How To Start Hot Water Heater In Rv

How to Turn On an Electric Water Heater in an RV (Quick Tutorial)

Having all of the conveniences of home at your fingertips when camping in an RV is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the experience – with hot water being one such convenience. In our last article, we described how to ignite the pilotlight of an RV water heater. Now, let’s examine how to ignite the pilotlight of an electric water heater. Step-by-step instructions on how to turn on an electric water heater in an RV are provided in this fast tutorial. In addition, you’ll discover a few crucial strategies to avoid causing damage to your water heater in the process.

How to Turn On an Electric RV Water Heater

Making an electric water heater work in an RV is a straightforward process, with the most of the complexity stemming from where to locate the on/off switch and whether you have a gas or electric (or both) water heater, which we’ll discuss further below. Notably, do not attempt to switch on an electric RV water heater if there isn’t any water in the water heater tank. The electric heater element will be completely destroyed if this is done. For step-by-step directions on how to fill an RV water heater, see our tutorial on how to fill an RV water heater.

As an illustration, we’ll utilize the well-known Suburban SW6DE.

  1. Before starting, check to see that there is water in the hot water tank. Take note of your hot water heater access panel, which is usually located on the outside of your RV, and remove it
  2. On the panel, look for the on/off switch for the RV water heater. Typically, it is found on the bottom left-hand side of the screen (as shown in the image above). To turn on the light, turn the switch to the on position.

Is it a good idea to leave my RV’s water heater running all of the time? Please refer to your owner’s handbook for the specific step-by-step procedure for turning on your water heater, since each brand and model may be somewhat different from the others. If you have misplaced your owner’s handbook or need to contact the manufacturer, the following are links to some of the most common RV water heater manufacturers, which include Forrest River, Keystone, Jayco, and other prominent brands:

  • Suburban, Dometic (previously Atwood), FogattiTanklessWater Heaters, and more manufacturers.

RV Electric Water Heater Troubleshooting Guide

Starting with the following items to check if your RV electric water heater is not functioning correctly after you have turned it on:

  1. Check to see that the circuit breaker in the RV has not been tripped. Check for 120-volt alternating current (AC) at the on/off switch. In order to reset the unit, press the reset button on the control panel, which is normally situated near the on/off water heater switch
  2. And If the heater continues to malfunction after the efforts described above, turn off the power and inspect all wire connections (consult to your owner’s handbook for a wiring diagram if necessary). Finally, using a voltage meter, check that the heating element is still operational. If an element is found to be faulty, it must be replaced.

If you are still experiencing problems, you should consult with a trained RV mechanic.


Electric, propane, and electric/gas combination water heaters are the three types of RV water heaters available. Electric water heaters, as the name implies, use electricity to heat water. Heat your water using an electric/gas combination water heater by using either one or both of the fuel sources, or both gas and electricity at the same time.

How Do I Know if My RV Water Heater Is Gas or Electric?

You may determine if your RV water heater is gas or electric by reviewing the owner’s handbook for the precise brand and type of heater that you have purchased. Using the model number, you may determine if it is a gas, electric, or hybrid water heater even if you do not have your owner’s handbook (which you can find on the access panel). Once you’ve obtained that number, you may use the table below to determine what sort of heater you possess. Additionally, you might be interested in How to Drain an RV Water Heater (Quick Step-by-Step Guide).

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How to Use Your RV Water Heater

Consult the owner’s handbook for your individual make and type of RV water heater to determine whether it is a gas or electric water heater. It’s possible to establish whether a water heater is gas or electric by glancing at the model number if you don’t have your owner’s handbook with you (which you can find on the access panel). Using that figure, you may use the table below to determine what sort of heater you are dealing with. How to Drain an RV Water Heater may also be of interest to you (Quick Step-by-Step Guide).

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RV Electric Water Heater vs RV Propane Water Heater

RV water heaters with tanks are available in three different configurations: electric water heaters, propane water heaters, and combination heaters. An electric water heater, as the name implies, warms water by utilizing electricity to do so. This works rather well and is especially useful for campers who have power included in their camping fees and who want to preserve gas. That being said, unless you have an inverter, you will be unable to use a water heater that is exclusively powered by electricity when boondocking.

The ideal RV water heater choice for folks who prefer dry camping and want to save money on energy is a propane RV water heater.

That being said, as long as the heater is operated properly and the propane pipes are properly maintained, you should have no problems at all with the heater.

This sort of hot water heater for an RV allows the user to choose between an electric heating element and a propane heating element, depending on the situation.

Using a Traditional RV Hot Water Heater

It’s time to go on to the next step, which is how to start hot water in an RV. Consider the following scenario: you’re traveling in your RV and you’re ready to utilize the water heater. Consider the following points if you’re dealing with a typical water heater—the sort that has a tank—when installing a water heater. First and foremost, you’ll want to make certain that your hot water tank is filled with water. To accomplish this, first check to see that any bypass valves that may cut off the water supply to your tank are open rather than closed.

  • Open a hot tap and let the water to flow for a few seconds to cool the water.
  • Following that, you’ll want to turn on the water heater.
  • This will help to reduce the amount of time it takes to heat your water a little bit.
  • If you happen to be in chilly weather, the length of your wait time may be lengthened.

Leaving a propane heater on for an extended period of time may quickly deplete your fuel tank. Additionally, if you leave an electric heater turned on, there is a risk of burning or frying an element if your tank runs out of fuel unexpectedly.

Caring for an RV Hot Water Tank

In any case, after you’ve figured out how to correctly operate your RV water heater tank, you’ll want to make certain that it stays in good working order. An RV water heater should be serviced every 6 to 12 months, depending on its age. Fortunately, this is a straightforward process. Start by shutting off the heater and allowing plenty of time for the water inside to cool down. Removing the drain stopper or anode rod and letting the tank to drain entirely will ensure that any silt and debris will be removed from the tank once it has reached room temperature.

This helps to keep the accumulation in your tank to a minimum.

Another thing you should do to ensure the longevity of your water heater tank is to winterize your trailer every year before the weather gets cold and snowy.

You can find detailed instructions on how to winterize your home here.

Choosing an RV Tankless Water Heater

Not a fan of having to wait for the water to heat up every time you want to take a shower or wash dishes? No problem! A consistent stream of hot water is what you’re looking for. It’s possible that a tankless water heater for an RV is the best option for you. This RV modification is becoming increasingly popular, and after you’ve experienced the convenience of having hot water available on demand, you’ll understand why. Are you looking for the finest tankless water heater for your RV? TheCamplux 5L Portable Propane Tankless Water Heater, on the other hand, is quite popular among RV owners.

Carry out your own study to determine which one will best meet your requirements, and then get used to taking lengthy, hot showers even when you’re in the middle of nowhere.

Here are some suggestions.

With hot water, and a comfy compact home-on-wheels to boot, we hope you have a lovely camping experience.

RV Water Heaters: 10 Things You Need to Know!

Getting tired of having to wait for your shower or dishwashing to heat up every time you want to use the toilet? A steady stream of hot water is what you’re looking for. It’s possible that a tankless water heater for an RV is the solution for you. You’ll understand why this RV addition is becoming increasingly popular once you’ve experienced the convenience of having hot water available on demand. Are you looking for the finest tankless water heater for your recreational vehicle? Many RV owners are enthusiastic about theCamplux 5L Portable Propane Tankless Water Heater.

Learn to take long, hot showers even when you’re in the middle of nowhere by conducting your own study and deciding which one would best fit your needs.

Hopefully, this post has assisted you in getting started with your water heater and has provided you with some suggestions for future upgrades you might want to consider. With hot water, and a comfy compact home-on-wheels to boot, we hope you have a nice time camping.

  1. A hot water tank for an RV can be heated in a variety of methods, the most common of which being propane, electricity, or heat generated by the motor. Since there is no need to worry about a pilot light burning out, electricity (or fuel with an electric ignition) is typically the most handy since you don’t have to worry about running out of hot water. Simply turn on the heater from inside your RV and you’ll have hot water in no time. The most cost-effective method, however, is to use the heat generated by your engine to heat water. When you’re driving, the engine is going to grow hot anyhow, so it’s wonderful to be able to put that energy to good use. The disadvantage is that if you leave the motor running for an extended period of time, you may find yourself with a tank of tepid water. The size of RV water heater tanks varies. There are several different sizes of RV water heaters, the most typical being 6-gallon or 10-gallon models, while you can also get smaller 4-gallon models as well as much bigger 16-gallon models. In general, the larger the tank you’ll require the larger the number of people that will be camping with you. In any other case, you run the danger of exhausting your supply before everyone has had the opportunity to shower. Atwood and Suburban are the two leading producers of tank-based recreational vehicle water heaters. The tanks used in RV water heaters are significantly smaller than those used in residential water heaters. A modest house heater holds 40 or 50 gallons of water, however as previously said, an RV water heater may only hold six or ten gallons. This implies that while using hot water in an RV, you must use greater caution to conserve energy. You can’t afford to waste any time in the shower! In order to avoid overheating the water when soaping and shampooing, you’ll need to either switch off the hot water supply or move rapidly. If you take too long, your last rinse will be a frigid one
  2. Unless you opt for a tankless system. On-demand RV water heaters, as opposed to storage tanks, employ a heat exchanger to heat the water on demand. In particular, Girard makes excellent tank-less water heaters, which are somewhat more expensive than conventional tanks but have a significant advantage in that you will never run out of hot water. Keeping in mind that not all water heaters are the same size is important if you’re planning to replace the water heater in your RV. Before you begin shopping, you’ll need to determine the dimensions of the aperture in the sidewall, including the height, breadth, and depth of the opening. You may decide to upgrade your current tank with a larger one, but you should be aware of whether or not there is enough space in your RV for one before making your purchase. Since a square peg cannot be forced into a round hole, you’ll want to drain the water tank before you lock the door of the storage facility where you’ll be parking your RV for a long period of time. For those keeping their vehicles throughout the winter, it is a good idea to winterize the pipes so that they do not freeze, crack, and cause difficulties when they are returned to use in the spring. In a similar vein, water left in your RV’s hot water tank might freeze, resulting in irreversible damage to the vehicle’s electrical system. If your water heater has a bypass valve, make advantage of it when storing water for the winter. The owner’s manual for your recreational vehicle should have instructions on how to accomplish this. Remember to turn off the bypass valve when you return to your RV once the winter season is done. You’ll want to make sure that the tank is fully refilled before you leave the house. Heating the tank while there is no water in it might result in catastrophic harm. Installing an anode rod within the tank will help to prevent hard water corrosion from occurring. Instead of eating away at your tank, the rust will eat away at the rod. Installation is straightforward, and you’ll want to double-check them on a regular basis. When the rod seems to be severely rusted, it should be removed and replaced with a new one. Anode rods are quite inexpensive — often costing less than $20 — but utilizing one may dramatically increase the life of your hot water tank. For example, RV hot water heaters, on the other hand, are not so inexpensive to replace — which we’ll get to in a bit!
  3. Ensure that the hot and cold faucets to your outdoor shower or water line are turned off if your RV water heater is connected and operating properly, but the water coming out of your shower or faucet is only tepid at the best of times. It is possible that leaving them on may cause the hot and cold water to mix, and that this will prevent genuinely hot water from flowing through the RV’s plumbing.

RV Water Heater FAQs

Lastly, here are some commonly asked questions concerning RV hot water heaters to bring our piece to a successful conclusion.

Can I leave my RV water heater on?

It’s unlikely that you switch your water heater on and off on a regular basis at your house. Additionally, you may leave your RV hot water heater running for the duration of your camping vacation – however it may be beneficial to switch it off between uses in order to save electricity. (In such case, make sure to allow plenty of time for the water to heat up before stepping into the shower!) As an alternative, you should make certain that you do not power your RV hot water heater while the bypass valve is still toggled on.

See also:  What Is An Inline Water Filter?

How much is a hot water heater for an RV?

While the cost of water heaters for RVs varies depending on their size, manufacturer, and whether or not you choose for a tankless system, they are not exactly inexpensive. For example, the price of a 6-gallontank from Suburban starts at roughly $355 and goes up from there as the unit gets larger. Image courtesy of Amazon Tankless water heaters for RVs may be more expensive, with prices starting at around $500, but they may be well worth the cost for individuals who spend a lot of time on the road or who travel with large families.

How long do RV water heaters last?

Depending on how well you take care of your RV water heater, it might last as long as a decade. When winterizing your RV, using an anode rod and making sure to drain the tank will assist to protect and prolong the lifespan of your water heater.

How do I start my RV water heater?

Do you want to know how to turn on the hot water in your RV? In the majority of situations, turning it on is straightforward: simply locate your RV electric water heater switch and flip it to the “on” position. If your camper water heater is operating in gas mode, the igniter will need to be activated in order for the pilot light to come on — or the pilot light may even need to be manually turned on. For complete instructions, consult your RV’s owner’s handbook. Although you are not need to be your own mechanic, there are several advantages to becoming familiar with the internal workings of your RV.

Knowing these 10 pieces of information can help you keep informed and may even save you time and aggravation while you’re out on the open highway.

  • Read This Important Information Before Purchasing an RV On Demand Hot Water Heater.
  • Drain and bypass valves for the RV hot water heater to make winterization a breeze
  • Atwood How to Use an RV Water Heater: 7 Things You Should Know
  • 7 Things You Should Know About Using a Suburban RV Water Heater
  • Tips for Using Your RV’s Water Heater Choosing a Reliable RV Repair Service in Your Area
  • Finding a Reliable RV Repair Service in Your Area

Please Read This Important Information Before Purchasing.; RV On Demand Hot Water Heater — Winterization of an RV hot water heater is simplified with a bypass valve and drain valve. Atwood 7 Things You Should Know About RV Water Heaters; 7 Things You Should Know About a Suburban RV Water Heater Tips for Using Your RV’s Water Heater; Choosing a Reliable RV Repair Service in Your Area; Finding a Reliable RV Repair Service in Your Area.

How to Use an RV Water Heater

Documentation Download Documentation Download Documentation An RV water heater allows you to have warm water even when you are camping in the middle of nowhere. Even better, RV water heaters are simple to install and use, so you’ll be able to enjoy hot water in no time at all!

  1. 1 Connect a hose to the water intake valve on the RV. Located on the outside of your RV, the intake valve should be easy to locate. It is typically equipped with a blue handle. Using a hose, attach it to the spigot and tighten it down so that water does not flow out
  • Bring new water into your RV using a clean hose to avoid contaminating the water
  • Otherwise, the water may get contaminated. Installing a tankless water heater is as simple as connecting a hose to the intake and connecting it to a water supply. You are not required to fill a tank. It is possible that your RV has specific instructions for filling the tank, therefore always check with the owner’s handbook first
  • Secondly, connect the other end of the hose to a water supply. Depending on where you are filling up, this may be a garden hose connection if you are filling up at home, or a pump if you are filling up while camping. Whichever method you choose, attach the other end of the hose to this source and tighten it down to avoid any leaks.
  • For those staying at a campsite, there are generally designated water sources where people may fill their campers with water. If you are unable to locate it, inquire as to its whereabouts. You will not be able to fill your tank from a lake or stream unless you have a pump mechanism. In order for the water to flow into the tank, it must be under pressure.
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  • s3 Turn on the water supply valve. Turning the valve counterclockwise will allow it to be opened. Water should begin to flow into the tank at this point.
  • On some recreational vehicles, you may also need to open the intake valve. This might be the source of the problem if water is not flowing into the tank.
  • 4 Fill the water tank all the way to the top of the fill line. Keep the water running and let the tank to full. When it reaches its maximum capacity, switch off the water and disconnect the hose from the intake and source sockets.
  • Some recreational vehicles are equipped with a fill meter located near the intake valve. Other than that, check the tank itself to verify whether the water level reaches the fill line
  • Else Maintain your focus on the fact that water is heavy, and that your car will consume a lot of petrol if you load it to its maximum capacity. If you’re intending on traveling, you might want to fill the tank only halfway and then fill it the rest of the way when you get at your location.
  • 5Close the bypass valve for the water heater. When the bypass valve is activated, water is diverted away from the heater tank and into your cold water faucet. Close the bypass valve to ensure that water is sent into the water heater instead
  • 6 One of your sinks should have a hot water tap turned on. This circulates water through the water heater and out the faucet at the same time. If water is flowing, then the system is operating properly
  • Otherwise, it is not.
  • If there is no water flowing out of the faucet, this indicates that the hot tank is depleted of its water supply. Double-check to ensure that the bypass valve is properly closed.
  • 7 Allow the water to run until no more air can be seen coming out of the faucet. When you initially turn on the water, it may splutter a little. This is normal. This is okay since it just indicates that air is being expelled from the system. Continue to run the faucet until the water flows out smoothly and without any air bubbles, at which point you may turn on the water heater.
  • There should never be any air left in the water heater system when it is turned on. This might result in damage to the tank.
  1. 1 Fill your propane tank with water. Your RV’s tank should be located on the exterior of the vehicle. To open the valve and allow propane to flow, turn the knob counterclockwise.
  • It is best not to open the propane tank until just before you are ready to turn on the water heating system. When you’re not using propane, it’s quite dangerous to leave it running.
  • 2 If your RV has an automatic start, turn on the “Water Heater” switch located within the vehicle. Electronic auto starters are quite simple to operate. Simply press the “Water Heater” button to ignite the pilot light and begin heating the water
  • This is all it takes.
  • A little indicator light is normally located next to this switch, which indicates whether or not the heater is turned on. If your heater would not ignite, it is possible that the propane tank is not open. If you don’t do this, you may have an issue with your switch. Taking the RV in for maintenance is a good idea.
  • 3 Manual starts can be initiated by locating the control panel on the outside of your RV. Manual light water heaters need the completion of a few more tasks. A latch or screws are often used to secure the panel in place. The pilot light and ignition controls are accessible by opening it up.
  • Always read and follow the instructions provided by your RV’s manufacturer before accessing the control panel.
  • 4 To begin manually, turn the knob on the control panel to the “Pilot” position. It is necessary to crank the control knob in order to pick the desired setting. Turn it so that it reads “Pilot” on it so that you may start the pilot light.
  • 4 To start the engine manually, turn the knob on the control panel to “Pilot.” It is necessary to crank the control knob in order to choose the desired setting. In order to ignite the pilot light, rotate the knob until “Pilot” appears.
  • 5 Light the pilot light with a long barbeque lighter to ensure proper ventilation. To release propane, turn the control knob all the way down. Afterwards, bring the lighter up close to the pilot light and light it to ignite the gas.
  • Keep the knob down for a few seconds to allow the system to warm up
  • This is only necessary for manual starters. An automated starter will start the pilot light without the need for any further actions.
  • 6 Change the setting of the control knob from “Pilot” to “On.” After the pilot light has been turned on, turn on the main heater. Turn the control knob all the way to the “On” position. This ignites the primary heater and causes the water in the tank to begin to heat up.
  • When you’re lighting the heater, keep your face away from the control panel on the wall. When it ignites, there may be a brief flash of light. After you turn on the heater, it will take around 30 minutes for the water in the tank to reach the desired temperature. Close the propane valve when you’re through with the water heater. When you aren’t using it, it is quite risky to leave it running.
  1. 1 Connect the RV’s power cord to a power outlet. Connect the power line from your RV to a power source and plug it in. The majority of campgrounds provide RVs with power hookups like this.
  • Depending on where you are camping, there may be an additional price for utilizing the electricity.
  • 2 Turn on the water heater’s power switch by pressing it. The power switch for the water heater is normally located within the cabin and appears similar to a standard light switch. To begin heating the water, turn the knob to the “On” position.
  • Power the water heater up by turning on the main circuit breaker. The power switch for the water heater is often located within the cabin and looks similar to a standard light switch. The water will begin to heat up as soon as you turn it on.
  • 3 Allow 60-90 minutes for the water to reach the desired temperature. Warming the water with electric heaters takes a little longer than with gas heaters. It will take around 60-90 minutes, depending on the size of the tank, so be patient before utilizing the hot water
  • RV water heaters are typically equipped with a light that indicates when they are operational. If the light does not come on, it is possible that the bulb has burned out or that the water heater is not functioning properly. Take the RV to a repair shop so that it may be serviced
  • 4 When you’re through using the hot water, turn the switch off. As soon as the water is hot, turn off the water heater to preserve power. Wait until you’re ready to use the heater again before turning it back on.
  • You should leave the power source plugged in if you are still using energy in your RV, for example, to power lights or the kitchen. If you don’t want to use it, you may disconnect it when the water is hot.

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  • Never use your RV water heater until you have read and followed the manufacturer’s instructions. Different models may operate in a different manner. Some RVs are equipped with both propane and electric heaters, allowing you to pick which you want to use. Having your RV serviced before to embarking on a journey is recommended by experts. If something goes wrong, it’s likely that you won’t be able to fix it on your own.


  • Unless you’re an expert, it’s best to leave RV water heater repairs to the professionals. If something isn’t working properly, it’s better to take it to a repair shop.


About This Article

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A mobile home, camper, or motorhome is a fun and convenient way to travel and camp while saving money. It brings us closer to nature and provides us with the opportunity to spend time with other RVers and family members. Although it might be upsetting to discover that there is no hot water flowing out of the tap or shower, especially during the harsh winter months, it is a necessary evil. It is really inconvenient to know that we will not be able to utilize hot water on demand. It is necessary to understand How To Start Hot Water Heater In RV in this situation.

If you fall into the second category and want to learn how to restore hot water to your mobile home, you should continue to read.

RV Water Hose with Heater

How To Troubleshoot Hot Water Heater?

So, let’s get this party started. Follow these procedures to the letter to properly diagnose the problem and restore hot water to your recreational vehicle. Check your manual for further information.

  • Make a rapid visual evaluation of the situation. Performing this step is critical in order to have a general understanding of what may have been malfunctioning or what is causing the issue. Check to see whether there is any water at the bottom of the tank. Check to see if the status light is illuminated
  • Remove the panel door from its hinges by following the instructions. Check to see whether the pilot is lighted and if the status light is glowing on the dashboard. Following that, you must examine the status voltage to see whether or not it meets the required specifications. The thermopile test failed, and as a result, you must replace the thermopile. There is yet another set of stages that must be completed in this procedure. If the test was successful, the gas control valve should be replaced. Before starting the fire, check to see whether there is a gas supply available in the house. Test whether the stove has a working gas supply, for example
  • And If there is no gas supply, you should proceed to the storage tank and inspect the contents. It is necessary to examine the gas meter if the gas is supplied by the municipality, on the other hand. If the valve is in the horizontal position, with its lock to the hole, it is possible that someone has not been paying his bills, or that someone has disconnected the gas supply to your home. In any case, you must thoroughly examine this item in order to be on the proper route. You must first determine whether or not the gas control valve is in the ON position, and if not, you must turn it on. Check to determine if the igniter is operating correctly by igniting it a few times. The following is yet another straightforward but critical step to take when attempting to resolve the “no hot water” problem in your mobile home: To light the igniter, turn the gas control knob to the pilot position and then push the knob. You must maintain your grip on the knob for approximately one minute, after which the status light should begin to illuminate. It is normal for the control to flash once every three seconds, and this is how it should operate. Note that after you remove the control knob, the pilot light will be turned off as a safety precaution. Then Look for the thermal switch that may be reset. The gadget will trip if the combustion chamber becomes excessively hot. When this occurs, the pilot will not remain lighted. To reset the game, press the center button just a little bit. If it clicks, you should be able to figure out what tripped it. You may now relight the pilot in the same manner as you did previously
  • Lack of combustion air or an obstruction in the exhaust are typical reasons of tripped thermal switches
  • If this is the case, the solution is to replace the thermal switch. Examine the intake screen located at the base of the water gear. If the dust collector becomes clogged, it should be vacuumed away. This can help to enhance the operation of the intake screen, which must be clear of dirt and dust in order to function correctly. Check to check that the baffle is correctly fitted before proceeding. It may not function properly if it is misaligned, which might occur as a result of transportation
  • When inspecting the baffle, proceed with caution. Double-check to see that the water heater has been switched off. Allow plenty of time for it to cool down because it can become extremely hot and unsafe to touch
  • If the pilot remains glowing after you have finished resetting the thermal switch, you should investigate the wiring. Check to see that there are no loose connections or breaks in the cable. It will also check to see if the wiring is in excellent working order, since this has an impact on the heater’s performance. The next step entails bypassing the thermal switch entirely. Be cautious and meticulous in your execution of the instructions. Connect one end of a jumper wire to the other end of the wire. Afterwards, you must replace the metal bit that runs across the connector. Check to verify if the water heater continues to operate after being re-lit. if this occurs, you will be aware that the thermal switch has to be replaced due to a malfunctioning component
  • It’s important to remember that the jumper is simply for testing reasons. It is not permissible to use the water heater while it is in situ. The thermal switch is a safety device that must be replaced if it becomes damaged. If the pilot flame does not remain lit at this stage, you will need to check the voltage of the thermal pilot. If the thermopile failed the test, replace it with a new one
  • If it passed, replace it with a new one. When looking for air codes, it’s important to consider the following:
  • A regular functioning consists of one flash every three seconds. A thermopile voltage of two flashes is considered to be weak. Perform a voltage test to confirm your suspicions. In addition, flashes 4, 5, and 7 indicate a problem with the gas control valve, which requires repair.
  • There you have it, the fundamentals of regular functioning and incorrect operation for you to remember. Take note of the amount of flashes to have a better understanding of the situation
See also:  How Long Does A Water Heater Install Take?

Here are some hot water basics and tips that might also help

  • Check the hot water heater’s on/off switch for proper operation. Unless you’re connecting to power, turn it off. If the water heater is turned off, you will not have electric hot water. A natural gas burner will be used to heat it. Check to see if there is water in the tank, but even if there is, it will not fill the hot water heater. However, if you are utilizing a city water connection, you just open the water valve to allow the water to flow into the house and switch on the hot water faucet as well as the hot water tank. If you wish to utilize electricity, go to the control panel to make the necessary adjustments. The usage of a water pump is not necessary if you are linked to municipal water, since the outside water supply provides enough pressure to eliminate the need for one. You must have water in your hot water tank at all times. You may utilize your hot water electric source to heat your home if there is a heater available. Turn on the switch, but keep in mind that it will not operate on 10 volts. It will operate on 110V.
  • Now comes the question of whether it is possible to have both the electricity and the gas turned on at the same time. While it is possible to fill your six-gallon tank, the recovery time will be shorter since you will be using propane instead of gasoline. Because it will only waste petrol, you will have to spend more money on it. REMEMBER Check to see whether there is hot water in the storage tank. Turn on one of the hot water faucets to see if it works properly.

Do you want to know how to drain the hot water tank?

Now comes the question of whether or not it is possible to have both the power and gas turned on at the same time. The recovery time to fill your six-gallon tank will be shorter because you’ll use propane instead of gasoline, but you can do it! Due to the fact that it will only waste gas, you will have to invest even more money on it. REMEMBER Inspect the hot water tank to ensure that it is full of hot water. Turn on one of the hot water faucets to see whether it works properly;

  • Now comes the question of whether it is possible to have both the power and gas turned on at the same time. Yes, you can, but the recovery time to fill your six-gallon tank will be shorter, and you will be using propane instead of gasoline. It will just waste petrol, requiring you to spend more money on it
  • REMEMBER Check to see that there is enough hot water in the tank. Turn on one of the hot water faucets to see whether it works.

Now, the question is, can I have both the power and the gas turned on at the same time? Yes, you may, but the recovery time to fill your six-gallon tank will be shorter, and you will be using propane instead of gasoline! It will only waste petrol, requiring you to spend more money on it. REMEMBER Check to see that there is hot water in the tank. Turn on one of the hot water faucets to see whether it works;

RV Hot Water Heater Guide: How to Operate, Fill and More

This post includes affiliate links for your convenience. Your RV hot water heater is a vital piece of equipment that allows you to enjoy the comforts of home while camping in the great outdoors. Having access to hot water for showering, washing your hands, cleaning dishes, and a variety of other duties is invaluable. Whether you’re using a propane, electric, tankless, or small tank hot water heater, this article will walk you through every element of this wonderful RV accessory. Every RV owner should be familiar with the operation of his or her water heater.

Even while certain specifics differ based on the individual brand and model of water heater you have, many of the fundamental fundamentals are the same for practically all RV water heaters.

Whether you’ve just purchased your first RV, have upgraded to a more recent model, or are experiencing problems with your present water heater, you’ll find all you need to know in this section.

RV Hot Water Heater Basics

Most recreational vehicle water heaters will feature a 6-gallon or 10-gallon tank, however tankless heaters have grown increasingly popular in recent years.

Tankless Hot Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters are also referred to as “on demand” systems since they provide hot water on demand. These units can be powered by propane or electricity, which powers a heat exchanger in the device, which heats the water as it flows through it. Tankless means that there is no water in the unit other than the minimal amount of water that is stored in the internal pipework; this is why it is referred to as such. There were no items found. There were no items found.

On Demand Operation

Every time you turn on your hot water faucet, you are creating an artificial demand for hot water. Once the machine detects the presence of water flowing through the inner pipe, the heating elements immediately turn on and begin to warm the water in the tank. Water heats up to a temperature that is acceptable for washing and bathing in the brief amount of time it takes to travel through the sequence of internal piping. When the hot water tap is turned off at the faucet, the tankless heater detects the interruption in the flow of hot water and shuts off the heating element to minimize energy consumption.

Pros and Cons of Going Tankless

To be sure, tankless hot water heaters have the potential to deliver a continuous flow of hot water for showering, cleaning, and anything else you need until the power or gas supply is interrupted. This is a significant benefit over a standard tank-style water heater, which must be prepared before use and is typically limited to producing only warm water during periods of high demand. In addition to energy economy, which is important in an RV since saving gasoline and electricity is critical while traveling off the grid, there are several other significant advantages.

The cost of this type of hot water tank is one of its most significant disadvantages.

They also have a higher incidence of problems and malfunctions, despite the fact that technology is always advancing.

In general, the lower the GPM rating, the lower the flow rate must be to maintain the same pressure.

Hot Water Tank Heaters

Typical RV hot water tanks feature a 6-10 gallon tank or reservoir to retain water while the tank is being heated, similar to what is usually seen in residential hot water tanks.

Mini-tank water heaters, on the other hand, have just lately entered the market, offering a “point-of-use” alternative that may be installed and connected directly to a sink or shower head. Check out the most recent offers.

Hot Water Tank Operation

Regardless of whether or not hot water is being utilized, the control unit will maintain a certain temperature in the tank as long as electricity and fuel are available to it. The temperature of the water in the tank is detected by a sensor that comes into contact with it. When the sensor detects a dip in water temperature, it sends a signal to the control module, which then activates the heating element in the water. There are several reasons for this, including the fact that the water has been lying around and has cooled down over time, or the fact that hot water is being used, which is sucking the water out of the tank and cold water is entering the tank in its stead.

The heating element may have difficulty keeping up with the demand for hot water after prolonged use, resulting in only warm water being offered.

Benefits of a Hot Water Tank

Traditional hot water tanks are less expensive than tankless alternatives, and they’re also rather reliable when it comes to performance.

Electric Water Heaters

If your RV is equipped with an electric water heater, the heating element will cycle on and off as needed to maintain the water temperature, so you won’t have to worry about turning it off while the RV is not in use. Electric water heaters provide the advantage of preserving your gas while also more efficiently maintaining the correct temperature of your water at all times. Unless your water heater has the capability of switching back to propane when you are not connected to shore power, you will be unable to boondock without using your generator for hot water when you are not connected to shore power.

  • HOT WATER HEATER WITH CONVENIENT STORAGE: A 4 gallon mini-tank with a heat exchanger that fits under your sink provides hot water just where it is needed. Thermal
  • Long-lasting quality: This electric water heater is simple to maintain and is made of high-quality glass-lined material, which ensures a long service life. (Amps
  • INSTALLATION WITHOUT A CENTRAL CONTROL: For independent installation or in-line with a big hot water supply, the 36-37″ chord connects into a 120 volt outlet.

Propane Water Heaters

Unless you’ve invested much in a high-end recreational vehicle, your hot water heater is almost certainly powered by propane. It requires the same procedure as all other propane appliances: the lighting of a pilot flame. Some RVs need you to manually ignite the engine with a lighter once you’ve parked and leveled the vehicle, but most contemporary RVs are equipped with direct spark ignition. To use direct spark ignition, all you have to do is switch on the water heater. As a result, if there is a requirement for water to be heated, the thermostat will detect this and the control circuit board will open the gas valve while simultaneously utilizing the igniter to produce a spark in the front of the gas burner tube.

The most significant advantage of using a propane generator is that it will not drain your RV’s house batteries.

A propane water heater, with the exception of a very little amount of electricity to run the control circuit, may be used with or without shore power. This makes it an excellent choice for RVers who want to camp in more rural locations rather than in campsites or vacation parks.

Filling your Water Heater

When you turn on your water heater for the first time, or when you turn it on for the first time after winterizing, you’ll need to fill the tank with water before turning it on. The suggested water levels for your individual model will be listed in the owner’s handbook, but you may alternatively take the safe route and fill the tank entirely. If your water tank is equipped with a bypass or drain, make sure to close it before you begin filling it. Filling your hot water tank may be accomplished by utilizing water from your fresh water tank and the RV water pump, as described above.

Open the hot water faucets on all of your faucets after you have tightened all of your plumbing connections to avoid leaks.

When water is pouring out of all of your taps, you’ll know your hot water tank is about full.

How to Operate Your Hot Water Heater

Even though your hot water heater is powered by gas, it requires electrical electricity to operate. The electrical system of your home requires the activation of a number of different components in order for it to work properly.

Electrical Panel

If your hot water heater is electric, there should be a fuse or circuit breaker to supply power to it. This will power the electronic control board, the igniter, and the element, if your water heater is powered by electricity. It will be necessary for the water heater to function properly that the CB be in the “on” position or that the fuse be fitted and in functioning order.

See also:  How To Adjust Water Heater Temp

On/Off Switch

The on/off switch is the next level of control, and it will be positioned on a main control panel or close to the device in question. Turn on the tank by flipping the switch to the on position; an indicator light will normally glow to indicate that the tank is operational.

Propane Supply

To ensure that your propane water heater is operational, make certain that the propane supply is switched on at the main tank. A shut off valve near the hot water tank may also be present and must be changed to the open position in order to function properly. It’s likely that you’ll hear the igniter clicking and, in some cases, even the flame blazing once you flip the on/off switch on. Additionally, the indication light should be lighted. If you’re using electric or propane to power your tank, it will typically take between 20 and 35 minutes for your tank to heat up depending on its size, the temperature of the water within the tank, and other factors.

Temperature Adjustment

Most RV water heaters do not come with the ability to modify the thermal limit switch; instead, you must learn to be a master of the mixing bowl in order to get the temperature you wish. Having said that, you have the option of replacing the thermal limit switch with an adjustable thermostat if you so choose to.

It’s not a terrible thing to think about because you can save a lot of propane by setting the maximum temperature closer to tepid rather than lava hot with an adjustable thermostat, and replacing out the parts isn’t a difficult DIY job to complete.

Conserving Water and Energy

Because your RV’s water heater is likely to be considerably smaller than the one in your home, paying close attention to how and when you use your hot water will help you avoid running out of hot water when you need it the most. For example, if you use a lot of hot water to clean the dishes and then immediately turn around and hop in the shower, you won’t be able to enjoy that shower for as long as you would want. That one, believe me, is something I’ve learnt the hard way.

How to Drain Your RV Hot Water Heater

Just like you would do when checking the anode rod, you’ll want to switch off your water heater and then open the pressure release valve before attempting to empty it completely. This will prevent you from being shocked or burned throughout the process, which are both things I do not advocate you experience. By opening the pressure release valve at the top of the tank, you can ensure that you are not firing high-pressure water at yourself when you remove the plug. Once the tank has been equalized, you may remove the plug.

As an alternative to utilizing the flushing wand suggested above, you can turn on the city water again for a few minutes and let the water to flow in and out of the tank.

In order to keep your RV stored, winterized, or sterilized, you may want to use a hose to spray any material that may have come out of the water heater off of the exterior of it before shutting the panel door; but, your water heater should be OK otherwise.

There are several more.

Basic Hot Water Heater Maintenance

Make sure to turn off the electricity to your hot water heater before beginning any maintenance work, and then empty out any hot water that has accumulated in the tank using the procedure indicated above to remove any remaining hot water from the tank. As a general rule, propane water heaters will require a bit more maintenance than electric water heaters. This is mostly due to the fact that you’ll want to wipe out the burner tube on a yearly basis to ensure that there isn’t any debris obstructing the flow of gas.

Checking The Anode

Every season, you should examine the quality of your anode rod in all of your tanks, but especially at the beginning and conclusion of the season. The anode is a metal rod that is intended to corrode instead of the inner walls of your tank’s interior. Prior to performing any maintenance on the tank, cut off the electricity to the tank and allow the water within to cool for an hour or two. RV Water Heater Anode Rod – Magnesium Anode Rod Suburban Water Heaters SuburbanMorflo – RV Water Heater Anode Rod

  • • LONG-LASTING QUALITY: Constructed of high-quality magnesium that is particularly designed to be used and collected for a long period of time
  • • PROLONG WATER HEATER LIFE: The anode rod is a critical component of any water heating system that contributes to the overall longevity of the water heater. PROTECT HEATERS FROM CORROSION: This anode rod for RV and outdoor water heaters functions as an effective filter for water that is kept in the heater.

The first step is to release the pressure that has built up in your hot water storage tank. The pressure release valve on the outside of the water heater may be opened, or a hot water faucet in your RV can be opened with the pump switched off and the outer hose unplugged from the outside connection can be opened. To remove the anode rod, you’ll most likely need a 1-1/16-inch socket and a wrench; it’ll be placed towards the bottom of the tank and accessible through the vent door on the outside of your RV.

Prepare to get your hands a bit wet.

Once your water heater has been emptied, you can take advantage of this excellent chance to clean and flush out any sediment and debris that has accumulated in the tank by using a cleaning wand to flush out the tank.

Replacing The Heating Element

It’s probable that the heating element in your electric water tank will need to be changed at some time during your RVing experience. This procedure is analogous to that of changing the anode. After removing the electricity from the appliance, relieve the pressure in the tank and drain the tank following the procedure outlined above. Once the water has been drained from the element, unscrew the terminal screws and detach the wires from the element, making note of their locations. Take out the old element and replace it with a new one by using a wrench.

Replacing The Electrode

The electrode, often known as the igniter, is responsible for producing the spark that ignites the propane. If your water heater makes use of a two-prong electrode, it may only require a thorough cleaning. In order for the spark to leap between prongs and ignite the fuel, the electrode must be free of dirt. When using a single prong electrode, the same thing might happen, however the spark leaps to a neighboring metal surface rather than to a second prong. To remove the electrode, unhook the wiring from the device and unscrew the screw that holds it in place on the device.

It is possible to clean the electrode tip with steel wool or fine grit sandpaper and then reinstall it to test whether it still performs properly.

Closing Thoughts

After all, you purchased your RV in order to bring some of the comforts of home with you on the road, and learning how to properly fill and drain your water heater as well as how to operate and maintain your water heater can help to make that experience even more enjoyable.

RV Water Heater Basics

It is likely that you purchased your RV in order to be able to carry some of the creature comforts of home with you on the road. Knowing how to properly fill, drain, operate, and maintain your water heater can make that experience even more enjoyable.

RV Water Heater Types

Listed below are the four different types of RV water heaters you’ll encounter.

Propane (LP) Only RV Water Heater

As the name implies, this is the original form of RV water heater, and it will operate in practically any environment as long as you have propane gas in your tanks and a little amount of 12v power in your RV batteries. Unlike a gas-fired water heater in your house, the operation of these camper water heaters is similar: A spark is formed, which ignites a little flame in a heating tube, which heats the water. The flame then warms the water in a tank, which is subsequently used for cooking. The hot water tanks in most recreational vehicles are between 6 and 10 gallons in capacity.

This type of switch also incorporates critical safety features, such as the ability to prevent further gas flow if the system senses a failure to ignite the fuel.

A modest quantity of propane is required to keep your camper’s water warm when using a gas-fired RV water heater. This implies that you may park your camper in the middle of nowhere and still have access to hot water for an extended length of time.

Gas + Electric RV Water Heater

Several newer RVs are fitted with hybrid RV water heaters, which may operate on either gas or 120v electricity, or a combination of the two. While their upfront prices are greater than those of gas-only RV water heaters, these hybrid heaters might be an excellent choice if you frequently stay at campsites that have electricity available. In this instance, your water heater will simply make use of the energy that has been provided to keep the water hot in your camper. It is also possible to use both the gas and electric heating components simultaneously when using these hybrid RV water heaters.

Electric RV water heaters have two major drawbacks: they take far longer to heat up than gas-fired water heaters, and they consume a large amount of power while doing so.

Tankless RV Water Heater

If you are looking for a water heater for a camper, tankless RV water heaters have just emerged as the new child on the block. The great majority of recreational vehicle water warmers feature tanks that are between 6 and 10 gallons in capacity. Given that most home water heaters have a capacity of more than 40 gallons, it is possible to run out of hot water when taking a long shower in an RV with a tanked water heater. Using a tankless water heater, you may avoid the problem of running out of water by heating the water as it passes through your pipes.

Compared to tank-style RV water heaters, tankless RV water heaters are more costly, more sensitive to low water pressure, and more difficult to maintain than their tank-style counterparts.

MotorAid RV Water Heater

Because it is a supplementary feature on many RVs, MotorAid is just half of an option on the list. By circulating the engine heat around the water heater tank, this device helps to recycle engine heat. As a consequence, when you get at your location, you will have hot water since your engine’s usual working temperature has heated it. Once you’ve parked your vehicle, you’ll have to rely on propane gas or power to keep your water warm.

Which type of RV water heater should you choose?

The type of RV water heater you choose will be determined by your specific circumstances. If you want to park in an area where power is available, the gas+electric hybrid RV water heater might be an excellent choice for your needs. An RV water heater that runs only on gas is a dependable and economical alternative if you plan to camp in an area without power hookups. A tankless RV water heater is ideal for individuals who live full-time in their camper and/or have a family who will be taking a lot of hot showers.

Tips for Operating an RV Water Heater

Here are five things to keep in mind if you own or operate an RV water heater in your vehicle.

  1. Your RV water heater will most likely be manufactured by Atwood or Suburban. These RV water heaters are quite dependable, and replacement parts for them are easily obtained from any RV parts store. For those interested in installing a tankless water heater, Girard is the primary manufacturer of such units
  2. Make a point of draining your water heater throughout the winter months. RV water heaters with tanks are all provided with a plug that allows the tank to be drained if necessary. In order to winterize your camper, you must drain the water heater from the vehicle. This will help to guarantee that the water in the tank does not freeze and freeze and cause harm. The use of an anode rod will extend the life of your camper’s hot water heater. An anode rod is a simple and inexpensive device that will prevent corrosion and buildup in the inside of your hot water heater. It will also aid in the removal of particulates from your water system if you use an RV water filter. The temperature of your RV’s water heater may be adjusted. You can adjust the temperature of your camper’s water heater in the same way that you can adjust the temperature of a domestic water heater. For further information, consult the owner’s handbook for your camper’s water heater. When you store your camper’s water heater, it’s common for insects to make nests in the unit. Because of this, every time you return to your RV after a season away, you must remember to clean the heater tube in your water heater.

Water heaters in travel trailers are among the simplest and most dependable equipment on the globe, and they are also among the most affordable.

You will enjoy hot, pure water for years to come if you only perform the basic maintenance described above.

Basic RV Water Heating Trouble Shooting

The following items may be of assistance if you are experiencing difficulties with your RV water heater operation:

  • The problem is that your water heater will not ignite. Make sure that you have 12v power running to the water heater before proceeding any further. It’s probable that your circuit board or ignitor is the source of the problem if you have electricity. Both of these components may be purchased at a local RV parts retailer. Problem: Despite the fact that you can hear the ignitor clicking, the heater is still not igniting. It’s possible that you’re having trouble getting propane gas to your RV water heater. During this time, you should consult with a trained specialist who will examine your LP gas system
  • Troubleshooting: Your RV water heater ignites, but it appears to be burning inefficiently or not heating up rapidly. Turn off your water heater and look for blockages in the heating tube to determine the cause of the problem. Clean up any debris or grime you discover in there to help the heating system work more efficiently.

When it comes to troubleshooting, YouTube and RV forums might be your best friends. Chances are that you are not the only person to have this condition, no matter how serious it may seem. Other RVers are always willing to lend a hand in figuring out the source of your RV problems! Here’s a nice video from The Great Outdoor RV that includes some helpful advice for troubleshooting your water heater.

Hit the Road

Rv water heaters are a pretty basic appliance that allows us to enjoy many of the conveniences of home while traveling. By learning the fundamentals of RV water heaters, as well as how to maintain and operate them, you can ensure that everyone has a pleasant experience when camping in the great outdoors.

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