View Full Version : Water heater malfunction

08-19-2013, 09:06 AM
For the past several days my water heater has been malfunctioning. It's an Atwood G6A-8E, 6 gallons, propane, with direct spark ignition.

It would take several tries to start (that is, to light). Sometimes I'd have to turn it on and off several times before it would start. Each time, it makes three tries, then gives up. It would always start eventually, but that's a pain.

After it eventually started, the flame would be very unsteady, with constantly changing sound, and I could peer in and see the flame jumping around.

Could be several things: obstructed (dirty) gas jet, a $1 part; something wrong with the burner assembly, a $30 part; bad gas regulator, price unknown; possibly the igniter board, which I have replaced before, a $75 part.

First things first: I remove the burner assembly and inspect it. Looks OK to me. Then I unscrew the jet and peer through the orifice. Aha! The hole looks smaller than expected, and isn't round! Probably that's it. I scrub it with a retired toothbrush and toothpaste, after which the hole looks bigger and is perfectly round.

Put it together. Run some hot water so it'll want to start. Turn it on.

Success! It starts instantly, burns very steadily, and heats more quickly than it has been doing lately.

Cost to repair: $0.00. Well, I did use a penny's worth of WD-40 to make sure the screws and the jet would come out smoothly.

Time to repair: about 1/2 hour of easy work.

Moral: Always try the simple things first.

08-20-2013, 05:27 AM
There is a spider that loves to nest in gas jets... Also other things that can "Gum up the works" Glad your fix worked.

The three things recommended are.

Air (Compressed jet)

Q-Tip or something like it (To wipe out the nest)

And if you have a "Crusty" build up.."Bone Drill" (Get that at a welding supply) used to clean out the jets on a torch.. These are softer than the brass and won't damage the oriface but will clean it out.

08-26-2013, 06:43 PM
We had some inexperienced campers near us in an older class C. They were mostly doing without hot water and would ocassionally fire up the heater and it smoked up the side of the RV.

I went over to check and tried to adjust the air shutter, but no luck. So I had them remove the outlet baffle and looked in the fire tube. It was severely sooted with fluffy black carbon.

Next door neighbor came over and he had a small electric blower that we used to blast out a huge black cloud. Fired up the water heater and adjusted the air shutter and it was burning beautifully. They were happy to have hot water and were astonished that other RVers were so quick to come to their aid and not expecting any pay.

I told them if they insisted, we'd take a nice cold beer.


08-28-2013, 10:09 AM
They were ... astonished that other RVers were so quick to come to their aid ...

That's one of the best things about RVing, isn't it.