An Atwood RV water heater can have a plethora of problems. The age of the appliance, how extensively it is used and how well it is maintained will obviously influence the frequency and nature of problems you would have from time to time. This Atwood RV water heater troubleshooting guide discusses the common problems people face and how they can be resolved. By no means is this an exhaustive guide highlighting every possible issue that you could face. Despite being comprehensive, it is not possible for everyone to resolve the problems even if the recommended troubleshooting steps are adhered to stringently. It is best to call in a professional technician or plumber if you fail to remedy the problem.
1. Pilot Outage
One of the most common problems with Atwood RV water heater is a pilot outage. This can happen if you have a weak gas control magnet or if the thermocouple needs to be replaced. For poor pilot flame, you would need to replace the orifice. If it is not too old hen you can try cleaning the orifice and see how it goes. A blocked U-tube can also cause pilot outage. Clean the tube and get rid of any obstruction there is. You should check the gas pressure and ensure it is in accordance with the recommendation of the manufacturer, in this case, Atwood. Adjust the pressure. You should also check if the air adjustment is proper to ensure the correct alignment of the main burner. If not, then you should make the necessary adjustments to have the right alignment. A weak thermocouple will need to be replaced, all connections must be tightened and if the pilot outage exists when the knob or button is released without any other obvious problem then consider holding the knob or button longer than usual.
2. No Spark on the Electrodes
There are simple solutions for this. Clean the electrodes to ensure they aren’t dirty and clogged. Secure the electrodes so they aren’t loosely attached to the main burner. Reposition the electrode you think is having a problem if there isn’t a proper gap. Any loose wire connection on the circuit board must be secured. If any wire is loose inside and if the insulation has cracked then the electrode should be replaced. The problem may also occur due to a defective circuit board. Have it replaced.
3. Gas Burner Not Igniting
It is possible the gas valve is malfunctioning and is not allowing gas to flow in. There may be no voltage which will trigger the electric spark. You may have to replace the circuit board or the solenoid valve and you would need to check the E.C.O. Loose wires on the E.C.O. could be the problem. You must check the burner orifice and see if it is blocked. Clean it and if that doesn’t resolve the problem then you should replace it. You must ensure the U-tube doesn’t have any obstruction, that the gas control is properly calibrated or you should replace it, the flame spreader must be properly aligned, any defective valve, electrode or the circuit board should be replaced.
4. Insufficient Hot Water
The water suddenly turns cooler and gets heated up sporadically. The inconsistent temperature can be due to many reasons. You may have a partially blocked U-tube or burner. The burner orifice holder, burner or air shutter may require adjustment. The temperature selector may have gone kaput. The thermostat may be defective. The flame spreader may be positioned wrongly or the bypass lever may be misaligned. There can be an issue with the pressure and temperature relief valve. You can easily have it replaced.
5. Soot Buildup
Soot is not a very common problem but when it happens the scenario is concerning. Not because it is a grave threat but because it is not every day you have such an issue. You must check the exhaust grille, air shutter or the valve and also check burner alignment. Always keep every component impeccably aligned, calibrated and clean. Check the gas supply, ignition, insulation of the electrode, the thermostat, the ground wire of the gas valve and grounding in general. Any issue in any of these components will cause or facilitate sooting. You can easily clean the components, align them correctly, tighten loose components, ensure proper grounding and adequate gas supply. Regular maintenance should anyway address all these issues proactively.
There are many other problems you could face with an Atwood RV water heater. Always refer to the Atwood RV water heater troubleshooting guide or manual you have from the manufacturer. Always call in a plumber, electrician or technician specializing in water heater repair if you think the problem and the remedy is beyond your deftness.