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Old 08-20-2019, 01:17 PM   #1
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Default Water heater discovery

So our FunFinder is now 3 years old and the cost of propane to heat the water started to bug me. I investigated the Camco hybrid and Hott kits which were available on Amazon and watched a couple YouTube videos of the installations to add electrical heat. I didn't even know the brand or size of my water heater until I looked at the serial tag. It is a Suburban SW6DE. Golly, I wonder what that means so I found a manual online. SW is the model series. 6 is the size in gallons, D seems to mean propane and the E means it includes an electric heater!!! Sure enough, when I read the manual I learned that it had an ON-OFF switch which controlled the AC operated heater element. When I looked at my W/H it had the switch and of course it was in the OFF position. I switched it to ON and turned off the LP Gas Water Heater switch on my control.panel. This morning I got up to hot water without the cost of propane!
Neither my wife nor I remember being told our trailer had the electric heating element in the water heater or how to use it. Perhaps the dealer didn't even know! This is a pleasant surprise and I only kick myself for not finding it sooner.
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Old 08-20-2019, 06:23 PM   #2
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Have the same water heater. At the PDI, the tech explained it was propane and electric and how to utilize either or both. I've always used it on propane, never tried the electric.
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Old 08-20-2019, 11:34 PM   #3
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I can attest to the fact that the propane heated water appeared the same as the electric! Both made for a good shower!
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Old 08-21-2019, 08:20 AM   #4
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I just stayed on propane because the recovery rate is quicker.
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Old 08-22-2019, 09:24 AM   #5
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Ours was propane only and 6 gal. I installed a Hott kit for the 6 gal (which is only 400 watts/120 volts) and we haven't noticed a difference in the amount of hot water.
I changed it primarily because, due to the layout of the trailer, the water heater fumes would enter the side window which was located directly above. Under propane we would have to close that side.


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Old 09-01-2019, 12:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle View Post
I just stayed on propane because the recovery rate is quicker.
Propane is faster - so one my tank is hot, I switch it to electric to maintain the temp. If there is a high water demand (back to back showers for example) ill run propane for faster recovery
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Old 09-01-2019, 01:14 PM   #7
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Hey Jimbo, where's that switch located that switches between the Propane & Elect. ?
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Old 09-01-2019, 01:43 PM   #8
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Here is a photo of where the electric heating element switch is located:

https://www.loveyourrv.com/faulty-el...-water-heater/
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Old 09-02-2019, 09:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjpguy View Post
Hey Jimbo, where's that switch located that switches between the Propane & Elect. ?
The switch only turns on the electric heating element, it doesn't turn off the propane. You can run both if you want to heat up your water really fast.
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Old 09-02-2019, 01:23 PM   #10
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Default Heating element swithc

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Here is a photo of where the electric heating element switch is located:

https://www.loveyourrv.com/faulty-el...-water-heater/
Hey Eagle and LJAZ ,
Thank you very much. I honestly didn't know my Water Heater had this. Of course when we did the walk around back in '14 when we purchased our trailer, no mention of this was done and the "owners manual", which I still can't figure out how they can call it that only says "Your new Fun Finder is equipped with a Suburban water heater" It's a joke. The owners manual only lists what's there, nothing about how to operate or maintain anything. Thanks again
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Old 09-02-2019, 01:59 PM   #11
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My owners manual packet contained the Fun Finder "MINIMUAL INFO" manual and a separate manual on each appliance, the stove, frig, furnace, thermostat, water heater, bath stool, axles, propane/CO detectors, etc. with model numbers and mfg contacts. Also inside the cupboard over the sink is a list of "component' mfgrs and contact phone numbers.
No idea why you didn't get a manual on each "component or appliance."
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Old 09-02-2019, 04:09 PM   #12
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Default Water heater switch

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Here is a photo of where the electric heating element switch is located:

https://www.loveyourrv.com/faulty-el...-water-heater/
Thank you for the photo link. I located the switch, but it was taped with white vinyl tape in the OFF position! Wonder what that means. Left as is until I can figure it out. Was getting dark so it will wait until tomorrow. The paperwork I have makes no mention of such a switch.
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Old 09-02-2019, 05:46 PM   #13
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No surprise someone taped the switch in the 'off' position as perhaps the previous owner lost the little hairpin clip that slides thru the switch to keep it from moving to the 'on' position and used tape in it's place.

The water heaters come with a small hairpin clip thru the switch so it cannot be accidentally pushed into the 'on' position when there is no water in the water heater.

The hairpin clip is a "safety device" requiring it to be purposefully removed to turn the switch to 'on' for the electric element to heat the water.

With the location of the switch, it's pretty difficult for "old or fat fingers" to remove or reinstall the little hairpin into the switch so tape may have been simpler for the previous owner....perhaps or the hairpin was lost.
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Old 09-03-2019, 09:09 AM   #14
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You're right, owners manuals are pretty generic. Unfortunately that seems to be the industry standard no matter which brand you buy. If you bought it new you should also have been given a manual specific to each appliance. If not I recommend getting the model numbers for everything you have and downloading the owners manuals. If you can't find one on line someone here will likely have a copy they can send to you.
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Old 09-03-2019, 04:23 PM   #15
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About two years ago I started a thread here detailing my efforts to install a dual switch to allow the turn off/on of both the gas and electric options of the water heater. Used a relay to allow 120 to turn on electric. Here is the link:

http://www.funfinderclub.com/forums/...itch-3167.html
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