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Old 03-12-2017, 03:41 AM   #21
14george
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Post a picture of the hot water tank
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Old 03-12-2017, 06:08 AM   #22
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Water heater pictures. This one does have a reset mechanism I don't think I have seen before. Two rubber coated reset switches. Could this be it's dual powered? There is also something attached to the water plug. Is this possibly an electrical heating element?
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Old 03-12-2017, 06:10 AM   #23
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Thanks again for all your help.
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Old 03-12-2017, 06:27 AM   #24
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As an aside, the only time I have seen an illuminated red switch previously was in my Class A pusher, the switch started the onboard generator. Could this lead to someone's solution for starting a generator?
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Old 03-12-2017, 06:37 AM   #25
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I can't tell from the picture, is there a little black switch behind where the end of the anode rod is laying? In the bottom left hand corner of the HTW, hidden behind everything, maybe with a small piece of tape over it?
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Old 03-12-2017, 06:39 AM   #26
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Illuminated red switches generally control 1. the water pump 2. the LP side of the HTW and 3. sometimes the electric side of the HTW. Where that switch is located I would guess it's one of them.
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Old 03-12-2017, 06:42 AM   #27
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The "something" attached to the water plug is the anode rod. It keeps your tank from disintegrating.
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Old 03-12-2017, 06:47 AM   #28
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On some older water heaters, the switch for the electric element is on the back of the unit. My '97 Jayco had it. Water heater was under the sink and a PITA to reach.
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Old 03-12-2017, 06:59 AM   #29
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It is hard to tell from the picture, but I don't see a spot for the electric heating element. The one I had, the element had a black plastic cover over it in the middle of the tank, with the switch behind the gas valve. IMO this looks like it is only gas with direct spark ignition.
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Old 03-12-2017, 07:17 AM   #30
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The switch for the electric heating element is visible in the first picture. It is directly behind the LP solenoid valve and the "anode rod end" is almost directly in front of the switch. If you look at the "circular gas tube" and put your finger through that circle, you'll be putting your finger on the electric heating element switch. And, if you enlarge the picture, you can see the word "ON" located on the bottom part of the actual switch.

The actual heating element is attached to the dark circular "thing" that is also located in the first picture. It is between the "circular gas tube" and the hole where the anode rod is screwed into the tank.

My "guess" would be that with the tank heating element switch turned off, even if that "not OEM illuminated switch inside" is activated, nothing will happen.

It's "for sure" that the switch inside is NOT factory installed. My guess would be that the previous owner "MIGHT HAVE" (who really knows without asking him) installed a remote water heater switch so he didn't have to go outside to turn off the electric element.

At any rate, the OP's water heater does have an electric element, it is located as described, and the switch is visible in the first picture. Whether it's been burned out by turning on that "extra switch" or not is anybody's guess. I'd start by filling the water heater, turn on the "outside switch" that's behind the gas solenoid, turn on the "inside switch" and see if the water gets got in an hour or so. If it does, then turn the inside switch off, run enough water to cool the tank's contents and wait an hour or so to see if it gets hot again. If it does, that switch isn't for the water heater. But, if the water stays cool, you've found your function. Another way to test it is to get behind the water heater with a voltmeter and have someone turn the inside switch off/on. If you get voltage to that point, you'll know where the wires are connected.

Bottom line, it's a gas (DSI) electric water heater. The switch is behind the solenoid.

ADDED: To answer another question, yes the anode rod is still serviceable. Just use a wire brush to knock off the excess "corrosion" wipe the rod down with some "bleach water", wrap the threads with Teflon tape and reinstall. Tighten enough so it doesn't leak, but don't overtighten so you can still get it out at the end of the season.

All of the comments about the "owner installed switch" controlling the water heater electric element is purely speculation. It may control just about anything ranging from a hidden electric outlet that the previous owner installed under the trailer floor, a "furnace fan switch" so he could filter the air without heat, a second refrigerator switch, fans behind the refrigerator to help cooling, an outside light, or any one of a thousand "what if's" .... But I'd guess it "could be" for the electric water heater element. At least I'd start there.
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Old 03-12-2017, 08:42 AM   #31
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Not wanting to further confuse the issue but my first thought when looking at the picture was the control for an add on inverter mod by the previous owner.
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Old 03-12-2017, 08:56 AM   #32
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What JRTJH said plus .... the two spots marked reset .... most likely only one actually has a switch under it. If you press it gently you will feel a click if it is tripped. JM2, Hank

If you have been turning that switch on and off with the tank empty, the electric element has blown and resets will do nothing.
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Old 03-12-2017, 09:08 AM   #33
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If I was a guessing man.... I have to put my money on water pump...

My reasoning is... back in '82 or '83 I installed a switch just like that one for an older couple who didn't want to have to walk over to the wall mounted pump switch every time they wanted to wash a glass or get a drink when dry camping...

But it could also be for the electric water heater since Suburban makes you walk outside to flip the switch...
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Old 03-12-2017, 09:17 AM   #34
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Picture may help This is a suburban tank
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Old 03-12-2017, 09:30 AM   #35
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Thanks all for your help. Especially, those that suspected a connection to the water heater
John has nailed it with his information about the electrical aspects of the dual powered water heater. Thanks John for getting my head on straight. I will do future testing once the weather permits, but I am about 90% sure that is what this switch controls. Thanks again everyone.
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Old 03-12-2017, 09:34 AM   #36
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if suburban
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Old 03-12-2017, 09:38 AM   #37
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Thanks for the link. This will come in handy.
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Old 03-12-2017, 09:51 AM   #38
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If we are talking about the 110 VAC section of the HWT(see picture) I would think if you looked at the back of this mysterious switch you would see a romex wire for the 110VAC rather than a 12 VDC rip cable. Of course could be that switch closes a 12V relay applying 110 VAC to the tank but do not think so.
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Old 03-12-2017, 10:07 AM   #39
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When you test it, be sure to let us know what you find out.
1. It will surely help someone else at some point in time.
2. We give out prizes to whoever guesses right.





3. Not really, but may have had you going for a second.

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Old 03-12-2017, 10:23 AM   #40
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Smile

Levels of complexity or should I say insanity

1. What in the world did the factory do here

THEN the harder One

2. What did the previous owner do here

Guess we know where this one stands, this could be one of the most interesting
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