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Old 07-04-2013, 07:05 AM   #1
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Water heater not working

Happy 4th everyone! My water heater suddenly stopped working in our 2009 classic. We travelled 2500 miles in the past 3 weeks. Noticed more soot than usual a few days ago on the outside cover. Pilot was out, lit it and it started working again (duh). Question is, I really am not sure what the correct wall switch position is, or even if the switch regulates the hot water tank. The switch is next to the bathroom vanity, has a lightning bolt and a flame next to two switches, each has an "I" and an "O" position. Not sure what the settings I and o mean or how they should be set. Thanks
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Old 07-04-2013, 07:39 AM   #2
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The lightning bolt switch is for the 120v side of the water heater.

The one next to the red light is for LPG, it should light momentarily until the flame is lit.

Adjusting flame... to get rid of the soot.


Bob
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Old 07-04-2013, 08:24 AM   #3
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Do you have your Airstream Manuals? Good place to start. "O" means off, "I" means ON. I had a 2006 where the when the water heater was turned ON, the switch would light up temporarily, then go out if the heater lighted successfully - the red light would remain ON if I ran out of propane or it couldn't maintain the flame. If you're blowing soot, your heater needs to be cleaned out and adjusted. I'm lazy and cautious, I pay to have that done. $50 bucks last time - normally good for year or two unless you get a bad tank of propane or the mud daubers build a nest in the heater.

Paula
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Old 07-04-2013, 09:38 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
... The one next to the red light is for LPG, it should light momentarily until the flame is lit. ...
The red light on my previous trailer also lit momentarily when the WH was switched on then went out. It doesn't do that on my present trailer, but does come on if the burner doesn't ignite for some reason. There is a small spider that seems to build small cotton ball like webs in the burner tube often blocking adequate air flow through the slotted vent or preventing the burner from lighting at all. In the event that the flue is blocked or for some other reason the flame burns outside of the flue, there is a failsafe thermal fuse on the front of the WH. There are 2 leads wrapped in a plastic tube (seen in pic). If that opens up, the gas part of the WH will be disabled.
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Old 07-04-2013, 10:16 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Silver Goose View Post
The red light on my previous trailer also lit momentarily when the WH was switched on then went out. It doesn't do that on my present trailer, but does come on if the burner doesn't ignite for some reason. There is a small spider that seems to build small cotton ball like webs in the burner tube often blocking adequate air flow through the slotted vent or preventing the burner from lighting at all. In the event that the flue is blocked or for some other reason the flame burns outside of the flue, there is a failsafe thermal fuse on the front of the WH. There are 2 leads wrapped in a plastic tube (seen in pic). If that opens up, the gas part of the WH will be disabled.
Not related to the OP's question but the spider's nest issue is one that we have suffered with regularly. Someone on here suggested putting one of those plastic flea collars for dogs in the access area, just close to the burn tube. We've been doing that this season and haven't yet been spidered so I'm hoping that the collar is doing the trick. The presence of the collar tends to mess with the overall air flow around the burner so we take it out prior to using the water heater.
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Old 07-04-2013, 10:45 AM   #6
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Thanks for all the advice. And no, I have no manuals. Still a bit uncertain if both switches need to be on all the time
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Old 07-04-2013, 11:16 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the advice. And no, I have no manuals. Still a bit uncertain if both switches need to be on all the time
Both on for quick warm up. Electricity paid at most campground. Propane costs you. If not "plugged in" as in boondocking propane is your heat source.

12volts is the control voltage from batteries for lighting and control on GAS. Electric is separate.
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Old 07-04-2013, 11:32 AM   #8
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You mention in your original post that "the pilot was out, lit it and it started working again (Duh)"

I can't imagine what you could have lit, as there is no pilot light in your water heater, it is all direct spark ignition. So, I am confused as to what you have been doing to get any hot water on your trip.

As mentioned by others, there are two switches, one for electric, one for propane. When plugged into power, you can use the electric one, or the gas one, or both together for more hot water, faster.

When not plugged into power, only the propane one will work, and when you activate the switch you should see a brief red light at the switch, and then hear the propane part activate, or go outside and see if it is working by standing near the water heater and listening and feeling for exhaust heat.
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Old 07-04-2013, 02:27 PM   #9
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... Someone on here suggested putting one of those plastic flea collars for dogs in the access area, just close to the burn tube. We've been doing that this season and haven't yet been spidered so I'm hoping that the collar is doing the trick. The presence of the collar tends to mess with the overall air flow around the burner so we take it out prior to using the water heater.
I've been using them for over 10 years and it has eliminated the spiders for me. I wrap it around the inlet pipe to the gas valve assy and it hasn't been an issue there, but remains effective.
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Old 07-04-2013, 02:33 PM   #10
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Both on for quick warm up. Electricity paid at most campground. Propane costs you. If not "plugged in" as in boondocking propane is your heat source.

12volts is the control voltage from batteries for lighting and control on GAS. Electric is separate.
I turn the electric on whenever plugged in where we have 110v and switch on the gas before taking a shower to insure the rinse is still warm enough. Unless you have a different model, if you have the electric/gas water heater, I also doubt you have a pilot light. The only ones I've seen of this flavor in recent years use an electronic ignition to fire the burner.
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Old 07-05-2013, 06:07 AM   #11
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Again, thanks for the help. The guy at the non- airstream dealer we bought ours at told us the switches were for the fridge. Didn't realize the water heater was gas / electric. I did light at what I thought looked like it could be a pilot after smelling gas and it did light but next time I looked it was out. Just had the switches off, all is well now
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Old 07-05-2013, 08:58 AM   #12
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Again, thanks for the help. The guy at the non- airstream dealer we bought ours at told us the switches were for the fridge.
Yikes, these are standard RV components, nothing specific to Airstream. Based on the year model you have, your fridge is most certainly gas/electric also. There is a panel on the fridge where you can adjust the temperature, probably an Off button, and a pair of buttons that say Gas and Auto. In Gas mode, it runs on LPG only. In Auto, it runs on 110V when you're plugged in and gas when you're not.
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Old 07-05-2013, 09:26 AM   #13
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Switches for the fridge in the B-room...that is interesting.

Bob
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Old 07-05-2013, 02:08 PM   #14
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I just went thru a no start or stay lit on gas. Removed burner tube, Checked heat exchanger for obstructions, none found. When it tried to start on gas it would stutter start 3 times then shut off.

I removed the orifice and found a tiny piece of debris blocking the flow. Removed, reinstalled and now runs great.

Gary
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