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Old 06-01-2022, 01:24 AM   #1
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Two water heaters are not working

One water heater is electric: Seaward S600. It has always worked fine, until my last trip. It did work on the trip before which was about a month earlier, so nothing went wrong over the winter. The water heats up fine, but once it reaches temperature, the water will start coming out of the relief valve. When I'm hooked up to a city water connection, it comes out more (due to higher pressure in the system). With no city water (and with our water pump off), it will still drip out (enough that I can't ignore it). Since this heater is pretty simple, am I right when I assume it's either the thermostat which won't tell it to stop heating (and so it keeps heating the water, and it will eventually boil continuously and leak out the valve), or the relief valve itself is no longer functioning. How can I test the thermostat? Do the relief valves typically go bad all of a sudden?

My gas water heater is a Suburban, but I don't know what model because the labels have worn off too much. It's from 1993 and is a 6 gallon model I believe. The flame will light but not stay lit. I have tested the propane solenoids and they are good, I've tested the igniter and I believe it's good as well. Accessing the control board in the back is quite difficult, but is there anything else it could be besides that? I'm assuming the ignitor is what senses the flame, and the control board is no good and thus does not sense any flame. I don't see any other sensors in the flame area other than the igniter/sparker itself. Anything else I should try before buying a new board? This went bad last year but it happened randomly, not over the winter or anything.
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Old 06-01-2022, 07:46 AM   #2
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Possibly the air pocket is no more
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Old 06-01-2022, 09:36 AM   #3
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I'm not familiar with the Seaward so the below may not be helpful. OP, with water heater cooled, city and pump pressure off, have you popped the valve to maybe drain excess water out of the heater? There may be too much water causing a loss of the air pocket.

Also, have you tried quickly tripping the relief valve a time or two, be careful if it's hot, to see if it might reset/close completely?

You could test thermostat operation with a thermometer and voltmeter. Apply power and measure output voltage at the stat to see if it ever drops out. If it does, then measure temperature at the nearest faucet. Compare the reading with the thermostat setting.

Of course, you'll know there's something wrong with the thermostat if the voltage never drops out. Is the stat adjustable or is it something simple like a snap disc?

On the Suburban, sounds like the solenoid valves are working. How's the flame look? The burner assembly? Flame could be out of whack, the igniter may need adjustment, or as you've mentioned, it could be a board problem.
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Old 06-01-2022, 04:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mudfrog View Post
I'm not familiar with the Seaward so the below may not be helpful. OP, with water heater cooled, city and pump pressure off, have you popped the valve to maybe drain excess water out of the heater? There may be too much water causing a loss of the air pocket.

Also, have you tried quickly tripping the relief valve a time or two, be careful if it's hot, to see if it might reset/close completely?

You could test thermostat operation with a thermometer and voltmeter. Apply power and measure output voltage at the stat to see if it ever drops out. If it does, then measure temperature at the nearest faucet. Compare the reading with the thermostat setting.

Of course, you'll know there's something wrong with the thermostat if the voltage never drops out. Is the stat adjustable or is it something simple like a snap disc?

On the Suburban, sounds like the solenoid valves are working. How's the flame look? The burner assembly? Flame could be out of whack, the igniter may need adjustment, or as you've mentioned, it could be a board problem.
Thanks, good points mentioned. I have opened the valve both hot and cold, with and without city pressure (no pump as well)...it seems the issue persists no matter what. It always comes back once I heat the water up. We've had many showers and used a lot of hot water so I don't think there's any air in the lines.

So to test, what I'll do is I'll turn it on and start measuring voltage. Typically it takes 15-20 minutes to fully heat up. After 30 minutes if I'm still getting the same voltage, I imagine it's the thermostat. I'll be careful to continue to watch it though, as I might end up missing the voltage drop if I wait too long. I'd be interested to see if it drops once the valve starts opening by itself. I don't know much about the thermostat itself, I'll open it back up and take a look. I don't think it's adjustable though.

On the Suburban, the flame is a nice blue. There's no way that I know to adjust the air intake, it's just a solid tube that doesn't seem to adjust. Even then, I've still tried moving the intake tube around to allow more air. I've also covered parts of it up and tried to restrict air. Mostly same results. I'll try and attach some pictures. I have tried moving the igniter probes closer and farther, and it doesn't seem to do anything. What happens is it clicks and instantly lights, and it keeps clicking for about 2-3 seconds and the flame stays lit. Once the clicking stops, the flame goes out. The burner and tubes are kind of rusty. I've cleaned a lot out but I feel like that shouldn't matter too much, since the flame is very nice while the igniter is sparking, right?
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Old 06-02-2022, 12:59 PM   #5
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Seaward S600

T-stat and Hit Temp T-stat are NOT opening ...they have failed hence the overheating
*should open at 130*F/170*F ----or possibly 140*F/180*F

Hi temp trips and has to be manually reset


The T&P Relief Valve is standard valve.......opens at 210*F/150PSI
**Weeping can be due to scale/calcium build up on valve/seat, can be due to increased pressure from heating, could be from overheating, can be due to loss of Air Pocket in top of tank (forms naturally when filling and bleeding air out via faucet open to hotside)

Here is the Manual for the Seaward models
https://www.whalepumps.com/marine/si...aterManual.pdf

With Water Supply on...water heater off & cool pop open the T&P and let it BLOW...might clear the valve/seat.
Otherwise replace it.....remove take to Hardware Store to match threads and length of probe
Could be 1/2" NPT or 3/4" NPT threads and probably a 4" probe




Suburban.....
Flame lighting off, spark electrode stops clicking, Flame goes out
That is due to No FLAME PROVING
*Spark electrode is return path for Flame Proving ----milliamp signal generated by flame
Dirty/bad spark electrode or wire connections can inhibit Flame Proving signal

Cheapest thing to do is replace the spark electrode.

Suburban Service Manual
http://techsupport.pdxrvwholesale.co...ice-Manual.pdf
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Old 06-02-2022, 11:26 PM   #6
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1) Put water from relief into insulated MUG and measure water temp w/ a pocket kitchen thermometer. 2) If BYPASS= open and (OR OUTSIDE SHOWER VALVES= OPEN)= MIXING COLD w/ hot leaving tank, you THINK you have cold, but really have HOT tank, burner will turn OFF. Good Luck
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Old 06-05-2022, 05:48 PM   #7
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Sorry THenne I did not fully understand what you were saying.

Today I tested voltage at the heating element and it's getting between 106 and 107 volts constantly. I didn't watch the entire time but I have not see it drop even after over an hour. With the water pump on, hot water will begin to pour out at a slow to moderate rate (maybe 250-1000 mL per minute, it does vary but it's considerable). The actual water temperature close to the valve (temp of the actual water pouring out the valve) was measured between 130F and 140F, with the maximum measured being 141.7F. It would seem the T stat is not cutting off electricity and that the T stat might not be working, but is it not also possible that the relief valve is broken/wearing out and thus letting water out too soon, and so the water inside can never reach the thermostat's preset temperature cut off?

I ask because I have just shut the water pump off (and no city water connection), and the valve is just dripping out slowly, maybe one drop every 3 seconds. I will make sure the hot water tank is full and I'll give it another 20 or 30 min to see if the relief valve let's out water without any external pressure. Also I thought the relief valve opens at 210F (that's what it says on the valve). The water is 140F which is considerably different. Wouldn't the high temp switch kill electricity at 190F (that's what it says online for the s600), well before the relief valve kicks in?

Edit: I also realize that the relief valve maybe be kicking in due to the combination of the T stat temp limit of 140F, and the added pressure of the water pump and/or city water connection. With no pump or city connection, the relief valve won't open until a much higher temperature, and theoretically by keeping all pumps and pressure off, I can perhaps test the T stat and hi temp switch more accurately?
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Old 06-05-2022, 06:03 PM   #8
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Never mind, just as I was about to go inside, the T stat kicked in and shut off voltage. So the T stat is working.

I guess I need a new relief valve! Unless it could be something else?
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Old 06-05-2022, 08:41 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by DarkVader View Post
Never mind, just as I was about to go inside, the T stat kicked in and shut off voltage. So the T stat is working.

I guess I need a new relief valve! Unless it could be something else?
Read post #5
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Old 06-05-2022, 08:59 PM   #10
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Yes I already got another relief valve from a spare water heater I found. I'm curious if there's anything else it could be (there are no air pockets as I understand)
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Old 06-05-2022, 09:23 PM   #11
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New relief valve will probably cure the weeping....a used one from another water heater?????


Air Pocket.....
All water heaters have a natural occurring Air Pocket at top of tank
Hot outlet is below the top of tank...air pocket is above the hot out dip tube
Air pocket forms when filling WH Tank....cold water comes in bottom (dip tubes point downward) and force air out the Hot Out dip tube when filling. Once water starts flowing out the Hot out ther top area of tank has an air pocket

Air pocket helps (not eliminates) increases in tank pressure when heating water
Water swells then heated...water can not be compressed. W/O air pocket pressures inside the tank would increase and cause T&P to open
Hence the 'weeping' from T&P when air pocket is lost

New T&P and Air Pocket,,,,should be NO weeping happening


Reestablish air pocket
Water supply on, faucet open hot side until water flows.
Turn off water supply, open T&P until water stops flowing out
Let T&P SNAP closed...turn on water supply/close faucet




Even Residential Water Heaters have an Air Pocket (area above water line)
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Old 06-05-2022, 11:16 PM   #12
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I tried to reestablish air pocket by filling up tank, turn off pressure, drain via TP valve, "snap" close (although I couldn't really snap it?), Start water heater. Any time i turn on the water pump or city water supply, the tank will just fill up the amount I drained via TP valve. Seems I would be doing this all night. The air pocket makes sense, to allow expansion without using TP valve. But I'll be here all night trying to "reestablish" the air pocket. Anyways. I removed the TP valve and the spare I have does not fit. I will need to buy a new one. I tried to poke and prod the old valve. No sediment. Looks fine, but I can't tell good vs bad. Reinstalled old one and same problem. Will buy. New one.
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1993 Gulf Stream Scenic Cruiser diesel pusher, 5.9 Cummins, 6 speed Allison. I tend to act before I think. It gets me into trouble, and so I end up here in the forums asking for help. I learn the hard way. Thank you all for your help.
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Old 06-06-2022, 12:41 AM   #13
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For the suburban water heater, I understand the electrode which creates a spark for ignition also acts as a "sensor" to detect flame. So do the electrode tips act as a thermocouple?

How can the electrode be creating high voltage for spark/ignition, but not sending back any current to the board?

Can I remove the electrode and test its ability to prove flame somehow?
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1993 Gulf Stream Scenic Cruiser diesel pusher, 5.9 Cummins, 6 speed Allison. I tend to act before I think. It gets me into trouble, and so I end up here in the forums asking for help. I learn the hard way. Thank you all for your help.
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Old 06-06-2022, 03:34 AM   #14
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Another note, I did see how to test for current through the electrode for flame sensing. However, the electrode continues to spark for about 3 seconds after actual ignition. During that 3 seconds, while electrode is sparking, there is a nice blue flame. The instant the electrode stops sparking (again, it's about 3 seconds), the flame goes out.

My question now is: how will I be able to attempt to measure current along the electrode wire (to determine its ability to "prove flame") while it's sparking? While sparking, surely there will also be current traveling due to actual sparking. How will I be able to differentiate the current due to flame proving versus the current due to sparking?
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