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Old 08-18-2018, 09:27 AM   #1
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Default Hot Water

For once, Iím not in hot water! Lol

Recently purchased our 2008 Viewfinder. Struggling with hot water: seems like I get about 2 seconds, then itís gone. Iíve replaced the sacrificial anode (I know itís not what makes it hot, but looking at the old one it had some small sacrificing, so it must have worked at one time...) and I replaced the electric element - sure itís getting power because I got a shock changing it (finally cut off main power 👍&#127995 I made sure the exterior switch is ďonĒ - I checked the breakers and the fuse. Iíve seen the gas element fire off a few time though I donít fully understand when it fires off vs electric - only when electric is off I presume?

The tank was full when I removed the anode. I get water when I turn on the tap (assuming hot is on the left? Regardless, running both, tiether and separately).

As I mentioned, we get literally 2 seconds of hot water - hotter than it would be just sitting in the pipes on a hot day.

I feel like Iím missing some silly fundamental. Some valve some where?

Using city water not the fresh water tank. Again - plenty of water coming out of both taps...

What am I missing, what can I look at? (I do consider myself mechanically capable...)
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Old 08-18-2018, 10:07 AM   #2
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talltimo, it could be something as simple as a dirty electrode. First, a few questions -- when you say there is just two seconds worth of hot water, do you mean you turn on the faucet and then it stops? Or that the burner goes on for two seconds and stops?

Anyway, you almost certainly have a dual heater -- it works off electricity and off of propane. I know nothing about the electric side -- mine is just propane. But if you are not plugged into 120v power, I am pretty sure that the only thing that will work is your propane.

So let us simplify. Unplug from shore power. Make sure your battery is charged and connected. The propane won't work without some battery power to control the circuitry.

Open the hatch that covers your water heater so you can watch what is going on.

Now, go over to your control panel. Make sure that the water pump is on (unless you are connected to city water).

Turn on the water heater switch (or have someone do it for you). Go stand by your water heater.

Here is what should happen -- you should hear some clicking sounds (the igniter) and then the flame should ignite with a big whoosh.

I am betting that instead of staying on, the flame will soon go out. On your control panel, a little light labelled "DLI FLT" will come on. I think that means "direct spark ignition fault."

That was happening on my six year old trailer. I figured out that it was due to corrosion on the ignition probe. It sounds scary, but it is not, and it is an easy fix. Here is a link to a thread I posted elsewhere on how to remove that probe and clean it and re-install it:

My solution to the corroded probe

I hope that works for you!! Please let us know what happens.
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Old 08-18-2018, 10:09 AM   #3
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That link did not work! I am trying to find a way to make it work. Here is my second try:

https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/f...8.cfm#29575868
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Old 08-18-2018, 10:09 AM   #4
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Success -- check it out.
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Old 08-18-2018, 10:47 AM   #5
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You may have the bypass valve set wrong. There is a series of valves near the hot water tank that can be changed for winterizing so that the water bypasses the water heater. Check and make sure they are set up correctly. Also if you turn the electric element on when there is no water in the tank, it will immediately fry the element. Do not buy a replacement element at an RV store, they run about $30 there. Buy it at any Home Center, it is a small 110 heating element, and runs under $10. I know because we have had to replace ours a lot until we got better at not leaving the electric switch on when there was no water LOL

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Old 08-18-2018, 10:48 AM   #6
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PS you will know if the element is fried because instead of a loop it will be two separate pieces. When it fries it physically breaks the element. So if your element is still one single loop piece it's probably still good.

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Old 08-18-2018, 10:50 AM   #7
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Oh, one more thing. The switch on the water heater itself outside under the cover, is the electric switch. The gas switch is inside the camper somewhere with a red light next to it.

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Old 08-18-2018, 11:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by talltimo View Post
Iíve seen the gas element fire off a few time though I donít fully understand when it fires off vs electric - only when electric is off I presume?
The gas element will fire even if the electric element is on. It seems that the thermostat setting for the gas is higher than for the electric.

Have you pushed the reset buttons? That is one of the things you may wish to check.

On your water heater, there is a black rubber cover that has two round button areas that you push to reset the water heater. If yours is like mine, and most likely it is, the one on the right is for gas and the one on the left is for electric. Underneath the rubber cover are two thermostats. One for the gas and one for the electric. I'm not really sure how you would tell if it was bad. If you are familiar with electric you can probably use a Multimeter somehow. You may be able to tell if there has been damage because it may be blackened. My electric one burned out and I could tell by looking at it, one wire was all melted. I believe there was an error that the rubber cover was actually pressing on the reset button and caused it to be continually resetting. So I modified that when I replaced the thermostat.

They are under $15 each to replace. Very simple to do. Here is a link to what I bought to repair mine. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003G9I4DW/



Hope this is helpful,

Lix
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Old 08-18-2018, 03:08 PM   #9
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Gold star to PaintyLiz!

It was the bypass valve - good news all around because it means everything works *and* it was properly winterized!!

So I learned there are two associated valves: one obvious valve from the tank out, but also another that runs between hot water out (after the other valve) and cold - this seemed to be over riding the hot water. Once I turned the Hit Out on and shut one off, the hot water flowed. Yay!!

The hardest part was getting my 6’4”, 230 lb butt innthe bin under the mattress to reach it! ��

Thanks for the help! We can shower without dancing now!

(PS - now the AC breaker is popping - it never ends!)
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Old 08-18-2018, 05:48 PM   #10
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Way to go, Liz! For those of us old enough to remember life before the Internet, this sort of "mutual aid forum" still feels miraculous. Problems are solved so much faster and easier. (And yes, there is also fraud and abuse, but not on this forum!!)
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Old 08-18-2018, 07:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by talltimo View Post
The hardest part was getting my 6í4Ē, 230 lb butt under the mattress to reach it!

(PS - now the AC breaker is popping - it never ends!)
Glad I could help! Maybe I can help a little more ... Put a prop stick under your mattress, it makes life a lot easier. https://wackypup.blogspot.com/2016/11/finding-hidden-storage.html picture of stick is about halfway down page

And about the a/c breaker, if you haven't replaced the lights with LEDs yet, that will help tremendously. They have gotten very inexpensive, these are the ones I have (bright white, not soft white) they are great and cheap. https://www.amazon.com/Bright-Trailer-42-SMD-Backup-Reverse/dp/B076V9XXW6/ 20 bulbs for $15. Until you replace the lights, put a small fan in front of the inverter and it should help. I had the same problem, but since I replaced my lights with LEDs I have not had this issue. The inverter fan doesn't even turn on anymore. If neither of these ideas work, I have no other suggestions.

Glad I could help!

Liz
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Old 08-19-2018, 08:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by profdant139 View Post
Way to go, Liz! For those of us old enough to remember life before the Internet, this sort of "mutual aid forum" still feels miraculous. Problems are solved so much faster and easier. (And yes, there is also fraud and abuse, but not on this forum!!)
Thanks ProfDan, it is really awesome. And the thousands of YouTube videos showing you how to do everything. Amazing!

Liz
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