Atwood Water Heater Review

Features, benefits, problems and how to repair

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Atwood water heater article reviews RV heaters, features and the main advantages, which increase the efficiency, provide quick water heating and allow flexible installation in any type of the recreation vehicles. Also, the article guides you through the main Atwood parts and shows you how to troubleshoot your RV water heater.

Every Atwood RV water heater is certified by the Canadian Standards Association for installation in mobile homes, and they comply with local codes and American ANSI standard as well. Such a compliance and the advanced features, ensure that these RV heating units are recognized for the quality, reliability and performance.


Atwood also offers a decent RV accessory line such as the door mounting system, adjustable thermostat, thermal cut off kit, drain plugs, so you can be fully equipped for worry-free water heating when being mobile, traveling, camping or even repairing.

Thanks to its small and compact design and the above accessories, Atwood water heaters save space, reduce visible portion and provide more integrated and attractive appearance, while supplying you with the hot water when away from home.

Models | Features | Advantages

Standard series

You can buy an Atwood water heater with one of the three lighting options, all of them with advantages and disadvantages:

  • Atwood RV water heater with the electronic ignition lights the heater by using the simple switch, which is located inside the RV, for convenient use.
  • Pilot re-light ignition - has to be manually lit while it automatically re-lights when extinguished by the wind.
  • Pilot ignition - has to be manually lit also, when the destination has been reached. It takes half an hour to have the water hot.

There are two tank sizes (capacity) you can choose from; 6-gallon and 10-gallon and the heaters are using the gas burner with the gas input of 8,800 BTU and 10,000 BTU and if combined with the electric heating, there is 1400 watt heating element installed.

Atwood RV water heater is mainly using propane gas or LP for heating. They can also operate from an electric source, off an electrical hook-up or a generator, with the RV's engine-cooling system and combining two fuel sources.

Great advantage is when the water heater is using the heat from the engine, since this is the "anyway" or wasted energy which heats the water in this case. Most of the time your hot water is ready when you arrive at the destination, plus you save on energy/propane.

emergency plumber


Gallons LP Gas Electr. Heat Eng. Btu Recovery GPH
GCH6A-10E 6 X X X 8,800 11,6 / 6,2
GC6AA-10E 6 X X 8,800 11,6 / 6,2
GC10A-4E 10 X X 10,000 13,5 / 6,2
GCH10A-4E 10 X X X 10,000 13,5 / 6,2
G6A-8E 6 X 8,800 11,6
GH6-8E 6 X X 8,800 11,6
G10-3E 10 X 10,000 13,5
G6A-7P 6 X 8.800 11,6
G6A-7 6 X 8,800 11,6
GC6AA-8 6 X X 8,800 / 6,2
G10-2 10 X 10,000 13,5
GC10A-2 10 X X 10,000 13,5 / 6,2

Atwood XT Series

The advanced models from Atwood XT series are using the Exothermal Technology to increase the hot water output but keeping the heater's size almost the same as any other Atwood water heater. The new models do not require 120-v switch and the heating element can be powered by the 12-v relay.


Gallons LP Gas Electr Heat Eng. Btu Recovery GPH
G9EXT 6 X 8,800 11.5
GE9EXT 6 X X 8,800 11.5 / 6.2
GEH9EXT 6 X X X 8,800 11.5 / 6.2
G16EXT 10 X 10,000 13.5
GE16EXT 10 X X 10,000 13.5 / 6.2
GEH16EXT 10 X X X 10,000 13.5 / 6.2


  • Efficient and versatile since it uses LP gas, electrical and engine's heat.

  • Every unit utilizes the aluminum clad tank, which makes it lighter than the other manufacturers which are using steel tank, and the anode rod is not needed anymore as there is no danger of corrosion.
  • Lightweight - 24 pounds is the weight of the 10-gallon water heater.

  • Most of the components are accessible through the exterior door so the troubleshooting and the repair can be done from the outside which also reduces the service time.

  • Every Atwood water heater is equipped with the multiple features for additional protection. This includes TPR valve, thermostat and high temperature limit switch.

  • With the flush mount into the RV sidewall, without affecting the exterior of your RV.
  • Atwood water heater from XT series provide 50% more hot water.

  • Atwood heater can accommodate most of the RV vehicles without any alteration on the vehicle.

Atwood water heaters are ease to service. Majority of the RV water heater parts are accessible from the exterior, saving you time for troubleshooting and repairs, no need for entering the RV by the service technician.

Even with great accessibility, problems can arise if the heater is not protected or maintained properly. This is why Atwood hot water heaters have a multiple protection system consisted of high temperature limit switch, thermostat and TPR or temperature-pressure relief valve.

Note: For gas RV water heaters, the fresh air for combustion has to be provided from outside and combustion products to be vented out RV.


Heaters with the electronic ignition are more expensive than units with the pilot light. Price also depends on the gas BTU input and capacity, and it can range from 400$ to 580$.

Atwood water heater with a pilot light is cheaper and its price range is from $290 to $430. You can buy them from one of many online stores that are dealing with camping products, RV stores,, Google...

For Atwood RV water heater troubleshooting, problems and repairs, including parts, we recommend using this repair guide and manufacturers manual, or call Atwood technical support for details.

(Photo courtesy of Atwood)