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Old 04-05-2014, 06:48 PM   #1
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Water heater- gas scare

Was camping last weekend. Got up early to let one of the dogs out and cute the water heater on so I could shower later and went back to bed. It was very windy. Woke up an hour later with the gas alarm going off. At the time I was not sure if it was the CO or gas alarm. I thought it was the CO. I cut the heater off, reset the alarm and all seemed well till the alarm went off again. I then went outside and cut the tanks off and cracked roof vents. I did notice a very faint gas odor that tine.
The wind was blowing right into the water heater so my guess is it blew the pilot out? Anything I should do before using it again?
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Old 04-05-2014, 07:23 PM   #2
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Ya. Your gas valve in your water heater should have shut the gas off as soon your pilot went out. I'd be checking it out. Also u might have a gas line leak. Check for leaks with soapy water at line connection at water heater
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Old 04-05-2014, 07:29 PM   #3
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How do I check the valve? I had no issues for the three previous days so the cut off malfunctioning sounds plausible
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Old 04-06-2014, 06:43 AM   #4
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Not sure how to check gas control valve. do you have to light pilot manually or is it electronic spark igniter?
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Old 04-06-2014, 12:37 PM   #5
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No manual lighting. I just cut the switch on an it works
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Old 04-08-2014, 07:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uwharrie View Post
The wind was blowing right into the water heater so my guess is it blew the pilot out? Anything I should do before using it again?
Quote:
No manual lighting. I just cut the switch on an it works

H'mm something does not fit here. If you have electronic ignition, there is no pilot.

Any chance of a Atwood part number and what year camper?

If this is electronic ignition, the flame sense would of shut down the gas valve if the flame blew out.

And this gas would be "outside" the camper not inside. The heater is sealed to the side of the camper and the gas controls are outside.

This points to something else sending the LP detector off. Like the stove burners or oven. Odds are favorable a burner not being off.

A pressure drop test will confirm a gas leak. I'm assuming you do not have a manometer. You can try this, do you have a auto change over gas regulator? Charge up the system, see it turn green, then shut the tanks off. Using a stop watch look to see if the indictor turns red and how long it takes. If there is a good leak, the indictor will drop fairly quickly.

Here is a post on the pressure drop test. It might give some useful info
Annual Propane System Checks

Any LP service guy can do the leak and regulator check. It is not unique to campers.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-09-2014, 04:27 AM   #7
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I will look today and see if I can find a part number. the camper is a 2003 T1950. The water heater is right under the bed and the sensor is at the foot of the bed. The camper had been set up in the same place for four days ( this was the last morning at about 4 am) I had not used the gas heat or the stove. The winds were really high and gusty that morning and it was blowing right into the water heater outside vent door. I could smell gas very faintly when the alarm went off. I cant help but think whatever happened it was due to high winds blowing into the water heater compartment.
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Old 04-09-2014, 05:42 AM   #8
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A 2003 T1950, OK this is for sure all electronic. There is no pilot light.


I am not totally familiar with the 1950 layout, the HW heater and the location of the LP detector. It “sounds” like maybe from your description the heater is in the rear wall of the camper and the LP detector is at the far end of the bed. And there is the big storage space under the bed.

When you woke up the 1st time, do you remember the roar of the HW heater running on LP gas? It may not have needed to run at that time, just asking to try and help put the puzzle pieces back together.

Here is a “thought”. When the heater was running, the high wind ended up blowing the exhaust fumes into the camper. After enough time of doing this, the compartment under bed had enough accumulation to set the LP detector off. They are very sensitive. And since the storage area is so big, that area held enough left over fumes to set the LP detector off again.

That is speculation but at least a thought that may add up. A LP leak is a big deal if it is a real one. If the “thought” above is right, the unique conditions of wind blowing at the back of the camper and the heater running on LP created the situation.

If that is the case, a few options for the future,

1. Turn the heater off when not in use and high winds are blowing.
2. Run the heater on 120 VAC when high winds are blowing. Your 2003 has this feature.

There is no fan on the HW heater to blow the gas flame into the heat chamber like there is on the gas furnaces. Natural convection carry’s the heat into the heating tube and up and out the top. I know on mine even when it is windy I can hear the sound of burner flutter sometimes in the wind. It has never been an issue, however I switch the heater off when not using it. It only takes 10 to 15 minutes running both LP and electric to bring it back up to temp.

If you have not ever had a LP pressure drop test done on the camper in a while, it is a good thing to do as it does test the regulator and the rest of the system. This check is a good thing to do annually.

Hope this helps and let us know how this turns out

John
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Old 04-09-2014, 10:04 AM   #9
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yes that is the layout.
I keep the water heater off until about 15 min before I need hot water. ( gotta conserve that pricey lp)
I could hear the waterheater kick on (or at least did just before I went back to bed)
Right now the electric element in the water heater is kuput. We will be replacing it as as soon as we can get by the RV place to pick one up. Since I only stay where I have shore power it would be a much more economical way to heat water anyway.
I will check into doing a LP pressure check. It does make sense to do one annually!
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Old 04-09-2014, 10:57 AM   #10
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Are you sure you have electric to your water heater??
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Old 04-09-2014, 12:36 PM   #11
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according to our very fine file archive..... gas/electric with push button ignition was standard in 2003.
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Old 04-09-2014, 01:26 PM   #12
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Yes it has an electric element. Most likely it was not turned off at some point and the tank drained, hence the kuput electric water heating ability
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Old 04-09-2014, 07:11 PM   #13
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I was changing out the 120 volt electric heat element in our 2475 solaris, the gas line would not be totally sealed , on our tt due to the hole the gas pipe runs through from its location gas can get into the tt.
Was a week of upgrades: twin usb outlets w volt meter, new upgraded 120 volt heater element from 1400 watts to 2000 watts from home depot ( camco product) , changed out faulty valve at top of toilet to pipe fitting w a valve to turn on sprayer to rinse when needed.
Flushes better than before valve went.,
Max flo vent covers to finish off today.
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Old 04-09-2014, 07:15 PM   #14
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Will the water heater use only electric heat when hooked to shore power, or will it be dual gas/electric , was not sure tt
It is 03 Solaris 2475 w master bed room
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