Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 02-08-2016, 11:53 PM   #1
Rivet Master
 
Al and Missy's Avatar

 
2002 30' Classic S/O
Melbourne Beach , Florida
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 2,322
Atwood gas/electric low capacity

Just bought a 2002 trailer with the combination gas and electric water heater. It works on gas, sort of, but not on electric. I suspect electric element is bad

Before I invest much time in the electric side I have to solve a capacity problem. The unit lights normally and runs to shutoff. After shutoff there is only about a minute of good hot water at the bathroom sink, then it gets cold. The unit had been winterized. When I looked at the drain plug it was filled with sediment. My theory is that the heater is full of sediment and that has reduced the capacity. Does that sound reasonable?

I read the thread on here about flushing, but I wonder if the sediment is so bad as to reduce the capacity that much what is the likelihood that flushing will clean it out? Won't the sediment be hardened and difficult to get out? Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Al
__________________

__________________

"You cannot reason someone out of a position they have not been reasoned into"

Al, K5TAN and Missy, N4RGO
2002 Classic 30 Slideout
S/OS #004
2013 Dodge 2500 Laramie 4x4 Megacab Cummins
2001 Safari 25 RB Twin (Gone, but not forgotten)
WBCCI 1322, TAC FL-39, AIR 82265

Al and Missy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2016, 12:07 AM   #2
Figment of My Imagination
 
Protagonist's Avatar
 
2012 Interstate Coach
From All Over , More Than Anywhere Else
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 10,316
Sediment can reduce the tank capacity, but that much sediment would be unlikely in my opinion. Surely you or the previous owner would have noticed mud coming out the water heater drain when it was winterized if that was the case.

Another possibility is that you have an overly-large air bubble in the water heater's tank. I had that problem once, but was able to solve the problem quite simply. All I had to do is open the pressure relief valve at the top to bleed air— with the heater turned off to avoid being scalded— while the pump was running to allow more water to run in. I could only guess at how long to leave the relief valve open, so I hit on an easy way to measure: Fill the water heater until water ran out the open pressure relief valve, which means that the heater is brim full. Then shut off the pump, crack open the drain until about a quart of water runs out, then shut both the drain valve and the relief valve. That leaves you with a quart-sized air bubble in the top of the tank, to allow for expansion and contraction as the water is heated or cooled.
__________________

__________________
WBCCI #1105
TAC LA-4

My Google-Fu is strong today.
Protagonist is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2016, 08:15 AM   #3
Rivet Master
 
Al and Missy's Avatar

 
2002 30' Classic S/O
Melbourne Beach , Florida
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 2,322
Quote:
Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
Sediment can reduce the tank capacity, but that much sediment would be unlikely in my opinion. Surely you or the previous owner would have noticed mud coming out the water heater drain when it was winterized if that was the case.

Another possibility is that you have an overly-large air bubble in the water heater's tank. I had that problem once, but was able to solve the problem quite simply. All I had to do is open the pressure relief valve at the top to bleed airó with the heater turned off to avoid being scaldedó while the pump was running to allow more water to run in. I could only guess at how long to leave the relief valve open, so I hit on an easy way to measure: Fill the water heater until water ran out the open pressure relief valve, which means that the heater is brim full. Then shut off the pump, crack open the drain until about a quart of water runs out, then shut both the drain valve and the relief valve. That leaves you with a quart-sized air bubble in the top of the tank, to allow for expansion and contraction as the water is heated or cooled.
Thanks Protag,

I hadn't thought about that and I agree the air bubble is a more likely candidate, but wouldn't bleeding the air through the hot water output line leave a bubble of the correct size or one too small? How would a too large bubble survive? Always when I transition from "shore water" to tank water or back I bleed the air from the hot water lines before turning on the heater.

Al
__________________

"You cannot reason someone out of a position they have not been reasoned into"

Al, K5TAN and Missy, N4RGO
2002 Classic 30 Slideout
S/OS #004
2013 Dodge 2500 Laramie 4x4 Megacab Cummins
2001 Safari 25 RB Twin (Gone, but not forgotten)
WBCCI 1322, TAC FL-39, AIR 82265

Al and Missy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2016, 08:57 AM   #4
Rivet Master
 
1988 25' Excella
1987 32' Excella
Knoxville , Tennessee
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,164
Blog Entries: 1
Sounds like it is time to replace it. Not a real hard job and you can get them fairly inexpensively on the internet. My 6 gallon unit has adequate capacity for several showers and recovers fast. I do not go along with the bubble theory because the hot water should come out near the top of the tank. I put in the gas-electric but seldom run it on electric. If I was doing it again I would save the $100 difference and just go with the gas. We have on trailer that sits on a permanent lot but we still use the gas because it is cheaper than the electricity.
__________________
Bill M. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2016, 09:05 AM   #5
Rivet Master
 
Al and Missy's Avatar

 
2002 30' Classic S/O
Melbourne Beach , Florida
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 2,322
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill M. View Post
Sounds like it is time to replace it. Not a real hard job and you can get them fairly inexpensively on the internet. My 6 gallon unit has adequate capacity for several showers and recovers fast. I do not go along with the bubble theory because the hot water should come out near the top of the tank. I put in the gas-electric but seldom run it on electric. If I was doing it again I would save the $100 difference and just go with the gas. We have on trailer that sits on a permanent lot but we still use the gas because it is cheaper than the electricity.
That's the way the 6 gal. was on my Safari. The amount of hot water that is generated with this trailer is so small that there is a minute or so of good, really hot water at the lavatory which is directly over the heater, enough at the shower across the hall to take a quick shower but the temperature goes up and down, and only warm water at the kitchen sink. I'm going to do a quick check of tank capacity and see if any kind of flushing helps and then replace it, I think.

Al
__________________

"You cannot reason someone out of a position they have not been reasoned into"

Al, K5TAN and Missy, N4RGO
2002 Classic 30 Slideout
S/OS #004
2013 Dodge 2500 Laramie 4x4 Megacab Cummins
2001 Safari 25 RB Twin (Gone, but not forgotten)
WBCCI 1322, TAC FL-39, AIR 82265

Al and Missy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2016, 09:07 AM   #6
Rivet Master
 
Al and Missy's Avatar

 
2002 30' Classic S/O
Melbourne Beach , Florida
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 2,322
Shutoff valves - What was Airstream thinking?

The shutoff valves are on the side of the heater between the heater and the cabinet wall. I can't reach them, my hands are too large. I had to get my wife to reach up in there and turn them on. I'm glad they moved easily.

Al
__________________

"You cannot reason someone out of a position they have not been reasoned into"

Al, K5TAN and Missy, N4RGO
2002 Classic 30 Slideout
S/OS #004
2013 Dodge 2500 Laramie 4x4 Megacab Cummins
2001 Safari 25 RB Twin (Gone, but not forgotten)
WBCCI 1322, TAC FL-39, AIR 82265

Al and Missy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2016, 09:37 AM   #7
Rivet Master
 
dznf0g's Avatar

 
2007 30' Classic
Oswego , Illinois
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 9,408
Images: 5
To answer the question of removing calcified or lime deposits, remove the drain plug and install an appropriate threaded fitting with hose attached to it. Close the shutoff valves to the house plumbing, use a funnel while holding the end above the tank, open the pressure relief valve and pour in a couple gallons of straight vinegar, tie the hose end up on something and let it soak for a day or two. Drain and get a flusher wand from Camco and flush it out with fresh water , accessing through the drain port. Repeat as necessary. I do this every year or two to prevent mineral buildup.

Here is a pic of the hose I made up for this service:

Click image for larger version

Name:	h2o hose1.jpg
Views:	66
Size:	427.1 KB
ID:	257069

Click image for larger version

Name:	h2o hose2.jpg
Views:	60
Size:	360.0 KB
ID:	257070
__________________
-Rich-

"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." - Red Green
dznf0g is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2016, 09:47 AM   #8
Rivet Master
 
dznf0g's Avatar

 
2007 30' Classic
Oswego , Illinois
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 9,408
Images: 5
Here's the flusher wand I was referencing:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/29764286?w...516272&veh=sem
__________________
-Rich-

"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." - Red Green
dznf0g is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2016, 12:27 PM   #9
Wise Elder
 
Jammer's Avatar
 
2010 30' Classic
Vintage Kin Owner
South of the river , Minnesota
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 4,119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Al and Missy View Post
Just bought a 2002 trailer with the combination gas and electric water heater. It works on gas, sort of, but not on electric. I suspect electric element is bad
This is common. In my classic the electric element is readily accessible from below the lav sink. I believe the slideout is similar in this regard. It's an easy repair as long as you have a wrench and socket that's up to the task. The elements sometimes stick, sometimes don't. I have a 3/4" drive socket set that has the right size socket, which works great. The cheap hardware store tools they sell next to the electric elements are less effective but will work if it isn't too badly stuck.

Quote:
Before I invest much time in the electric side I have to solve a capacity problem. The unit lights normally and runs to shutoff. After shutoff there is only about a minute of good hot water at the bathroom sink, then it gets cold. The unit had been winterized.
Your unit is equipped with a winterizing bypass valve that connects the hot and cold water lines together to allow antifreeze to be pumped through without filling the water heater tank.

The problem you describe can be caused by leaving the bypass open, a common mistake. Be sure it is shut. It is between the hot and cold shutoff valves.
__________________
To learn to see below the surface, you must adjust your altitude
Jammer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2016, 01:20 PM   #10
Rivet Master
 
Al and Missy's Avatar

 
2002 30' Classic S/O
Melbourne Beach , Florida
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 2,322
It turns out the problem with the AC side was the over-temperature shutoff which has a manual reset. It is now working on AC. I'm going to try to diagnose the propane side next.

The volume is not restricted, and it does not seem to be calcified, but I will have to try the vinegar bath to be sure.

The bypass valve is closed and the shutoff valves are open.

Al
__________________

"You cannot reason someone out of a position they have not been reasoned into"

Al, K5TAN and Missy, N4RGO
2002 Classic 30 Slideout
S/OS #004
2013 Dodge 2500 Laramie 4x4 Megacab Cummins
2001 Safari 25 RB Twin (Gone, but not forgotten)
WBCCI 1322, TAC FL-39, AIR 82265

Al and Missy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2016, 01:44 PM   #11
Wise Elder
 
Jammer's Avatar
 
2010 30' Classic
Vintage Kin Owner
South of the river , Minnesota
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 4,119
::shrug:: There may be something wrong with the bypass valve. Might be something to double check. Maybe it's not closed quite all the way. Just sayin'.

If you're concerned about calcium buildup, take a look around inside the tank. A small flashlight, a section of rope light, or a cyalume stick will fit through the drain plug opening, then look around with an inspection mirror.

I believe the thermostat on these is a contact type that is held against the wall of the water heater by a clip. Might want to be sure it's held securely. (Mine doesn't have a resettable limit switch so I'm not quite sure what other differences there may be)
__________________
To learn to see below the surface, you must adjust your altitude
Jammer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2016, 01:53 PM   #12
Rivet Master
 
Al and Missy's Avatar

 
2002 30' Classic S/O
Melbourne Beach , Florida
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 2,322
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
::shrug:: There may be something wrong with the bypass valve. Might be something to double check. Maybe it's not closed quite all the way. Just sayin'.

If you're concerned about calcium buildup, take a look around inside the tank. A small flashlight, a section of rope light, or a cyalume stick will fit through the drain plug opening, then look around with an inspection mirror.

I believe the thermostat on these is a contact type that is held against the wall of the water heater by a clip. Might want to be sure it's held securely. (Mine doesn't have a resettable limit switch so I'm not quite sure what other differences there may be)
Good point about the valve. I didn't try to turn it, just looked at it.

I'll pull the over pressure valve and look in there while shining a light in the drain plug.

Al
__________________

"You cannot reason someone out of a position they have not been reasoned into"

Al, K5TAN and Missy, N4RGO
2002 Classic 30 Slideout
S/OS #004
2013 Dodge 2500 Laramie 4x4 Megacab Cummins
2001 Safari 25 RB Twin (Gone, but not forgotten)
WBCCI 1322, TAC FL-39, AIR 82265

Al and Missy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2016, 03:43 PM   #13
4 Rivet Member

 
2003 31' Classic
Terra Alta , West Virginia
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 266
AL
Please report back on progress.
Dave
__________________
wvstreamer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2016, 07:54 PM   #14
Rivet Master
 
Al and Missy's Avatar

 
2002 30' Classic S/O
Melbourne Beach , Florida
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 2,322
OK, here's the status....
The AC and propane sides now both work in an equivalent manner. After an hour or so on electric or after the propane has run and shut off, the initial water from the faucets is very hot - probably a good 160 degrees, but it doesn't last. After 10 or 15 seconds it gets to just feeling warm and then will stay that way for several minutes, probably 6 gallons or so. I disassembled the galley faucet and made sure that the mix valve wasn't clogged or improperly assembled.

Apparently the water is remaining stratified in the heater tank. The top is very hot, but there is no circulation in the tank and as soon as the top layer of water is gone, it is only warm.

The thermostats that control the temperature of both the electric and propane heating systems are in about the same place, i.e. the center of the horizontal cylinder which is the tank, electric on the inside wall and propane on the outside wall. It is hard to imagine that both the electric and propane thermostats are bad. I did confirm that the thermostat and not the emergency cutoff is what turned off the propane heating. I would just replace the heater if I could rationalize why it is doing what it is.

Al
__________________

__________________

"You cannot reason someone out of a position they have not been reasoned into"

Al, K5TAN and Missy, N4RGO
2002 Classic 30 Slideout
S/OS #004
2013 Dodge 2500 Laramie 4x4 Megacab Cummins
2001 Safari 25 RB Twin (Gone, but not forgotten)
WBCCI 1322, TAC FL-39, AIR 82265

Al and Missy is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Atwood Gas/Electric Water Heater Melted Wires NOAZRK2690 General Repair Forum 1 10-14-2015 08:08 PM
Atwood LP/Electric Water Heater Problems (Electric Has Failed) gquake Water Heaters, Filters & Pumps 10 06-29-2014 04:02 PM
What fitting for GAS on Atwood gas/elec WH rlindberg Water Heaters, Filters & Pumps 1 04-10-2010 12:29 AM
Switch for Atwood Gas/Electric Water Heater tr674 Water Heaters, Filters & Pumps 8 07-20-2008 11:33 PM
Electric or Gas electric fridge replacement?? tin can luv Refrigerators 26 03-22-2004 10:50 AM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:17 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.