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Old 12-26-2012, 04:07 PM   #1
F&JE
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Hot water heater

We have a 2005 Lorado with a combination gas/electric hot water heater. It no longer heats electrically nor keeps the water hot after heating it with gas. I am assuming the heating element needs to be replaced. This is a 10 gal. tank. Is this a project I can do myself and, if so, how do I go about it?
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Old 12-26-2012, 04:29 PM   #2
SteveC7010
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Originally Posted by F&JE View Post
We have a 2005 Lorado with a combination gas/electric hot water heater. It no longer heats electrically nor keeps the water hot after heating it with gas. I am assuming the heating element needs to be replaced. This is a 10 gal. tank. Is this a project I can do myself and, if so, how do I go about it?
Swapping out the electric heating element is really pretty easy. However, you do have to gain access to the back side of the water heater to do it.

Determine what make and model of water heater you have and then go to the manufacturer's website to download any manuals they have for your unit. I can't promise that the service manual for your particular unit will be there, but you may well find it with a Google search.

On my last trailer, the water heater was a Dometic. All I had to do was remove the metal housing for the AC wiring, disconnect the two wires, and unscrew the element. Before starting work, make sure the power is off, either at the breaker or by unplugging the entire trailer. Then let it cool off a before draining the tank.

Final tip: Before you run out to an RV place and pay RV prices for a new element, check the part number and see if Lowes (or similar) has it. You would be surprised how much of our RV's can be repaired or maintained without going to the RV store.
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Old 12-27-2012, 05:40 AM   #3
mikell
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If it did work and now doesn't then it's probably the element. But get yourself a cheap electric meter and learn how to use it. Nows the time and for less than $20 a simple meter is worth a million at times like this
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Old 12-27-2012, 06:48 AM   #4
CUFFS054
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I'm confused. If the WH isn't keeping the water hot when using GAS, what's that got to do with the element? Almost sounds like a control issue
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Old 12-27-2012, 06:50 AM   #5
F&JE
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Steve & Mike, thank you for your replies. The hot water heater is an Atwood and from the literature I have found, the element is located the rear of the tank to which I find no access from within the trailer. So I am assuming the tank must be removed from outside to replace this part.
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Old 12-27-2012, 06:54 AM   #6
F&JE
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Cuff, sorry for the confusion. I am now heating water using propane. The electric element does not appear to be working which I would prefer to be using since we are paying for electric anyhow.
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:43 AM   #7
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Steve & Mike, thank you for your replies. The hot water heater is an Atwood and from the literature I have found, the element is located the rear of the tank to which I find no access from within the trailer. So I am assuming the tank must be removed from outside to replace this part.
If your trailer doesn't have the remote water heater bypass, then there has to be some kind of access to the back side of it for winterizing. You may find a small panel held in place with a couple of screws. Or maybe you'll have to pull a drawer or two from a cabinet. On my Cougar, if you stick your head into a kitchen cupboard and then look to the left, the whole thing is there under a shelf. Even if you have the remote bypass, there is most likely still good access to the back side to get at the temp sensors, etc. It is highly unlikely that the heater would have to be pulled to change out the electric element.

As I have encouraged others with the exact same issue, you've got to be aggressive and super inquisitive to find the access, but it is there.
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:59 AM   #8
Bushman512000
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water heater

I did a repair on a Fleetwood Motor home one time the water heater had a door under the floor.Never seen one there before but do not remember the name of the heater all that was wrong was over heat breakers werew triped.They are under there as well reset and Hot again about 4 screws on the door..but rusty from road grime...Bushman ...maby some trailers have the same...Think??
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Old 12-27-2012, 12:06 PM   #9
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F&JE, I'm not sure what manual you have but the service manual is available HERE. The explanation below is from that manual describing the location of the parts you are looking for.


In 2003, Atwood relocated the Switch, Thermostat and ECO that was installed on the
back of combination 6 and 10 gallon Gas/Electric Water Heaters. A double switch is
now located inside the RV for convenience and a joint ECO and T-Stat is located on
the gas side of the water heater. This leaves only the relay and heating element on the
backside of the water heater.
You may have to remove a panel from one of your cabinets to gain access to the rear of the water heater. I hope this helps, Hank
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Old 12-27-2012, 12:58 PM   #10
F&JE
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Steve, thank you for kicking my mind in gear. When you mentioned the water heater bypass I thought of where I had just been sticking my hand in to turn a valve to bypass the heater. I removed that panel completely and there behold is the back of the heater and I can see where the element is found. Let me explain that I am the female half of this pair and I wanted to do all the searching for information so I could get hubby to do the job. This form has been so helpful and saved many $$$$ by learning how to do the jobs ourselves. It taught me how to restring day/night shades. Thanks for all your help.
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