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Old 07-18-2019, 03:57 PM   #1
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Default Suburban hot water heater

Silly question. My water heater has a switch for electric or gas. If it's on gas and the gas is turned off but electric is plugged in how does it know not to keep trying to light?
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Old 07-19-2019, 06:02 AM   #2
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I have a switch for gas and a switch for electric. If the gas switch is on and the gas from the tank is turned off. Nothing keeps it from trying to light. After 10 minutes or so it will fault and stop. But the light on the switch will turn on indicating a fault.
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Old 07-29-2019, 02:21 PM   #3
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Here goes. Don't know which unit you have, but, they are all pretty much the same...

Your water heater will try to start on gas, as long as the gas switch is on. Doesn't matter if you are plugged into the pedestal or not. Water heaters don't work like some of the refrigerators that will change gas to electric or back automatically. You'll see why in #3 below.

Gas ON - Electric OFF will try to fire the gas burner regardless of whether you
have electricity or not

Gas OFF - Electric ON will try to use the electric elements (if you have 120v)

Gas ON - Electric ON will use both gas and electric to heat the water. It will use
both to make temp recovery quicker.

Gas OFF - Electric OFF no water heating will occur, essentially travel mode.

Water heaters will use every bit of the BTUs that both gas and electric can supply. Once the thermostat says it has reached it set temperature it will turn either or both off until the temp drops again. A refrigerator's cooling system does not work that way, there are a whole host of reasons that they don't, but, suffice it to say that either / or on a refrigerator (gas or electric) is more than sufficient to keep the absorption process running (keep the reefer cold), so, an auto switch is a "helper"...one less switch you have to remember to use.
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:06 PM   #4
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My guess is that you will have to apply a bit of logic and put the water heater in the proper mode for the situation. Mine is gas only so it's not an issue for me BUT if I had the dual mode type of water heater, I would use the electric mode whenever I was hooked up to the campground supply circuit. Since I would imagine that your range top has gas burners, your gas tanks will be ON when camping (i.e. set up at a site). Put the water heater in the electric mode. Your site fee won't be any more or any less due to electricity usage. If you need a faster "recovery" switch to gas (or both if possible).
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Old 09-11-2019, 11:36 AM   #5
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I'm amazed at how many and in various posts people stress to run the water heater on electric to save a few pennies in propane use/cost.

It seem crazy compared to how much one spends on a RV, campground fees, a tow vehicle, WD hitch, and various accessories.

To me, it's a super minor issue. The water heater in my unit is dual gas/electric. I've never removed the 'safety pin' from the electric switch to turn on the electric should I lose it or forget to reinsert the pin and it bumped to the 'on' position with no water in the water heater and burn out the element.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 09-11-2019, 05:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle View Post
I'm amazed at how many and in various posts people stress to run the water heater on electric to save a few pennies in propane use/cost.

It seem crazy compared to how much one spends on a RV, campground fees, a tow vehicle, WD hitch, and various accessories.

To me, it's a super minor issue. The water heater in my unit is dual gas/electric. I've never removed the 'safety pin' from the electric switch to turn on the electric should I lose it or forget to reinsert the pin and it bumped to the 'on' position with no water in the water heater and burn out the element.

Just my 2 cents.
Well, it's probably more than a "few pennies" and I do understand your point but I'm not sure that I fully agree with it. Another consideration would be the inconvenience of running out of propane for the range and/or furnace! Then there's the inconvenience of uncovering the propane tanks, dismounting them and taking them to the refill station. I'd much rather do that task on a less frequent basis.
RE: burning out the element, just as much damage can be done if the gas mode is activated when the hot water tank is empty. The on switch in my FF could easily be "bumped" into the on mode moving luggage, supplies, etc. into or out of the camper.
When you pay for a site with "hook ups" you're paying for the electricity whether you use it or not! Why would a person NOT use it? In cooler weather, I will use an electric space heater rather than the gas furnace for all of the above reasons. We also have an electric toaster oven.
I guess that's my 2 cents.
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Old 09-11-2019, 09:39 PM   #7
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Rip .. OK, I see your perspective. It would, I'm certain, all depend on how frequently and the length of time spent in the camper.

I've only used my furnace maybe a dozen times and not more than probably a hour at the longest. Most frequent use is early spring in my driveway while doing some cleaning/maintenance. For me, the propane used is minimal.

Therefore, to each their own.
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Old 09-12-2019, 09:59 AM   #8
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I've never used the electric heater on my hot water heater either. Then again, I only turn it on when I'm going to use hot water, which isn't very often. If you're going to leave it turned on so you have hot water available all day it might make more sense to run on electric.
The furnace does use quite a bit of propane so I use a portable electric one. It's also much quieter.
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Old 09-21-2019, 11:35 AM   #9
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I installed a "Hott Rod" kit on ours and it's been great. Last trip (full hookup) we never opened the propane valve. Water was hot in about 45 min/1 hour after turning it on and we had plenty. Used the parks electric power and the water temp was great.
My 2 cents.

Alan
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