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Old 05-10-2010, 02:00 PM   #1
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water heater question

on our 85 coachmen class a the water heater has a add on that im not real sure what its for. by looking at it i would think it to run it off electric but im not real sure and dont want to mess anything up.
in the picture below you can see the electric cord and the place to plug it in. is this to run it on electric?
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Old 05-10-2010, 03:39 PM   #2
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I can't tell for sure from the picture if it goes through a thermostat but My guess is it is an electric water heater element. I would probably check for 110 on the female side then just plug it in and test. If it has ever been plugged in with the water heater dry it will be shot though. The elements will burn out in less than a minute if not submerged in water.
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Old 05-10-2010, 04:50 PM   #3
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the element gets warm but after an hour the water still isnt hot or even warm.i may leave it pluged in most of the day tomorrow and see what happens.
thanks
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Old 05-11-2010, 01:04 AM   #4
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No offense, but that just looks like electrocution waiting to happen.

Get rid of that dangerous mess and get a new drain plug. Its old, and installed poorly. Your life isn't worth it.
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Old 05-11-2010, 12:52 PM   #5
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On one hand, both Atwood and Suburban list use of an aftermarket as voiding their warrenty.
On the other hand, many people use aftermarket water heaters.
As far as your picture, like RedneckExpress said, thats a dagurous mess you have there. A power plug should have never been run into the interior of the heater.
Pros/Cons and resources regarding aftermarket heater elements:
Atwood Manual (Warning on bottom of page 4) http://www.atwoodmobile.com/manuals/...S%204.9.09.pdf

Suburban Manual (Addon FAQ) Airxcel | Suburban Manufacturing Service

Pro's/Con's article hott rod

Element Source RV Water Heaters and Parts

What ever you do, do it safely.

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Old 05-11-2010, 02:06 PM   #6
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thanks for the info
i had it plugged in for 4 hours and water was ice cold, so i unplugged it and tried to lite it on gas but no go. its raining so im done for the day.
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Old 05-12-2010, 12:27 PM   #7
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heated the water on gas till it shut off, the water is cold. im thinking that the water heater may be bad or may be hooked up wrong. as it was heating i opened the relief valve and all that came out was air and like a steam or gas that smells really bad, its not a gas smell.the water has a really bad smell to it also. any ideas what i should be looking for?
if you need a pic of the back of the water heater let me know and ill get one.
its a atwood G6A3
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Old 05-12-2010, 12:34 PM   #8
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Check to see if you're water heater has a bypass kit on the back of it, you may have just cooked an empty water heater.
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Old 05-12-2010, 12:59 PM   #9
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that must be what the white hose in these pics are. do i unhook it? i turned the valve in the one pic but when i did water stopped running.
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Old 05-12-2010, 01:08 PM   #10
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Turn on your cold water, open the pressure relief valve and wait to see if the heater fills. When it hits full, water should start barfing out of the relief valve.

If it doesn't start to do this after about 5-10 minutes, go and turn the valve the other way and repeat.
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Old 05-12-2010, 01:27 PM   #11
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that did the trick
thanks RnE
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Old 05-29-2010, 06:14 PM   #12
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What you were smelling was hydrogen gas. There is a warning in my Attwood manual about this if the water heater sets with water in it. This gas is explosive.

I run water thru the faucet for awhile if it has been setting and before lighting it.
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Old 05-30-2010, 02:07 AM   #13
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How the devil would you get hydrogen gas? You need electrolysis in order to separate the hydrogen from the oxygen.
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Old 05-30-2010, 09:33 AM   #14
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This is from my Suburban paperwork for gas water heater.

WARNING! Hydrogen gas may result if you have not used this heater for
two weeks or m ore. HYDROGEN GAS IS EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE. To
reduce the risk of injury under these conditions, open the hot water faucet
for several minutes at the kitchen sink before you use any electrical
appliance connected to the hot water system. If hydrogen is present, you
probably will hear an unusual sound such as air escaping through the
pipe as the water begins to flow.
Hydrogen gas may be present even after water has been drained from the
tank. Open faucet at sink and allow system to vent for several minutes (5-
10 minutes).
Do not smoke or have any open flame near the open faucet.

This from another water heater manufacturer (house)
"You need to know that hydrogen gas can accumulate in hot-water systems that have not been operated for a period of time. If you suspect hydrogen gas may be present in the hot-water system, flush the gas out by turning on all hot-water faucets in the building and letting them run for several minutes. Don't smoke while you're doing it. "
"There is no way to prevent hydrogen gas from forming in hot-water heaters due to metals used in constructing the tanks. Since hydrogen gas isn't soluble in water, it remains in the water heater plumbing system as a gas under pressure"
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