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Old 09-08-2013, 11:30 AM   #1
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Water heater issue

Camping up on the Kettle River.
Couple times that I've turned on the water heater there is a small explosion as it catches. Sometime it lights, but more often not ( as if the pop blew out any flame ). I has lit on the next cycle or two.

Comments?
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Old 09-08-2013, 11:43 AM   #2
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Old 09-08-2013, 12:06 PM   #3
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Sounds like too much propane is let go before the igniter fires off. Definitely worth a trip soon to your favorite RV service center.

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Old 09-08-2013, 12:32 PM   #4
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Hey,

I would suggest a Service Center too however, you state your camping. turn off your gas and then popp the water heater cover off check for spider webs or other critters impeding the gas flow, check the ignitor by turning the water heater on ( Make Sure The Gas is Off) for a few seconds. You should see a good spark if not the contacts maybe dirty or it the ground is not making full contact. After you clean it all out and such put the cover back on turn on the gas and try it then. BUT GET IT CHECKED BY SERVICE TECH.

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Old 09-08-2013, 12:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
Couple times that I've turned on the water heater there is a small explosion as it catches. Sometime it lights, but more often not ( as if the pop blew out any flame ). I has lit on the next cycle or two.

Comments?
Not sure how severe this small explosion you describe really is, but ours does this too, and is more like the pop you describe. It is usually just when it is lit for the first time after setting up, and not if it runs another cycle. I think this is could be due to the fact the gas lines were someone purged, and at first did not have enough gas to light, and when it does there is an excess floating about. This is akin to the big swoosh you can get with a BBQ when lighting with an igniter and it doesn't take first try. With a furnace the firebox is first purged by the fan before it lights. No fan on the water heater though.

If it really is a big explosion, it should be checked out.

Just thoughts from me wee brane working too hard on a Sunday.
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Old 09-08-2013, 05:17 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
I think this is could be due to the fact the gas lines were someone purged, and at first did not have enough gas to light, and when it does there is an excess floating about. This is akin to the big swoosh you can get with a BBQ when lighting with an igniter and it doesn't take first try. With a furnace the firebox is first purged by the fan before it lights. No fan on the water heater though.
This makes perfect sense to me, and matches what I have observed with our direct spark ignition water heaters and furnaces in two larger RVs.
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Old 09-08-2013, 05:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
Not sure how severe this small explosion you describe really is, but ours does this too, and is more like the pop you describe. It is usually just when it is lit for the first time after setting up, and not if it runs another cycle. I think this is could be due to the fact the gas lines were someone purged, and at first did not have enough gas to light, and when it does there is an excess floating about. This is akin to the big swoosh you can get with a BBQ when lighting with an igniter and it doesn't take first try. With a furnace the firebox is first purged by the fan before it lights. No fan on the water heater though.

If it really is a big explosion, it should be checked out.

Just thoughts from me wee brane working too hard on a Sunday.
I think that ours does also, and Jim's explanation makes sense to me -- but then lots of things do that ain't necessarily correct.....
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Old 09-08-2013, 07:45 PM   #8
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I think Jim nailed it. I ran out of gas, both tanks ( explain how I managed that ). This issue came up after I connected two full tanks and turned on the gas. After trying to start it the first time ( with the 'pop' ) I turned it off for a while and when I started it later, there was no 'pop'.
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Old 09-08-2013, 08:27 PM   #9
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The pop is also a great way to clean the burner area of the hot water tank ;-) when I open the outside burner cover to investigate after the big bang I generally find lots of combustion debris that has been knocked loose and is easily swept up. The spiders and their webs have been incinerated :-)
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Old 09-10-2013, 10:12 AM   #10
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I have had similar occurrences. The water heater generally operates normally. Occasionally it dies and the light comes on, for no obvious reason. And sometimes it won't ignite, even with repeated cycles. Occasionally, we get the "pop" during the ignition cycles - sometimes more than once. I shut it off, try later, and all is usually well. Gremlins again? But I plan on having it checked during maintenance services this off-season.
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Old 09-10-2013, 10:46 AM   #11
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I had the same problem...scared myself and a few neighbors! I called Reace and he walked me through adjusting the position of the ignitor. The ignitor is connected to a piece of sheet metal and by bending its position with a needle nose I could get the ignitor closer to the gas outlet. Worked great and haven't had a problem since.
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Old 09-10-2013, 11:56 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holo View Post
I had the same problem...scared myself and a few neighbors! I called Reace and he walked me through adjusting the position of the ignitor. The ignitor is connected to a piece of sheet metal and by bending its position with a needle nose I could get the ignitor closer to the gas outlet. Worked great and haven't had a problem since.
Eric
I cannot find any diagram or specific instructions for my Suburban SW6DE (I think) that point me to location of and access to the adjustable air vent, the igniter head, or the gas outlet - for possible adjustments and alignment. Any suggestions? Thanks, Glenn.
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Old 09-10-2013, 12:44 PM   #13
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I have a SW6D or a SW4D, gas only. I removed the large plate with the written instructions printed on it, disconnected the red wire and that got me access to the plate that holds the ignitor. The L-shaped ignitor was too far away from the gold colored outlet tube so I bent the plate to bring the end of the ignitor more in line with the center of the tube opening.
I hope that helps!
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Old 09-10-2013, 05:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holo View Post
I have a SW6D or a SW4D, gas only. I removed the large plate with the written instructions printed on it, disconnected the red wire and that got me access to the plate that holds the ignitor. The L-shaped ignitor was too far away from the gold colored outlet tube so I bent the plate to bring the end of the ignitor more in line with the center of the tube opening.
I hope that helps!
Eric
It did Eric. I followed your tip lead, and adjusted the location and gap of the ignitor head. The heater ignited fine on a couple of quick tests; we'll see if the occasional problems disappear while camping. Thanks, Glenn.
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holo View Post
I had the same problem...scared myself and a few neighbors! I called Reace and he walked me through adjusting the position of the ignitor. The ignitor is connected to a piece of sheet metal and by bending its position with a needle nose I could get the ignitor closer to the gas outlet. Worked great and haven't had a problem since.
Eric
I will try a bit of an adjustment too. If it even ignites one cycle quicker, that is that much less gas to go poof when it does light.
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Old 09-16-2013, 12:09 PM   #16
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A true test this does not make; but my water heater worked perfectly during a short weekend venture. When I made the adjustment noted above, besides tweaking the ignitor gap, I noticed and corrected a misalignment in the ignitor electrodes(?) - they were not abeam one another. All relatively easy checks that others might want to do?
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Old 08-08-2015, 06:15 PM   #17
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Another issue that might affect someone. Ours suddenly started to cycle off then relight, start again then do it all over again ever 30 seconds or so.

When we returned home I used the compressor to blow out the combustion chamber, and quite a bit of flaky grey/black thin soot came out. After than I retried it and it seemed to work perfectly again. The soot must have triggered some automatic shutoff?
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Old 08-08-2015, 08:38 PM   #18
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Another issue that might affect someone. Ours suddenly started to cycle off then relight, start again then do it all over again ever 30 seconds or so.

When we returned home I used the compressor to blow out the combustion chamber, and quite a bit of flaky grey/black thin soot came out. After than I retried it and it seemed to work perfectly again. The soot must have triggered some automatic shutoff?
We had almost the same issue Eric, although ours would try to light and never do it. The cause was the same. I opened up the panel and removed the burn chamber cover, and there was a bunch of black flaky crud inside. Cleaned it out and was good to go.
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