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Suburban SW12DEL Water Heater has melted another switch

joebedford
Nomad II
Nomad II

I reported a couple of months ago that the problem appeared to be fixed. It worked great for 10? weeks.

Yesterday, I hooked up the 5er and moved it 8 feet then back to level it. Now the water heater works neither on electric or propane. Coincidence?

Last time when the electric failed at least the propane would work.

Troubleshooting today (already checked the breaker)

9 REPLIES 9

QCMan
Nomad II
Nomad II

15-Amp Single-pole Pilot Light Combination Light Switch, Light Almond https://www.lowes.com/pd/Eaton-15A-Single-Pole-Toggle-Switch-and-Pilot-Light-LA/5001743033
Here is the type I am talking about. You can either solder and shrink sleeve the two wires together that go to the switch or change one wire to a male spade and plug them together and tape well. The switches melt because the application is pushing them to the max. A residential switch will not do that.


2020 Keystone Cougar 22RBS, Ram 1500, two Jacks and plenty of time to roam!
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits. A.E.
Good Sam Life Member

Thanks. But how did you protect the switch from water?

QCMan
Nomad II
Nomad II

I have used the kind of switch that is used for hidden devices like oil burners or roof fans that are not obvious so they have either an LED or a neon light to indicate that the circuit is on.


2020 Keystone Cougar 22RBS, Ram 1500, two Jacks and plenty of time to roam!
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits. A.E.
Good Sam Life Member

QCMan
Nomad II
Nomad II

The solution is to remove the switch entirely and put an indoor switch in. Very simple and you can use a residential switch with an indicator light to show when the switch is on. You will never have to go outside to turn the switch on and you will never have to replace a melted switch again. Did that on two trailers and had no more problems. Current trailer has no outside switch.


2020 Keystone Cougar 22RBS, Ram 1500, two Jacks and plenty of time to roam!
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits. A.E.
Good Sam Life Member

I've thought of installing a much higher rating switch and / or installing a lower rating heating element or getting rid of the switch entirely. I don't want the wires to melt and possibly cause a fire.

What kind of lighted indoor switch did you use?

I asked Suburban if I could eliminate the switch because I never use it and they said "We don't recommend doing that". Why I dunno.

joebedford
Nomad II
Nomad II

I replaced the switch on the water heater again. This is the 4th melted switch in 2 months. When it works (which it's doing on both electric and propane at the moment) it works fine. There is no sign of damage but it's 13 years old.

I can only think of two possibilities:

1) there is some worn insulation and occasionally the wire shorts out and melts the switch
or
2) I got some counterfeit switches from Amazon. They're supposedly rated 20A @ 125V but maybe not.

Just curious did you ever replace the heater? Throwing parts at an issue is never the best way to go about it. But I think a replacement heater is only around $20. I personally would have a concern on the idea of adding a more robust switch. To me that is akin to just adding a bigger fuse.

.
2001 Suburban 4x4. 6.0L, 4.10 3/4 ton **** 2005 Jayco Jay Flight 27BH **** 1986 Coleman Columbia Popup

 I never replaced the heater or heating element. I measured the resistance across the element and it was 40 ohms as it should be.

Just an edit to the above because I waited too long to realize it needed one.

By replacing the heater I mean the heat rod that goes into the tank and heats the water. I am not talking about replacing the entire water heater.

.
2001 Suburban 4x4. 6.0L, 4.10 3/4 ton **** 2005 Jayco Jay Flight 27BH **** 1986 Coleman Columbia Popup