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craig.evans

Ontario, Canada

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Posted: 01/13/18 05:35am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For some unknown reason, I flipped on the switch for my winterized water heater while I was preparing our Roadtrek for our trip south and walked out of the van.
When I came back, I noticed the switch in the on position with no indicator light showing. I immediately turned it off, and seeing the light was labelled 'reset', I tried to push it, slide it, whatever, to remedy- with no results. I next checked the fuses, which seemed fine.
Next I referred to the manual.
The first safety warning notes it is IMPERATIVE that the water heater be filled or may result in damage.

Does anyone know what I may be looking at for repairs? Mine is a Suburban SW6D series
Thanks in advance

JaxDad

Greater Toronto Area

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Posted: 01/13/18 05:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi neighbour, welcome.

When there’s no liquid in the heater the element quickly overheats and burns out. I’d be surprised if anything else would happen, the element overheats VERY quickly.

It’s possible the heat could affect other components if there’s plastic or something close by, unfortunately there’s no way to tell if it’s still water tight without pressurizing it. If you have a small compressor you could try putting 35 psi to it and see if it holds pressure or leaks down.

SoundGuy

S Ontario

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Posted: 01/13/18 06:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

JaxDad wrote:

When there’s no liquid in the heater the element quickly overheats and burns out. I’d be surprised if anything else would happen, the element overheats VERY quickly.


The OP said he has an SW6D, in which case it has no electric heating element, otherwise it would be an SW6DE. If it is in fact the latter then yes, he's destroyed the electric heating element which would therefore need to be replaced.

naturist

Lynchburg, VA

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Posted: 01/13/18 06:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

JaxDad wrote:

When there’s no liquid in the heater the element quickly overheats and burns out. I’d be surprised if anything else would happen, the element overheats VERY quickly.


SoundGuy wrote:

The OP said he has an SW6D, in which case it has no electric heating element, otherwise it would be an SW6DE. If it is in fact the latter then yes, he's destroyed the electric heating element which would therefore need to be replaced.


And if, indeed, the propane burner came on, it could very easily melt the bottom out of the aluminum tank.

It is indeed imperative that the water heater be full of water when you turn it on. This is not an "oh, gee, sorry about that" kind of error to make.





MFL

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Posted: 01/13/18 06:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Should be no element on the D only model, and if the propane was turned off, no start up of propane flame to heat WH, then no damage. If WH did light on propane, no water, than damage could occur, depending how quickly it was shut off.

Jerry





craig.evans

Ontario, Canada

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Posted: 01/13/18 06:20am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks all for your responses. I suppose my departure date will be delayed until this is resolved ;(

MFL

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Posted: 01/13/18 06:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

"And if, indeed, the propane burner came on, it could very easily melt the bottom out of the aluminum tank."

The Suburban has a glass lined Steel tank, not aluminum. In any case, damage can occur. If burner lit off, run 5 minutes or less, shut off, should be okay. Amount of time till damage just a guess, but if on 15 minutes, damage more likely.

Jerry

SoundGuy

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Posted: 01/13/18 06:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

JaxDad wrote:

When there’s no liquid in the heater the element quickly overheats and burns out. I’d be surprised if anything else would happen, the element overheats VERY quickly.


SoundGuy wrote:

The OP said he has an SW6D, in which case it has no electric heating element, otherwise it would be an SW6DE. If it is in fact the latter then yes, he's destroyed the electric heating element which would therefore need to be replaced.


naturist wrote:

And if, indeed, the propane burner came on, it could very easily melt the bottom out of the aluminum tank.


An SW series water heater is a Suburban which doesn't have an aluminum tank but rather a porcelain lined steel tank.

SoundGuy

S Ontario

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Posted: 01/13/18 06:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

craig.evans wrote:

Thanks all for your responses. I suppose my departure date will be delayed until this is resolved ;(


First step is to establish exactly what water heater you have as that will in turn direct you to the most likely cause of the failure and therefore the correct solution.

craig.evans

Ontario, Canada

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Posted: 01/13/18 06:59am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

MFL wrote:

Should be no element on the D only model, and if the propane was turned off, no start up of propane flame to heat WH, then no damage. If WH did light on propane, no water, than damage could occur, depending how quickly it was shut off.

Jerry


Unfortunately, the propane was on and the switch on for several hours...

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