Water Heater (not pilot) won't stay lit - Fiberglass RV

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Old 08-14-2015, 11:01 PM   #1
Junior Member
Name: Peter
Trailer: Scamp
Posts: 24
Water Heater (not pilot) won't stay lit

Hi all,

I have run into a problem with my manual (non-electric) hot water heater on my 2010 19 footer.

When I go to fire up the water heater, everything seems to work perfectly... Pilot light fires right up and stays lit for 30 seconds (or longer). Then I turn the control dial to "On" and the burner fires right up with a nice, strong blue flame and the pilot remains lit.

Problem is, the burner will only stay lit for about 5 minutes (at most) and I'm getting water which is barely warm. I have moved the temperature dial all the way to hot (I started out about mid-way between "warm" and "hot") and this has not helped.

I repeat the process and the same thing happens.

It seems the thermocouple is good as the burner fires up as it should. I have blown compressed air on the pilot, thermocouple and burner tube and have seen no improvement.

I suppose I could continually repeat this process and eventually get hot water after about three or four cycles of re-lighting the heater, but I'm sure hoping there may be a simpler fix.

Has anyone had this problem or is there anyone who may be able to point me in another direction to solve this issue??

Thanks for all your help!

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Old 08-14-2015, 11:14 PM   #2
Senior Member
Name: Eddie
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21
Posts: 1,556
Atwood Water Heater Troubleshooting
Sounds like your 140 deg thermostat or control could be bad.

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Old 08-14-2015, 11:22 PM   #3
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Name: Floyd
Trailer: 2004 13 ft Scamp Custom Deluxe
Posts: 6,046
It is possible that the pilot light is not hitting the thermocouple directly.
Look to see if the pilot flame completely engulfs the tip of the thermocouple.
Is the pilot light flame large enough?
If not there could be a spider nest in the pilot tube. you may need to remove the pilot tube to clean it
Not likely... but you could drain and rinse the tank to be certain there is no sediment in the bottom.
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Old 08-14-2015, 11:39 PM   #4
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Name: Charlie Y
Trailer: Escape 21 - Felicity
Posts: 1,127
2nd vote to replace the thermostat here.
Charlie Y

Don't drill holes, try custom storage you design: http://RVWidgetWorks.com
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Old 08-15-2015, 08:22 AM   #5
Junior Member
Name: Peter
Trailer: Scamp
Posts: 24
Thanks guys.

I think I will try a more thorough cleaning of the pilot as Floyd has suggested. The pilot flame, while seemingly fine, does not "fully engulf" the tip of the thermocouple as Floyd pointed out. Perhaps that may solve the issue. Since the pilot was firing right up and the burner lit with no issues, I guess I thought the pilot was fine. Here's hoping it's matter of a more thorough cleaning.

I'd like to think (well, at least hope) that replacing the thermostat would be a last resort.

Still hoping that someone who has had this very same issue will chime in!!
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