How To Fill Rv Hot Water Heater

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.

RV Hot Water Heater Basics

It is possible to earn commissions from this post. In order to enjoy the comforts of home while camping, your RV hot water heater is an absolute must-have item! Hot water is useful for a variety of jobs such as showering, hand washing, dishwashing, and a variety of other duties. 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 tool. It is essential that every RV owner is aware with how their water heater functions.

Even while certain aspects differ depending on the precise brand and model of water heater you have, many of the fundamental fundamentals are the same for virtually all RV water heaters.

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. At this moment, there is no longer a “demand” for hot water in the household.

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.

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. Although the water will not be warm at this point, it will alert you that it is safe to switch on your water heater without risking damage to the element.

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.

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

It’s important to check that the propane supply is turned on at the main tank if your water heater is powered by propane. A shut off valve near the hot water tank may also be present and must be changed to the open position in order for the system to function properly. Once the on/off switch is switched on, you will most likely be able to hear the igniter clicking and, in some cases, the flame beginning to burn. Aside from that, the indication light should be on. In general, it takes between 20 and 35 minutes for your tank to heat up.

Electric tanks have a tendency to heat up a little faster than conventional tanks.

Conserving Water and Energy

To ensure that your propane water heater is operational, make sure 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 adjusted to the open position. As soon as the on/off switch is switched on, you’ll most likely hear the igniter clicking and, in some cases, the flame blazing.

In addition, the indication light should be turned on. When it comes to heating up your tank, the time varies based on its size, the temperature of the water within the tank, and whether you’re using electricity or propane to fuel it. Electric tanks have the tendency to heat up a little faster.

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.
See also:  How To Open Pressure Relief Valve On Water 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

It is probable that the heating element in your electric water tank will need to be changed at some time during your RVing experience. Replacing the cathode is a technique that is comparable. Release the pressure in the tank and empty it using the manner outlined above once the power has been disconnected from the appliance. Once the water has been drained from the element, unscrew the terminal screws and detach the wires from the element, making a note of their locations. Take out the old element and replace it with a new one, using a wrench.

Closing Thoughts

It’s probable that the heating element in your electric water tank will need to be changed at some time during your RVing journey. This procedure is identical to that of changing the anode. After removing the electricity from the appliance, relieve the pressure in the tank and empty it 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 the placements. With a wrench, remove the element and replace it with a new one.

How to Fill an RV Hot Water Heater (Quick Guide)

Ensure that your RV’s water heater has been fully charged before attempting to take a warm shower or utilize the hot water system in your vehicle (and is on). Fortunately, filling your water heater is a straightforward, largely hands-off procedure. As a result, let’s learn how to fill an RV water heater in two distinct methods, as well as some vital information to ensure that you don’t harm your heater in the process!

How to Fill an RV Hot Water Heater

Filling an RV hot water heater may be accomplished in two ways: either by pumping water into it from the fresh water tank or by using the pressure provided by municipal water attached to your water hook up. Both methods necessitate the fact that your hot water tank is not in bypass mode (a setting you would typically use when draining the water heater andwinterizing the camper). Related: How to Drain the Water Heater from an RV In other words, your RV’s water heater is a component of its plumbing system, just like a home.

In the event that you fill your RV’s water tank with freshwater, the water will be pushed into the hot water heater when the pump is turned on.

That is all there is to it.

And it’s the same for all varieties, whether they’re fueled by propane gas, electricity, or a combination of the two.

If the water heater is turned on when the hot water tanks are empty, it will cause the heating element to burn out. Please refer to our tutorial on how to turn on an electric water heater in a recreational vehicle for further information.

How Do I Know if My RV Water Heater Is Full?

Ensure that your fresh water pump is operational or that you are connected to city water before turning on a hot water faucet in a sink or shower and allowing it to run continuously until water is continuously dispensed from the faucet. If the water spits and sputters, turn on the faucet until the water comes gently out. Not to mention, if your hot water heater is fitted with a bypass kit, be certain that the valves are not blocked, since this will effectively force the water in the plumbing system to flow around the water heater (See diagram below for more information about bypass systems).

FAQs

The most typical reason for an RV hot water tank not filling properly is that one or more bypass valves are either partially or totally closed, depending on the situation. Determine which bypass valves are required for your system based on the type of system you have installed. Among the numerous factors that might apply are:

  • It appears that there is a clog at the cold input port of the water heater tank. The line connecting the bypass kit to the cold water entrance on the tank should be inspected. In addition, make certain that deposits in the tank and/or crud on the anode rod have not resulted in a blockage at the tank’s cold water entrance. The bypass valves are not functioning properly
  • The drain valve is leaking
  • And

More troubleshooting information can be found in your owner’s handbook.

Does an RV Hot Water Tank Fill Automatically?

To find out more about troubleshooting, consult your owner’s handbook.

Where Is the Bypass Valve for the RV Water Heater?

In most cases, the hot water heater bypass valve is positioned close to the rear of the water heater itself, often where cold water enters and hot water exits the tank of the heater. Depending on the type of bypass system you have, you will have anywhere from one to three bypass valves in your system. Is it a good idea to leave my RV’s water heater running all of the time? (Important) Camper FAQs is made possible by donations from readers. It is possible that purchasing through links on our site will result in us receiving an affiliate commission.

Dumb Question, But How Does the Hot Water Tank Fill Up?

11-29-2016, 09:15 PM 1
Junior MemberJoin Date: Nov 2016Location: OklahomaPosts: 21 Dumb Question, But How Does the Hot Water Tank Fill Up?


Just four weeks ago, my wife and I purchased our first ever RV, a brand new 2016 A122s. I’ve learned a bunch in the last few weeks just trying things out on the driveway, reading all the manuals, and reading this forum.One thing that I’m missing, and I’m sure it’s completely obvious, is how does the hot water tank fill up with water? When they did the orientation at the dealer, it was already filled up for the demo and during that one hour, I was overwhelmed with so much information that I didn’t think about it until a wee or so later.Since then, I’ve drained the water and even winterized it earlier today. But while draining the hot water tank, it dawned on me that I never read, saw, nor figured out how to know when it’s full and can be used for hot water (once it’s dewinterized next spring).So far, I’m liking my FR a-frame. I just hope I don’t screw something up beyond all repair!Thanks._”Not all who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien2016 Rockwood A122sToyota Sequoia and 4Runner

11-29-2016, 09:31 PM 2
Senior MemberJoin Date: Jun 2016Posts: 4,113 The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask. If you don’t know.The answer is, like you home, the HWT is in your plumbing. When you hook up a hose to the city water intake – water will flow thru the pipes into the HWT. If you put water into the fresh water tank, when you turn on the pump it will push water into the HWT. Just open a hot water tap to let the air our of the pipes.Both of these assume you do not have the hot water tank valves in by-pass mode (setting for winterizing the system).The big thing is, don’t turn on electricity to heat the water until you are SURE the tank is full (if empty the heating element burns out immediately). Opening the taps until water comes out of the hot side does the job. Me, I’m chicken, so to make sure the tank is full, I always do the initial heating of water with propane. When I feel warm water coming out, I shut off the propane and switch on the electricity._Al I am starting to think, that I will never be old enough-to know better.Tolerance will reach such a level that intelligent people will be banned from thinking so as not to offend the imbeciles. Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky, Russian NovelistS.E. Mich. Flagstaff 26FKWS / 2019 F-150 3.5 EcoBoost SCrew Propride
11-29-2016, 09:35 PM 3
MemberJoin Date: Sep 2016Location: ArkansasPosts: 41 Hook up to city water or fill your fresh water tank to use with water pump. Make sure your hot water tank bypass is off and your tank plug is properly seated. Pressure relief valve open. Turn on the water either at city water pump or your water pump open a faucet in the unit and wait for it to fill. Close pressure relief valve, turn off faucet. Then you can turn on water heater. Things we learned the hard way.wrap teflon tape around the threads of anything you have to screw into tank. Don’t leave anything you have to screw into the tank out for the winter as rust will set in. Get a tank cleaner and clean it out a couple times a year. Never turn it on if it doesn’t have water in it. And be watchful at higher altitudes as the propane burner may not start properly.
11-29-2016, 10:09 PM 4
Senior MemberJoin Date: Mar 2014Posts: 2,819 The water heater on the A122 series is propane only. You don’t have to worry about burning out the electric element.If you hook up to city water, simply open the sink or outside shower hot water valve until water comes out. Your water heater tank is now full.I fill the water tank before a no-hookup camping trip. When the water tank is full, I turn on the water pump, and open the sink hot water valve until water comes out the faucet. This again fills the water heater. Turn off the pump. But because the water tank only has 15-20 gallons (depending on model year), and I have just transferred 6 gallons into the water heater, I top off the water tank after the water heater is full. This gives a total of 21-26 gallons of water on board – which is nice to have in the parched Southwest.FWIW, my A122 tows better with the water tank and heater full than when they are empty.Because I store my A122 in the garage, I don’t winterize. When I took delivery, the unit was winterized, and I had to reset the water heater bypass valves for normal use. The only time I have ever changed their position is when I replaced the water pump – and that was to stop the water heater from draining back into the pump when I had it disconnected.The A122 series A-frames are pretty simple to use and maintain compared to larger TT.Fred W2014 Rockwood A122 A-frame (with the 15 gal water tank)2008 Hyundai Entourage minivancamping Colorado and adjacent states one weekend at a timelast trip: Arches and Capitol Reef National Park

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11-29-2016, 10:15 PM 5
Junior MemberJoin Date: Nov 2016Location: OklahomaPosts: 21 Thanks so much. That was extremely helpful as it sounds both simple and reasonable. Also, that’s good to know that you don’t winterize in your garage. I know it may be overkill, but for owning this for only 4 weeks and not knowing everything there is to know, I went ahead and winterized it today, even though I too store it in the garage. I’m thinking I may not do this in the future, but for this first year, I’m trying to not leave anything to chance.Thanks again._”Not all who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien2016 Rockwood A122sToyota Sequoia and 4Runner
11-30-2016, 02:07 PM 6
Senior MemberJoin Date: Jul 2012Posts: 192 Congratulations on your new RV. May you have many safe and happy trips.
11-30-2016, 03:12 PM 7
HikerBobJoin Date: Nov 2013Location: Cedar City, UtahPosts: 222 Water Heater Propane Issue at High Altitude


Quote:Originally Posted by2jcsontheroadHook up to city water or fill your fresh water tank to use with water pump. Make sure your hot water tank bypass is off and your tank plug is properly seated. Pressure relief valve open. Turn on the water either at city water pump or your water pump open a faucet in the unit and wait for it to fill. Close pressure relief valve, turn off faucet. Then you can turn on water heater. Things we learned the hard way.wrap teflon tape around the threads of anything you have to screw into tank. Don’t leave anything you have to screw into the tank out for the winter as rust will set in. Get a tank cleaner and clean it out a couple times a year. Never turn it on if it doesn’t have water in it. And be watchful at higher altitudes as the propane burner may not start properly.To resolve the higher altitude issue (that’s where we camp in the Sierra Nevada), I crack open the hinged exterior water heater cover an inch and tie it off with a twist-tie that’s attached to the retainer and threaded thru the slot in the cover then wrapped back around the retainer. The problem at high altitude is that the burner starves for oxygen and the igniter cycles off and on repeatedly.

11-30-2016, 03:13 PM 8
Fully COVID-19 vaccinatedJoin Date: Apr 2016Location: About 30 miles west of Beantown.Posts: 3,855 On a side note, DO NOT turn on your water heater when it’s empty. You’ll melt the heating element._2021 Transcend Xplor 247BHHusky WDH with Sway Control2021 Chevy Silverado 2500HD LT 6.6L V8 DuramaxForever in my memory. Forever in my heart.Laurie J. Wood 3/22/67 – 8/23/19
11-30-2016, 04:18 PM 9
Site TeamJoin Date: Mar 2014Location: Grayson County, TexasPosts: 18,244 Quote:Originally Posted bypgandwThe water heater on the A122 series is propane only. You don’t have to worry about burning out the electric element.If this is correct and I assume it is, cautions about ruining the electric element are not applicable._FR Wildcat 295RSX / GMC SierraNights Camped: ’13 = 49 /’14 = 74/ ’15 = 74 / ’16 = 85 / ’17 = 110/’18 = 111/’19 = 86 / ’20 =108/’21 = 115;Booked for 2022 = 55
11-30-2016, 06:26 PM 10
Senior MemberJoin Date: Apr 2012Location: Washington statePosts: 1,258 I think it depends how cold your winters get. We forgot to winterize one year (I thought he did, he thought I did) anyway, it didn’t get done. I had quietly hoped it would be ok, since trailer is stored in our shop (see photo). The first trip of the year resulted in the discovery of a couple hairline cracks in the pipe under the kitchen sink. Don’t take a chance. Winterize if you live in a freezing winter climate.

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11-30-2016, 07:16 PM 11
Senior MemberJoin Date: Jun 2016Location: Mid MichiganPosts: 1,054 HWT


To prevent the next year problem of turning on the water heater with the by- pass in winterize setting is to switch the valves back to normal setting after you finish winterizing so it is ready to go next year.

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Filling Up RV Water Heater

If I connect my RV to city water, would the hot water heater be automatically refilled with water? If that’s the case, how can I fill the water heater with water from my storage tank? Thank you very much, Ron. ANSWER: Salutations, Ron Please accept our sincere appreciation for submitting your question to ourAsk An RV Question Page. It should immediately fill up when you connect to municipal water as long as your water heater has not been bypassed (winterized). When you initially connect to municipal water, you may wish to switch on the hot water faucets in your bathroom and kitchen sinks to expedite the process as much as possible.

You should avoid turning on the hot water heater if the tank is not completely filled since this can cause harm to the water heater.

I hope this was of assistance.

Do you have any recommendations or comments?

Don’t Forget To Stop By The RVing Stores That Have Everything You Need To Know. If anything has anything to do with RVing or the great outdoors, the EARV Stores are the place to go!

How to Fill an RV Water Heater

If I connect my RV to city water, will the hot water heater be automatically re-filled? What is the best way to use my storage tank to refill the water heater? Greetings, Ron. ANSWER: Best wishes to you, Ron Thank you for submitting your question on ourAsk An RV Question Page. We will review it. It should automatically fill when you connect to municipal water as long as your water heater has not been bypassed (winterized). When you initially connect to city water, you may want to switch on the hot water faucets in your bathroom and kitchen sinks to speed things up.

  • Using the hot water heater while it is not completely full may result in damage to the water heater, which you should avoid.
  • Please accept my sincere thanks for your time and consideration.
  • Do you have any recommendations or remarks?
  • Please remember to stop by the RVing Stores that have everything you need to know about camping.

Items you will need

  • Freshwater hose
  • A water supply on the ground
  • Rags
  • A brush or bottled air

Filling an RV Water Heater

Reconnect the RV’s drinking water supply to an on-site drinking water source like your home’s outside hose connection, if possible. Make the connection using the freshwater hose that came with the RV. Check to see that the freshwater tank is completely full. Check to see that the water filter has been properly placed. Make that the water valve connection is open and that enough water is being added to fill the freshwater tank if necessary. Activate the water heater’s control panel. To guarantee a secure water connection to the water heater, check the water supply line to the water heater.

  1. Check to see that the pressure release valve is properly closed before proceeding.
  2. Check to see that the water heater has been turned off.
  3. If the water heater is powered by propane, disconnect the propane tank.
  4. Turn on the water pump and turn on a hot water faucet if you have one.
  5. When the water starts to flow continuously from the faucet, turn it off immediately.

If leaks are discovered, stop filling the water heater and take steps to remedy the problem. The water heater should be turned on as soon as the water pump has stopped working and the tank is full. Any water spills should be cleaned up using cloths.

  • Never turn on the RV water heater unless the tank is completely full with water. Attempting to do so will result in irreparable harm to the unit.
  • When you open the water heater panel, you can expect to encounter spiders and other creatures within. Using a brush or a can of compressed air, remove them off the surface. It is critical to maintain the area surrounding the water heater clean and clear of dirt and debris
  • Otherwise, the water heater may fail.

References

  • “Trailer Life’s RV RepairMaintenance Manual,” 4th Edition, by Bob Livingston, 2002
  • “Trailer Life’s RV RepairMaintenance Manual,” 4th Edition, by Bob Livingston, 2002
  • When you open the water heater panel, you can expect to encounter spiders and other creatures within. Using a brush or a can of compressed air, remove them off the surface. It is critical to maintain the area surrounding the water heater clean and clear of dirt and debris
  • Otherwise, the water heater may fail.
  • Never turn on the RV water heater unless the tank is completely full with water. Attempting to do so will result in irreparable harm to the unit.

Bio of the AuthorLynda Altman began writing professionally in 2001, focusing in genealogy, homeschooling, gardening, animals, and crafts. She has won several awards for her work. In addition to “Family Chronicle Magazine,” her writing has also appeared in the “Chihuahua Magazine.” The B.A. in marketing from Mercy College, as well as a black belt in taekwondo, master gardener certification, a certificate in graphic arts, and a diploma in genealogy, are all among Altman’s accomplishments.

RVing 101 Guide: Water Heaters

If your RV is equipped with plumbing, there is a good probability that you have a water heater. Compared to a typical house or apartment water heater, the RV water heater will be smaller, but it will operate in essentially the same way. You can use hot water for anything from showering and washing your hands to cleaning the dishes since it warms water as it is used. All RV owners should be familiar with the fundamentals of their RV water heater since it comes in handy whether you’re cooking, cleaning, showering, or doing anything else while on the road.

RV Water Heaters 101

The first thing you should know about RV water heaters is that they are fueled by propane, not electricity. Unless you’ve spent a lot of money on a high-end vehicle, A propane-fueled water heater and other equipment will be required in your motorhome, motorcoach, or luxury recreational vehicle (RV). A six-gallon tank is standard for most RVs, with some units using as much as a ten-gallon tank depending on the size of the vehicle. Some water heaters are exclusively compatible with gas, while others are compatible with both propane and electricity.

  1. A pilot light is used in the majority of recreational vehicle water heaters.
  2. Alternatively, if the latter is placed in your RV, you will utilize a switch located within the RV or trailer to activate the water heater after the vehicle is parked.
  3. Safety devices, similar to those found in your home water heater, are included into the unit to guarantee that the water does not heat up too much or that pressure does not accumulate.
  4. Pro Tip: The hotter you like your water to be, the more propane will be required to heat it.

Before Your RV Water Heater’s First Use

Before turning on your RV water heater for the first time, ensure sure it’s fully stocked with enough water to last the whole trip.

For instructions on how to fill and maintain the water level in the device, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions once again. The following steps can be applied to RV and trailer water heaters in the vast majority of cases:

  • Check the bypass valve on the water heater. Allow the water to flow into the primary tank by opening the valve. To begin pumping water, connect your RV to a local water outlet and use the onboard pump to start the process. Start by turning on the hot water faucet. Water will begin to flow through your lines and into the heating tank
  • This is a normal occurrence. Fill it all the way up to the fill line, and your water heater will be ready to use

Advice from the experts: Once again, consult your manufacturer’s instructions on how to fill the specific water heater for your RV or trailer before using it for the very first time. During the off-season, be sure to empty your water heater. This is especially important during the winter and while placing your RV or trailer in storage for the winter. If you fail to do so, you may wind up with mold and mildew in your home, as well as the need to repair your water heater sooner rather than later.

RV Water Heater Maintenance

When you examine, clean, and care for them on and off the road, they will last longer and require less maintenance than the majority of the components in your RV or trailer. It is no different with your water heater.

  • Depending on the sort of water heater you have, you may need to clean it more frequently than once a year. Make sure your water heater is included in your normal RV maintenance plan, and anytime you take your rig to the shop, ask the mechanic to check it to make sure it’s in good operating condition. When winterizing your RV or trailer, you should always drain all of the water from the water heater and check that all of the lines are clear. Follow the same procedure for all of the lines in your RV or trailer to guarantee that your water heater is ready for the winter or a lengthy period of time when it will be parked and not in use.

If you have a tankless water heater, you may need to clean it more than once a year, depending on the model. Maintain your water heater as part of your usual RV maintenance routine, and anytime you take your rig to the shop, ask the mechanic to check it to make sure it’s in proper operating condition. You should always empty the water heater of all water and check that all of the lines are clear before winterizing your RV or trailer. Follow the same procedure for all of the lines in your RV or trailer to guarantee that your water heater is ready for the winter or a lengthy period of time when it will be parked and not in use;

How to fill hot water tank – newbie needs help

05-21-2016, 11:26 PM 1
Junior MemberJoin Date: May 2016Location: WasillaPosts: 3 How to fill hot water tank – newbie needs help


I have a brand new 2016 Jayflight Travel Trailer. I think I’m just not getting it when it comes to filling the hot water heater. It seems it should be simple. Can I ask someone to give me directions on how to fill the tank? I guess I need one of those DUMMIES books. So, at this point, I have plenty of fresh water in the holding tank. The drain plug on the exterior hot water heater has been screwed in and I have some of that white tape on the threads. So, next I turned on the pump and I think it filled up. I am plugged in to A/C power at home right now. 1. I used the pump (button) to fill the tank. (The book is confusing on this, or maybe I am the confused one)2. So, if step one is correct, then should the pump shut off automatically when the water heater has been filled?3. If1 and2 are correct, then how do I heat up the water, and what does the hot water sink tap and pressure relief value have to do with this? Yea, so you see, I don’t get it.that’s the part I need help with.By the way, I have the LP tank open and LP is running through the line because I lit the stove and oven during my “pre-flight” so far.So, I might be in some trouble here because I thought I did everything right, according to directions in the book. I noticed some water leaking near the hot water tank, and it appears that the leaking might be where the blue intake line goes into the water heater, but I can’t be sure where the leak is coming from. It’s hard to get into that area under the bunk.or from outside.So next I kinda freaked out when I saw the leak, and I thought that maybe it had something to do with this pressure relief valve or the hot water faucet. I could not be sure the leak started when I filled the tank, OR, when I tried to heat up the water. So, I decided to start over and try to troubleshoot the leak. I drained the hot water tank.unscrewed the drain plug and let the water out. I did this thinking I didn’t want water in the tank if something is leaking, and I want everything dry.So, I’d like to troubleshoot this, but I think I need better understand the steps to fill the tank, and then heat the water in the tank. I was thinking that I would re-fill the hot water tank tomorrow, and as that is filling, feel back in there to see if there is a leak at that point. If there is, it seems that maybe the water intake blue line might not be tightened down. If that’s the case, I’ll take it in on warranty. But, my bigger worry is that if the leak is the water heater itself. Argghh. OMG, did I do something wrong maybe when I heated the water? I did release the pressure valve, but only water came out. Any help is appreciated.

05-21-2016, 11:54 PM 2
MemberJoin Date: Apr 2016Location: PensacolaPosts: 33 If your just using water from you fresh water tank (water hose not hooked up to city water supply), then turn water pump on (it will kick off when water pressure reaches a certain pressure). There are 2 different ways to ensure hot water tank is full. 1) with pump on, turn on hot water at facet until all air is bled out. 2) outside at the hot water tank there is a pressure relief port. With pump on open that until air is bled out. Do not turn on water heater until all air is bled out (should only take a min or two). I would fix the leak before using again. If you don’t have the proper tool to crimp it tighter, you could probably just remove the clamp and use a screw type hose clamp. If tightened properly, it should fix it just fine. Or you can take it back to dealer.
05-22-2016, 05:38 AM 3
Senior MemberJoin Date: Jan 2011Location: ViennaPosts: 2,044 Since you are using the fresh water tank, the water pump will run until the hot water tank is full. This could be more than a couple minutes if your hot water tank was empty. As JWS said, open the hot water faucet to let all the air out. Some of the new rigs have 10 gallon hot water heaters so it may take a while for the water pump to shut off. If you open the outside pressure relief valve on the hot water heater and water comes out, it is full._Joe Hinson2010 Jayco Quest G2(SOLD)2014 Jayco Eagle 33.5RETS2007 Ram 2500 5.9L Cummins(SOLD)2015 Ram 2500 6.7L Cummins 4WD:)
05-22-2016, 06:35 AM 4
Senior MemberJoin Date: Sep 2013Posts: 193 I am wondering if the vaVets are set for einterize? Just a thought. Wish I could explain the difference had mine three years and I have to take a picture and use it every spring.
05-22-2016, 07:36 AM 5
Senior MemberJoin Date: Aug 2014Location: Hamilton/CincinnatiPosts: 264 Check and tighten the fittings on the back of the heater where water lines attach. I had one work its way loose and leak. Also had one leak at the pump. Make it a habit to check all of your connections at least once a season as they can work their way loose while travelling. I check the connections at each faucet, the water heater and the pump at the start of the season ad every now and then during the season. The fittings are hand tightened._2014 Jayflight Swift 264BH2015 Ford F150 XLT 4×4 SCrew 3.5 EcoBoost Max TowEqualizer 10K
05-22-2016, 07:56 AM 6
Junior MemberJoin Date: May 2016Location: WasillaPosts: 3 OK. Thanks to all. I will do everything you said and report back. I hope I can get to that connection and hope that is where it leaked from. That is a super tight spot, but I’ll give it a go.
05-22-2016, 10:13 AM 7
Junior MemberJoin Date: May 2016Location: WasillaPosts: 3

Hey thanks to everyone. Your suggestions worked, but I found that I did have a problem.I pulled the cheap panel off that protects the water heater (from under the bed). Then as my son started filling the tank, I was watching all the connections to see if there was a leak. One of the fittings that goes directly into the tank is leaking.so we found it! Whew. You folks are great and really helped me out.

05-22-2016, 11:09 AM 8
Senior MemberJoin Date: Dec 2014Location: FLPosts: 11,281 Quote:Originally Posted byAKJonesyHey thanks to everyone. Your suggestions worked, but I found that I did have a problem.I pulled the cheap panel off that protects the water heater (from under the bed). Then as my son started filling the tank, I was watching all the connections to see if there was a leak. One of the fittings that goes directly into the tank is leaking.so we found it! Whew. You folks are great and really helped me out._ShermTerry w/rescue Eydie (min Schnauzer)Charley (std Poodle)SOLD: 2015 Jay Flight 27RLS, GY Endurance (E), Days: 102 ’15, 90 ’16, 80 ’17, 161 ’18, 365+ ’20SOLD:2006 Ford F350 PSD, 4WD, CC, LB, SRW, Camper pkg., 375,000miFull timing: Some will think you’re crazy, some will be envious, just enjoy the freedom!
05-22-2016, 02:58 PM 9
Senior MemberJoin Date: Nov 2014Location: Trussville, AlPosts: 2,093 Glad you got it figured out. BTW, welcome aboard_Ron, Barbararescues Beamer (Lab mix), Buddy (Cavalier spaniel), Ruger (Golden retriever), Stanley (Bassett/Springer mix) and 3 grandsons2012 Jayco Feather 29L BH2015 Chevy 2500 HD Duramax and Equalizer WDH
05-22-2016, 07:14 PM 10
MemberJoin Date: Apr 2016Location: PensacolaPosts: 33 Glad to hear you got it figured out. Hope all else goes well, and is trouble free!
02-05-2018, 01:09 PM 11
MemberJoin Date: Jul 2016Location: Forest GrovePosts: 34 Hot water tank issue


I’m having the same issue. No water going to the hot water tank. I’ve opened all faucets and bled off all the air until just a steady stream of water is present. The bypass valve at the pump is in the correct position, and opened the safety valve as well. I have tried both the pump and the city water connection. Still have no water in the hot water tank. Any ideas?

02-05-2018, 01:46 PM 12
Senior MemberJoin Date: Jul 2011Location: Parma, OhioPosts: 395 Bad valve?have a family member who has valves replaced twice because they were bad._2016 Jay Flight 34RSBS2014 Ram 2500 6.4 Hemi, 4.10 axle2009 Jay Flight 29BHS G2 -Traded in-2015 Toyota Tundra 5.7 Crew Cab, Traded inBluegill1
02-05-2018, 02:43 PM 13
Senior MemberJoin Date: Apr 2011Location: ONPosts: 820 Sounds like your by-pass valvesat the hot water tankare not set correctly.You have by-pass valves at the pump, but they are for winterizing your unit.Have you located the back side of your hot water tank? There should be 3 valves there that you need to turn in order to make your tank fill._2015 Jayco WhiteHawk 28BHKS Summit Edition2021 Ford F-150, 4×4, 3.5L Ecoboost, Max Tow
02-05-2018, 03:11 PM 14
Senior MemberJoin Date: Jan 2015Location: SurprisePosts: 2,623 If your getting water out your hot water side of the faucet, then you have hot water in the tank. It may not be hot but water would have to be in the tank for it to flow out the hot side of your faucet. The hot water tank may not be turned on, either electric or propane or both, but water flowing out the hot water side of the faucet indicates tank full or tank bypassed.Good Luck._2011 Toyota Tundra double cab2015 27RLS
02-05-2018, 04:09 PM 15
MemberJoin Date: Jul 2016Location: Forest GrovePosts: 34 Quote:Originally Posted byQuantumSounds like your by-pass valvesat the hot water tankare not set correctly.You have by-pass valves at the pump, but they are for winterizing your unit.Have you located the back side of your hot water tank? There should be 3 valves there that you need to turn in order to make your tank fill.Thank you! I believe that I will need to go under the bunks to get to those valves!
02-05-2018, 06:17 PM 16
Senior MemberJoin Date: Apr 2011Location: ONPosts: 820 Quote:Originally Posted bywags999If your getting water out your hot water side of the faucet, then you have hot water in the tank. It may not be hot but water would have to be in the tank for it to flow out the hot side of your faucet. The hot water tank may not be turned on, either electric or propane or both, but water flowing out the hot water side of the faucet indicates tank full or tank bypassed.Good Luck.Not necessarily. If the valves are positioned to bypass the water heater, then the cold water will “short circuit” to the hot water side without ever entering the hot water tank.That’s how it is plumbed on my trailer anyway._2015 Jayco WhiteHawk 28BHKS Summit Edition2021 Ford F-150, 4×4, 3.5L Ecoboost, Max Tow
02-05-2018, 06:32 PM 17
Senior MemberJoin Date: Jan 2015Location: SurprisePosts: 2,623 That is what I said in the last line. Either the tank is full or bypassed. It may not be hot if the tank is not turned on, as I also said._2011 Toyota Tundra double cab2015 27RLS
09-05-2019, 10:26 AM 18
Junior MemberJoin Date: Sep 2019Location: MontrealPosts: 1 Fresh Water goes straight in the grey water tank


RV = Forest River Destination Sierra 1998 stock.Hi, I did something wrong filling up my fresh water tank.(I add too much beer I guess) At first I’ve hooked up an air compressor in the city water system to drain the pipes and it worked then, I simply added water and started the pump. My girlfriend told me that the water was flowing out under. I closed the drain valve. Then I realized I had to close the anti-freeze bypass under the bed. I started to have fresh water in all faucets. Then I thought about getting hot water. I opened the valve on top (hot water out). I heard water flowing in the hot tank so I thought i was fine. I wasn’t. I then realized that there might be a cold valve in and I found it. After that i was hearing water flowing in the tank even more and I thought I was OK. I was not because it took my another hour that there was a bypass valve and is why i was getting cold/hot water mixed together. After that, the faucets were now sucking air in none stop and I could hear all my freshwater going in the hot water tank non stop. Like my 35 gallons of fresh water would never end filling up the hot water tank. I’ve looked everywhere for leak but couldn’t see any water. I check my grey black tank levels and the grey one was already at 50%. I spent the rest of the week-end asking myself how in hell would water go from the hot water tank to the grey tank without passing by anything visual. Now I am totally lost. I only found a diagram somewhere on internet that talked about a second pump somewhere that prevents water from flowing in the gray tank but where is it and what i do I have to do now? Thank you!

09-05-2019, 04:10 PM 19
Senior MemberJoin Date: Apr 2015Location: FlorissantPosts: 419 OK, First let me say that the “valve” on the upper side of the hot tank is an overpressure safety valve. Yes, you can pull that lever out to expel air when you fill that tank OR you can just go to the sink and let air out of the hot water side until water comes out. Other things, dont even try to fill the tank until the valve for cold water input to the tank is opened, the outlet for hot water from the tank is opened, and the valve between the two is closed (bypass hose). I guess you got the antifreeze input to the pump figured out and turned off. It does not matter if you fill the tank with city water supply or if you use the fresh water and pump. Make sure the plastic plug is in the bottom of the tank. Make sure that if you use that overpressure valve to displace air in the tank that you close it once the tank is full. I cant imagine how the grey tank was filling unless you had a faucet running of the toilet was running._SkidsWas 2015 SLX 195RBNow Bullet 248RKS2014 Ford F150 3.5L Ecoboost
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