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Hot water heater won't light


Snufy1

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I had this issue. I couldn't fathom it either. Mine is a lot newer but it had a safety shut-off if there wasn't any water in the water heater. Double check you have water flowing into your heater...mine had a bypass valve that permitted or halted the flow of water to the heater that I completely missed.

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First, tell us if it is a standing pilot or a Direct Spark ignition water heater.

 

But first, why do you want to heat hot water. Our RV only has a water heater.....he he he he.

 

If the propane has been off for a while, you will need to cycle the water heater through several start cycles to clear the line of air.

 

Ken

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To help determine what you have and thus how it is lighted, if you open the outside of your water heater and you find something there which looks like the first picture, they you have a pilot light which has to be ignited first. If you have what is shown in the second picture, then you have a direct spark ignition water heater that has an on/off switch inside of the RV.

51EyaYEZb9L._AC_US240_FMwebp_QL65_.jpg61V3uMb6O7L._AC_US240_FMwebp_QL65_.jpg

With the first type you need to turn the control to pilot and then push in on the red button while you hold a burning match or lighter to the pilot. Once it is burning you have to hold the red button for a minute or two before it will remain lighter when the red button is released. Once that happens, just turn the knob to desired temperature and the burner will light in a few seconds and burn until the water is hot, then go out, leaving the pilot on.

41MDQvcDDJL._AC_US240_QL65_.jpg With the second type of water heater you will have a switch inside of the RV which looks something similar to this one. You just turn that switch on, watching the red light. You will see the red light come on but it will then go out after a few seconds if the flame lights. If there is air in the lines it may take several attempts before that light stays out. Once the water heater is in operation, the red light comes on for a few seconds each time that the fire is lighted again to heat water but only stays on if the flame fails to ignite.

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Snufy if you go outside open the water heater exhaust and unit access door, and copy the make and model number, we can direct you to the online manuals with all the trouble shooting steps and also help personally. Many folks have replaced their Water heaters or refrigerators so which model of appliance is more helpful than which year and model the RV happens to be. There are only two brands of water heaters used commonly, Suburban and Atwood. Which one and what model?

 

We all started out knowing nothing at some point too. Let us know we can help.

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It is a Suburban direct spark original to the rig. I say it is Suburban because that is what the heater is. I'll check tomorrow. I know that all of the air is out of the line I can smell propane. The heater and stove work. I did turn the propane off until I figure this out.

Kirk I don't have a switch like that one. I have a 10 gallon water heater and a instant hot water button. I found the switch for the instant heater, but not the other one. The manual just says to turn on the switch.

 

 

Tom

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I don't have a switch like that one. I have a 10 gallon water heater and a instant hot water button. I found the switch for the instant heater, but not the other one. The manual just says to turn on the switch.

Are you describing a tankless water heater that doesn't keep a volume of water heated and ready for use, but rather lights each time that you open a hot water faucet? A 10 gallon don't sound instant but based upon your manual it must have a switch similar to the one in the picture, some where. They are not all of them white, but come in black and brown as well.

 

The water heater and furnace may be the same brand but that isn't always the case for some RV builders. The direct spark is what I would expect, particularly with a 10 gallon one since that probably was not standard at that time but an upgrade.In 1983 the 10 gallon water heaters were not common, but Revcon was a higher end builder so may have come that way. My guess is that they also were among the first to move to direct spark models and eliminate the need to light a pilot.

 

The switch location is difficult to guess. One of the more common places to find them back in the 80's was on the lip of the range hood but they could be most anywhere. It probably has a panel somewhere that has things like tank level and battery level indicators and possibly a few others. Another way that you may be able to get some help would be to join the Revcon Owners forums and ask there.

 

Once you locate the switch you will be able to turn it on and stand next to the outside access panel and her the snapping sound as it attempts to light. If you smell propane at the unit it might be wise to make sure there are no leaks before you attempt to light it as you should not be able to smell propane until the supply valve opens, which don't take place until you turn the unit on and if it fails to light the valve shuts again until it has been reset. It is not normal to be able to smell propane next to a water heater that isn't operating.

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Kirk, Couldn't the propane smell suggest that the switch is on but the igniter is not working.

Not if he has not yet found the switch to turn it on.

 

 

. I found the switch for the instant heater, but not the other one. The manual just says to turn on the switch.

It may be that he has found the switch and doesn't know what it is. If turned on it should try to light several times, than stop and shut the propane valve. If you go to it right away, you may smell just a little bit of propane but it should dissipate pretty quickly. It is difficult to know just what the switch he found is since I don't know what he means by an instant heater. It might help if Snufy could post a picture of the switch which he did find. It might be for an electric heating element, or..................

 

Snufy, if you have a meter, try turning that switch off for a time, then with a meter monitor the pins of the coil on the propane valve to see if it gets 12v-dc power. It should for a about a minute or so, then go back off if it doesn't light, if you have found the water heater switch. If it is for an electric element, the water should slowly warm but the valve should stay open.

 

It would also be helpful if you were to look for a data plate inside of the access panel and see what make and model your water heater is. If we knew that, we could look at the service manual for it. You would also be able to visit the website of Bryant RV Service and download a copy of the service manual.

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It has both a 10 gallon tank and a tankless the switch I found is deffinitely for the tankless if I leave it on steam comes out of the faucet for that one There are two faucets one for the tankless and one for the water heater. It was raining all day today I'll get the model and make tomorrow

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So you have two different water heaters? I'd suspect that the tankless is a modification that was added later as the tankless water heaters were not common when your RV was built and I don't believe anyone made one that was RV specific at that time(not certain of that part). Have you located the tankless water heater? It must supply only one sink, the kitchen perhaps?

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You should be able to buy a kit for it at a plumbing supply house. Or any hardware store. They call it something else besides a kit but it should be simple to do.

When you take the handle and trim that covers the shaft off. It will expose a thin U shaped clip that you push up on to release the cartridge. It mite be stuck but be careful and it should be a simple job. When inserting the new cartridge make sure you put pure silicone lube on it.

 

Safe Travels, Vern

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Thanks but it is not the shower head that leaking but the mixer itself. Sorry I get better at explaining. It is leaking out of what looks like a drain plug. The unit is all brass except for this plug it is a a galvanized plug

Unfortunately, you have fallen victim to a cost savings. Galvanized plugs are cheaper so they are often used in that application, but the brass one would be preferred. Dissimilar metals cause those kinds of problems. Sometimes is can destroy the threads in the shower valve body to the point that no plug will work, so the valve must be replaced. Use penetrating oil to prep the plug for removal, turn the water off before attempting removal and maybe its your day and it will come out to be replaced with brass. Its OK to use thread tape and install the new one. The threads are tapered, so dont tighten it like a wheel lug nut, but enough to SEAL the thread esp when under pressure. Might be good to inspect the threads when the plug is out.

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I did turn off the water. It had leaked all over the bathroom carpet ( I don't know why there is carpet in the bathroom ) anyway I want to take the mixer out and work on it on the bench. It is just mounted on a piece of plywood that is only connected on one side. My concern is the gray 3/8th gray pvc if it breaks where can i get more and the connectors. The people at the pluming supply store said that they don't use that stuff anymore.

The plug is rusted in and when I try to back it out everything moves. I don't want to bend or break anything.

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Snuffy, does the valve look like the one pictured here? moen-2510-62.jpgIf so, yep, there is a standard cartridge that is in them. They are real easy to replace too. Pull the wire clip straight up and the cartridge will slide out. Sometimes you need to get a little 'physical' with them, but they do slide out. When you install the new cartridge just slide it in so the wire clip can be installed. Turn the water on and see if the cold comes out of the correct position. If it does, great, but if not just spin the shaft the handle goes on 180*. That's all there is to it. While you have the cartridge out you could use a torch to heat up the brass and then unscrew the plug. By time you get another one it should be cool enough to put it all back together.

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MnTom yes the valve looks like that one nut it is not the valve that is leaking but the plug on the bottom

OK, is there any way to use a propane torch (maybe with MAPP gas?) on the brass without having the whole thing go up in smoke? If you put a piece of tin around the area you want to heat up then there is a lot less chance of doing any heat damage. We used to do that all the time when using a torch on plumbing in people's houses.

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