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Old 07-03-2015, 10:14 AM   #1
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2015 25' Flying Cloud
Lafayette , Louisiana
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Hot Water Heater not Working

Hello Airstreamers, I'm a 1st time RVer, have a new 2015, Flying Cloud 25. I used it for a 14-day trip to WI & back & everything worked perfect. It sat stored for 5 weeks & I just took it to Indiana for a 5-day trip. This time, neither switch for the water heater indicated the unit was working; and no hot water at all. I did drain my fresh water tank when stored, but I did not drain the hot water heater tank. I am digging in the Atwood manual now and reading about the latter, as a maintenance procedure. My first instinct is to assume that I left the hot water heater on when stored ... seems this would burn out the heating element. I need to use it again this coming Friday & Saturday ... all service shops are closed or booked around here. Anyone have any ideas? There is a metal cylindrical type thing in the hot water heater area - it can't be the h.w. tank, it's capacity is far less than 6 or 10 gal - but it feels VERY warm-to-almost hot, to the touch. I have no idea what's going on! Any ideas would be sincerely appreciated. Thank you.
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Old 07-03-2015, 11:23 AM   #2
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I am no expert but that cylindrical thing is not your hot water heater. If your AS is set up like mine that has to with the refrig.

Your hot water heater should be located under the hanging closet with the drawers underneath it and a small storage area at the bottom. Open that storage area and there is a removal wall that clicks into place. If u slide out the bottom draw u should see your hot water heater. Make sure those small faucets are in the on position to make sure water can flow into the tank. May not be necessary however I would also drain the hot water heater as this will let u know if there is water in it.

I am sure others will offer further assistance
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Old 07-03-2015, 12:49 PM   #3
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Can't help from afar without more info BUTů..

If you try draining the water heater tanků.MAKE SURE TO UNPRESSURIZE IT FIRST, by turning off the water pump and opening a hot water valve on the sink or shower.

Don't ask how I know
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Old 07-03-2015, 01:32 PM   #4
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Thank you, urnmor! I was looking in the wrong place. Hope everyone forgives my neophyte ignorance. I can easily feel like I am asking a stupid question, but I appreciate all who tolerate this portion of my learning curve! And thank you, mandolindave, I did read that in the owner's manual, but there is so much small print & warnings there, I could see myself missing that important step! You stressing that point, will help me remember!
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Old 07-03-2015, 01:43 PM   #5
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2015 25' Flying Cloud
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Atwood XT Water Heater

Wanted to mention something I found while continuing to research this issue. I found a post from a group member from 2012 who mentions the Atwood XT water heater (model in mine) as having a really bad design flaw, for lack of a better way to put it. Posted by lewster back in March 2012, when describing getting calls from customers that their water heater stopped working. He wrote "The cause is the mixing valve which clogs with sediment and minerals from the incoming water, blocking the hot water from the tank from entering the mixing valve, and ultimately your faucet".

Does anyone know if this is still an issue 3 years later, or have had a similar issue with their Atwood XT? And although an interesting point to be aware of . . . I would be shocked if this was the problem in my case, with only 14 days of use on the unit and it being only 3 months old?

Does anyone know how the heating element can be tested? When I hit either switch, Gas or Electric, to turn my unit on; I get nothing in the LED light; no light at all indicating ignition.
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Old 07-04-2015, 02:25 PM   #6
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Just being facetious, but only because it is a pet peeve - there is no such thing on an Airstream (or anywhere else for that matter) as a "hot water heater!" There is no need to heat hot water!����
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Old 07-04-2015, 04:59 PM   #7
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In my 2011 the red light in between the switches is only an indicator of a problem. In normal operation it does not light up. Do you get water out of the faucet when you turn the handle to hot water?
If you have the gas switch on you will hear the water heater as it burns gas to heat water.
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Old 07-04-2015, 05:07 PM   #8
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1 Turn your Airstream from storage to use (button typically next to door)
2 make sure You have propane
3 make sure propane bottle is on
4 turn on gas igniter switch for hot water (mines in the bathroom)
5 walk out side open hot water heater door look for flame)
6 flame "Yeah"
7 No flame bummer
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Old 07-04-2015, 05:27 PM   #9
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Check all the electrical connections on the water heater. See if they are loose or disconnected or dirty. Regardless, clean them with a solvent such as WD40, and then reattach them, one by one. Don't take them all off at once, you'll surely reconnect them to the wrong places.

The red light in the bathroom will flash on and off when you turn on the switch, and then if all is well and it is set on gas, you will hear the flame. Once it goes on, the light goes out. I think it tries to light the gas three times, thus flashing three times before it goes out.

Check the fuses to see if any that control the water heater are bad. The fuses are hard to read sometimes when the element is broken, so change them with a good fuse to make sure.

Our water heater is located on the street side next to the utility door if you have a queen bed. Also check for obstructions in the exhaust. It is hard to see in there, so use a good flashlight. Wasps like propane appliances, apparently because of the smell of the odorant (mercaptin) used in propane. They can block the exhaust pipe.

Also check the circuit board for cracks or other broken electrical connections. And it is possible some little critter, like a bug or wasp got electrocuted on the board and shorted it.

We don't have the dual fuel heater, so I don't know about the switch to change from gas to electric, but remove the plate and see if there are any bad electrical connections or there's a stuck relay in there.

As a last resort, PM lewster and ask him.

Gene
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Old 07-05-2015, 01:08 PM   #10
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WOW! Thank you, Gene!! You've given me a really nice set of instructions to follow. I've been reading/researching more over the holiday weekend, and your advice echos everything I've read. Thanks, very much, for this concise plan!
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Old 07-05-2015, 02:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelSTR View Post
WOW! Thank you, Gene!! You've given me a really nice set of instructions to follow. I've been reading/researching more over the holiday weekend, and your advice echos everything I've read. Thanks, very much, for this concise plan!
Michael, another thing about these water heaters. Spiders love (LOVE) to build nests in the burner orifice area. I take a small wire tie and poke it through that area before I ever turn the WH on. I learned the hard way after burning some wiring when I repeatedly tried to start it.

For that wisdom, please send 20 pounds of crawfish, and some Zataran's.
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Old 07-06-2015, 11:16 AM   #12
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Michael, another thing about these water heaters. Spiders love (LOVE) to build nests in the burner orifice area. I take a small wire tie and poke it through that area before I ever turn the WH on. I learned the hard way after burning some wiring when I repeatedly tried to start it.

For that wisdom, please send 20 pounds of crawfish, and some Zataran's.
Thank you, Drathaar! In my covered (but outdoor) storage, our recent heavy rains have left a 1-2" "pond" (as my luck would have it), right at the location of the water heater!). So, I will have to pull it forward to work on it. After learning from a member here that I was initially looking at the refer access panel (thinking it was the WH), I reached far over the puddle at the back of my unit, not getting my feet wet, to open the panel, and there were some spider webs, right there, in plain view! Will be looking at it later today ... I hope I won't be learning the hard way!!! I did try to light it multiple times at first on a recent trip to IN & back.

And OH!! Crawfish, Zataran's ... sounds like someone has been down here before, sampling the GOODS!!! Thanks, again for the input!!
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Old 07-11-2015, 04:11 PM   #13
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Michael, you live in La. which has many torrential downpours and you don't have boots that can make 1 or 2" of water meaningless? Or just take your shoes off and be well grounded, or stand on some scrap wood (and fall over and get a mud bath, good for the skin).

Or, go retro and put a wood stove in the trailer. You can heat water on the stove. Most of us with wood stoves, balance them with our anvil collections. If you do that, you might consider upgrades on the tires.

I'd rather have a jet plane with 5 years worth of fuel and a pilot—sort of like Air Force One (Airstream, Air Force) with a cargo bay for our trailer. You can send Drathaar (sounds suspiciously like Darth Vader, hmmm) the crawfish and Zatarans.

Gene
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