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Old 09-23-2013, 08:14 PM   #1
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Water Heater NOT working on LP/Electric!

I recently bought a 2008 Jayco JFlight with electric/propane water heater. The propane water heater does not work. I just moved it to a park and hooked up the electric to it. The water heater does not work on electric also. Any thoughts, I did notice that there was lots of rust behind the door of the water heater. Not sure what a less than 5 year old w heater would go out in it.
Talked to a tech guy who said if he ends up replacing a few parts, plus his labor that it would cost me over $350. It would be easier to replace the whole unit for $500. Any thoughts on what to do.
My wife wants me to plumb in a 10-20 gallon hot water heater so she can have lots of hot water. I seen one at home depot 20 gallons for $288. How hard is it to add this on the outside and plumb it into the existing w heater?
Thanks
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Old 09-23-2013, 09:22 PM   #2
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Have you checked the by-pass? Is the water actually making it to the heater? Have you checked to if the propane tries to light? Does anything happen when you switch on the LP switch?
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Old 09-24-2013, 08:03 AM   #3
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Here's a few things to check.
1. Bypass as mentioned above. See if water is coming out of the blow off valve when connected to city water.
2. Reset the breakers on the unit itself. If equipped.
3. Master switch on the unit if equipped.
4. Pull the plug, drain and flush it. If the anode (if equipped) is eaten up or all white replace it with a new one.

Your unit may still be in winterization mode if it stored for a long period of time and is the first trip since a winter hold over. Just because the hot water side of the faucet works doesn't mean that the water is flowing through the tank. The bypass will route the water to the faucets and past the tank making people think the water heater is not working. This is a common mistake made by most when going into spring and leads to many a burned out electric element. You should always confirm that there is water in the tank by pulling the blow off valve to confirm. Most of the time the propane will not hurt the tank unless you warped it from excessive heat.

I think if you check the by pass and it is the culprit use the propane to heat the water and replace the electric element when you have the time. I am sure there is a you tube video explaining it somewhere. Also if you want to increase your recovery and volume run electric and LP together to keep up with high demand. Works like a larger tank FYI.

Good luck and welcome.
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3'senough View Post
Here's a few things to check.
1. Bypass as mentioned above. See if water is coming out of the blow off valve when connected to city water.
2. Reset the breakers on the unit itself. If equipped.
3. Master switch on the unit if equipped.
4. Pull the plug, drain and flush it. If the anode (if equipped) is eaten up or all white replace it with a new one.

Your unit may still be in winterization mode if it stored for a long period of time and is the first trip since a winter hold over. Just because the hot water side of the faucet works doesn't mean that the water is flowing through the tank. The bypass will route the water to the faucets and past the tank making people think the water heater is not working. This is a common mistake made by most when going into spring and leads to many a burned out electric element. You should always confirm that there is water in the tank by pulling the blow off valve to confirm. Most of the time the propane will not hurt the tank unless you warped it from excessive heat.

I think if you check the by pass and it is the culprit use the propane to heat the water and replace the electric element when you have the time. I am sure there is a you tube video explaining it somewhere. Also if you want to increase your recovery and volume run electric and LP together to keep up with high demand. Works like a larger tank FYI.

Good luck and welcome.
Good news, I watched some videos and started at the wiring and the fuse I believe with a small brown thing on the wire had no power to it. I removed it and it works gas wise, not sure yet on the electric, but I do hear some noise when the electric switch is on. What do you call that wire with the brown thing on it, and where can i buy another one. I would like to replace the thermostats (2), I would like it hotter than it is and also the sticky paper is all dried up that covers them. Where can i buy the ECO and thermostat sensors? It is a Atwood water heater.
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:12 PM   #5
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Amazon has everything you need, thermostats, igniters, motherboards, heating elements, etc.
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Old 09-26-2013, 10:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bludrgn2 View Post
...My wife wants me to plumb in a 10-20 gallon hot water heater so she can have lots of hot water. I seen one at home depot 20 gallons for $288. How hard is it to add this on the outside and plumb it into the existing w heater?
Thanks
If you do have to replace your current unit and it's an Atwood, they make a 10 gallon version for RVs. It might require less "engineering" to replace it with that rather than a residential unit.

Besides getting it to fit, I see some potential disadvantages with a residential unit.
  • You will find them in gas or electric versions, but not both gas/electric.
  • An electric version may require more power, limiting what electrical appliances you can run concurrently when the heating element is on.
  • Gas choices will be limited to units that run on propane.
  • On gas units, the exhaust vent, and on both gas & electric, the pressure relief and the drain valve could require additional "engineering".
  • Placement will be critical to permit proper access to all serviceable components.
  • If you install a much larger tank, You might introduce stability (sway) problems traveling with a full tank. Water weighs about 8.35 pounds/gallon so if you install a tank that's even ten gallons larger than your current tank's capacity, that's 83.5 more pounds. If the tank is located behind your axle, it's going to reduce your tongue weight by an amount that I'm unable to calculate as there are too many unknowns.

Just some thoughts I had in case you haven't considered these already.
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Old 09-26-2013, 11:47 AM   #7
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I would strongly recommend against a residential water heater. In addition to the reasons above, residential water heaters are not designed to withstand the constant vibration and shock that RVs must endure. It will also be very difficult to adequately mount a residential water heater inside an RV. Residential propane water heaters are not designed to draw their combustion air from outside the coach which is a violation of code and an unsafe condition that can cause oxygen depletion inside the RV. All but the smallest residential water heaters rely on 240V 30 or 50 AMP power which is not available in a standard RV (some larger RVs have 240V power but even those max out at 50A total). Small 120V residential water heaters have a very poor water recovery speed due to the limited amount of power (1500 watts for a 15AMP circuit or 2000 watts for a 20 AMP circuit). You will likely need to upgrade the wiring to the panel to accommodate the additional load even if you use a 120V residential water heater because frequently the wiring is only 14 AWG and you would need at least 12 AWG for 1500 watts. I have used an Atwood RV water heater and had no problems with having enough hot water provided that I left both the electric and the propane on. The temperature is fixed at the factory and I would advise against attempting to change it.
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