Luke-warm water heater - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-17-2006, 08:22 PM   #1
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I have a '92 17' Bigfoot--new to me.
In this power outage stuff we have going on Western Washington I have had to use the Bigfoot for cooking and a shower.
I fired up the water heater--which seems to run fine, except that the water is never more than luke-warm.
It does fire up and shut off as you would expect in a normal operation.
Before I take it to the rv center, I though I would ask your opinions on this problem.
Anything I can fix myself-new thermostat or?
Thanks!
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Old 12-17-2006, 08:55 PM   #2
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I assume you did look at thermostate setting to see if it was set high enough.
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Old 12-17-2006, 08:59 PM   #3
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I assume you did look at thermostate setting to see if it was set high enough.

Hi Chester,
Yep--I tried it on both the high and low settings (just in case it was backward or ?)--and no change in temp.
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Old 12-17-2006, 09:38 PM   #4
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Hi Chester,
Yep--I tried it on both the high and low settings (just in case it was backward or ?)--and no change in temp.
I had to ask. .Could be thermostate setting to low which you have already checked or main burner orifice too small or clogged.
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Old 12-17-2006, 09:46 PM   #5
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I had to ask. .Could be thermostate setting to low which you have already checked or main burner orifice too small or clogged.
I was just back out there to heat something on the stove. I ran the hot tap for awhile---then the burner on the water heater kicked in---nice big blue flame--(sounds strong)
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Old 12-18-2006, 06:22 AM   #6
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Lets hope the problem is solved.
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Old 12-18-2006, 07:32 AM   #7
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Kick Start!

I have to let the burner on the stove run sometimes, to get the flow going to the heater

My heater is the longest gas line in the rig.
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Old 12-18-2006, 08:04 AM   #8
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No--sorry. I guess my last post wasn't too clear.

This water heater fires up and seems like it is working fine--just that the water is never more than luke warm. I figure it should be really hot.

I did a little reaearch on it on the Atwood site.
Possibly there is a partial blckage in the tube or ?
I'll have to wait until I am home during daylight hours to try and figure how to check for that.

This is day #4 with no power here in Seattle!
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Old 12-18-2006, 08:13 AM   #9
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Sorry to hear you are one of the MANY people affected by the power outage Bonnie! I just responded in Buck62's topic about why I rethinking removing the propane system in my trailer...you've just reinforced that thought. How fortunate us molded lightweight fiberglass trailer folk are...we can be relatively comfortable if Mother Nature throws her fury at us.

To get back on topic, I can't offer any solution that hasn't already been mentioned...my water heater is electric only

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Old 12-18-2006, 08:18 AM   #10
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On electric-ignition models of water heater, the thermostat(s) are just little disc-thingies that attach to the tank and are held there by a black foam blanket about 4"x4" or so. They are easily replaced, and not terribly expensive; about $20 for the electronic ignition variety. The pilot style gas valve/thermostat will run about $100. If you get a solid blue flame, there's likely nothing wrong with your burner, or anything in the tube. The slightest obstruction gives a sickly yellow flame with lots of soot. You'd spot that pretty quickly.

Atwood water heater parts

Most RV dealers carry the thermostats in stock and it's only an easy couple of minute job to replace them. That'd be the first thing I'd do. There really isn't anything else to go wrong.

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Old 12-18-2006, 07:09 PM   #11
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Sorry to hear you are one of the MANY people affected by the power outage Bonnie! I just responded in Buck62's topic about why I rethinking removing the propane system in my trailer...you've just reinforced that thought. How fortunate us molded lightweight fiberglass trailer folk are...we can be relatively comfortable if Mother Nature throws her fury at us.

To get back on topic, I can't offer any solution that hasn't already been mentioned...my water heater is electric only

Thank you Donna.
Yep--tonight starts the 5th night without power. I love having the trailer---even if the main house runs out of propane for the fire--I could move to the Bigfoot and be quite comfortable. All except for that nasty cold shower!!
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Old 12-18-2006, 07:16 PM   #12
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On electric-ignition models of water heater, the thermostat(s) are just little disc-thingies that attach to the tank and are held there by a black foam blanket about 4"x4" or so. They are easily replaced, and not terribly expensive; about $20 for the electronic ignition variety. The pilot style gas valve/thermostat will run about $100. If you get a solid blue flame, there's likely nothing wrong with your burner, or anything in the tube. The slightest obstruction gives a sickly yellow flame with lots of soot. You'd spot that pretty quickly.

Atwood water heater parts

Most RV dealers carry the thermostats in stock and it's only an easy couple of minute job to replace them. That'd be the first thing I'd do. There really isn't anything else to go wrong.

Roger
Thanks for the info, Roger. I appreciate it.
This is a pilot --manual lite unit. I'll go over to the RV place tomorrow and see if they have a new thermostat. Hopefully I will be able to install it myself. The flame is very blue, no soot and seems quite adequate---so hopefully it is the thermostat.
It is still hovering in the high 20's--low 30's here at night---so you have to be pretty desperate to brave the shower bit!
Thanks again!
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Old 12-19-2006, 07:40 PM   #13
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Update!

OK--I spent most of the day troubleshooting this with the RV people.
A very nice parts guy spent a lot of time looking the water heater over--adjusted the airflow etc. etc.

I purchased a new contoller to install, since after much testing there was still just lukewarm water.

They originally asked me if a bypass valve had been installed on the trailer---so I went home to look for that--no I didn't see one.


I started to get ready to install the new controller. I noticed when I went to dump the water in the tank it was VERY HOT!
That led me to another search for THE valve--which is of course there (part of the original installation.
Turned the valve and voile! All the hot water you want.

After spending the whole day getting ready to take a hot shower--got everything set up, walked in the door of the house and after 5 days of no power the lights came on!
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Old 12-20-2006, 06:38 AM   #14
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Bonnie, First I'm glad you figured it out! Second, I'm sorry I didn't suggest that you check the bypass valves first... I had just presumed... oh well...

Glad that's all it was! Enjoy your hot showers, and I'm glad you're power is back on!


Roger
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