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Old 12-08-2019, 10:23 AM   #1
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Lockout Hot Water Heater or Warning Winterized Labels

Has anyone seen a simple way to lockout the hot water heater? (meaning to prevent a user from flipping the switch inside the coach to turn the heater on)

I guess I could put tape over the switch maybe even some notes in coach to say the hot water is not available.

Now let me elaborate on why I ask.

I am in Dallas area and do not wish to have true winterizing as I wish to use the coach year around. Not a fan of that RV antifreeze pink stuff although I have bought and will use if needed

I have drained the hot water heater, set bypass switch on so no new water flows to the heater. However, all of my other plumbing is fine. I just have cold water through all faucets. I am good with that. But if someone hits that switch wanting hot water I could burn up my heating elements. Seems like there ought to be a way to ensure heater does not engage from switch or way to cover switch or tag the switch inside as locked out?

My plan is if I take a trip I simply turn off heater bypass and have hot water if needed. If a freeze is coming, all I need to be worried about are the waterlines; but if furnace is on, cabinet doors open, that should not be major concern. If major freeze is coming, then I simply drain the waterlines and perhaps even the fresh water tank?
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Old 12-08-2019, 10:25 AM   #2
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Some do have a switch on the heater itself.
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Old 12-08-2019, 10:56 AM   #3
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What brand/model of water heater????


Suburban uses separate controls for electric & gas
THe Electric on/off switch in outside comparment use to have hole in switch handle where you can clip it in the OFF position
If Not...turn off the 120V AC Circuit Breaker for water heater


For gas side........Suburban doesn't use a fuse on the circuit board so you would need to ID/remove DC Fuse for water heater






Atwood.........
Remove the 2A fuse on Circuit Board then neither electric or gas can function
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Old 12-08-2019, 11:00 AM   #4
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Ummmm, the breaker for the 120 VAC heating element?
The fuse for the 12 VDC controller?
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Old 12-08-2019, 11:14 AM   #5
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Might there be a 120 volt breaker dedicated to the WH element that can be turned off? Or, a fuse that feeds the switch that operates the 12 volt relay that can be pulled? Sometimes there's a switch at the back of the water heater that can be manually turned off.

Can the switch be bumped easily? Is there someone in your household, small child maybe, that can't read? If not, then I don't understand why tape and a "DO NOT TURN ON" note can't be used over the switch. I'm very forgetful so make sure to leave notes like this (don't use water heater, water valves open, antenna up, etc,,,) from time to time. Has worked fine for us many years!
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Old 12-09-2019, 01:13 AM   #6
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It is Suburban Water Heater.

I have given that short of removing panel and disconnecting switch it is not possible. For my purpose, I do not wish to foo with any of the wiring within the heater itself. It is not electric with switch outside.

There is a 15 amp breaker inside the coach; but it also controls the converter. I would have thought there was an easy way to lock out the ignition but apparently not.

Thanks all
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Old 12-09-2019, 10:05 AM   #7
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Suburban GAS Only


Then there are NO heating element to burn out if fired dry as suggested in your First Post

Also NO 120VAC Circuit Breaker used as suggested in your followup post (#6...15A converter)



GAS Only is 12VDC for controls/functions
There should be a 12VDC FUSE for water heater that can be pulled
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Old 12-09-2019, 10:36 AM   #8
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dkoldman Can you remove the brown wire from the gas solenoid? Just have to remember to put it back on when the unbypass the water heater.
I like the above posts was thinking electric element.
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Old 12-09-2019, 10:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old-Biscuit View Post
Suburban GAS Only
Then there are NO heating element to burn out if fired dry as suggested in your First Post.
Also, NO 120VAC Circuit Breaker used as suggested in your follow-up post (#6...15A converter)
GAS Only is 12VDC for controls/functions
There should be a 12VDC FUSE for water heater that can be pulled
Old-Biscuit is right on if your system is LP Gas only. And just to add a bit in support of that, typically if you have a choice of Electric or LP Gas Hot Water in your RV, you will have a means to select which you want when you turn the water heater on from inside your RV. If you have no buttons/switches to allow you to choose on your control panel, then you most likely have a LP Gas only water heater.
That said, I think I would still be cautious about unintentionally firing up you water heater with no water in it. With no means to dissipate the heat when the gas is ignited without water in the tank, I'd be concerned that there might be some damage to the tank as a result. Just my gut feel.
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Old 12-09-2019, 01:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old-Biscuit View Post
Suburban GAS Only


Then there are NO heating element to burn out if fired dry as suggested in your First Post

Also NO 120VAC Circuit Breaker used as suggested in your followup post (#6...15A converter)



GAS Only is 12VDC for controls/functions
There should be a 12VDC FUSE for water heater that can be pulled
The manual that came with the coach could be wrong (again). I am waiting on Winnebago to send me the new book for my serial number. Tonight when I get home, I will look at the pdf version to see if it says anything different. The thread was started based on the warning I got from the owners manual.

I can also take a picture of the breaker. It is 15 amps and it says Water Heater / Converter. Now I didn't pull the breaker out to verify it has wires going through it nor did I trace the wires to the heater.

I do know that I have Suburban 6 gal Gas heater with electronic ignition. I also know that if House battery disconnect is off, then heater will not start. Of course nothing will start of house then.

I do hope you are right and that it is as simple as pulling fuse.

My guess is the 15 amp breaker I saw, is the source of 120 VAC power to the water heater through the converter to make it 12VDC when shore power is connected?

Now that the good stuff is out the way, let me ask a question. Are you saying if gas heater on or is burning but no water in the tank nothing is going to happen?
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Old 12-09-2019, 01:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike8253 View Post
Old-Biscuit is right on if your system is LP Gas only. And just to add a bit in support of that, typically if you have a choice of Electric or LP Gas Hot Water in your RV, you will have a means to select which you want when you turn the water heater on from inside your RV. If you have no buttons/switches to allow you to choose on your control panel, then you most likely have a LP Gas only water heater.
That said, I think I would still be cautious about unintentionally firing up you water heater with no water in it. With no means to dissipate the heat when the gas is ignited without water in the tank, I'd be concerned that there might be some damage to the tank as a result. Just my gut feel.
It is for sure gas only. I think the confusion is that it says electronic ignition controls and there is a 120VAC breaker for Water Heater & Converter.

Your last point was my original concern. Given tank is drained, and given I have nice yellow post it note to warn ME to not accidentally turn on, is there a fuse specifically for heater so it is 100% locked out? Tonight I will try to look in fuse box.
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Old 12-09-2019, 01:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
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dkoldman Can you remove the brown wire from the gas solenoid? Just have to remember to put it back on when the unbypass the water heater.
I like the above posts was thinking electric element.
I guess I could, but if there is no switch, breaker or fuse; I will leave as is with Sticky note. I am also considering another suggestion which is to add the water back and turn the heater back on, and just leave the heater on 24/7. Premise being hot water won't freeze?

May still need the sticky note to remind ME to not turn water heater off
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Old 12-09-2019, 05:18 PM   #13
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15A Breaker labeled Water Heater/Converter is generic labeling....for units with Electric elements then that 15A CB would be source for the AC.
As you have a GAS Only..that 15A is for AC to Converter ***Owners Manuals are GENERIC


Converter supplies DC to the WHOLE 12VDC System plus maintain/charge batteries when connected to AC Power Source

Batteries supply the 12VDC System when NOT connected to AC Power Source.


YES there will be a DC FUSE that supplies DC Power to water heater circuit board
Few MFGs label the DC Fuses.....so trail and error



As for dry firing using GAS
tank temp will rise quickly and T-stat will OPEN shutting it down....until tank temp cools (130*F/Open----100*F/Closes)
Damage to the glass-lining can occur......heat cracking etc. which can lead to Rusting


The biggest damage would be from 'chill shocking'
Tank HOT...then in frustration someone turns Cold Water Valve to allow water into Tank.
Then due to rapid temp change the glass-lining can crack/flake/explode etc
Then tank will rust out quickly




1)Remove DC FUSE ----no DC no accidental operation
2)Remove Brown Wire from Gas Solenoid...only need to remove 1 cause it takes both solenoids to open gas valve. No gas valve operating no accidential operation (Spark Electrode will still FIRE and circuit board will lock out after 3 attempts)
3)Post it note.......ok as long as note stays in place and nobody forgets.


Best option.....find/pull DC Fuse
2nd best.....pull Brown wire on gas valve


#3) Oops......stuff happens option
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Old 12-09-2019, 05:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old-Biscuit View Post
15A Breaker labeled Water Heater/Converter is generic labeling....for units with Electric elements then that 15A CB would be source for the AC.
As you have a GAS Only..that 15A is for AC to Converter ***Owners Manuals are GENERIC


Converter supplies DC to the WHOLE 12VDC System plus maintain/charge batteries when connected to AC Power Source

Batteries supply the 12VDC System when NOT connected to AC Power Source.


YES there will be a DC FUSE that supplies DC Power to water heater circuit board
Few MFGs label the DC Fuses.....so trail and error



As for dry firing using GAS
tank temp will rise quickly and T-stat will OPEN shutting it down....until tank temp cools (130*F/Open----100*F/Closes)
Damage to the glass-lining can occur......heat cracking etc. which can lead to Rusting


The biggest damage would be from 'chill shocking'
Tank HOT...then in frustration someone turns Cold Water Valve to allow water into Tank.
Then due to rapid temp change the glass-lining can crack/flake/explode etc
Then tank will rust out quickly




1)Remove DC FUSE ----no DC no accidental operation
2)Remove Brown Wire from Gas Solenoid...only need to remove 1 cause it takes both solenoids to open gas valve. No gas valve operating no accidential operation (Spark Electrode will still FIRE and circuit board will lock out after 3 attempts)
3)Post it note.......ok as long as note stays in place and nobody forgets.


Best option.....find/pull DC Fuse
2nd best.....pull Brown wire on gas valve


#3) Oops......stuff happens option
My Coach a 2019 Sunstar 29VE is proof the Winnebago manuals are Generic or in some cases flat out wrong. It is really bad for a newbie that actually tries to read the thing. In my case, I have two manuals. One that come with the coach, and the pdf that was sent by Winnebago while they send me the supposed new corrected manual book.

Regardless, neither one of the manuals tell you were the Fuse box is. They both suggest it may be with the Converter panel and somewhere in the coach. Scheeeeezce!!!! Picture they show have fuse box right next to breakers, but see my pictures (Only breakers). I even took the dinette bench apart. I could see the converter box sitting behind the breaker panels. I have looked everywhere for that Fuse box and I just can't find it. Wherever it is, it is not intuitive at all. Maybe this is why it is not in the manual if that the Technical Writer couldn't find it either?

I appreciate your help but at the moment the Post it note option is winning But hey I am willing to try. This is why I am doing all of this now to learn my coach before I have true issues. Let's leave the brown wire for last. There has to be a fuse box somewhere.
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