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Old 09-11-2011, 09:41 PM   #1
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Some kind of short out... help?

So... I'm new to my 2006 22' International... have found quite a few 'surprises' in the last couple days of exploring...

Opened up the water heater door to check it over before I tried to make hot water... the second brown wire called 'T-STAT' has a little add-on wire with some doo-dad inside. It looks like this wire bent over and contacted the metal of the exhaust... either the heat burnt it, or it shorted and burnt, or both...

Should I even try light this? What is that little add-on, and is it available as a separate piece?

It's hard for me to tinker, as we're getting below freezing at night and I don't want to blow anything up...
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Old 09-11-2011, 10:03 PM   #2
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Should I even try light this? What is that little add-on, and is it available as a separate piece?
Hard to tell from the picture but I think maybe the little add-on doodad is a thermal fuse, put there to open the thermostat line and shut off the gas valve in case there is a fire in the water heater compartment. It looks like the outside end may have made contact with either the burner or the compartment door and shorted out to ground.

If I were you, with the compartment door open, and a helper inside the trailer to turn on the water heater while you watch what happens at the water heater, I would turn on the water heater and see what happens. The igniter should spark and the gas burner should eventually light. (It may take a minute or two if the gas has been shut off at the tanks for a while.)

If the water heater works OK you can wrap some electrical tape around the burned insulation and maybe tie-wrap the doodad to nearby wires to keep it from shorting out again.

If anything goes wrong--like fire where its not supposed to be--shut off the switch and shut off the gas at the tanks.

If nothing happens, check the electrical continuity through the thermal fuse. If it's open, you need a new one.

Plan B is to take it your friendly local RV fixer.

Hope this helps.
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Old 09-11-2011, 11:01 PM   #3
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Yes, a thermal fuse. Critters or spiders have been known to nest in the burner tube, forcing the flame back into the main compartment. This fuse safely shuts down the gas if the main compartment becomes overheated. It is hard to say what has happened to yours, but you can safely test it out by trying the water heater. It will either work, or not.

I am sure the thermal fuse link is available or can be ordered at your local RV dealer, if the burner does not light.
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Old 09-12-2011, 12:21 AM   #4
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It was actually bent way over to the left, contacting the exhaust (I guess that's what it is)... there is some smoke marks on the metal.

If it's a nice day tomorrow, I'll put some water in it and see what happens. I guess all I do is flip the switch?
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Old 09-12-2011, 01:00 AM   #5
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If it's a nice day tomorrow, I'll put some water in it and see what happens. I guess all I do is flip the switch?
Basically, yes.

Make sure there is water in the system either from the tank or outside water hookup, and let a hot water faucet run a few minutes to make sure the tank is full. Oh--and make sure the water is in fact flowing through the water heater--that is, bypass valves are not set to bypass the heater (as commonly done when putting winter antifreeze in the system).

If you haven't used any of the gas appliances I would suggest turning on the gas at the tanks and getting a stove burner lit, which in our trailer takes a couple of minutes when the gas is first turned on. With gas in the lines the water heater should light in a few seconds. If it doesn't light, the igniter should keep sparking until it does.

Good luck--hope everything is OK.
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Old 09-12-2011, 05:30 AM   #6
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It's hard for me to tinker, as we're getting below freezing at night and I don't want to blow anything up...
since it is going below freezing be careful that the water doesn't freeze in the tank/lines.
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Old 09-12-2011, 07:56 AM   #7
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If you are just checking the operation there is no need to fill the tank.

Just make sure the burner lights and then shut it down. Should take less than a minuet or two.
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Old 09-12-2011, 06:49 PM   #8
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Mystery solved... with extra FIRE to boot.

The thermal fuse was dead... so I just hooked it up directly... fired it up, and tick-tick-tick... WOOF! and voila! there is fire!

It seemed like a really 'lazy' flame, actually orange flame was coming OUT the exhaust! Then! The venturi tube burst into flames! I was able to blow it out, but it came back in the form of a small fireball.

So... turned it off... and figured there must be a leak... sprayed it down with soapy water and tried again... same thing...

Broke out the air compressor and blew out as much as I could without taking it apart... tried again... and VOILA! A nice blue flame like a jet afterburner.

Obviously the tube was plugged just enough to let gas back out the venturi vent, which eventually ignited from the burner... which burnt the thermo-fuse, which shut it off. Luckily, I will have NO SUCH PROBLEMS now that I have removed the pesky thermo-fuse.

Just kidding... it's unhooked now that I know the furnace itself works... and I'll find that fuse somewhere I'm sure...
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Old 09-12-2011, 07:05 PM   #9
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I have seen many a knob melted and burned on the pilot light units that had something in the burner tube. They had no thermal fuse possibility. The fuse is a great addition to the DSI units made today, eh?

Warning to all: once in a while, look at your water heater flame to see what it looks like. It should be blue, and a bit "soft". Blue and too "hard" needs less air, yellow, orange, and lazy needs cleaning. NOW.
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Old 09-13-2011, 09:16 PM   #10
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Seems like a rip-off, but got a 'kit' with two of these and some wire at the local RV store for $22. But, they did have it right there on the shelf... so I guess that is always worth something.
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Old 09-13-2011, 10:44 PM   #11
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Seems like a rip-off, but got a 'kit' with two of these and some wire at the local RV store for $22. But, they did have it right there on the shelf... so I guess that is always worth something.
Hi, that is a pretty decent price for the two pack. Some places take the package apart and charge $16.00 to $18.00 for one. Keep the fuse in a bent position so it keeps your brown wire away from the flame. I always keep a few spares in my trailer now. The last ones that I bought were from E-bay, for about $18.00, no tax, and no shipping. Also you can spare the fuse by having the water heater door in the open position when you light it up for the first time after storage. A lot of times the first light up will burn out the spiders and webs and you won't have to blow out the burner tube.
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Old 09-13-2011, 10:51 PM   #12
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Spiders love the gas, for some reason. I saw a huge one come out of my WH the first light-up of the season.

Took me a while to understand that he had left behind an intense web which interfered with keeping the pilot lit.

Now, first thing every summer is going to be BLOW OUT the cobwebs with compressed air!
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Old 09-13-2011, 11:40 PM   #13
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My BBQ has a little wire mesh screen around the vents... I wonder if this wouldn't be some help on the water heater?
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:49 PM   #14
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Where the spiders nested on my WH is inside the large tube which is the combustion chamber. I have heard of them nesting in the smaller, slotted tube (can't remember what it's called) where you adjust the airflow to get a good flame.

When I blew compressed air through them both, the only appreciable discharge of material came out of the larger combustion tube. I blew it one way and got a nice grey circle on my t-shirt, then blew through from the other end, and got a lighter one.

No discharge was apparent when I removed and blew out the smaller slotted tube.

Personally, I would not screen over the large combustion tube; it seems to have a considerable amount of airflow and I would not want to impede it in any way.

I think it's just important for us to be aware that spiders like LP gas, and that we need to clean the passageways regularly. Once a year would seem to do it, from my experience this year.

Your mileage may vary, as the saying goes. Maybe you don't get spiders like we do up here.
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