Suburban SW12DEL Water Heater Replacement

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ReadytoRVDK

Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Posts
11
Location
Pensacola Fl
The water heater has started dripping slightly out of the P & T valve. Suburban recommends  establishing the air pocket at the top of the tank to correct the problem.  I'm going to try this to see if it fixes the problem.

This is the original water heater and is at least 8 years old. I need to drain the tank and check the anode anyway, can you tell through that opening how bad the tank walls might be from electrolysis?

Is replacement a DIY project for someone who is fairly handy? Didn't look too bad from the manual but that can be deceiving  :)

Thanks
Dan
 

jubileee

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Joined
Dec 17, 2013
Posts
708
  I never had any luck trying to look inside after removing anode. I also would not be concerned about an 8 year old tank. If anode is completely down to wire, I?ve had some success blowing crud out with air pressure in @ anode and out @ drain. I also have an ultrasonic metal thickness meter left over from trucking business and I?ve probably had it on a dozen or so rv water heaters ( some 25-30 hrs. old). Never found a problem. I realize there are many variables involved and my experience may just be anecdotal.
 

Henry J Fate

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Jun 14, 2018
Posts
1,979
It is not easy to look inside the tank without optics. Best gauge is to flush and catch the water to see how much scaling has occurred.

Try flushing the pt valve. It may re-seat.

The air gap issue is something to try but I would not be happy about a valve holding only when it is exposed to air. The valve should stay tight under normal use regardless of air or water at the seat.

If you cannot get the valve to stay dry, you can turn the temperature down 10 degrees or so to see if that helps or you can replace the pt valve.

Replacing the heating element is fairly simple. Usually the most difficult thing is getting a tool on the element to loosen it or tighten it.

 

ChasA

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Mar 21, 2009
Posts
2,325
Is the temperature adjustable on Suburban water heaters? It isn't on Atwoods.
 

Henry J Fate

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Jun 14, 2018
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1,979
No it is not. I added my control on my Atwood. It probably is fixed.

A modification would be needed.

 

donn

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Nov 8, 2009
Posts
5,372
P&T valves can be had at any big box store.  Anodes are pretty cheap.  If the tank is not leaking or has otherwise failed leave it.  With the rwlief valve open use a garden hose through the anode port to flush out any crud.
As for replqcing the water heater, its an easy job.  As long as you have easy access to the plumbing takes a couple hours to pull out the old one and install the new.
 

ReadytoRVDK

Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Posts
11
Location
Pensacola Fl
Thanks for the help. 

We're leaving tomorrow for two weeks and not taking the 5W this trip. We are, of course, going to turn off the water and turn off and drain the water heater while gone. Guess I'll have something to look forward to when we get back.  :)
 
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