GliderCoach

Atwood Water Heater

10 posts in this topic

A problem has developed in our water heater, and I'm debating the best course to take.

We have an Atwood LP/Electric 6-gallon water heater, model number GC6AA-9E. A few days ago the electric 'side' of the unit stopped heating. It happened all at once, not a slow degradation of the heating capability. The LP heating continues to work well.

Trouble shooting so far:

  • Circuit breaker reset
  • Cleaned some electrical connections in the outside heater access
  • Drain and flush hot water tank

The unit does not have an anode, so I don't have replacing that as a possibility.

The unit appears to have a single thermostat, and since the LP heater is working, that should not be a cause. Having said that, I have read that older Atwood units have two thermostats (LP and Electrical each being unique). I don 't know where 'older' begins, or how the unit would look if it had two thermostats. Our coach is a 2001 model, and this looks like the original unit.

The next step I have in mind is replacing the heating element. The element is on the back side of the tank (inside of the coach). Replacing the element will require either partially disassembling some drawer mounting frames for access, or removing the heater from the outside.

Here are my questions:

1) Is there any other trouble-shooting I should perform before tackling to the electrode?

2) Is it fairly easy to pull the unit (and unhook/reconnect all the LP/water/electrical connections), or

3) Should I try to change the electrode with the tank in place, if possible?

All suggestions/thoughts appreciated!

[reposted from the tank discussion section]

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GliderCoach,

Can you trace the AC Power cord from the water heater to where it might be plugged into an outlet in one of the bays and see if it just got unplugged.

The next item is to check the AC thermostat / temperature control, that on the older units is connected to the back of the water heater and assessable by removing 4 to 6 screws from the cover. NOTE ! if you start working on the item make sure there is no AC power going to the water heater.

The switch on the control often fails and being 11+ year old, it is a prime suspect.

Let the group know what you find.

Rich.

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First try disconnecting the wires at the element. Use a ohm meter to check continuity. If it show open the element is shorted and needs replacement. If it is ok go with the other trouble shooting. Elements shorting or opening is a common problem I have had with a couple of my mh.

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Schedules aligned and I was able to check a few things.

First, the power supply. So far, no sign of a plug as part of the circuit. Tracing the line for several feet, it appears to go directly to the circuit breaker panel.

Next, since the electrical heating components are 'inboard' on the unit, I had to decide if it was better to pull the unit out, or access it from the inside. Talking with several service folks (including the coach manufacturer), the opinions were unanimous: Leave it in place if at all possible. There are simply too many lines to work with when it is pulled out, not to mention re-sealing the unit afterwords.

So, I had to create access. The heater is behind three drawers. I modified the back of the drawer sub-frame, and I now have good access (even if it is a bit of a strech to get in).

With access to the components, I tested the continuity of the heating element, and it appears to be ok.

My next step will be the thermostat. Need to read up on that a little before going further.

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Time to close this thread out.

Before further troubleshooting on the Atwood, we decided it was time for us to get a different coach (for reasons other than the water heater). We found our new home last week, and are due to move aboard our new coach this week.

Thanks to everyone for the advice and suggestions on this subject!

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Just bought a 2014 Winnebago Sightseer 33C. Manual said hot water bypass is in wardrobe behind bottom drawer. It is not there. Can anyone tell me where I can find it?

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JaneSusan, Welcome to the FMCA Forum !

The confusion might be caused by the fact that for your model and year Coach there are 2 different plumbing drawings. One of files might answer the question.

The plumbing in the area of the water heater does look different in the drawings, check page 7 in both files.

Serial number ending in R1, Link

http://www.winnebagoind.com/diagram/2013/13_d33c_plumb.pdf

Serial number ending in R2, Link

http://www.winnebagoind.com/diagram/2014/14_d33c_plumb.pdf

Rich.

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