↓Episode 86 – The Death of Atwood Water Heaters

Atwood Water Heaters

In episode 86 Eric discusses what happened with Atwood water heaters and why you can’t find them anymore. If you’ve been wondering why you can’t find any Atwood water heaters or their parts, Eric will help enlighten you as to what happened and what to do moving forward. This is the first Radio Arizona RV podcast to also exist on video. That way if there are any questions or you want to see exactly what Eric is talking about you can! (Link is included below)

Video of this episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRMbgA_ndZk

Stay safe everyone and thank you for listening! Please subscribe, rate, and share if you enjoy!

Mudflap: https://www.mudflapinc.com/

Reach us at our website: https://radioarizonarv.com/

RV Parts & Accessories: https://arizonarvpartscenter.com/

Our Sunshade Products: https://sunpromfg.com/


hello. Today's episode is about Atwood water heaters, and why they are dead. I want to welcome you to the show. This is Eric Stark with radio Arizona RV, your best RV podcast. And this is the podcast is for everybody. If you own an RV and you like to do the work yourself, this is for you. If you own an RV and he like to take your RV to the service center, to have the work done, it's still for you because you're going to learn things about your RV that are going to help you. When you're on a trip, have the family out, be able to fix something minor rather than ruin a weekend or ruin a week, whatever it might be. And don't forget to share this episode with fellow RV years, with family, friends, anybody that can benefit from it. And as always, I have a brick and mortar retail business, and I sell products online. I do not sell everything I talk about online. So if there's a product I'm talking about and you can't find it on our website, you can always contact me using radio Arizona, rv.com, the contact us page, and. I answer all emails. If you've get my phone number, you can call me. I talk to people on the phone. It's like a real person here. You get customer service. Yes. Customer service still exists at radio Arizona RV. So I want to thank you for listening today. We're Hosea episode number 86. And again, it's about Atwood water heaters and how they are dead. Oh, one other thing I'm doing the show a little bit different today. Trying something new, trying out a new process here. So I'm recording it as a video as well. So some people might be watching this. Some people might be listening and I'm going to try to keep the format to where if you're listening, it's going to make sense. And of course, if you're watching it, it'll definitely make sense. So, if you're watching now might not be Ashton PAX is, might not be filled with, you know, everything to keep you entertained. But if you're listening is definitely going to have an impact, I'm doing this to kind of recycle, go both ways, have it on YouTube, have it on iTunes and all the other, uh, Spotify, all the other podcasts applications as well. So it's something new. We're going to see how it goes and hopefully it will benefit. And this will get better as time goes on. I'm not, I'm kinda new to videos. So doing the show, like this is a little bit different and as a one man band, there's just me here. So I do it all myself. All right. So anyway, now episode number 86, Atwood water heaters are dead. And, you know, as I said, that episode in 86 would not make sense to the someone watching us on a video. This is basically video number one, but podcast episode number 86. So I hope you guys can keep all that straight. So anyways, Atwood water heaters are dead. They are no more. In fact, I don't even have any in stock now. I supposedly have some on order, which I'll probably get into that a little bit later. And that's why you can't find an Atwood water heater anywhere because they are non existent. Now there's a reason why they're non-existent, but I'm going to get into the history here just a little bit and kind of explain what's going on here. The medic bought Atwood several years ago. I don't know the exact date. It's been maybe four or five, six years. I'm not exactly sure. Dometic has done some pretty interesting things to medics and interesting company. You know, it's a European company. They're not, it's not an American company and it seems like they do things sometimes based on what they do in Europe and not here in the United States, but all in all that might not be a bad thing. Sometimes it's a good thing, but. Sometimes it's just odd. So when Dometic bought Atwood, if you'll recall, Atwood made jacks as well, they had landing gear, tongue jacks, things like that. Well, their landing gear was used in, you know, for decades in fifth wheel trailers. And it was sometimes when parts are available, it's hard enough to find parts, you know, a gear breaks on a Jack and you're trying to get a new one that can be difficult. So Dometic sold off the Atwood Jack division to Lippert components who immediately just threw in the trashcan. It's like they bought it just to get outward jacks out of their way, one less competitor. And so Atwood jacks became obsolete overnight and unfortunately, I don't think anybody really knew it was coming. Otherwise somebody probably would have bought up all the Atwood, Jack parts I would have, I would have tried at least to buy them all. So Atwood jacks gets discontinued overnight. There's no parts available for them. And today after years of people calling, they're still looking for Atwood, Jack parts, trying to repair those jacks because they've been reused for decades. Well, water heaters are the same way. Atwood water heaters have been around for. Maybe 50 years they've been around for decades. They've been, been being put in new RVs for decades and of course, Atwoods have a different sized holes rectangular versus a suburban is square. In fact, let me just show you this. Here's a suburban water heater up. That was a mouse. That's not going to help with that. So here's a tape measure and we're going to go here at 12 and a half, almost 13, 18 inches. And here is almost 13 inches. So we're just going to call it 13 by 13 now in Atwood water heater door, which is what I have in my hand here. So this door measures 18. By 14 and a half. So 18 by 14. We'll just set that right there. Okay. So 18 by 14, 13 by 13, Atwood's a rectangular Suburbans are square. It's not going to work now as suburban will fit in and out would hold, but you have gaps on the side where there's no door. That's the problem. So Atwood has been discontinued as well now. And when we goes back years, like I said, there were one time called Atwood Bowen for the guys that really have been around for a long time. And today they've been transitioned to Atwood Dometic. Now Dometic in their infinite wisdom said, Hey, we got a great idea. Let's take these Atwood water heaters and discontinue them. Keep it kind of quiet. Don't let everybody know. Some people will figure it out, but let's not broadcast this and discontinue the Atwood water heaters. Let's just do this, but now we're going to leave a big hole in the market. So to medic had another brilliant idea, their idea now is to make their own water heater. Okay. That's good. Okay. They're going to make a water heater to replace the Outwood. Well, not really. They made a water heater, this the exact same size as the suburban water heater. So now we're back to the same problem. It doesn't fit in the whole properly. Well now to medics, a pretty big company. So they're pretty smart. So they made a conversion kit. So if you have a S Atwood water heater, you buy their suburban or you buy their water heater, which is the same size as a suburban, this conversion kit would make it fit in the hole. They'd have some filler panels in a door and blah, blah, blah, and make it nice and neat. And no, no. The difference. Well, that sounds good. But Dometic has been out of these things. These parts. Since he came out with them. Does that make sense? They came out with them, but they're not available. I just checked on their website last night. I can get some, a water heater, but not really a popular one. But I can't get the conversion kits. So the water heater without a conversion kit is an absolute waste. And so there's probably a lot of people that bought up these conversion kits as a Dometic, roll them out. But Dometic of course didn't make enough. And the medic seems to be that way right now, period. They're out of everything. Can't keep up the, one of the companies who's really, really fallen behind with the pandemic. COVID-19 so. What seemed like a really simple thing to do, just be improved. That would water heater. They discontinued it. Their new water heater is supposed to be better than a suburban and an outward water heater, but I haven't mailed to get one to find out. And I haven't heard anything back from anybody. Even domestic employees are kind of in the dark on this. They're getting a little more light as time goes on. Now I remember. This is early may, the beginning of may. So things are going to change as time goes on. So if you listen to this video or this podcast and a year from now, some of this information might really be obsolete because conversion kits might be readily available. Like I'm talking to a very large company in the RV industry. Who's interested in making a conversion kit, but it takes time even suburban had a conversion kit. But they discontinued it and I've talked to the suburban at this point in time, they don't seem to be interested in doing anything with the conversion kit, which is really odd because it would help sell their water heater because their water heater is less money than a Dometic one. And suburban also makes an Atwood knock-off water heater, but it's a special order. I've been trying to get pricing through my distributors for quite some time. Haven't been able to, so to me, that's. Like a Dodo bird. It doesn't really exist. You know, they talk about it, but you can't get one. So anyway, that's the reason why you can't get an outward water heater and it's a hassle. And if you have a 10 gallon, six gallon, you're going to run into problems. Now parts still seem to be readily available. I've had no problems getting parts, and I'm sure they're going to keep parts flowing because as an income stream and domestic hasn't been selling much over the last year, so they got to get what they can get wherever they can get it. And that's why discontinuing the Atwood water heater didn't make sense. So now let's take this, uh, back down to the nitty gritty here. So this was the door of an Atwood water heater. I think I said it was 14 by 18. Yeah, 14 and a half by 18 wide, 14 and a half tall, 18 wide. So the actual cutout size is smaller than that. I think it's 12 by. I forget now 12 by 16. So that's the cutout size and this is, you know, 12 by 12 or 13 by 13. Well, I got so many numbers going on in my head, but an outward water heater will fit in the space of a suburban. So it's about 13 Paul approximately. So it'll fit in the space of this. You just have gaps on each side of it over here and here. And that's where a conversion kit. You know, would fill in difference. So in the meantime, until our a Dometic suburban, somebody comes out with a conversion kit that's available, not just make one and have a part number, but actually have one that's available. You're going to have to make due. So if you buy a suburban water heater to replace your Atwood, which is your option, that's it. You're going to have to make a door or leave it be if you're not using your RV that much, or just use the door that would fit on a suburban and make some filler panels for the side, you're going to have to do something to fill in that gap. And that's going to be kind of a hassle because this, as you can see is bigger than. The suburban water heater and that poses a problem. And for those of you listening to the podcast, I just put the door next to the suburban water heater, and you can see the difference. I mean, it's a rectangle versus a square, a larger rectangle versus a smaller square. That's the issue now suburban makes a great water heater. In fact, ours were good water heaters. And the dramatic one I'm sure will be good as well. We'll find out, you know, like I said, have metal to get one and they're out there though. I know there's people that have them, the conversion kits are out there, so you're going to have to call around. And another thing you can do too. If you're having a hard time, which this might not help, but suburban makes a, uh, on-demand water heater that fits in the place of a six gallon water heater, Atwood, or suburban doesn't matter. And they sell a door conversion kit for that water heater, but it only works with their on-demand water heater. But suburban has been out of those as well. So it's a real big problem here. And like I said earlier, I have some water heaters on order, some Atwood, water heaters, six gallons that are electronic ignition only. They don't have, uh, you know, 110 volts in them. And I should be getting them any time now. And hopefully I will cause that will help fill some of the gap because this is going to go on for years at, was, have been out there for years and even a trailer that's 50 years old, you know, it's still out there somewhere 40 years old is still out there. 30 years old, 20, et cetera. And a lot of these older RVs are being restored. They're being put back on the road. So this does pose a problem. And generally when you restore an RV, You're not redoing the outside nest kind of the problem too, is you have that hole that's been made into the side of the RV. It's hard to pretty that up unless you really get into some major work. And most people aren't doing major skin work, body work type of thing. So if you have an Atwood water heater at this point, you know, it's going to suck. It will get better. You know, your, the conversion kits are going to come out. Maybe suburban will wake up and say, Hey, why don't we just produce our six gallon Atwood knockoff heater and make it readily available to everybody. Maybe Dometic will get their act together and start producing products. So there's not a big void in the market. There's a lot of maybes here, but it's a suburban is a good water heater. And if that's what you have to go back with and make something work, just do it. You can buy the door kit, which I don't have one here, but you can buy the door kit that goes on the front here because you have to have a door. Then you can make some filler panels. This may not be pretty, but that's what you're going to have to do. And I'm sure that a lot of guys that are working on this, trying to fill a void in the market, like I said, I am talking to a very large company in the RV industry, but yeah. You know, they move slow and they might not like it because the numbers might not be what they want to see for selling it. You know, I don't see it as a one-product deal where some guides decide is how I'm going to make this. I'm going to get rich selling these door kits. It's not going to happen. It's just one product. It's hard to get it out there on the market, into the distribution chain. So a larger company. That has access to the distribution chain will be much more successful with it if they desire to do that. But as I said to medic is supposedly coming out with one or they have one, but whether it's available or not, you know, down the road or how available will be the, the answer. So why we're talking about Dometic, they also make slide out on in fabrics. Now I'm going to do a plug here for my slide out on him. Fabrics. So I have right here, a 13 ounce slide out on in fabric. And these are available@sunpromfg.com. That's sun pro mfg.com. Now we make a 13 ounce and an 18 ounce, and this particular fabric is 13 ounce. This'll fit, you know, 90% of the slide-out awnings out there. And our 13 ounces, a heavy duty 13 ounce has got a three-year warranty. So if you're in the market for a slide-out on him fabric, check it out@sunpromanufacturing.com. So this episode is a little shorter than normal because I just wanted to update everybody on the Atwood situation. That's really what I was trying to do. So normally my episodes are about 30 minutes long. So if you're watching the video, this is a short video compared to what they will be in the future. But it's nice though. Nice short episode. So you can get on with your day and if you've have an Atwood water heater in your RV and you're still working. Don't panic. Just keep buying parts for a, keep it working on another thing too. Is that why I would water heater tanks are not available right now either. I don't know if the medics going to still make them, or if they're just going to drop them all together as well, but they're not available. You might find a dealer that has one, you know, on a shelf someplace, but as far as the mainstream distribution, I can't get any. But all the little other parts are available. So unless your tank dies, you can keep repairing that Atwood water heater. So I wouldn't rush out and try to replace it today, unless you absolutely have to. So that's, I mean, don't panic. Just keep going on, use your RV, enjoy it. And then when the day comes where you have to do it, just be aware that it might be a little more tricky. You know, you should check with your local RV stores. Just kind of get ahead of it. If you want it to, if you think this might be a good time to replace it, you got the money. You know, you got a few weeks downtime with the RV, something like that. So, anyway, I want to conclude there and I really want to thank everybody for listening to the show today or watching it, whatever it might be. And again, this is Eric Stark with radio Arizona RV. And again, I want to thank you for listening and everybody enjoy your day.

About the author, Eric

I have been a hands on DIY'er since childhood, yeah since childhood with the idea that the job has to get done. My job (not a career) history is not the typical job history. I have run successful multi-million dollar companies, I have started RV related businesses from ground up. Over the years I have acquired many skills, some self taught and taught by others in a hands on environment. Today everything I have learned over the decades has come together and now I love to help others and keep myself involved in my favorite industry, Recreational Vehicles! This is not even close to being finished......