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Atwood G6A-8E Manual

This water heater design has been certified by the Canadian Standards Association for installation in recreation vehicles. This water heater is not for use in marine applications.

Atwood G6A-8E in stock and ready to ship



Service Calls & Questions

Location and phone numbers of qualified Service Centers can be found at our website http://www.atwoodmobile.com or call 574-264-2131 to have a Service Center List mailed.


Safety Alert Symbols

Safety Symbols alerting you to potential personal safety hazards. Obey all safety messages following these symbols.

WARNING                            CAUTION

Avoid possible injury              Avoid possible injury

Or death                                  And/or property damage


Installation and service must be performed by a qualified Service technician, Service center, OEM, or Gas Supplier.





If the information in this manual is not followed exactly, a fire or explosion may result causing property damage, personal injury or loss of life.


Do not store or use gasoline or other flammable vapors and liquids in the vicinity of this or any other appliance.


Evacuate ALL persons from vehicle.

Shut off gas supply at gas container or source.

DO NOT touch any electrical switch, or use any phone or radio in vehicle.

DO NOT start vehicle’s engine or electric generator.

Contact nearest gas supplier or qualified Service Technician for repairs.

DO NOT turn on gas supply until gas leak(s) has been repaired.


Critical Installation Warnings

Install in recreation vehicles only. RV’s are recreation vehicles designed as temporary living quarters for recreation, camping, or travel use having their own power or towed by another vehicle.

All combustion air must be supplied from outside the RV, and all products of combustion must be vented to outside the RV.

DO NOT vent water heater to an outside enclosed porch area.

Protect building materials from flue gas exhaust.

Install water heater on an exterior wall, with access door opening to outdoors.

DO NOT modify water heater in any way.

DO NOT HI_POT water hearer unless electronic ignition system (circuit board) has been disconnected.

DO NOT use battery charger to supply power to water heater even when testing.


USA And Canada – Follow All State and Local Codes – In the Absence of Local Codes or Regulation, Refer to Current Standards of:

Recreation Vehicles ANSI A119.2/NFPA 501C.

National Fuel Gas Code ANSI Z223.1 and/or CAN/CGA B149 Installation Codes

Federal Mobile Home Construction & Safety Standard, Title 24 CFR, part 3280, or when this Standard is not applicable, the Standard for Manufactured Home Installations (Manufactured Home Sites, Communities, and Set-Ups), ANSI A255.1 and/or CAN/CSA-Z240 MH Series, Mobile Homes.

National Electric Code ANSI/NFPA No. 70 and/or CSA C22.1

Park Trailers A119.5

CSA standard Z240 RV Series, Recreational Vehicle.



Below is the most common type of installation for the water heater. However, there are other approved methods such as baggage compartment (refer to MPD 90093) and flush mounting installations (refer to MPD 93948). Consult your Field Auditor, Account Manager, or the Atwood Service Department if you have additional questions.


  1. Locate water heater on floor of coach before erecting side walls. The water tank must be permanently supported at the same level as the bottom of the sidewall cutout (by the floor or a raised floor).
  2. To install water heater on carpeting, you must install appliance on a metal or wood panel that extends at least three inches beyond the full width and depth or appliance.
  3. If water heater is installed where leakage of connections or tank will damage adjacent area, install a drain pan which can be drained to our side of coach, under water heater.
  4. Connect both ½” NPT water lines – hot water outlet female (FIG 1-A) and cold water female inlet (FIG 1-B) and 3/8” flared LP gas lines (Fig 1-C).
    1. Allow flexibility in water and gas lines so you can pull unit forward through wall one inch past skin (FIG 2.
    2. Seal gas line entrance opening by sliding grommet (FIG 1-D) onto 3/8” tubing (FIG 1-F) before flaring tube (FIG 1-F). Pull gas line and grommet through opening in housing (FIG 1-C). Connect flare fitting (FIG 1-E) and press grommet into opening. If gas line tubing is already flared, cut grommet on once side. Place split grommet over gas line and press it into opening.
    3. Always use pipe lubricant on threads when connecting hot and cold water couplings. A suitable plastic fitting is recommended.

5. Erect side walls and cut opening. See chart and FIG 2-A & B. Frame with 2x2 lumber (or equivalent).


CUTOUT                     Cut out Dimension                Depth

Capacity                      A                                 B                                 C


4-6                               12-5/8”                        16-1/4”                        17-5/8”           

10                                15-3/4”                        16-1/4”                        20-5/8”



Sides: 0”                      Top: 0”

Back: 0”                      Bottom:  0”


  1. Bend all flanges 90 degrees along scored lines (FIG 3).
  2. To prevent water leaks caulk thoroughly around opening, including bend slots (FIG 3-A). Butyl Tape (1”x1/8”) may be substituted for caulking material.
  3. Push unit against caulking, secure 4-corner brackets FIG 4-A to coach with No. 8 – ¾” round head screws (not furnished) or equivalent. Complete the installation by inserting the same type of #8 screws in the holes provided around the flange of the water heater housing. Check all gaskets, they must adhere to the pan creating an air tight seal.
  4. Attach access door (FIG 5).
    1. Snap hinge pin (FIG 5-A) into clip (FIG 5-B).
    2. Slide cover (FIG 5-C) onto hinge pin.
    3. Slide hinge pin into cover, snapping into clip at same time (FIG 5-D).

NOTE: To remove hinge pin, support access cover and apply force to corner of hinge pin as shown FIG 5-E.

  1. Disconnect unit and its individual shut-off valve from gas supply line during any pressure testing of system in excess of ½ PSIG (3.4 kPa, 14” water column [W.C.]). DO NOT set inlet pressure higher than maximum indicated on rating plate of gas valve (13” W.C.). Isolate unit from gas supply line by closing its individual manual shutoff valve during any pressure testing < ½ psig.



Do not use matches, candles or other sources of ignition when checking for gas leaks.

  1. Turn on gas and check water heater and all connections for gas leaks with leak detecting solution.
  2. Fill water heater tank, check all connections for water leaks (FIG 1- A&B).





Valve is not serviceable, it must be replaced.

Tampering with valve will result in scalding injury.

Tampering with valve will void warranty.





DO NOT place a valve, plug or reducing coupling on outlet part of pressure temperature relief valve.


THIS VALVE IS A SAFETY COMPONENT AND MUST NOT BE REMOVED FOR ANY REASON OTHER THAN REPLACEMENT. This water heater is equipped with a temperature and pressure relief valve that complies with standard for Relief Valves and Automatic Gas Shutoff Devices for Hot Water Systems, ANSI Z21.22.

If you use a discharge line, do not use a reducing coupling or other restriction smaller than outlet of relief valve. Allow complete drainage of both valve and line.



DO NOT install anything less than a combination temperature-pressure relief valve certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory that maintains periodic inspection of product of listed equipment or materials, as meeting requirements for Relief Valves and Automatic Gas Shutoff Devices for Hot Water Supply Systems, ANSE Z21.22. Valve must have a maximum set pressure not to exceed 150 psi.


Install valve into opening provided and marked for this purpose on water heater.


Installation must conform with local codes or in the absence of local codes, American National Standard for recreational Vehicles, ANSI A119.2/NFPA 50IC.


For external electrical source, ground this unit in accordance with National Electrical Code ANSI/NFPA70.


Your Atwood gas water heater is now ready for operation. Continue to HOW TO OPERATE YOUR WWATER HEATER.

Electronic Ignition continue to Electronic Ignition WIRING INSTRUCTIONS.

Pilot Relight continue to Pilot Relight WIRING INSTRUCTIONS.


For Heat Exchange continue –

  1. Push 5/8” dia. or 2 or 3 coolant system hose with SAE 053 A Type “E” clamp attached (FIG 6-E) onto heat exchanged tube as far as possible (FIG 6-B).
  2. Spread hose clamp and slide toward heat exchange unit past annular groove (FIG 6-C) and release.
  3. Continue to HOW TO OPERATE YOUR WATER HEATER and/or Electronic Ignition OPERATION.



This water heater is designed to operate with gas, electricity, or a combination of both.

Provide adequate clearance at rear of unit for service of water connections and operation of manually re-setable high temperature limit switch on combination gas/electric units.

  1. Follow GENERAL INSTALLATION instructions.

NOTE: All wiring must comply with applicable electrical codes.



When using Romex with a bare earth ground, take care to position ground wire so it does not contact the heating element terminals.


Use electrical metallic tubing, flexible, metal conduit, metal clad cable, or nonmetallic-sheathed cable with grounding conductor. Wire must have a capacity of 1500 watts or greater. The wiring method must conform to applicable sections of article 551 of National Electrical Code ANSI/NFPA 70.


  1. Refer to Wiring Diagram. Make 120 VAC electrical connections from junction box on back of unit.
    1. Connect hot lead to (1) Black.
    2. Connect common lead to (2) White.
    3. Connect ground wire from electrical service to (3) green ground lead in junction box 3. Place switch in “OFF” position.

When a cord and plug connection to the power supply are used on water heater, power chord must be UL listed as suitable for damp locations, hard or extra hard usage. It must be a flexible cord such as type S,SO,ST,STO,SJ,SJT,SJTO,HS, or HSO cord as described in National Electrical Code, ANSI/NFPA 70. The length of an external cord to water heater, measured to face of attachment plug, shall be no less than 2 feet not more than 6 feet. Supply cord must be a minimum of 14 AWG and attachment plug must be rated at 15 amps.




Label all wires before disconnecting when servicing controls.

Verify proper operation after servicing.


Operation using gas continue to HOW TO OPERATE YOUR WATER HEATER, electrically continue to COMBINATION Gas/Electric OPERATION.



  1. Install unit according to GENERAL INSTALLATION instructions.

NOTE: It is recommended unit be connected directly to a 12V DC battery or to filtered side of an AC/DC converter. Avoid connections to unfiltered side of an AC/DC converter whenever possible. Use a minimum of 18 gauge wire, UL and CSA listed.

Refer to WIRING DIAGRAM. Install remote switch in a convenient location. Position wall plate with letters up. Before making connections turn switch OFF. The switch is off when the button is depressed towards terminal see wiring diagram.

  1. Installing wires:
    1. blue lead to switch terminal (6) on indicator light of switch
    2. terminal (4) on indicator light of switch to negative battery terminal
    3. green lead to negative battery terminal
    4. brown lead on water heater to terminal (3) on switch
    5. terminal 2 on switch to positive battery terminal.



  1. Install unit according to GEWNERAL INSTALLATION instructions.
  2. Refer to Wiring Diagram. Use 18 gauge wire, UL/CSA listed.





DO NOT store or use gasoline or other flammable vapors and liquids in the vicinity of this or any other appliance.


Should overheating occur, or gas supply fail to shut off, turn OFF manual gas control valve to appliance, or turn gas OFF at the LP tank. On ELECTRONIC IGNITION MODEL turn operating switch to OFF position and remove red wire from left hand terminal of ECO switch or turn gas OFF at the LP tank.

Use with LP gas only.

Shut off gas appliances and pilot lights when refueling.

On PILOT RELIGHT MODELS, turn off the ignition module when refueling gasoline tanks or LP tanks.

Turn gas OFF at the LP tank when vehicle is in motion. This disables all gas appliances and pilot lights. Gas appliances must never be operated while vehicle is in motion. Unpredictable wind currents may be created which could cause flame reversal in the burner tube, which could result in fire damage. The thermal cut off fuse could also be unnecessarily activated resulting in a complete shutdown of the water heater requiring replacement of the thermal cut off. See maintenance of electroning ignition water heaters for further explanation of the thermal cut off.

LP tanks must be filled by a qualified gas supplier only.





Do not smoke or have any flame near an open faucet.


If water heater has not been used for more than two weeks, hydrogen gas may form in water line. Under these conditions to reduce the risk of injury, open hot water faucet for several minutes art kitchen sink before you use any electrical appliance connected to hot water system.

If hydrogen gas is present, you probably hear sounds like air escaping through the pipe as water begins to flow.




Do not tamper with pilot orifice.



Do not operate without water in tank.



  1. Turn gas control valve knob (FIG 7-B or FIG 8-B) to OFF position.
  2. Wait at least five minutes to allow accumulated gas in burner compartment to escape.
  3. Water heater may be equipped with a White Rodgers or Robertshaw Unitrol Control.



    1. Turn lighting control knob (FIG 7-B) to PILOT position and hold against stop while lighting pilot burner (FIG 9-D).
    2. Allow pilot to burn 30 seconds then release lighting control knob.
    3. Turn lighting control knob (FIG 7-B) to ON position.
    4. If pilot does not remain lit, repeat operation allowing longer period before releasing lighting control knob.
    5. Set temperature selection lever (FIG 7-A) at mark between warm and hot position.
    6. Close access door.


a.       Turn lighting control dial (FIG 8-B) to PILOT position.

b.      Depress and hold reset push button (FIG 8-A) while lighting pilor burner (FIG 9-D).

c.       Allow pilot to burn 30 seconds before releasing reset push button.

d.      If pilot does not remain lit, repeat operation allowing longer period before releasing reset push button.

e.       Turn lighting control dial (FIG 8-B) to ON position.

f.       Set temperature control dial (FIG 8-C) at mid-point position between warm and hot.

g.      Close access door.

  1. For complete shut down and before servicing, turn gas control knob (FIG 7-B or FIG 8-b) to OFF position When water heater is not in use set temperature control lever (White Rodgers) or dial (Robertshaw) to lowest possible position.







 Setting Temperature control dial at a a higher position will produce excessively hot water.


The temperature knob or lever is factory adjusted to its lowest dial setting. We recommend the mid-point position between warm and hot, as noted above. This will provide for energy efficient operation and sufficient hot water. Valves fro reducing point of use temperature by mixing cold and hot water are available. Consult a licensed plumber or local plumbing authority.


  1. To Adjust Main Burner (FIG 9):
    1. Loosen air shutter screw (FIG 9-A).
    2. Slide air shutter (FIG 9-B) to right until some yellow appears in main burner flame.
    3. Move air shutter (FIG 9-B) to left until yello9w disappears.
    4. Retighten air shutter screw (FIG 9-A).




  1. Refer to WIRING DIAGRAM. Place remote switch in ON position.
  2. If remote switch light stays on longer than 15 seconds, place remote switch in OFF position and wait 5 minutes.
  3. Repeat step one.
  4. For complete shut-down and before servicing:
    1. Place remote switch in OFF position.
    2. Remove red wire from left hand terminal of ECO switch (ECO to valve).
  5. If heater fails to operate due to high water temperature, a lockout condition occurs (indicator light on). After water cools, reset switch in OFF position for at least 30 seconds, then turn to ON position.
  6. If a lockout condition persists contact an Atwood Service Center.




  1. Turn the switch located on the spark module to the ON position.
  2. Read PILOT OPERATION instructions.
  3. For complete shut down, turn lighting control knob on thermostat and spark module switch to OFF position.




  1. For gas operation refer to Pilot, Pilot Relight, or Electronic Ignition OPERATION section (as applicable).
  2. For electrical operation use switch at the rear of water heater.
  3. Completely fill tank with water.
  4. Turn switch ON (FIG 11-B) (located at rear of water heater).

NOTE: Turning power on to heater without water covering heating element may burn out element and void warranty.

  1. Check for proper operation. Water temperature is set at 140 degrees F.
  2. If the manual reset high temperature limit switch should operate, reset switch (FIG 11-A) by depressing with pencil or other nonmetallic object. If still experiencing problems contact an authorized Atwood Service Center or Atwood Service Department.





Location and phone numbers of qualified Service Centers can be found at our website http://www.atwoodmobile.com or call 574-264-2131 to have a Service Center List mailed.




Shut off gas supply at LP container before disconnecting a gas line.

Keep control compartment clean and free of gasoline, combustible material, and flammable liquids and vapors.





DO NOT alter water heater, it will void warranty.

DO NOT USE aftermarket heating elements, they can lack critical safety controls.

Use of aftermarket heating elements can lead to an out of control heating of water tank and a catastrophic wet side explosion.


The use of any aftermarket heating element devices may also result in damage to components or water heater. Atwood’s written warranty states – “failure or damage resulting from any alteration to our water heater is the owner’s responsibility”. Any alteration, like the addition of an aftermarket heating element device, will void the warranty.



LP and Water system must be turned on.

Have gas pressure tested periodically. Should be set at 11 inches of water column with three appliances running.

Drain water heater at regular intervals (at least one time during the year).

Drain water hearer before storing RV for the winter or when the possibility of freezing exists.

Keep vent and combustion air grill clear of obstructions.

Periodically, compare flame of main and pilot burners with FIG 9 and main burner adjustments in HOW TO OPERATE YOUR WATER HEATER.

When water heater is not in use set temperature control lever (White Rodgers) or dial (Robertshaw) to lowest possible position. This will reduce the effects of low outdoor temperatures on calibration of temperature control mechanism.

Presence of soot indicates the need to adjust flue.



This water heater comes factory-equipped with a fused circuit-board, which will protect the circuit board from wiring shorts. If the fuse should activate, the water heater will not operate. Before replacing the fuse, check for a short external to the board. Once the short is corrected, replace the 2 amp fuse with a mini ATO style fuse. DO NOT install a fuse larger than 3 amps.

If the fuse is good and the unit is inoperative, check for excessively high voltage to the unit (more than 14 volts).

If the previous two steps did not solve the problem, check the thermal cut-off. The thermal cutoff is a device installed in the power supply line. This device will shut off electrical power and stop heater operation when activated. For example, if an obstruction within the flue tube should occur, such as described above in the Preventative maintenance section, the burner flame/heat may contact the cutoff. In order to restore power and proper operation of the water heater, the obstruction must be removed and the thermal cutoff must be replaced.



Spiders, mud wasps, and other insects can build nests in burner tube. This causes poor combustion, delayed ignition outside combustion tube. Listen for a change in burner sounds or in flame appearance from a hard blue flue flame to a soft lazy flame or one that is very yellow. These are indications of an obstruction in burner tube (FIG 9-C). Inspect and clean on a regular basis.

    1. Remove air shutter screw (FIG 9-A) and slide air shutter (FIG 9-B) down burner tube.
    2. Run a flexible wire brush down burner tube (FIG 9-C) until it is visible at end of burner tube.
    3. Vacuum burner where it enters combustion tube.
    4. Return air shutter to original position and replace screw.
    5. The orifice, burner tube and shutter must be aligned so that the shutter is not binding on the air tube.



  1. Check main burner orifice and pilot assembly for contamination (dirt, spider webs, etc.).
  2. Clean main burner tube with small brush.
  3. Main burner adjustment- open air shutter ¼ way.
  4. Low pilot flame. Check for contamination – if clean have the pilot orifice replaced.



  1. Check main burner orifice.
  2. Clean and adjust main burner.
  3. Main burner and valve manifold must align with each other.
  4. Check electrode for cracked porcelain.
  5. Check electrode for proper gap – 1/8” between electrode and ground.
  6. If module board functions intermittently, remove board and clean terminal block with pencil eraser.





Turn off water heater and allow time for water to cool before removing drain plug to flush tank.



To insure the best performance of your water heater and add to the life of the tank, periodically drain and flush the water heater tank. Before long term storage or freezing weather drain and flush the tank.


  1. Turn off main water supply (the pump or water hook up source).
  2. Drain Water Heater Tank by removing the drain plug. If the water flows sporadically or trickles instead of a steady stream of water, we recommend the following action; first open the Pressure Temperature Relief Valve to allow air into the tank and secondly, take a small gauge wire or coat hanger and poke through the drain opening to eliminate any obstructions.
  3. After draining the tank, because of the placement of the Drain Plug, approximately two quarts of water will remain in the tank. This water contains most of the harmful corrosive particles. To remove these harmful corrosive particles flush the tank with either air or water. Whether using air or water pressure, it may be applied through the inlet or outlet on the rear of the tank of the Pressure Temperature Relief Valve. (If using the Pressure Temperature Relief Valve the Support Flange must be removed). The pressure will force out the remaining water and the corrosive particles.

If you use water pressure, pump fresh water into the tanks with the assistance of the on-board pump or use external water for 90 seconds to allow the fresh water to agitate the stagnant water on the bottom of the tank and force deposits through the drain opening. Continue repeating adding water and draining until the particles have been cleared from the water remaining in the tank.

4.                  Replace the Drain Plug and close the Pressure Tepmerature Relieve Valve. The approximately two quarts of water rermaining on the tank after draining will not cause damage to the tank should freezing occur.




Do not place a valve, plug or reducing coupling on outlet part of pressure-temperature relief valve.

A pressure Temperature Relief Valve, dripping while the water heater is running, DOES NOT mean it is defective. During normal expansion of water, as heated in the closed water system of a recreation vehicle, the Pressure Temperature Relief Valve will sometimes drip. The Atwood water heater tank is designed with an internal air gap at the top of the tank to reduce the possibilityof dripping. In time, the expanding water will absorb this air and it must be restored.




Turn off water heater before opening pressure-temperature relief valve to establish air space. Storage water must be cool.


1. Turn off main water supply (the pump or water hook up source).

2. Let water cool or let run until cool.

3. Open the hot water faucet closest to the water heater.

4. Pull handleof pressure temperature relief valve straight out and allow water to flow until it stops.

5. Allow pressure temperature relief valve to snap shut; close faucet; turn on water supply.

6. Turn on water heater and test.

* At least once a year manually operate pressure temperature relief valve.

When pressure temperature relief valve discharges again, repeat above procedure. For a permanent solution, we recommend one of the following:

*Install a pressure relief valve in cold water inlet line to water heater and attach a drain line from valve to outside of coach. Set to relieve at 100-125 PSI.

·                     Install a diaphragm-type expansion tank in cold water inlet line. Tank should be sized to allow for expansion of approximately 15oz. Of water and per-charged to a pressure equal to water supply pressure. These devices can be obtained from a plumbing contractor or service center.



A rotten egg odor (hydrogen sulfide) may be produced when the electro galvanic action of the cladding material releases hydrogen from the water. If sulfur is present on the water supply the two will combine and produce an unplesant smell.

1. Turn off main water supply. Drain the water heater tank and reinstall rain plug. Remove the pressure temperature relief valve. Mix solution of 4 parts white vinegar to 2 parts water. With a funnel, carefully poor solution into tank.

2. Cycle water heater with the above solution, letting it run under normal operation 4-5 times.

3. Remove the drain plug anf thoroughly drain all water from the tank. Flush the water heater to remove any sediment. You may flush the tank with air pressure or fresh water. Pressure may be applied through either the inlet or outlet valves on the rear of the tank or through the pressure temperature relief valve coupling located on the front of the unit.


Fresh water should be pumped into the tank with either the onboard pump or external water pressure. Continue this flushing process for approximatley 5 minutes, allowing the fresh water to agitate the stagnant water on the bottom of the tank and forcing the deposits  through the drain openinig.

4. replace drain plug and pressure temperature relief valve.

5. Refill tank with fresh water the contains no sulphur.


The Atwood water heater is designed for use in a recreation vehicle. If you use your vehicle frequently or for long periods of time, flushing the water heater several times a year will prolong the life of the storage tank.