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Old 11-12-2012, 06:55 PM   #1
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2014 25' FB International
Little Rock , Arkansas
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 562
Water Heater Won't Turn Off

I'm fairly new at this....'this' being Airstream and RV'ing. Our first few times out in our new AS (2011 23FB) we never turned on the water heater. Now it won't turn off. I've been really busy with family and work, so I have been turning off the propane tanks between trips. Cold snap coming tonight, so I turned on the tanks and set thermostat to prevent freezing. Walking back to the house I noticed a gas smell coming from water heater. I held a match under the pilot as a test and sure enough the pilot light came on.

So...dumb question: I assume this isn't normal? When the switch for the heater is flipped off shouldn't the gas turn off? I'm guessing either the control board or a valve is bad?

Thanks for the help.

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Old 11-12-2012, 07:05 PM   #2
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1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
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You confuse me. There is no pilot light to come on in an electronic ignition water heater. That function is done by the electronic ignitor.

If you have a gas leak in the piping I guess you could have a smell and could light the leak off, or if the electric gas valve is not closing it could be leaking some gas into the burner tube that you are lighting.

In any event, see if there is a valve on the gas line to the water heater. All older AS products had gas valves for each appliance, but I am not sure about the newer ones such as you have. For now, if there is a gas valve on the incoming line, shut it off and have the system looked at later when you have time. If there is no valve, I would recommend turning off the gas tanks and using an electric heater in the rig to keep it warm enough to remain above freezing, again get the water heater fixed soon.

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Old 11-12-2012, 07:35 PM   #3
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2014 25' FB International
Little Rock , Arkansas
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 562
I'm confused myself. I didn't see a valve under the trailer, but it's dark and I didn't look too hard. I assumed it was a pilot light, but maybe not? The gas line comes into what I assume is a valve assembly. A tube exits the assembly with openings where I was able to light a flame. There is a round view port on the exterior door that lines up with the flame. The tube then turns and runs into what I assumed was the burner in the tank......
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:39 PM   #4
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1978 25' Tradewind
Metro Phoenix , Arizona
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Posts: 1,400

The gas should never come on like that! Something - I'm gonna guess it's the gas valve on your water heater - is waaaay screwed up. You should really not use the trailer or turn on the gas at the bottles until it's fixed.
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:21 PM   #5
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2006 19' Safari SE
Tucson , Arizona
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I agree...that's not normal operation. The water heater on newer models has an electric ignition and until you turn on the water heater inside at the switch there should not be propane gas present to ignite. In our 2006 the light on the switch goes on when you turn the water heater on and goes out a few seconds later once it fires up. There is not pilot light. You should be able to hear the burner, too, once it lights.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:43 PM   #6
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Grand Junction , Colorado
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If you mean a pilot light on the water heater at the burner, there is not one. The igniter lights the gas and it is electric. Like others have said, it seems screwed up and it may either be a bad gas valve or a bad circuit board, more likely the former. If there's no valve for the water heater, turn off the tanks and take it to the dealeer to get it fixed.


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