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Old 09-13-2011, 05:36 PM   #1
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Water Heater on Gas Intermittent Problem

The water heater on my camper will occasionally not work correctly on gas. It will ignite right away, but then after about 10 or 20 seconds, I can hear the sparker again, then after another 5 seconds or so, the burner will kick off. After about another 20 to 30 seconds, that cycle will repeat.....again and again.

Some other things that I have noticed:

This problem does not occur if I open the cover, which leads me to believe that maybe the burner is not getting enough oxygen.

There is flaking coming from the burner area, again leading me to think that the system is oxygen starved.

Ideas appreciated.
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Old 09-14-2011, 08:19 AM   #2
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My previous trailer did this on occasion. The HWH would light and then after a few
seconds the sound "changed" and it sounded like it might on a windy day but there
was no wind. (Possibly the sound of the burner flame that was not going thru the
flu correctly?) It also shut off a couple times and I had to turn the switch off
and on to reset it.
Opening the outside HWH cover would make it sound more normal and it would
stay lit.
On the next trip it did not happen so I left the door shut from then on.
I can only guess there was a spider nest or something that maybe got burned away
and the problem solved itself.
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Old 09-14-2011, 08:25 AM   #3
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Dan, I haven't taken the burner apart yet to check for a spider nest, but that is on the agenda.

Did you have the black flakes on the bottom of the water heater ??? I think those are coming from the burner.
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Old 09-14-2011, 08:37 AM   #4
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Just looked and there are a few tiny black flakes laying in the bottom of
the burner area. Can't see into the burner flu very good where it's
parked. (Telephone pole right next to the HWH door.)
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Old 09-14-2011, 08:47 AM   #5
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Thanks, Dan. When I get a chance, I am going to see if I can pull the burner out to seen any spider or mud dauber nests in there. I can't feel anything as far as I can reach.
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Old 09-14-2011, 08:54 AM   #6
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I read in an RV magazine where the tech guy suggested "dropping a golf ball" down
the burner flu. Of course you have to remove the top baffle and the
burner down below. I'd be afraid the ball wouldn't come out and then I'd have a
much bigger problem.

Can you give it a blast of compressed air???
Good luck!
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Old 09-14-2011, 09:02 AM   #7
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I've removed my burner occasionally and used a brush similar to these spiral brushes to remove the flakey build-up. I use my air compressor to blow out the debris. Don't forget the googles and dust mask when you do this.

Spiral Brushes & Tube Brushes - Gordon Brush
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Old 09-14-2011, 09:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KyDan View Post
I read in an RV magazine where the tech guy suggested "dropping a golf ball" down
the burner flu. Of course you have to remove the top baffle and the
burner down below.
Not exactly sure what is meant by that. I don't think on mine there is any type of burner flue, but will check it out.
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Old 09-14-2011, 09:14 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfsoistman View Post
I've removed my burner occasionally and used a brush similar to these spiral brushes to remove the flakey build-up. I use my air compressor to blow out the debris. Don't forget the googles and dust mask when you do this.
I think that is going to be my best route to follow.
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Old 09-14-2011, 09:46 AM   #10
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By burner flu I meant the U shaped heater tube the flame is supposed
to pass thru to heat the tank. As I remember a golf ball is a very loose
fit and IMO not a great idea but those guys get paid to write that stuff
and here we are doing it for free
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