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Old 10-10-2013, 07:39 AM   #1
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2016 25' Flying Cloud
Waycross , Georgia
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Posts: 11
Need to know if we have a fire potential

We have our 2004 AS trailer out on a camping trip. When the electric water heater is turned on, we are noticing a musky burn smell coming out of the lavatory area in the bathroom. Doesn't do it when gas is turned on and seems to be intermittent--sometimes strong and other times faint. This has been going on for a couple of days. Have been turning off the water heater at night and when we leave the campground. Any ideas of what could be the problem? Thanks for any help you could give us!

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Old 10-10-2013, 08:29 AM   #2
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1991 35' Airstream 350
Jay , Oklahoma
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Welcome to the forums.

The propane and electric heating modes on the water heater are two completely separate systems.

So, that explains not smelling anything when you are using propane.

The electric system is simply a heating element. It is a fairly heavy electrical load.

My guess is a bad connection somewhere along the 120 volt wiring to the water heater element.

Since you can smell it inside the trailer, a first place to look would be the wall switch. Does it get warm during use?

After that, you need to be comfortable working on electrical systems to troubleshoot.

If you are not comfortable with that, I would simply use the propane system until repairs can be made.

If something is getting hot, then yes, it could be a problem.



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Old 10-10-2013, 08:33 AM   #3
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I certainly would have it checked out by someone who knows electrical systems. Could be the switch is failing, or depending on where the water heater is in relationship to the bathroom, a connection issue there.

I would not use it on 120 volt line power until you know that it is corrected. Use propane only until then.
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:18 AM   #4
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Thank you for your input. Guess it's off to the rv repair place for us when we get home. Y'all are so kind to respond, and we do appreciate it!
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Old 10-10-2013, 01:01 PM   #5
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Typically caused by a loose screw attaching the 120v wiring to the water heater, causing high resistance, heating of the wire, and thermal damage to the insulation and other plastic parts. Check there first (with shore power disconnected and the inverter and generator, if equipped, shut off), if anything is badly burned replace it, if not clean the wires with sandpaper and tighten down the screws.
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Old 10-10-2013, 04:44 PM   #6
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Thank you, jammer! We will give your suggestion a try before hauling it to a repair shop.
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Old 10-10-2013, 05:16 PM   #7
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does it smell like this?

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