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Old 04-15-2021, 03:13 AM   #1
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If it isn't one thing... now it's the tankless H2O heater

As we have been dewinterizing this week and checking all the systems prior to hitting the road soon, we noticed an unexplainable noise that seems to come from the tankless Girard H2O heater in our Axis.

This cropped up after DH had bleached, flushed, emptied and refilled the fresh water tank. He had run water, including hot water; which worked fine. He had also tested that propane systems were operational and then shut propane back off.

At several random moments while we were just sitting in the coach discussing next steps, the heater seemed to kick in with a soft hum; almost like the noise of a a small rather quiet fan. Of course, the heater has no fan. This happened 2 or 3 times with no obvious cause. DH tried to turn water heater's power switch off, but it would not seem to shut off. IIRC this has also happened in the past a few times.

Has anyone else experienced this and/or do you know what is going on?

What do we need to do to fix it? I assume it is drawing from the coach battery if the power is on. (We have a solar panel so the battery does stay pretty well charged, but no point in have some unnecessary phantom draw.)

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Old 04-15-2021, 11:22 AM   #2
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Is it possible you are hearing the converter fan or if installed an inverter fan kicking on and off?
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Old 04-15-2021, 11:45 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by EA37TS View Post
Is it possible you are hearing the converter fan or if installed an inverter fan kicking on and off?
The battery level indicator is located in the bathroom, as is the H2O heater control, so it's possible I guess. The sound doesn't happen regularly or often.

Where might that fan be located?

We do have a solar panel, but I'm not sure exactly how the wiring runs. The rig was wired "solar ready" when we bought it so we just had the dealer install a solar panel right away since we planned to do some remote/dry camping. Honestly, I'm still trying to sort out all the converter/inverter stuff; a bit Greek to me. (Even our son who is now an engineer says electrical was the one part of his schooling that he hated. So he's not much help either.)

The sound is coming from right in the vicinity of the H2O heater control panel. It also just doesn't seem right that the heater does not turn off when DH pushes the power button on that control panel.
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Old 04-15-2021, 11:51 AM   #4
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If you are plugged into shorepower: I think that Dave is right.
The converter/charger might be running it's fan; as it keeps your batteries charged up.
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Old 04-15-2021, 12:26 PM   #5
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Here is another explanation:

The Girard has a low temperature freeze protection feature. Even though the inside control panel may be off, if it gets below 38 as I recall the burner lights for about 30 seconds to keep the water coil inside. With the propane off it tries to light, making the sound you hear.

The solution is to turn the outside on/off switch to off. That shuts off all power to the water heater. Open the outside cover and that switch is on the left. Or you can turn the main coach battery on/off switch to off.

David
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Old 04-15-2021, 12:39 PM   #6
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If it isn't one thing... now it's the tankless H2O heater

^^^ Exactly what he said. Execept you don’t want to switch the power off if there are any chances of freezing temps.... unless younplan to re-winterize.

And.... you should have had the power off on the outdoor unit after winterizing. Otherwise the freeze protection would try to run constantly if you live in cold temps.

A dealer once winterized another coach I had and forgot to do this. They didn't out the Use / Store switch into the Store position during the winter when they had it and I had solar installed. So the blower motor ran most of the winter when temps dropped into te 30's and was shot in the spring when I got it home and I de-winterized it.
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Old 04-15-2021, 01:29 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Bob Denman View Post
If you are plugged into shorepower: I think that Dave is right.
The converter/charger might be running it's fan; as it keeps your batteries charged up.
We were not plugged into shore power when this was happening. The coach batteries were fully charged at the time though.
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Old 04-15-2021, 01:39 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by DavidEM View Post
Here is another explanation:

The Girard has a low temperature freeze protection feature. Even though the inside control panel may be off, if it gets below 38 as I recall the burner lights for about 30 seconds to keep the water coil inside. With the propane off it tries to light, making the sound you hear.

The solution is to turn the outside on/off switch to off. That shuts off all power to the water heater. Open the outside cover and that switch is on the left. Or you can turn the main coach battery on/off switch to off.

David
Now this could make a LOT of sense! It was relatively cold, temps in the mid 30s but those little white flakes dropping out of the sky off and on. Yes, it did seem like the unit was trying to kick in but couldn't. I remember asking DH if propane was on or off and he said it was off.

I'm a bit confused about the "outside" on/off switch. Is there a second switch we haven't learned about yet? The power on/off that DH was pushing is located on a panel inside the coach, in the bathroom.

Thanks so much for adding valuable info to our knowledge bank.
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Old 04-15-2021, 02:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RVwife View Post
We were not plugged into shore power when this was happening. The coach batteries were fully charged a the time though.
Since that's the case: DavidEM is your next best choice.
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Old 04-15-2021, 02:11 PM   #10
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^^^ Exactly what he said. Execept you don’t want to switch the power off if there are any chances of freezing temps.... unless younplan to re-winterize.

And.... you should have had the power off on the outdoor unit after winterizing. Otherwise the freeze protection would try to run constantly if you live in cold temps.

A dealer once winterized another coach I had and forgot to do this. The blower motor ran most if the winter and was shot in the spring after I de-winterized it.
Yes, we do live in northern Michigan, land of big snow and long, cold winter (although this one was thankfully very mild). Forecast for the next week doesn't call for anything below freezing so hopefully we'll be OK. Then we'll be heading "south" on our trip (250 miles worth of Michigan before we hit the state line and then to Indiana & Illinois. That's south by our local standard.) If need be, we can plug into shore power easily here on the farm to keep freeze protection active.

Yes, power was all off while the rig was winterized and stored. We have to look further into the outdoor part. Maybe DH is aware and has taken care of it automatically without saying anything to me. I may be the ignorant one.

Thanks for your insights and contribution to our knowledge bank. We're taking lots of notes of all the generous help we are receiving on this forum.
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Old 04-15-2021, 02:14 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by RVwife View Post
Yes, we do live in northern Michigan, land of big snow and long, cold winter (although this one was thankfully very mild). Forecast for the next week doesn't call for anything below freezing so hopefully we'll be OK. Then we'll be heading "south" on our trip (250 miles worth of Michigan before we hit the state line and then to Indiana & Illinois. That's south by our local standard.) If need be, we can plug into shore power easily here on the farm to keep freeze protection active.

Yes, power was all off while the rig was winterized and stored. We have to look further into the outdoor part. Maybe DH is aware and has taken care of it automatically without saying anything to me. I may be the ignorant one.

Thanks for your insights and contribution to our knowledge bank. We're taking lots of notes of all the generous help we are receiving on this forum.
The Girard runs on 12V and not shore power. If you had your Use / Store switch in the Store position, this will also shut off power to the Girard Tankless and you were fine. Just be aware that if you get temps down to freezing levels, you want the power onto the tankless so it heats up and prevents freezing and bursting the copper tubing in the unit.
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Old 04-15-2021, 03:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RVwife View Post
Now this could make a LOT of sense! It was relatively cold, temps in the mid 30s but those little white flakes dropping out of the sky off and on. Yes, it did seem like the unit was trying to kick in but couldn't. I remember asking DH if propane was on or off and he said it was off.

I'm a bit confused about the "outside" on/off switch. Is there a second switch we haven't learned about yet? The power on/off that DH was pushing is located on a panel inside the coach, in the bathroom.

Thanks so much for adding valuable info to our knowledge bank.
Go outside and about midway down on the passenger side you will see a hatch with a vent and a slide latch. Open the hatch and you will see an on off switch. It is labeled I for on and O for off. Turn it off and see if your problems persist. This switch kills all DC power to the Girard. The inside control panel does not.

David
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Old 04-16-2021, 10:45 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by DavidEM View Post
Go outside and about midway down on the passenger side you will see a hatch with a vent and a slide latch. Open the hatch and you will see an on off switch. It is labeled I for on and O for off. Turn it off and see if your problems persist. This switch kills all DC power to the Girard. The inside control panel does not.

David
Hmmm, the set up on your rig may be different from ours (we have a 2018 Axis 25.3). I checked the passenger side for that vent & latch you are referencing. We don't seem to have that. On our passenger side are 2 speakers (round and black), a small square cover (also black) that is the cover for an electric outlet and then below and slightly to the left is an about 6 inch spare door/cover that is the access to the exterior low pressure propane hookup that we sometimes connect a grill too. There is, of course, also the big hatch for the exterior TV and the basement storage compartments. That is all we have on our passenger side.

Any other ideas? I'll double check but don't think we have any hatch of that nature on the driver side either. Would that switch be inside a basement somewhere? We haven't noticed it, but that isn't to say it may not be hiding away and we overlooked it.

Would you have a photo of the hatch door & location? (Even just a link from some random online sales photo is fine.)
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Old 04-16-2021, 11:08 PM   #14
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Well lo and behold, do I feel a bit stupid. How can one so easily overlook something so obvious?

We do have that little hatch and the switch is quite visible once I opened it. Our hatch is on the driver side, but there is no mistaking it. I think we'll "explore" further tomorrow when we have time and are planing to be doing a few other maintenance items.

thanks so much.
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Old 04-21-2021, 08:42 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RVwife View Post
As we have been dewinterizing this week and checking all the systems prior to hitting the road soon, we noticed an unexplainable noise that seems to come from the tankless Girard H2O heater in our Axis.

This cropped up after DH had bleached, flushed, emptied and refilled the fresh water tank. He had run water, including hot water; which worked fine. He had also tested that propane systems were operational and then shut propane back off.

At several random moments while we were just sitting in the coach discussing next steps, the heater seemed to kick in with a soft hum; almost like the noise of a a small rather quiet fan. Of course, the heater has no fan. This happened 2 or 3 times with no obvious cause. DH tried to turn water heater's power switch off, but it would not seem to shut off. IIRC this has also happened in the past a few times.

Has anyone else experienced this and/or do you know what is going on?

What do we need to do to fix it? I assume it is drawing from the coach battery if the power is on. (We have a solar panel so the battery does stay pretty well charged, but no point in have some unnecessary phantom draw.)

If it was around 40 degrees it will come on automatically to prevent freezing. Does not matter what the inside control is set to. To stop that you have to turn off the switch in the unit that is outside behind the cover. Any time you winterize be sure that outside switch is off.


Well I should have read on. Others have already answered it. I personally don't attempt to drain the my heater. I blow out the whole unit with low pressure air then run antifreeze though the whole system hot and cold and heater. Only takes 1 1/2 gallons of antifreeze to do it . I then turn off gas at the tank and also the switch outside on the heater
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