...
I have never used the electric conversion kit, but you are right, it seems like an easy mod. The elements seem a lot smaller at around 450W than the OEM ones which I think were at least twice that.
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Old 06-02-2016, 07:29 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by float5 View Post
When you say it is not common to have the GFI tripping, it trips if you overload it turning on too many items, and that is common I believe and the reason, I guess, for the GFCI. And then it has to be reset.
Circuit breaker; function, trips if you plug a kettle and heater into the same circuit and overload it.

GFCI; function, to prevent an electric shock if there is a defect that could result in a shock to the user.

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Old 06-02-2016, 07:35 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by float5 View Post
That is interesting to see the dual.

Escape told us that when both are on, it will go to the electric first. Not sure what that means, whether both would be on simultaneously or not.
If that is true, it would presumably mean that when the water temperature in the tank drops, it hits the setting which turns on the electric element before (at a higher temperature) it hits the setting to turn on the propane burner. Both would come on only if you used enough hot water to get the tank temperature down to the propane-on point. It is reasonable to expect the the setpoints for the two heat sources to be different, because they use different thermostatic switches (one switching 12V DC control power for propane; the other switching 120V AC power directly to the element).

Also, water heaters are deliberately stratified: the hot water is withdrawn from the top, so as you use hot water replacement cold fills in from the bottom and you keep getting hot water. This means that the position of the thermostatic switches matter as well - if the electric element switch is mounted lower, it will come on first.

Certainly both heat sources (propane and electric) run together in normal operation (if both are switched on by the user) with the factory-installed electric heating element in either common brand of RV water heater, which is why the heater recovers (gets back to the desired temperature) more quickly with both available.

The water heater manufacturers have warned that the safety relief systems of heaters manufactured with propane-only can't handle the heat input rate of adding an aftermarket heating element. For instance, this is from an Atwood care & maintenance document:
Quote:
Use of Aftermarket Heating Element Devices (Hot Rods) can lead to an out of control heating of water in the tank and a catastrophic wet side explosion. These devices lack critical safety controls. Personal damage and product damage may result. Aftermarket heating element devices are not necessary with an Atwood Water Heater and will void the warranty
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Old 06-02-2016, 07:44 PM   #39
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Sounds like CYA Brian.
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Old 06-02-2016, 07:47 PM   #40
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Sounds like CYA Brian.
My thoughts too, Bruce. If the Hott Rod is set to shut off at the same temp the gas burner, I see no problem.
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