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Old 07-10-2019, 05:51 PM   #1
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How to adjust hot water heater temp when running on electric.

We have an older (original from RV early 90's) Suburban Hot water heater. Not sure of the model but it looks like every hot water heater I have seen from that era that runs on Propane or 120 Volts.

We don't generally use the propane side, but the water is REALLY hot when we run on electric. I have read conflicting accounts on if the thermostat (accessible from the outside on the furnace) regulates the water temp when run on electric, or is the only way to adjust water temp on electric is to change the thermostat?
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Old 07-10-2019, 06:14 PM   #2
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On the side of your hot water tank you will find and thermostat attached with screws and likely a spring underneath it. if you can't identify it send us a picture. Most rv dealers sell an adjustable one of these
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Old 07-10-2019, 06:24 PM   #3
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You have a limited capacity in the water heater. You wnat it failry hot and blend it with some cold for a more moderate temperature.

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Old 07-10-2019, 08:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dom View Post
On the side of your hot water tank you will find and thermostat attached with screws and likely a spring underneath it. if you can't identify it send us a picture. Most rv dealers sell an adjustable one of these
That sounds perfect...

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Originally Posted by TXiceman View Post
You have a limited capacity in the water heater. You wnat it failry hot and blend it with some cold for a more moderate temperature.
Ken
This is more than a little too warm, it's scalding. I will temp it the next time I get a chance.
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Old 07-10-2019, 11:24 PM   #5
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Suburban does NOT have an 'adjustable' t-stat
(that would be Atwood)


Suburban water heaters use SEPARATE set of t-stats
One set of 120VAC for the electric heat cycle
One set of 12VDC for the propane heat cycle

Both sets are same temp settings..preset snap disc t-stat
Normal Temp (controls heating) is preset for 130*F
High Temp (trips heating function IF normal fails) is preset for 180*F.......manual reset

T-stat Sets are above gas valve under that 'Push To Reset' cover
Left side...Black wires 120VAC
Right side..Red wires 12VDC

Top is the HIGH Temp
Bottom is the Normal Temp


Optional sets of Tstats can be purchased but they are preset for 140*F


For the 120V AC
OEM Standard (130*F/180*F) part # 232306
OEM OPTIONAL (140*F/180*F) part # 232317

For the 12V DC
OEM Standard (130*/180*F) part # 232282
OEM OPTIONAL (140*/180*F) part # 232319


High water temps is due to small capacity of Tank.....END USER mixes cold/hot at faucets


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Old 07-10-2019, 11:52 PM   #6
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The safer alternative is to plumb in a mixing valve on the output of the water heater.
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Old 07-11-2019, 03:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old-Biscuit View Post
Suburban does NOT have an 'adjustable' t-stat
(that would be Atwood)


Suburban water heaters use SEPARATE set of t-stats
One set of 120VAC for the electric heat cycle
One set of 12VDC for the propane heat cycle

Both sets are same temp settings..preset snap disc t-stat
Normal Temp (controls heating) is preset for 130*F
High Temp (trips heating function IF normal fails) is preset for 180*F.......manual reset

T-stat Sets are above gas valve under that 'Push To Reset' cover
Left side...Black wires 120VAC
Right side..Red wires 12VDC

Top is the HIGH Temp
Bottom is the Normal Temp


Optional sets of Tstats can be purchased but they are preset for 140*F


For the 120V AC
OEM Standard (130*F/180*F) part # 232306
OEM OPTIONAL (140*F/180*F) part # 232317

For the 12V DC
OEM Standard (130*/180*F) part # 232282
OEM OPTIONAL (140*/180*F) part # 232319


High water temps is due to small capacity of Tank.....END USER mixes cold/hot at faucets


I believe mine must be an older model. It has a manual pilot and a manual thermostat. I have the user guide but it only directly references the Propane side and not much about the 120V AC side.

While this isn't a picture of mine specifically, this is essentially the same setup. My thermostat had gradients starting at 130 I think.. and it's a little different, but basically looks like this. I'll get a specific picture in daylight and edit this post then.



Could the electric side thermostat go bad in a way that would allow the water to get hot? I would think it would fail the other way for safety.
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Old 07-11-2019, 04:30 AM   #8
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Get the manual for your model - it will tell you if it's adjustable or not. Mine is not, as is the case with the electric side of many heaters.
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Old 07-11-2019, 09:58 AM   #9
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If you have a Unitrol or Robert Shaw GAS valve.....temp control for gas is ON the Gas Valve.
Temp setting IS adjustable for gas....Warm to Hot or H/M/L

The 120V AC element will have the set of t-stats above gas control ....130*F/180*F


YES the normal t-stat can fail CLOSED....and not shutdown heating .
That is why the High Temp T-stat is for...backup safety device
If both t-stats fail.T&P Relief Valve ----OPENS 210*F/150 psi



Normal t-stat can allow overheating w/o temp going high enough for High temp to open....IF the normal t-stat is NOT tight against tank wall it will take a slightly higher temp to trigger it to open.

Same result if t-stat/tank contact area is dirty/corroded
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Old 07-12-2019, 12:07 AM   #10
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Reducing your tank temperature will reduce the amount of hot water you have for showers. A mixing valve (shown below) allows you to have the volume hot water desired without scalding. No more screaming in the shower or burned hands when dishwashing. The key is finding where to plumb it in. Under the vanity on my rig.



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Old 07-12-2019, 12:19 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone. It turns out... I'm a wuss. There I said it. I put the hat water heater on yesterday and several hours later I checked the temp of the water. 140 degrees on the button. I swear it feels hotter, but it's probably because I'm used to the hot water in my house where nearly every sink except the kitchen has the "joystick" type of control where it's easy to blend.

I may put one of those mixing valves in if for nothing else it will reduce water usage a bit by reducing the time I spend wasting water while adjusting the temp.

FWIW, it's a Suburban 6 gal Water Heater. Considering a quick shower uses between 4 and 5 gallons, that's a pretty good size I think.
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Old 07-12-2019, 01:10 PM   #12
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Suburban and 140*F water temp?
Was that using Electric?
If Yes then someone along the way has changed OEM T-stat to the OPTIONAL T-stat
130*F t-stat is OEM
140*F t-stat is OPTIONAL

IF that temp was using propane.....is the temp adjustment all the way UP.
It can be turned Down
IIRC gas valve temp adjustments go from 120*F to 150*F (might be 140*F on high end)



Mixing Valves (tempering valve in plumbing section/hardware store) can be set for 120*/130*F end temp
Have to modify water heater plumbing....HOT into Mixing Valve/COLD into Mixing Valve and then OUT from Mixing Valve to RV HOT Plumbing line

One real issue with Mixing Valves.........hard water (scale/minerals) will clog up HOT in and then you have to remove/clean (if possible) and reinstall (or replace)
Point is they are not end all/be all solution
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old-Biscuit View Post
Suburban and 140*F water temp?
Was that using Electric?
If Yes then someone along the way has changed OEM T-stat to the OPTIONAL T-stat
130*F t-stat is OEM
140*F t-stat is OPTIONAL

IF that temp was using propane.....is the temp adjustment all the way UP.
It can be turned Down
IIRC gas valve temp adjustments go from 120*F to 150*F (might be 140*F on high end)



Mixing Valves (tempering valve in plumbing section/hardware store) can be set for 120*/130*F end temp
Have to modify water heater plumbing....HOT into Mixing Valve/COLD into Mixing Valve and then OUT from Mixing Valve to RV HOT Plumbing line

One real issue with Mixing Valves.........hard water (scale/minerals) will clog up HOT in and then you have to remove/clean (if possible) and reinstall (or replace)
Point is they are not end all/be all solution
Thanks for the tips. Yes the 140 is on electric. The Propane size I have lower. We don't use the water heater with propane much. I test it out once in awhile to make sure it's working if we need it, but that's about it.

Thanks again..
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Old 07-13-2019, 03:44 PM   #14
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Take the simple approach and turn the cold water faucet to dilute the hot water. A mixing valve is just another connection that can leak. You don’t want that.
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