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Old 05-20-2013, 12:01 AM   #1
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The water heater in my 36FB stopped heating water in 'electric' mode - Works fine in 'gas' mode (as a short-term back-up).

What is puzzling is that the (electric) indicator light on the control panel glows bright red, suggesting all is well ??? I assume if the high-temp thermostat switch was tripped... the red indicator light on the panel would turn off ???

Do heating elements go bad after only a year and a half of use ??? And if so would the red indicator light stay on ???

Haven't tried to reset the high-temp thermostat switch yet... If high temperature had been the issue, I would have expected the safety switch to have tripped and the red indicator light to go out ???

Any diagnostic suggestions ???
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:05 AM   #2
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The red indicator is not that sophisticated. It is just an spare pole on the switch that illuminates the light when the switch is in the on position. None of the magic extends beyond the switch, it just tells you the switch is in the on position.

DSI has an additional side little light that truly does tell you fault, but even at fail, the switch itself will still illuminate.

Try the reset, and also check your breaker. I don't think the switch is illuminated by 110V, I think it is 12V only so your breaker may truly be tripped for the heating element. Also check the outside switch on the tank to make sure it is on.
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:39 AM   #3
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Thanks Atom Ant. The outside switch is on... None of the 110 volt breakers are tripped...I will try to re-set... If that doesn't work is it safe to assume the heating element went bad overnight??? Everything worked fine 24 hours earlier.
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:44 AM   #4
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I would trace it with a wiggie (meter) to make sure. It should have AC all the way up to the element, or else something else is wrong.

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Old 05-20-2013, 07:58 AM   #5
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I had an issue with the thermostat and had to replace it. Check and see if you have power there first.
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Old 05-20-2013, 08:37 AM   #6
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It's most likely that your heating elements have not gone bad. Rather, on the outside of the Suburban water heater, there are two resets for the furnace. these two resets are for the high tempature limit and are in essence thermostats. One is for gas and the other is for electric. Try pushing them in to reset.

On your switch panel inside, in the middle of the of the DSI switch and the electric switch, there is a small red light. If it's on, it indicates you are using propane. It is normal for this light to come on when initially firing up to bring the water heater up to tempature.

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Old 05-20-2013, 10:59 AM   #7
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I had the same problem with my RL. After picking it up from dealer, I noticed no A/C hot water, but WH would work fineon propane.The DSI also worked - so that was a headscratcher



After a few days, I began to focus on this andwas "shocked" to find that the electric side was completely dead. I used a voltmeter and tested everything accessible. No power to the switch, thermostats, etc.



Redwood/dealer wanted to replace the unit, but I was afraid that breaking the sealer, etc to pull the unit would disturb our brand new FB paint, so I decided to fix it myself no matter what.



I removed the basement wall and even so, I could just barely reach the water heater past the furnace, ducts, etc. Turns out, there is a taped-up wire bundle sitting on top of the water heater. The orange wire which provides 12v power from the switch/indicator light on the monitor panel to this bundle had vibrated out of the wire nut and was not connected.



If there is no 12v from the switch to the A/C solenoid on the heater, the A/C side of the WH receives no power... period. After I re-connected the orange wire, everything worked again.



Remember, you are dealing with 110v most of the time so be careful. Hope this helps...
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Old 05-20-2013, 01:01 PM   #8
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I had this happen on another rig we owned and found out there is an in line fuse link in the wiring bundle. Replaced the fuse and everything was fine. Check your wiring bundle at the WH and see if there is an inline fuse. It should be and a connection and have plastic cover over it.
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Old 04-18-2014, 08:52 PM   #9
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Okay I need a little help here. The other night I changed out the element on my bosses Alpine. The water is just getting hot, what I mean is he does not have to add any cold to it. I am thinking that the new element is not working properly, but not sure how to test it. Work's fine on propane.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-18-2014, 09:39 PM   #10
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Sounds like it could be bad. Did you put the wires on the same terminals? Also we like to start off with gas and then switch over to electric. Maybe the amperage is not heafty enough to power the element. Do you have an electric plug in meter which shows how much power you are consuming. Looking at mine now it shows 120. But when the campground is packed it goes below 110.
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Old 04-18-2014, 11:14 PM   #11
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Question: Did you change it out with an equal element?? RV water heaters run on 120 while typical household run on 240. If by chance you used one designed for 240 you would only get half the wattage. Typical RV elements run around 1400 to 1500 watts drawing between 12 to 14 amps.
The other possibility is that the Thermostat is bad and shutting off the current at a lower temp.
Without know all the details, that's the best I can come up with at the moment.
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Old 04-19-2014, 03:26 AM   #12
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I had to replace my thermostat on my water heater a couple of months ago. The one reset button on the thermostat was fried.
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Old 04-19-2014, 03:51 AM   #13
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Yes I was very careful on keeping the wires in the right location. No I am not able to check the power consummation. His electric heater worked fine until the element went out.
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Old 04-19-2014, 04:16 AM   #14
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yes the replacement was like for like suburban element from RV dealer. We had talked about the thermostat, he gone home for the weekend so I will have to look at it Monday. How do you check the thermostat or is it obvious to the naked eye ?
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Old 04-19-2014, 05:29 AM   #15
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On mine you could physically see the little switch was fried. You should be able to remove the thermostat and put a meter on it and check continuity to see if the switch is working.
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Old 04-19-2014, 02:30 PM   #16
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Okay thanks I was wondering if it would be a continuity test.
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Old 04-21-2014, 04:52 PM   #17
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Did you try a current clamp on either single wire leading to element, while switch is on, should show current, cost about $35.00 from Sears.
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Old 04-21-2014, 05:20 PM   #18
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If the water is getting warm, but not hot it may be hard to measure continuity of the thermostat. It may be still working, but shutting off way to early. They aren't too expensive and might be easier to just replace it and see if that fixes the problem.
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Old 04-21-2014, 10:27 PM   #19
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The main problem is they aren,t hot water heaters, they are cold water heaters. Usually hot water doesn't need to be heated (just thought I'd try to add a little humor.)
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Old 04-22-2014, 02:54 AM   #20
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Good one RC what a dummy I am. lol
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