Water Heater Thermostat Problem
by Ed (Stevensville, MD)
Question: I have a 2011 Rockwood Signature Ultra-Lite. I recently fired up the hot water heater after having it winterized. The hot water heater continues to run and water is coming out the overflow valve. Does anyone know if replacing a thermostat on a water heater is a big job?
Answer: Unfortunately you did not provide the name or model number of your hot water heater. However we can offer some general assistance and sources of information.
If you are referring to the Temperature Pressure Relief valve (TPR) in your water heater, then you may have a problem that needs to be addressed immediately. The major concern is that if the TPR fails in the closed position, pressure in the tank could reach a dangerous level and cause the tank to explode.
If as you describe, the TPR valve has failed in the open position then the repair is fairly simple. First try to operate the relief valve by jiggling the lever up and down a number of times. This may resolve the situation by breaking loose whatever is keeping it from closing.
If this does not resolve the situation then you will have to replace the TPR. The biggest difficulty could be in removing the valve from the tank as the TPR valve tends to freeze onto the threads of the tank. Make sure to replace the TPR with one that is the exact replacement, and wrap teflon tape around the threads of the valve.
All water heaters should be maintained on a yearly basis. Here is a link to an Atwood installation/service and owners manual. Use this as a good source for information on maintaining your hot water heater.
Here is a link to a Suburban water heater service and maintenance manual. This one has an excellent troubleshooting guide, but is designed for technicians who have a working knowledge of RV water heaters.
Good luck with your problem and please let us know how you resolved it.
Other input is welcome!