Question about my water heater

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jslocum

Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2005
Posts
11
This is probably going to sound like a dumb question, but after reading through my manuals, it isn't clear how my water heater works.  I'm new to RV'ing and this is the first time I am testing out my water heater.

I have an Atwood water heater in my new Pace Arrow.  It has an electronic ignition.  Near the sink there are two switches and a light.  One switch is for electric operation and the other for gas operation.  I turned on the gas switch, and it lit without a problem.  It also heated the water.  I assumed that what would happen is the water would get up to temperature, the light would go on to let me know, then the gas would turn off and on over time to keep the water warm.  I also assumed that I could use the electric switch to keep the water warm over time.  What happened was that the water got very very hot, but the burner never turned off.  I finally turned the burner off myself.

So, my questions...

1. Is the burner supposed to go on and off by itself, or am I supposed to turn it on/off?
2. What is the light for and when does it come on?  Mine never came on.
3. Is there usually a thermostat to control water temperature?  I couldn't find one.
4. Am I correct in assuming the electric will keep the water warm?  Will it also heat the water on its own?

Thanks in advance for any replies.
 

BernieD

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 1, 2005
Posts
5,877
Location
Goodyear, AZ
jslocum said:
So, my questions...

1. Is the burner supposed to go on and off by itself, or am I supposed to turn it on/off?
2. What is the light for and when does it come on?  Mine never came on.
3. Is there usually a thermostat to control water temperature?  I couldn't find one.
4. Am I correct in assuming the electric will keep the water warm?  Will it also heat the water on its own?

J

There are no dumb questions on this Forum other than those unasked.

You have 2 sources of heat to generate hot water; propane and electric. Either will heat the water to a regulated temperature and then maintain it at that temperature. Each system works independently of the other tho you can run them both simultaneously for faster heat up or recovery time. The choice is usually availabliltiy of power. If you are plugged in at a campground, use the electric. If you are at a campground where you are paying for electric separately off a meter, it may be a little cheaper to run the propane instead. If you are boondocking and have no power source, use the propane.

When you turn on the electric heat, the light comes on to remind you that the heater is on. Sometimes there is also a light for the gas heat, but not always. There is no user controllable thermostat. The heater has a preset temperature and that is what it tries to maintain. If the water gets excessively hot, the dealer can replace the built-in thermostat with one for a lower level.
 

Ron

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Joined
Jan 29, 2005
Posts
18,082
Location
Home is where we park it
1. Is the burner supposed to go on and off by itself, or am I supposed to turn it on/off?
2. What is the light for and when does it come on? ?Mine never came on.
3. Is there usually a thermostat to control water temperature? ?I couldn't find one.
4. Am I correct in assuming the electric will keep the water warm? ?Will it also heat the water on its own?

You do not have to turn it off. Both the electric and gas are each controlled by a fixed non- adjustable thermostat that are mounted on the water heater. ?The gas will shut off when the water reaches the proper temperature determined by the non adjustable thermostat. ?The electric will do the same. ?

The light comes on momentarily when you switch to on to heat water with LP gas. ?should the burner fail to light the light will illuminate. ?The light does nothing when using only the electric heater function. ?When at a campground where electric is included we leave the electric on to heat the water. ?We only use the gas heater when furnished electric is not available. ?Yes the electric will heat the water on its own when on.

 
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