Question about RTO Atwood Water Heater - 6 Gal LP

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I have a 1999 Atwood water heater in my Rv. Its Gas/Electric 6 gal model. When I light the pilot light it fires right up. After the main burner has kicked on and runs for about 3-4 minutes both the main burner and the pilot shut off. The pilot light burns with the top 75% of the flame yellow in color. Only the very bottom of the flame is blue. Any ideas as to what is wrong?

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  • brad893 Nov 09, 2010

    Thanks motor1258. I tried your suggested solution to my water heater problem tonight and the pilot light fired right up with a mostly blue flame. I turned it on and the main burner cycled a number of times without the pilot shutting down. You saved me a lot of time. Thanks Again!!



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Look real close up where pilot tube is attached at fitting at burner end, and you will find a small pinhole on side of fitting. Use a paper clip, or similar, and poke it in that hole and work it around a bit to clean out any debris, or small spider web that may have collected in there. That's basically your intake air for your pilot, and when plugged it will cause a yellow weak pilot flame. Best option is to blow compressed air into that hole if available. That should get pilot burning blue again. Then,when cool, Clean off thermocouple end that sits above pilot flame as well with fine steel wool, or a small wire brush to allow it to sense flame better as it probably has gathered some soot on it now. Once that's all good, try lighting heater again, and see if that doesn't cure it. Be sure to adjust air shutter on burner so that flame is nice and blue, with just a little hint of yellow at tip. You want best/bluest flame, but not so much that it roars like a lion and jumps off the burner. Quiet but blue as well. If pilot was yellow and weak, and burner was roaring, it will draw flame from pilot , away from thermocouple, thus thermocouple cools too much and shuts down gas.

Posted on Nov 08, 2010

  • Mike Butler
    Mike Butler Nov 09, 2010

    Glad to be of help. Happy RV'ing.



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A thermocouple makes 30MV power by a temperature differential across the end of the thermocouple, many times people set the entire end inthe flame heating the entire end thus dropping out the power, you cannot bake them into working there must be a temperature differential from the base to tip about a 1.5 inch section. It wil not work correctly if the entire end is hot.

Otherwise the gas valve is bad.

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Any RV sales and service dealer can get parts for you, if they don't already have them in stock. Is the pilot staying on at all? If yes, what happens when you turn from pilot, to On? One easy thing to try is undo thermocouple (probe that sits above pilot flame) from gas valve (3/8" wrench) and clean the end of the thermocouple with fine steel wool, as well as spray some WD-40 into the hole it came out of, and give it a blast of compressed air after to clean it out as well. (protect your eyes) Then re-install the fitting and snug it up good, and try lighting again. You may get lucky that it's just corroded or dirty, and this may cure that.

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The pilot light blows out every time the main burner shuts off. It will light, the main burner comes on, everything seems ok until the main burner shuts off, then the pilot light goes off also as if the...

it's the thermocoupler ( about $20 ) that is bad replace it. if that doesnt do it it is the box with the on/off/ pilot button ( about $175 ) I found a complete unit at for $275 plus shipping ($300 total) and that is how i fixed the exact problem with mine.

Oct 07, 2009 | RTO Atwood Water Heater - 6 Gal LP

1 Answer

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Oct 05, 2009 | RTO Atwood Water Heater - 6 Gal LP

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