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Old 09-25-2012, 04:56 PM   #1
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Water Heater switch - Electric or Propane

Hello, a quick question to the experts...

In my 'control panel' box, there is a switch plate to turn on/off the hot water heater. You can run it off of propane or electric. In any case, I have a red light there that I've never seen illuminated regardless of the power source or if the water heater is on/off. My question is 'when does that light come on?'. I would think it would be used as an indicator light for when I'm hearing water. Is that correct? Maybe my light is faulty? Maybe it's for something else. Anyone know?

Thanks,

-Kaylor
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Old 09-25-2012, 05:26 PM   #2
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If it is like the system in my trailer, the red light comes on when you switch for gas operation. When ignition is complete , it turns off. Does the manual not cover the operational characteristics of the water heater?
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Old 09-25-2012, 06:04 PM   #3
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If it is the Atwood gas/electric model you can find the manual at atwood's web site. The red light only illuminates when the ignition first fires. Any time the light comes on and stays lit, it indicates a lockout condition requiring the gas and or electric switches to be shutoff and reset the heater.
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Old 09-25-2012, 06:20 PM   #4
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On the electric ignition gas only water heaters the light comes on when the heater is turned on until it registers that the heater lit. If the water heater fails to light the light stays on indicating a problem.

Not sure about the new gas/electric ones.
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Old 09-25-2012, 06:25 PM   #5
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Thanks.

The airstream manual does not mention it all all. The Atwood manual (very limited) has a wiring diagram and refers to one of the 'leads' on the light as a lockout. So, armed with the responses received and the wiring diagram, I'm going with the fact that a continued lit light is a problem. A briefly lit light is showing a gas ignition.

I'll search for a more detailed Atwood manual online.
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Old 09-26-2012, 08:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaylorsan View Post
Thanks.

The airstream manual does not mention it all all. The Atwood manual (very limited) has a wiring diagram and refers to one of the 'leads' on the light as a lockout. So, armed with the responses received and the wiring diagram, I'm going with the fact that a continued lit light is a problem. A briefly lit light is showing a gas ignition.

I'll search for a more detailed Atwood manual online.
My water heater came with a defective thermostat. I learned first-hand all about that little red light then. Depending on the cause of the lockout, the fix could be as simple as turning off the water heater for a minute, then restarting it. However, if the thermostat is defective as mine was, the problem will just keep coming back and the red light will come on again.

By the way, the only manual you'll find online is identical to the manual that's supposed to come with your Atwood water heater. My Interstate was missing the water heater and LP Gas detector manuals altogether, so I had to go to the Atwood web page and download my own.
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Old 09-26-2012, 08:57 AM   #7
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On the gas/electric unit the light comes on if the gas fails to light. Typically the light flashes just as the gas ignites and then it goes out. Normally if power is available I run the water heater on electric and then flip the switch for gas on during showers. Makes for a faster recovery when you can have both the electric element active and gas at the same time.

Jack
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