Last week Aimee, Kaylee and I were able to tour the Dometic Facility that manufactures the Atwood Water Heaters, Furnaces and Stoves in Tennessee. I really thought that I knew my water heaters but boy was I mistaken! Our guide was a wealth of knowledge on the manufacturing and also tidbits of information that have come from his tenure of working with these products.
First of all let me just say that Dometic keeps their facilities in top notch condition and the testing that goes into every unit is mind boggling. Quality Control is top notch! When you purchase an Atwood Water Heater you can rest assured that it was working when it left their facility!
One of the most important things to know about your Atwood Water Heater is that the Gas Burner Tube is not a handle. You cannot carry your Water Heater around with it. It could cause damage.
The most important tidbit to know about your Atwood Water Heater is that it can be one of the most dangerous appliances in your RV. There is a pressure relief valve in the right hand corner, this releases the pressure that can build up in your water heater. If it goes over a certain PSI this valve will be your life saver. If this valve is tampered with in anyway it could turn your water heater into a ticking time bomb. It literally could explode. If water starts spewing out of this valve, unplug it immediately and call a plumber.
Some of the new Atwood Water Heaters have what is called a heat exchanger, in the picture below you see the extra U shaped tube at the top. This will allow the water to continue to heat as you are driving. All new Atwood tanks come with this feature, but you can only use it if you have a Motorhome as it hooks to your existing radiator system. If you order a new tank only and you cannot or do not want to use the heat exchanger than it is an option you just do not hook up. When you see a model with the EXT in it, that is what the EXT stands for.
Lastly when you are installing your new Atwood Water Heater, pay close attention to the instructions, we get a few calls saying my water heater will not fit in the existing hole like you promised, it is not going in smoothly. You have to bend back the metal lip that goes all the way around the box. This is part of the reinforcement that Atwood has designed. The silver angles that are hanging are also there to reinforce your corners. They are there for a reason, use them.
I hope that you are a bit more knowledgeable about Atwood Water Heaters and Water Heaters in general! I know I got a big education and remember if you have any questions please do not hesitate to call us at 765-575-8496. If we do not know the answer we sure will try our best to get them for you!