RV Gas Water Heater Problems : Causes And Solution

Rv gas water heater problems can cause inconvenience. Possible solutions include checking the pilot light, testing the thermocouple, and flushing the tank.

If you’re an rv owner, then you know the importance of having a working water heater. A malfunctioning water heater could mean no hot showers or washing dishes in cold water. However, sometimes things can go wrong, and your rv gas water heater may stop working. When this happens, it’s important to troubleshoot the problem and find a permanent solution. This article will guide you through the common rv gas water heater problems and how to fix them. So, let’s get started!

Common Causes Of Rv Gas Water Heater Problems

Rv gas water heaters are worth their weight in gold, especially for people who love to embark on adventurous and comfortable road trips. But, at times, these water heaters can malfunction and require maintenance. Here are some of the common causes of rv gas water heater problems that you should be aware of.

Lack Of Regular Maintenance

One of the most common reasons rv gas water heaters break down is lack of maintenance. Therefore, it’s important to have your rv gas water heater serviced regularly by a professional to ensure optimal functioning.

  • Sediment and mineral buildup: over time, sediment can build up inside the tank, resulting in poor heating performance and damage to the heating elements.
  • Anode rod wear and tear: the anode rod protects the tank interior from corrosion. If it wears out, the tank becomes more vulnerable to rust, reducing the heater’s effectiveness.

Faulty Thermostat

If your rv gas water heater is not heating the water, the thermostat could be the problem. A damaged thermostat can malfunction leading to incorrect temperature readings or no heating at all.

  • Inconsistent water temperature: the thermostat may read inaccurate readings or fluctuate temperature erratically.
  • Failure to heat water: damaged thermostats cannot effectively transmit power to the heating element, rendering the heater ineffective.

Malfunctioning Pressure Relief Valve

The pressure relief valve is a safety feature designed to release excess pressure if the temperature and pressure inside the tank reach a dangerous level. If the valve fails, it can lead to catastrophic damage.

  • Dripping or leaking valve: if you notice water dripping from the valve, it could be malfunctioning, and you should seek professional assistance.
  • Faulty or stuck valve: if the valve is unable to release excess pressure properly, the water heater may explode, and the hazardous situation may lead to injury.

Sediment Buildup

As earlier mentioned, sediment and mineral buildup can cause problems with your rv gas water heater.

  • Poor heating performance: accumulation of sediment can insulate the heating element, thus reducing its efficiency, and making it work harder than it should.
  • Loud noises: the buildup of the sediment can create a rumbling or popping sound during heating, which indicates a replacement or cleaning requirement.

Gas Supply Issues

A gas water heater needs a reliable gas supply to perform correctly.

  • Oxygen depletion: lack of ventilation or inadequate oxygen supply can lead to oxygen depletion inside the rv, which can cause serious health issues.
  • Inadequate gas pressure: a low gas pressure supply may cause the heater’s output to be lower than required.

Regular maintenance of your rv gas water heater is crucial to ensure optimal performance and prevent dangerous situations. Always ensure you call in a professional to handle any issues, to avoid further damage.

Rv Gas Water Heater Problems : Symptoms To Watch Out For

As an avid rv user, you rely on your gas water heater to provide you with adequate hot water whenever you need it. However, like any other appliance, your rv gas water heater can fail, leaving you stranded without hot water in the middle of nowhere.

In this article, we’ll explore the symptoms of rv gas water heater problems to help you identify them before they escalate into bigger issues.

No Hot Water Or Insufficient Hot Water

The most obvious sign of a problem with your rv gas water heater is when you fail to get adequate hot water or no hot water at all.

  • Faulty thermostat
  • Malfunctioning heating element
  • Blocked gas supply

Rusty Water

Another issue that you may face with your rv gas water heater is rusty water.

  • Old age of the water heater
  • Sediment buildup
  • Exposure to harsh water

Strange Noises Coming From The Heater

If you hear strange noises coming from your rv gas water heater, it’s a clear indicator that something is not right.

  • Sediment buildup
  • Loose components in the heater
  • Malfunctioning burner

Pilot Light Won’T Stay Lit

The pilot light is an essential component of your rv gas water heater. It ignites the gas burner that heats the water in the tank.

  • Dirty thermocouple
  • Faulty pilot control valve
  • Clogged burner tube

Leaking Water

Water leaking from your rv gas water heater is a clear indication of a problem.

  • Loose drain valve
  • Malfunctioning temperature relief valve
  • Corrosion in the water tank

Foul Smell

If you notice a foul smell coming from your rv gas water heater, it could be due to bacteria buildup within the tank. Bacteria thrive in warm water conditions, and they can cause health issues if left unchecked.

  • Flushing the water heater regularly
  • Using a water heater cleaner
  • Adjusting the thermostat to a higher temperature

Inconsistent Water Temperature

If you’re experiencing inconsistent water temperatures, it could be due to a faulty thermostat or heating element. It’s essential to address this problem early on to avoid the risk of scalding or cold water shocks.

Understanding the symptoms of rv gas water heater problems is crucial to ensure that you catch the issues early on before they escalate into bigger problems. Regular maintenance of your rv gas water heater is also essential to keep it functioning effectively and efficiently.

So, be alert, stay informed, and always prioritize your safety when dealing with any malfunctioning appliance, including your rv gas water heater.

Solutions To Rv Gas Water Heater Problems

Rv gas water heater problems can be a real headache for owners who rely on it for their daily needs. However, don’t let these issues get in the way of your camping trip. Here are some solutions to common rv gas water heater problems that you can try before calling in a professional.

Regular Maintenance, Including Flushing The Tank And Checking The Anode Rod

  • Drain and flush the tank occasionally to remove sediment buildup that can cause problems with water temperature and pressure.
  • Check and replace the anode rod every year or as needed to prevent corrosion. A corroded anode rod can lead to a leaky tank.
  • Check the pressure relief valve to ensure that it is working properly.

Replacing A Faulty Thermostat Or Pressure-Relief Valve

  • If you’re not getting enough hot water, replace a faulty thermostat instead of the entire unit.
  • Check the pressure relief valve if your heater is leaking water or making a popping or cracking sound.
  • Replacing the pressure relief valve is an inexpensive and quick fix for this problem.

Cleaning The Burner And Gas Orifices

  • Over time, debris and rust can clog the burner tube and gas orifices, causing your rv gas water heater to malfunction.
  • Cleaning the burner tube and gas orifices is a simple task that you can do on your own to restore your unit to full functionality.

Replacing A Damaged Or Leaking Tank

  • If you notice noticeable damage to your rv gas water heater tank or see any signs of leakage, such as water stains on your rv floor, the tank may need replacement.
  • Fixing a damaged tank requires professional skills.

Using A Water Softener To Prevent Sediment Buildup

  • To avoid sediment buildup in your rv gas water heater, use a water softener.
  • Water softeners help to reduce mineral buildup, which can lead to clogged pipes and low performance.

Adjusting Gas Pressure Or Unblocking The Gas Line

  • If the gas pressure is too low, you won’t be able to get enough hot water, and the unit may fail to ignite altogether.
  • Unblock the gas line or adjust the gas pressure so that the rv gas water heater can function as it should.

Rv gas water heater problems can be a nuisance. However, that does not mean that you should let them ruin your camping trip. Regular maintenance can save you from bigger problems later. If you face a problem, try out any of the above solutions before calling a professional.

By being proactive, you can prevent most rv gas water heater problems from occurring in the first place.

Frequently Asked Questions On Rv Gas Water Heater Problems

What Are The Common Problems With Rv Gas Water Heaters?

The common problems with rv gas water heaters include issues with the pilot light, thermocouple, gas valve, burner assembly, and heating element. Sediment buildup can also be a problem, causing the tank to become less efficient over time. Additionally, leaks in the water heater tank or piping can occur and should be addressed immediately.

How Do You Troubleshoot An Rv Gas Water Heater That Won’T Ignite?

If your rv gas water heater won’t ignite, here are some troubleshooting steps you can follow:

1. Check if the propane tank has gas in it

2. Make sure the gas valve is turned on

3. Verify that the water heater is properly connected to the propane source and there are no leaks.

4. Inspect the igniter and clean it if it’s dirty or corroded.

5. Check the thermocouple and replace it if it’s faulty.

6. Examine the control board and replace it if it’s defective.

7. Finally, reach out to an rv repair professional if the problem persists.

What Can Cause An Rv Gas Water Heater To Produce Insufficient Hot Water?

There are several reasons that can cause an rv gas water heater to produce insufficient hot water. Some common causes include a faulty thermostat, a build-up of sediment in the tank, a damaged heating element, a malfunctioning gas valve or pilot light, and a problem with the water supply or pressure.

It is important to have a certified technician properly diagnose and address the issue to ensure the safety and efficiency of the rv’s water heater system.

Are There Any Diy Solutions For Resolving Minor Issues With Rv Gas Water Heaters?

Yes, there are several diy solutions for resolving minor issues with rv gas water heaters. Some common solutions include checking and cleaning the burner assembly, inspecting and replacing the thermocouple, adjusting the thermostat, flushing the tank to remove sediment buildup, and checking and replacing the anode rod.

However, it is important to note that if you are not comfortable working with gas appliances or if the issue is more complex, it is recommended to seek professional assistance.


Dealing with rv gas water heater problems can be overwhelming, but it’s important to address them as soon as possible. By identifying the cause of the issue and performing regular maintenance, you can avoid costly repairs and enjoy reliable hot water in your rv.

Don’t forget to check for leaks, flushing the tank regularly, and monitoring the pressure relief valve to prevent dangerous situations. Additionally, consider upgrading to a newer, more efficient model to save energy and money in the long run. Remember, staying proactive and informed is crucial when it comes to ensuring your rv gas water heater runs smoothly.

With proper care and attention, you can have peace of mind and enjoy your rv travels to the fullest.

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