Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 05-25-2015, 11:04 AM   #1
New Member
2008 20' Safari SE
Tracy , California
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 4
How do we fix a smoking water heater?

We've repaired our water heater twice. it works but we have to keep the access door slightly cracked and it keeps emitting soot all up the side of the trailer.

I think we need to adjust the air intake does anyone know how to do this or have recommendations?

rustybuster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2015, 11:12 AM   #2
jcanavera's Avatar

2004 30' Classic Slideout
Fenton , Missouri
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 9,022
Images: 143
Send a message via AIM to jcanavera Send a message via Skype™ to jcanavera
Where I have seen this it has always an indicator of an improper gas/air mixture. You most likely have some spider webs in the tube that leads to the burner. If it is an adjustment issue, you have a rotating sleeve on the end of the tube closest to the outside door. It can be adjusted to allow more air to get into the tube. If it's not the spider web, adjust this sleeve to allow more air to get into the tube. Flame should burn blue. Yours probably is burning with a lot of yellow.


Jack Canavera
AIR #56
'04 Classic 30' S.O.,'03 GMC Savana 2500,'14 Honda CTX 700
jcanavera is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2015, 11:51 AM   #3
Rivet Master
1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,591
As Jack said, first clean the actual burner tube from the gas jet forward to the end with the flame spreader on it. Second clean the main large burner inlet which is built into the tank. It is the large U shaped tube that the burner fires into.

If those two steps don't fix the problem, adjust the burner gas/air ratio by loosening the very small screw and sliding the tube back and forth until you get a nice soft blue flame with virtually no yellow. Neither a hard roaring blue flame or a soft yellow flame are what you want. Quite, and soft blue.
idroba is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2015, 11:53 AM   #4
Rivet Master
AWCHIEF's Avatar
2006 23' Safari SE
Biloxi , Mississippi
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 8,283
Images: 33
Lots of excellent info here,

Do you know what a learning experience is? A learning experience is one of those things that says "You know that thing that you just did? Don't do that."
AWCHIEF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2015, 08:08 PM   #5
Rivet Master
1998 30' Excella 1000
Livingston , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 546
Also, make sure the tube, that is downstream of the brass orifice, is perfectly aligned with it. Just a little misalignment can cause incomplete combustion and soot up the side of the rig.
Siegmann is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2015, 08:39 PM   #6
Regular Guy
NavyCorpsman's Avatar
1978 31' Sovereign
Hot Springs , Arkansas
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 572
All the above plus I have found mud wasp nests in my coach access panels in the past.
NavyCorpsman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-2015, 10:21 PM   #7
Rivet Master
Foiled Again's Avatar
2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Vintage Kin Owner
Virginia Beach , Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 6,074
Some propane also burns dirty and you get soot build up in the chimney - just like a wood burning furnace in your home.

It can be cleaned out with a dryer lint brush or something stiff and long (whoa!) like that. Last blast air from the narrow part of the exhaust outward.

Have the Airstream far far away from anything you'd hate to see covered in black greasy soot when you do the air blast part. You'll get a cup or two of grungy soot.

Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
Foiled Again is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2015, 11:16 AM   #8
Rivet Master
Larry C's Avatar
1996 34' Excella
Elberta , Alabama
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 763
Mud daubers are one of the worst cuprits....there is a wire brush made that is the diameter of the heat exchanger that the burner fires into...remove the burner, run the brush through it, then rinse it with water....after that reinstall the burner, check your air/fuel mixture until you get a flame with a blue tip. You should be fine.
After that, get the stainless steel screens that are made to fit the airvent/cover of the water heater.
You might also get the stainless steel screen that fits over your furnace vents. It'll save you problems..
For whatever it's worth,
Old age is coming at a really bad time!

1996 34' Excella 1000, interior totally redone, 2003 Dodge/Cummins HO, U.S. Gear exhaust brake, Diablo tuner, 115 gallon aux fuel, Bedslide, Airsafe/Reese Dual Cam, and a bunch of other stuff
Larry C is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2015, 05:44 PM   #9
New Member
2008 20' Safari SE
Tracy , California
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 4
Thank you all very much for your recommendations! I'm going to give them a try this weekend when we take it out to the coast! Very grateful for you all taking the time to reply!

rustybuster is offline   Reply With Quote

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
I quit Smoking RichardT Off Topic Forum 404 01-27-2015 09:54 PM
Smoking water heater in electric mode jasperkins Water Heaters, Filters & Pumps 6 10-22-2014 09:31 AM
No Smoking at AIR Forums CanoeStream Fun & Games 31 04-02-2008 10:31 PM
Diesel Smoking JodynJeep Tow Vehicles 6 10-15-2003 02:24 PM
Honda 2000 smoking on start up Raptorrider2001 Our Community 3 04-05-2003 01:17 PM

Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:11 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

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