Sunday night the water heater switch light in our bathroom came on and stayed on. We flipped it off and back on, heard a series of clicks outside, but the water heater wouldn’t light. Deke went outside (after a quick search on of course), opened the water heater access door, and it lit instantly! “Must be a lack of air” he thought and adjusted the air intake valve and cleaned all the crud and spiderwebs. Everything lit perfectly – until he closed the door again… it really seemed as if closing the access door cut out all the oxygen to the water heater. We were both stumped – what else can we try?

We’ve seen the big Convenience RV Mobile Repair guy here at the park quite a bit, so we thought we’d give him a call. Taking the Airstream to the dealer would require taking a day off work and a round trip drive of 66 miles, so why not.

I called Steve — his rate is $60 to come out to the park, then $100/hr. Not a bad gig if you can get it I guess. We guessed the fix would be pretty quick, and less expensive than taking the Airstream in.

Mobile RV Repair

The guard dog in action.

Lucy, ever vigilant, made sure things were ok as Steve took apart and cleaned everything, and eventually found the problem.

Mobile RV Repair

Steve taught me knee pads are essential to RV repair.


Turns out the wire leading to the ignitor was defective!

Mobile RV Repair

Atwood Water Heater Ignitor

There was a tiny cut in the plastic of the wire that touched the metal of the access door when closed. This caused a short in the line and didn’t allow the ignitor to spark the propane feed. Instead, it was sparking the door. Luckily we found this when we did. Who knows how long it was defective – or how bad it could have been if would have let it go too long.  A new wire was $16, so for a total of around $187 it was fixed. Yes, this is steep, but you pay for the convenience!

Mobile RV Repair

Atwood Water Heater Defective Ignitor wire