Hot Water Heater Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can I operate my water heater's electric element & gas burner at the same time?
Are all Suburban Hot Water Heaters equipped with an Anode Rod? What is its function? When should it
Why does water drip from my water heater's pressure & temperature (P&T) relief
Can I add-on an electric element to a PA/DA Model (GAS ONLY Unit)? What will happen if I use
What if I operate the water heater without water in the tank?
There is a bad odour coming from the hot water faucet. How can I correct this?
How do I drain my water heater?
1. Can I operate my water heater's electric element & gas
burner at the same time?
YES - when taking advantage of available campsite or generator-produced electricity
you may operate on both gas and electric for a faster recovery rate.
2. Are all Suburban Hot Water Heaters equipped with an Anode
Rod? What is its function? When should it be changed?
YES - all Suburban water heaters feature an anode rod. The anode equalises aggressive
water action, providing cathodic protection for the tank. It is a very important factor in tank life & should
only be removed for inspection, draining or replacement. It is removable using a 1-1/16" thin wall socket. Under
normal use, the anode rod will deteriorate. Because of this we recommend it be replaced bi-annually or when
consumption or weight loss of the rod is greater than 75%.
Note: Water with high levels of iron &/or sulphate will increase the rate of
deterioration. To extend anode life, drain water from tank whenever the RV is not being used. Avoid any extended
time of non-use with water in the tank.
3. Why does water drip from my water heater's pressure &
temperature (P&T) relief valve?
You may experience water weeping or dripping from your water heater's pressure &
temperature (P&T) relief valve when your water heater is operating. Water weeping or dripping does not
mean that the P&T valve defective. As water is heated, it expands. The water system in an RV is a closed system
& does not allow for the expansion of heated water. When the pressure of the water system exceeds the relieving
point of the P&T valve, the valve will relieve the excess pressure.
4. Can I add-on an electric element to a PA/DA Model (GAS ONLY
Unit)? What will happen if I use it?
NO - the use of these aftermarket heating element devices may result in damage to
components or the water heater. When aftermarket heating elements are inserted into the anode rod/drain connection,
tank life is shortened by accelerating inner tank corrosion. This will be a non-warrantable situation. An upgrade
is required to a Gas/Electric model, for this application.
5. What if I operate the water heater without water in the
Operation without water in the tank on the 12V DC gas portion of the water heater can
cause the copolymer insulation jacket to melt & can cause the ECO/Thermostat to trip. Operation without
water in the tank on the 230V AC electric portion of the water heater will damage the element.
6. There is a bad odour coming from the hot water faucet. How
can I correct this?
Odour from the hot water system is not a service problem & many water supplies
contain sufficient amounts of sulphur to produce an odour. The odour is similar to rotten eggs & is often
referred to as 'sulphur water'. Sulphur water can be caused by a chemical action or by bacteria. The key to
eliminating this smell is heavy chlorination of the water system. Add about six (6) ounces of chlorine (common
household liquid bleach) to each 10 gallons in the water tank. The run the heavily chlorinated water throughout the
system, opening each faucet one at time until you smell the chlorine. Let RV sit a few days & the chlorine
should take care of the problem. Then you will need to take care of the chlorine by flushing the water system. If
you don't have a water filtration system that removes chlorine, you may have a problem getting rid of the chlorine
taste. You might consider adding such a system because it allows you to keep water chlorinated and this prevents
further problems, including sulphur water. Chlorination also takes care of other types of bacteria &
7. How do I drain my water heater?
Follow the steps below:
1. Turn off electrical power to the water heater either at the switch from the
electrical element or a breaker.
2. Shut off the gas supply to the water heater
3. Turn off the pressure pump on the water system.
4. Open both hot and cold water faucets
5. Remove the anode rod from the tank. (NOTE: Take care as water may be HOT when
drained from the unit)
6. Follow the RV manufacturer's instructions for draining the entire water