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Old 04-02-2013, 09:54 AM   #1
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Water heater/ electric side

Was hooked up to city water and had the electric water heater quit. Lp worked fine. After returning took the unit in and they said it had been run without water in it and that is why it burnt out. Here is the way I have always done it when on tank turn on pump till it stops then turn on heater. When on city water hook up turn on water then turn on heater. The question is what is the proper way to make sure water heater is FULL when running from the tank OR running off city water? Thanks so much
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Old 04-02-2013, 10:06 AM   #2
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Could it be that the electric element was just bad. Ours went out on our unit when it was less than 2 months old. They are inexpensive and easy to change out.
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Old 04-02-2013, 10:08 AM   #3
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If the tank was empty prior to turning on the water , it would take a few minutes to fill enough to cover the element.
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Old 04-02-2013, 02:59 PM   #4
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Not necessary that it was what you did, your method sounds ok, but on pump do you run water through all hot taps , then wait for the pump to stop ?
Otherwise, this type of damage can happen so fast that, the element was damaged at the factory or during the PDI, and just didn't quit working completely till it was on for a few hours.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:18 PM   #5
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If your rig has been in storage for the winter, make sure the water heater bypass valves in the correct positions so water will go into the water heater. If the water heater is empty, it doesn't matter if you are on city water or using water from your holding tank - turn on the hot water tap until water begins running out of the tap - then you know the water heater is full and you can turn on the heater.

As another person said in this thread - it didn't necessarily fail because the water heater was empty.

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Old 04-03-2013, 09:48 PM   #6
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If the water heater bypass valves are not set correctly you will get water from the hot water side of the plumbing. It does not mean the heater tank is full of water. If you did not turn on a hot water valve,or reset the valves, the heater tank is mostly full of compressed air.
The electric element is easy to replace with a 1,100- 1,200 watt element and a cheap element wrench from any hardware store, they are not RV specific, just buy the same length element. You will/may have to disassemble/remove the propane burner to access the electric element. Remember to disconnect from shore power first.
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Old 04-04-2013, 07:58 AM   #7
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All--thanks for all the ideas!
Ray the unit is 3 years old and I have never switched anything except the valve that
Switches you from city to tank. We always before have got hot water? Don't really know where or what valves you mean? Not real mechanical but can usually figure out most things.
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Old 04-05-2013, 04:44 PM   #8
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Water heater bypass valves are in the plumbing where the pipes enter the heater tank. Most have 3 valves, rarely some have 2-one being a 3-way valve. If yours does not have bypass valves it requires filling the water heater tank with RV anti-freeze when winterizing, requiring the same galllonage of anti-freeze as tank size. You will know this if you have previously winterized your RV.
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:47 AM   #9
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Ray--Sorry to be so dumb about the bypass valve thing. This is my first 5er but have had trailers before and except for a gallon of RV anti every couple of years to pour into the sinks to protect the p-traps I have never used RV anti. I made an adapter, male hose thread on one end and necked it down to a male air hose connection. I open a faucet hook my adapter into the water inlet set my compressor to 30psi and blow out each line one at a time makeing sure I always have at least one faucet open. Then remove the drain plug on the outside to the water heater and blow it out. I have never ruptured a line and have never had a freeze problem and it gets zero and below here at times. Then I am done until next fall--no tuning bypass valves,no pumping in RV anti and no draining anti or flushing lines. But Thank so much for your for your great explanation of things. Paul in Utah
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:27 PM   #10
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I always, always flip my pressure valve until water starts to come out. That way I know there is water in the tank. Dave.
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