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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Why Is My RV Sizzling Water Heater Not Working?


Sizzling water entry is without doubt one of the greatest benefits that RVers take pleasure in. However when an RV scorching water heater just isn’t working, it’s extra irritating than occurring a tent tenting journey realizing you’ll have to make use of the campground services for dishes or a heat bathe. 

If you happen to’re not getting scorching water in your RV,  begin troubleshooting with these primary questions:

Is the Water Heater Turned On?

RV technician turning on gas switch for RV water heater
Photograph by Tenting World

Make sure the swap in your fuel/electrical or tankless water heater is turned on. For fuel/electrical water heaters, the swap should be turned on for a number of minutes to warmth water within the tank earlier than utilizing scorching water at a faucet or showerhead. Even after the water heater has been turned on for a number of minutes, you might must open the recent water faucet for 10 or 15 seconds to purge any chilly water resting within the strains.

How Lengthy Has It Been Turned On?

Until you have got an on-demand or tankless water heater, the fuel or electrical heating choice takes time to heat the water within the tank. The bigger your water heater’s tank (normally 6 or 10 gallons, however 12 and 16-gallon fashions additionally exist), the extra time it takes to warmth the amount of water saved inside. 

With fuel/electrical water heaters, it sometimes takes between 30-45 minutes for the water within the tank to warmth. Nevertheless, you need to use each heating settings for “faster restoration,” which reduces the period of time you’ll want to attend earlier than scorching water is on the market.

With tankless water heaters, scorching water must be obtainable at your taps and bathe inside 5-10 seconds of turning the heater’s swap to the On place.

Have You Run Out of Sizzling Water?

Person filling up RV freshwater tank
Photograph by Tenting World

The typical RV water heater tank holds about 6 gallons, whereas residential tanks common about 40 gallons. If your loved ones takes a number of showers back-to-back, you’ll must house them out sufficient in your water heater tank to refill and reheat. The typical tank-style water heater can present scorching water for 5-10 minutes, relying on tank dimension.

With tankless water heaters, there are fewer limitations as a result of there’s no tank that should be crammed and heated. Nevertheless, the “limitless scorching water” that many tankless water heater producers boast will be deceptive as a result of you can be restricted by different components in your RV’s plumbing system – primarily grey water tank capability, but in addition recent water tank capability when dry tenting. 

Technician Tip: On-demand or hybrid techniques such because the Aldi or Truma Combi could not match the temperatures of tank-style and tankless water heaters. The issue is that they might use the identical or comparable names, resembling tankless or on-demand, which will be deceptive. Every type will checklist the GPH, gallons of water on the marketed temperature, and the setpoint temperature of the system. The RV proprietor should search for and examine these real-world information factors so as to get what they require for his or her private wants.

Is Air within the Propane Traces?

If the fuel swap is turned on and the unit is attempting to warmth water, it’s best to hear the roar of the flame (with out opening the water heater entry door). If the flame just isn’t lit, make sure the valves on high of your propane containers are absolutely opened. Then, mild a burner on the range to check that fuel flows via the camper.

If you happen to just lately refilled your ASME tank or modified out for a brand new DOT cylinder, there could also be air within the LP strains, inflicting the water heater to misfire. Lighting the burner on the range ought to purge many of the air and guarantee a gradual LP provide to mild your water heater.

Is There Enough Voltage to Preserve the Gasoline Valve Open and Circuit Board Lively?

It takes a minimal of 10.5 volts to carry open the coils on the fuel valve. Low voltage is extra frequent when dry tenting since you aren’t related to a dependable campground energy supply. In case your battery is drained, it received’t present sufficient energy in your water heater to function as meant. If you happen to suspect this could possibly be the case, use a digital multimeter to check the DC voltage in your RV battery (or batteries).

Is Water within the Tank?

Example of P/T valve on RV water heater
Photograph by Tenting World

To examine for an empty tank, begin by turning off the fuel and/or electrical management switches. Go exterior and open the heater’s entry cowl. Gently contact the pressure-temperature valve (P/T valve) and see whether it is scorching. Whether it is, the equipment is attempting to create scorching water. Nevertheless, there is probably not water within the tank.

Seize a espresso cup and place it below the P/T valve opening. Evenly pull up on the silver lever on the head of the valve. Sizzling water ought to run into the cup. If you happen to hear a fast air stress launch and no water comes out, there isn’t a water within the tank. 

At this level, it’s time to cease. The most probably state of affairs is that your water heater’s bypass valve continues to be in winterize mode. Resetting the bypass valve as soon as the water heater has been operating will add chilly water to a scorching tank, which might trigger irreparable tank harm.

The chilly water will crack the glass lining in a Suburban tank. On a Dometic tank, it’s going to possible collapse or crack the flue tube that runs via the middle. The chilly water may also crack an electrical heating component.

On pilot fashions, operating the water heater for a short while with out a full water tank will trigger the excessive restrict swap within the thermostat meeting to open completely. The end result? The complete meeting should be changed, as it’s neither resettable nor serviceable.

Wait 60-120 minutes for the tank to chill earlier than altering the bypass valve to the traditional operation place and including water.

Is Sizzling Water Coming From the Chilly Faucet?

If you happen to’re attempting to get scorching water at a single-lever faucet, the blending valve on the tap could be defective. Strive getting scorching water from the chilly facet. In the course of the camper’s maiden voyage, we generally uncover that the cold and hot strains have been put in incorrectly by the producer. If you happen to suspect this to be the case in your RV, contact a service heart for additional help to treatment the problem of your RV scorching water heater not working.

Is the Water Heater Heat, Not Sizzling?

RV technician testing water temperature when RV hot water heater not working
Photograph by Tenting World

If you happen to really feel that your water isn’t getting scorching sufficient, there’s a fast and easy take a look at. Get a cheap meat thermometer and fill a espresso cup with scorching water. If the cup is chilly, dump and refill it a number of instances to deliver it to temperature. Drop the thermometer into the water. 

Tank-style water heaters sometimes warmth to 140℉. So, if the cup is crammed on the P/T valve, a thermometer studying of roughly 140℉ is regular. A thermometer studying round 120℉ is extra possible when drawing water from a faucet. If the water heater makes use of a mixing valve, such because the EXT fashions, the water on the P/T valve could attain 180℉, which will be harmful regardless that it’s finally tempered all the way down to the identical 120℉ on the faucet.

In case your take a look at reveals that your scorching water heater isn’t heating to the designed temperature, contact a Tenting World Service heart to schedule a extra full diagnostic.

Technician Tip: Seek the advice of your proprietor’s guide or producer for data in your water heater’s meant temperature in case you don’t have a Suburban or Dometic mannequin.


If you happen to’ve requested these questions and tried the troubleshooting ideas related to every, however you’re nonetheless not getting scorching water, it’s time to schedule an appointment to have your water heater inspected by an RV technician. 

For different troubleshooting ideas, try these articles: 

Do you have got further questions on why your RV scorching water heater just isn’t working? Tell us within the feedback beneath.


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