How to Troubleshoot a Suburban DSI Water Heater

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The Suburban RV Water Heater comes in both six and 10 gallon porcelain-lined steel tanks. An interior anode rod absorbs the corrosive action of the heated water. The water heaters have up-front controls and push-button lighting. These are quality units, but problems can occur. Troubleshoot issues such as clogged main burner orifices, tripped breakers and faulty thermostats. Run through a quick checklist before calling in a Suburban technician for a service.

  • Remove and clean the main burner if it will not light. Use alcohol or compressed air to clean out the hole. Take care not to enlarge the hole in any way. Check the burner tube for lint or dirt. Clean the burner tube if necessary. The gas control valve may be defective, thus blocking the flow of gas. Have a qualified Suburban RV technician investigate further for you.

  • Ensure that the main burner is correctly aligned if the flame is erratic or sputtering yellow. The burner orifice should be properly seated into the main burner, directly in line with the tube. Verify that the thermostat is shutting off fully and there are no blockages or obstructions in the flue box. These problems can cause the flame to be erratic as well.

  • Inspect the heater's electrical system. Check the circuit breaker in the coach to see if the breaker has tripped. Reset the breaker if necessary. Press the reset button on the heater. The reset button is located on the control panel. Turn off the power and check all the wire connections if the heater still fails to operate after pressing the reset button.

  • Check that the thermostat is secure in its bracket and is held tight against the tank if the water is too hot. If the thermostat is away from the tank it will not be able to sense the temperature.

  • Add six ounces of common household liquid bleach to the water tank if there is an odor coming from the water. Run the chlorinated water through the system. Allow the RV to sit for a few days and then open each faucet until you smell the chlorine. Continue adding water to the system to flush the chlorine from the tank.

  • Turn off the water heater as well as the power and gas when the RV is is stored for the winter months. Turn off the pressure pump or water hook-up source. To prevent freezing, fully open both hot and cold water faucets. Open the drain on the water heater and allow the water to fully flush from the system.

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