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Old 11-15-2015, 11:42 AM   #1
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Water heater left powered on

I was draining the water heater and the rest of the plumbing but left the Airstream on shore power and in the use position. Went out a couple hours later and could hear the water heater "running". Did this cause any damage?
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Old 11-15-2015, 11:53 AM   #2
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Huge guess on my part,,,,

If the heater was running on electric, probably, if on gas, maybe not, but it depends on the duration of the event on both accounts.


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Old 11-15-2015, 11:57 AM   #3
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It was 2 or 3 hours.

I have a correction/addition to my issue. The water heater was NOT switched on with either power or propane. But there was a sound of something running under the bed (2016 19' Flying Cloud) when I went back out after a couple hours of the AS being on shore power and in use position.
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Old 11-15-2015, 12:11 PM   #4
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If it was on electric, the odds are very good the electric heating element is burnt out. If on gas, I would check to see if any of the water line fittings have been melted or damaged. Pressurizing the water system is the only real way to check. Good luck and hope for the best!!! Chris
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Old 11-15-2015, 01:32 PM   #5
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Finally realized the inverter was turned on and that's what was causing the water heater to make a running noise. Does that make any difference? And why would anything be running on the water heater if both the electric and propane switches were turned off? The inverter was doing something with the water heater.
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Old 11-15-2015, 02:20 PM   #6
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I think you mean the converter/charger was on. It changes 120 volts to 12 volts to charge the battery and supply 12 volt power. An inverter is quite a different thing, it takes 12 volt power from the battery and supplies 120 volts to special outlets (in the factory version anyway). It would not supply anything to the water heater.

Back to your question. If neither the gas or electric switches were on, no damage occurs with a dry tank. If the electric switch was on with no water in the tank, you will quickly burn out the electric heating element. If the propane switch was on, usually the thermostat in the water heater itself will keep the temperature down to the point that no damage will occur (again, no water in the tank). That however is a bit hard to say for sure. I have done it once by accident with no issues in the long run. The burner will run for a very brief time, then shut off. Then repeat. Not good for the unit but probably will not hurt it.

I have no idea what the noise you are hearing is (or was).
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Old 11-15-2015, 03:45 PM   #7
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Finally figured it out. The sound I was hearing was the fan on the inverter, hence why I was hearing the noise from the area where the water heater was and only when the inverter was on. I was looking at the water heater but not leaning over enough to notice that's where the inverter also lives . Since I had the mattress off the bed to get to the drain valves, it was more noticeable than with the mattress in place.

Many thanks to the folks here on the forums who answer questions for the newbs like me who have no idea what they're doing!
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