Atwood Water Heater Manual Reset & Troubleshooting Guide-Step By Step

Atwood is a widely accepted manufacturer that makes gas & electric combination water heaters for RV. The best part about the Atwood water heater is its safety mechanism. This feature cuts off the electricity if the heater gets too hot or senses a power surge. 

Then, you need to reset it to operate the water heater again. And that’s a real pain in your neck. Right? 

Today, we will walk you through this Atwood Water Heater Manual Reset guide and let you know how to reset your RV water heater easily. The most interesting fact is that we won’t limit this guide on resetting the heater. We will also break down RV water heater troubleshooting tips like:

  • Why Atwood Water Heater Has No Gas
  • Why Atwood Heater Won’t Light or Stay Lit
  • Atwood Water Heater Not Working On Electric or Gas 
  • Why Heater Has No Spark On the Electrodes
  • Burner Flame or Sooting
  • Pilot Outage When You Release the Knob or Button
  • Pilot outage
  • Temperature issues
  • Smoking, or soothing issues  

So, take a cup of coffee and dive deeper into this article. 

Atwood Water Heater Manual Reset-Step by Step

Follow the below steps to reset your Atwood water heater with ease:

  • First off, make sure you turn the unit off.
  • Use a socket wrench and pull out the nuts by holding the thermostat junction box cover to the back and remove the cover.
  • Search for your rv water heater reset button that is in red or white color. You can find the red button close to the circuit board. Look the picture to find out the reset button.
rv water heater reset button
  • Use your finger and push the reset button until you hear the click. The top of the reset button will remain flush with the side of your RV gas water heater.
  • Return the junction box cover to its place and screw it with nuts. 
  • Finally, turn on your water heater. And it’s all to reset your rv water heater.

Atwood Water Heater Troubleshooting Manual

Your Atwood water heater will start malfunctioning over time due to prolonged use and poor maintenance. These will bring several issues like the main burner won’t ignite or stay lit, pilot outage, no hot water, smoking or soothing, no gas, not working on gas or electricity, no spark on electrodes, and so on. 

In this chapter, we will reveal the reasons behind these heater problems with their simple solutions which is also applicable for Atwood gc10a-4e troubleshooting as well. Here is the Atwood water heater troubleshooting guide for you:

1. Heater Has No Gas

Your Atwood water heater may lockout if there is no gas flow. Here are some potential reasons behind this issue. (If you are struggling with lockout issues, you can read our guide on how to deal with the Atwood furnace ignition lockout fault)

  • An issue with the solenoids on the gas valve
  • Clogged orifice or main burner tube
  • Loose or bad wire connect on E.C.O, solenoid valve, or wiring harness


Fix those issues by following the steps below:

  • Replace the faulty solenoid valve with a new one. 
  • Clean both the orifice and the burner tube with an air compressor or an attachment brush.
  • Secure wire connections on E.C.O, solenoid valve, and wiring harness.

2. Atwood Water Heater Won’t Stay Lit/Keeps Shutting Off

Sometimes, you may find your RV water heater fires up and then goes out. This shutting-off issue happens for the following reasons.

  • A bad thermocouple
  • Defective control board
  • Defective or issues with pilot assembly
  • A faulty gas valve/poor gas supply


To light up your water heater again, go ahead with the following steps.

  • Replace the existing thermocouple with a new one
  • Change the pilot assembly
  • Get a new gas valve and ensure enough gas flow
  • And if the control board is defective, then replace it

Note: Changing the gas valve will require a lot of elbow grease and you should have electrical knowledge. You can check out a youtube tutorial to learn how to change the gas valve.

3. Atwood Water Heater Not Working On Gas or Electric

If your Atwood water heater doesn’t give you hot water, we bet your heater has the following issues.

  • A failed thermostat
  • A defective control board


For an easy fix of those problems, do these:

  • Change the thermostat
  • Get a new control board

Note: Replacing the control board is not a piece of cake if you don’t know how to change the control board. Regarding this, you can watch this tutorial to replace the control board.

4. RV Water Heater Has No Spark On the Electrodes

The following reasons may be responsible for not having any spark on electrodes. 

  • Electrodes may connect with the main burner loosely
  • Loose wire connection in electrodes porcelain
  • Build deposits on electrodes
  • Faulty circuit board


To fix those issues, do these:

  • Fasten the electrodes to the main burner
  • Replace the electrodes
  • Remove the deposits from the electrodes
  • Change the circuit board

5. Erratic Burner Flame or Sooting

The following reasons are responsible for soot build-up:

  • A low or little amount of gas pressure
  • Imperfect or faulty main burner alignment
  • Burner orifice gets clogged
  • Poor gas supply
  • U-tube gets blocked
  • Improper air adjustment


Now, let’s learn how to fix soot build-up in your RV water heater following the below steps.

  • Make sure you position the inlet pressure at least 11″ W.C with two or more gas appliances running to increase the gas pressure. 
  • Adjust the valve and align the main burner flawlessly
  • Clean the burner orifice with an air compressor or a brush. Ensure you don’t enlarge the orifice when cleaning. 
  • Change the existing gas supply with new one
  • Adjust the air shutter of your main burner in a way so that it remains 1/4 way open. 

6. Pilot Outage

If you notice your heater pilot outage and your RV water heater not working, the following are the probable culprits:

  • You didn’t set the gas pressure correctly.
  • The thermocouple and gas control magnet of your water may be weak.
  • You fail to adjust the air properly.
  • The water heater pilot flame gets clogged.
  • The ‘U’ tube of your heater may get blocked.


  • Make sure you set the pressure to a minimum of 11˝ W.C. with two or more appliances running.
  • Replace both thermocouple and gas control magnet.
  • Adjust the air shutter 1/4 open (approximately).
  • Clean the water heater pilot light or replace it if required.
  • Clean the U tube and remove the block.

7. Pilot Outage When You Release the Knob or Button

Sometimes, you may find the pilot outage after releasing the heater knob or the button. The main causes behind this problem are:

  • The thermocouple is not hot enough.
  • Loose thermocouple
  • Defective gas control
  • Weak thermocouple


  • Before releasing the thermocouple, hold it for 30 seconds.
  • Tighten the connection enough.
  • Replace the gas control
  • Change the thermocouple

8. Heater Main Burner Will Not Ignite

When you find your heater pilot light works but the burner is not igniting, the following are reasons:

  • The main burner orifice may get blocked or clogged.
  • Defective gas control.
  • ‘U’ tube gets sealed by dirt.
  • There is a block in the main burner.


  • Clean the orifice or replace it if needed.
  • Change the faulty gas control panel into a new one.
  • Clean the U tube.
  • Remove blockage from the main burner.

9. Insufficient Water Temperature

The main reasons behind the insufficient water temperature are:

  • The temperature selector may not remain in its place.
  • You place the bypass levers improperly.
  • The burner gets clogged partially.
  • Improper air adjustment.


  • Reposition the temperature selector 
  • Position the bypass levers properly
  • Eliminate the blockage from the burner
  • Adjust the air shutter approximately 1/4 open

10. Smoking & Soothing

The causes of smoking ad soothing are:

  • Poor gas supply
  • You fail to set the gas pressure properly
  • Improper main burner alignment


  • It would be best if you change the gas supply.
  • Set the gas pressure to 11 (minimum).
  • Realign the main burner 


Is there a reset button on the Atwood water heater?

Yes, you can find the reset button near the heating element.

What causes a water heater reset button to trip?

A bad thermostat is a common reason that may cause your water heater reset button to trip. 

Why do water heaters fail?

The following reasons will be responsible for your water heaters failure:

  • Your RV water heaters become warm but not get hot.
  • There is a water leak.
  • You get only cold water
  • The heater makes an annoying noise

How can I tell if the thermostat is not working?

The below signs will tell you why your water heater thermostat is not working:

  • Non-responsive thermostat or the display gets switched off.
  • Switch on the heater or Ac does nothing

How do I know if my anode rod is bad?

The most apparent sign that your anode rod is bad is discolored or smelly hot water. Anode rod cannot protect hot water heater lining when it completely oxidizes. This can happen every five years.

How do you unstick a propane tank valve?

To unstick a propane tank valve you have to:

  • Turn off the whole system
  • Wait for a minute before opening your Atwood water heater tank valve
  • Turn the grill to the “LIGHT” position and try to light
  • Apply a bit of oil to the stem if the valve is stuck
  • Avoid using a wrench

What is the lifespan of a circuit breaker?

A circuit breaker can sustain for 30-40 years. This estimated life expectancy is the same for AFCI, GFCI, and standard breakers as well. And you can trust this estimation because it’s approved by CPSC (the consumer product safety commission) 

Can a thermostat go bad on a hot water heater?

Yes, a thermostat on a hot water heater can go bad. Here’s how you can know which thermostat has gone bad on a hot water heater:

  • If you turn the hot water tap and cold water runs out instead, it means the upper thermostat is damaged.
  • If you turn the hot water tap and hot water runs out, but becomes cold after a while, it means the lower thermostat is damaged.

What size is the drain valve on a water heater?

The drain valve on a water heater is usually 3/4 inch. This is the size of a standard water heater drain valve for a residential hot water heater. 

Can a hot water heater last 20 years?

Yes, a hot water heater lasts for 20 years though it depends on how you use it.


From this guide on Atwood Water Heater Reset Manual, you learned why you need to reset the heater and how you can do that. The reset button of this RV water heater is a safety mechanism. When it senses a power surge, the heather cuts off the electricity. 

Following the steps, we mentioned at the beginning of this guide, you can reset your electric water heater. 

Plus, we broke down the troubleshooting guides and provided you with easy solutions as well. As a result, now you can quickly figure out any specific issues with your RV water heater and fix those. 

If the above guidelines fail to solve your problem and you can’t reset the water heater, we recommend hiring a certified technician

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2 thoughts on “Atwood Water Heater Manual Reset & Troubleshooting Guide-Step By Step”

    • Hi Anne

      RV electric water heater gets power from electricity and Propane water heater’s power source is propane to heat water. And in the case of RV gas & electric combination water heater, you can use any one power source, gas or electricity, or both electricity and gas at the same time to heat your water.



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