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Atwood..manually..the Anode Rod and flushed the tank (lots of lime)

I have a Atwood water...
I have a Atwood water heater that will run continuously and must be shutdown manually. I have replaced both thermostats (old style had a push button reset, new has auto reset). I have also replaced the Anode Rod and flushed the tank (lots of lime). Everyhting fires fine but will still not shutdown when the water gets hot. The thermostat is mounted on a post that I assume is suppose to transfer the heat to the thermostat however the studs are not even getting warm. Someone suggested that lime may be built up preventing heat getting to the studs. The studs are 3/4 the way up the side of the tank...is it possible that lime would be collecting that high in the tank..? Am I correct in my assumption that the heat is suppose to transfer from the tank to the thermostat thru this stud..? The model of this heater is "SW10DE". Also the electrical side heats very slowly and I'm not certain that it's getting heated to the correct temp.
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Answered in 2 minutes by:
4/15/2011
RV Mechanic: Randall, RVIA Certification replied 11 years ago
Randall
Randall, RVIA Certification
Category: RV
Satisfied Customers: 28,696
Experience: RVDA/RVIA Master Certified Technician with many years experience.
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Hi: Thank you for coming to Just Answer with your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX perhaps I can assist you with this issue.

The back of the thermostat and the ECO are supposed to be right up against the tank. The studs are not supposed to be the heat transfer. The lime may interfere with this so double check this. R.J.
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Customer reply replied 11 years ago
The trailer is at the campsite and will have to wait until tomorrow for me to take any actions however, if it is the tank that the studs are fixed to, it is also not getting hot hence, my assumption that the surface is insulation and the studs transfer the heat. The water coming out of the tap is hot enough to scald a person but I can lay my finger on the stud, and surface, with no noticable temperature increase.
RV Mechanic: Randall, RVIA Certification replied 11 years ago
Well, the studs to get warm, but the heat transfer is done on the surface of the tank to the surface of the thermostat and the ECO which are about 3/8" in diameter. Those surfaces have to mate. Go HERE for a copy of the Atwood Service Manual which has a lot of great information. I would print this out or at least Bookmark it so you can come back to it. R.J.
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RV Mechanic: Randall, RVIA Certification replied 11 years ago
And I don't know which is correct............a SW10DE is a Suburban number. Go HERE for that exploded view. Notice the difference. That is not the same the way it mounts, so please clarify this for me. R.J.
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Customer reply replied 11 years ago
and if the surface of the tank is not getting warm/hot..? Note: the thermostat is riveted to a thin plate that is held to the tank by one single nut on the stud...if I tighten it anymore the plate will start to curl away from the tank. Is it possible for lime to be built up sufficiently to stop the tank from getting hot although the water inside is scalding..?
RV Mechanic: Randall, RVIA Certification replied 11 years ago
Is this an Atwood heater as the question says or a Suburban heater? They are built differently. And yes, the lime can almost fill the tank in severe hard water areas and coat the tank inside. R.J.
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Customer reply replied 11 years ago
I got the Atwood name from a sticker inside for warranty work and the model number from a sticker on the unit...all pictures I've seen of the Atwood models do not look like this one so, I'd hazard to say this is a Suburban Model SW10DE. Don't know the water conditions but has spent 6 month/year in the Phoenix AZ area and the other 6 months in central NY State...we also believe the anode rod had never been changed. your link for the exploded view did not come thru, please resend it.
RV Mechanic: Randall, RVIA Certification replied 11 years ago
Go HERE for that. The water around Phoenix is very hard...........and has lots of "junk" in it. The easiest way to tell the difference is that an Atwood tank is aluminum and a Suburban tank is steel. R.J.
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Customer reply replied 11 years ago
<p>ok, that explosion looks much closer to what I have however, believing it was Atwood we replaced the item # XXXXX & 38 with single thermostats instead of a thermostat and reset...will these work or do we need to hunt down the correct Suburban parts..?</p><p> </p><p>Tomorrow I'll test it with a magnet to ensure it is a Suburban. Meanwhile, I've been told Vinegar and/or bleach will dissolve the lime...which is best for this tank, what would be a good mixture ratio and how long should I let it set before flushing..?</p><p> I'm signing off for the night (getting late). I'll check again in the morning, possibly from the trailer. Thanks much for what you have been able to help with so far.</p>
RV Mechanic: Randall, RVIA Certification replied 11 years ago
You need to stay with the correct parts.............and Suburban makes a number of variations on thermostat and ECO combinations. White vinegar heated up about 50/50 would be best.............you can get by with less than filling if you drive it around so it sloshes. The correct parts may help this as well. R.J.
Randall
Randall, RVIA Certification
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Satisfied Customers: 28,696
Experience: RVDA/RVIA Master Certified Technician with many years experience.
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Customer reply replied 11 years ago
Thanks for the help.
RV Mechanic: Randall, RVIA Certification replied 11 years ago
Let me know if this doesn't clear up.............and thank you for the nice bonus! Much appreciated. R.J.
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Customer reply replied 11 years ago
we cleaned the tank as you suggested (vinegar 50/50 concentration)...allowed it to set for one hour, checking the temp at the thermostat periodically. After one hour the electric t-stat had opened (checking t-stat continuity) and within another 30 min the gas t-stat opened indicating that the lime had dissolved from the tank. Let it set another 30 min to ensure we got it all. Drained and flushed until we had good clear water and put it all back together. We left the Atwood t-stats on the tank and they appear to be working as well as the Suburban OEM. Our only remaining problem is that the electric side heats very slowly. Replacing the element later today...figure it may have worked itself to death when the t-stat didn't tell it to shutdown. Only remaining question...what temps should they be shutting down..? The Atwood t-stats have the elec at 60C and the gas at 82C.
RV Mechanic: Randall, RVIA Certification replied 11 years ago
Having the correct thermostat and ECO would resolve this I believe. Those from Atwood are based on an aluminum tank which has different heating characteristics than steel. Glad you are getting it resolved. Drain and flush the tank on a regular basis. R.J.
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Customer reply replied 11 years ago
You make a very good point (aluminun vs steel tanks) which goes a long way to answering my questions. Further research shows that the Suburban t-stats cut out at 130F (as opposed to 140 & 180 for the Atwood). The trailer is moving on to NY and they will replace the t-stats when they get there. We've agreed that when they come back thru in the fall, we'll check and flush the system again, then set an annual ritual of soaking with vinegar and changing the Anode Rod. Thanks much for the help, guidance and keeping us on the right track.
RV Mechanic: Randall, RVIA Certification replied 11 years ago
You are welcome...........and please come back again next time you need some problem resolved. We can usually do it fairly quickly and save you a bunch of money as well. R.J.
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Customer reply replied 11 years ago

Randall,

Old problem fixed with correct thermostats and a good cleaning however, hot water is still getting into the cold water line somehow...any ideas..? Do I need to start a new ticket? If yes, how do I ensure it goes to you?

RV Mechanic: Randall, RVIA Certification replied 11 years ago
No, we can do that here..............check the bypass as it sounds like it is leaking. Either that or it is still in the "on" position..........so check the valve(s) and get back to me if you need to. Glad the unit is making hot water. R.J.
Randall
Randall, RVIA Certification
Category: RV
Satisfied Customers: 28,696
Experience: RVDA/RVIA Master Certified Technician with many years experience.
Verified
Randall and 87 other RV Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 11 years ago

Randall,

Just talked to my Dad...the valve was frozen in position. He broke it loose, cleaned it up, and all appears to be working just fine. Thanks again for all the help. Finding you on line has been a blessing. Yuo will be our first stop for any future problems.

RV Mechanic: Randall, RVIA Certification replied 11 years ago
Thank you for your kind words and praise..........much appreciated! And thank you for the bonus as well. Please tell your friends about our service here at Just Answer and you can always ask for me by name. Be blessed and stay safe...........R.J.
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