RV Hot Water Heater Problems : Causes and Solution

Rv hot water heater problems can be caused by various factors. It is important to troubleshoot and address the issue promptly to avoid inconvenience and further damage.

Traveling in an rv can be very comfortable and convenient, especially when you have a functional hot water heater. However, when your rv hot water heater starts to malfunction, it can quickly make your travels uncomfortable. There are various reasons why your rv hot water heater may be experiencing problems, including faulty heating elements, gas valve issues, or sediment buildup. In this article, we will provide you with some tips on how to troubleshoot and solve your rv hot water heater problems so that you can continue to enjoy your travels without interruptions.

Causes Of Rv Hot Water Heater Problems

Rv hot water heaters, just like any other appliance, sometimes develop problems and require repair or replacement. As an rv owner, it is essential to know the causes of these issues to avoid costly repairs or accidents. In this article, we will discuss the most prevalent causes of rv hot water heater problems, including improper installation, hard water, thermostat problems and ignition/burner issues.

Improper Installation

One of the primary causes of rv hot water heater issues is poor installation.

  • Incorrect venting: inadequate venting of gas appliances could be hazardous to your health. Ensure that your rv hot water heater is installed correctly, with the exhaust pipe properly venting the combustion gases out of the rv.
  • Loose connections: loose connections can lead to leaks and cause damage to your rv hot water heater. Check all connections frequently to ensure they are secure.
  • Incorrect positioning: improper placement of the rv hot water heater can lead to reduced performance and overheating, leading to leaks.

Hard Water

While hard water is not harmful to human health, it can cause significant problems for rv hot water heaters. Hard water contains elevated levels of calcium, magnesium and other minerals that can lead to scaling in the heater tank. This scaling reduces the heating efficiency of the rv heater and can cause damage to the tank and components.

  • Reduced water flow: the buildup of mineral deposits can create clogs in the water lines, resulting in reduced water flow.
  • Unusual sounds: if you hear strange sounds coming from your rv hot water heater, such as popping or cracking noises, it may be a sign of hard water scaling.

Thermostat Problems

The thermostat regulates the temperature of the rv hot water heater and ensures that the water is heated to the desired temperature.

  • Inconsistent water temperature: an incorrect thermostat setting can lead to inconsistent water temperature, making showers uncomfortable.
  • Unnecessary energy consumption: when the thermostat is not functioning correctly, the rv hot water heater may heat the water more than necessary, leading to wastage of energy.

Ignition And Burner Issues

Ignition and burner problems are another common cause of rv hot water heater issues. If these issues occur, your rv hot water heater may not function correctly, leaving you without hot water.

  • Failure to light: when the ignition or fuel source is malfunctioning, the heater may not light, leading to a lack of hot water supply.
  • Inadequate heating: if the burner is not functioning correctly, the water in the tank may not reach the desired temperature, leading to uncomfortable showers.

By understanding the potential causes of rv hot water heater problems, you can avoid costly repairs and hazardous situations. Proper installation, regular maintenance, and awareness of hard water can help prolong the lifespan of your rv hot water heater.

Common Rv Hot Water Heater Problems And Solutions

Rv Hot Water Heater Problems

Having a hot water heater in your rv can be a real game-changer, especially when you’re out on the road. However, like any other electronic equipment, the rv hot water heater is not without its faults. You may find yourself in a situation where your hot water supply runs out suddenly or the water isn’t hot as expected.

In this blog post, we’ll go through some common rv hot water heater problems and solutions you can apply to fix these issues.

The Heater Is Turned Off

If your rv water heater isn’t working, the first thing you should check is if it’s turned on. Sometimes, the heater can accidentally get turned off during routine checkups or maintenance. To fix this issue, check the switch on the hot water heater and ensure it’s in the ‘on’ position.

The Propane Or Gas Valve Is Turned Off

Another common issue that can interrupt the supply of hot water in your rv is when the propane or gas valve is turned off. If there’s not enough gas or propane to fuel the heater, it won’t work. To fix this, make sure that the valve is open and there’s enough propane or gas in the tank.

There’S No Power Supply

If your rv hot water heater runs on electricity, ensure that there’s no issue with the power supply. Check for any blown fuses or tripped breakers in the electrical panel and fix them. Once you’re sure there’s no power issue, check if the hot water heater switch is on.

Loose Connections

One of the reasons why rv hot water heaters may malfunction is due to loose connections. If the components aren’t secured tightly, it can result in the heater not working correctly. To fix this issue, identify any loose connections on the heater and ensure all components are secure.

Cracks Or Damages In The Heater Tank

Over time, the internal structure of rv hot water heaters may develop cracks or damages. These cracks can cause water leakage and affect the heater’s efficiency. To fix this issue, you may need to replace the heater tank with a new one.

Faulty Pressure Relief Valve

If the pressure relief valve on your rv hot water heater isn’t functioning correctly, it may result in the heater malfunctioning. Ensure that the pressure relief valve is working as expected. If not, replace it with a new one.

Loose Or Broken Drain Valve

The drain valve on your rv hot water heater may also cause issues if it’s loose or broken. If you identify this issue, replace the valve with a new one.

A Damaged Thermocouple That Hinders The Burner From Staying Lit

If the burner on your rv hot water heater doesn’t stay lit, it may signify a defective thermocouple. Check if the thermocouple is damaged or exhibiting signs of wear and tear. Replace the thermocouple if necessary.

Low Gas Or Propane Pressure

Sometimes, rv hot water heaters may not get enough propane or gas, resulting in insufficient heating. Check if the gas pressure is at the recommended level and not too low.

Dirty Pilot Light Tube

A dirty pilot light tube can block the flow of gas or propane, leading to issues with the rv hot water heater’s efficiency. Clean the pilot light tube to fix this problem.

A Faulty Thermostat That Makes The Heater Continue To Heat Water Unnecessarily

If your rv hot water heater continues to heat water unnecessarily, it may indicate a faulty thermostat. To fix this issue, replace the thermostat with a new one.

Blocked Vents

If the vents on your rv hot water heater are clogged, you may encounter issues with the heater’s efficiency. Clean the vents regularly to ensure free airflow.

Dirty Burner

A dirty burner is also a significant contributor to rv hot water heater malfunctions. Clean the burner regularly to remove any debris or soot that may have accumulated.

Routinely Flush The Heater With A Descaling Solution To Remove Mineral Buildup

Mineral buildup can also affect the efficiency of your rv hot water heater. To get rid of mineral buildup, flush the heater regularly with a descaling solution.

Install A Water Softener That Will Reduce The Hardness Of The Water

Finally, installing a water softener can save your rv hot water heater from lime and mineral buildup, reducing the need to flush the heater. This will reduce wear and tear on the heater and prolong its life.

That concludes some of the common rv hot water heater problems and solutions you can use to get your rv hot water heater running smoothly and efficiently again.

Frequently Asked Questions For Rv Hot Water Heater Problems

What Are Some Common Problems With Rv Hot Water Heaters?

Rv hot water heaters commonly face problems like pilot light issues, thermostat failures, tank leaks, and sediment buildup.

How Can I Troubleshoot A Malfunctioning Pilot Light On An Rv Hot Water Heater?

To troubleshoot a pilot light that won’t ignite or stay lit, try cleaning the orifice, checking the thermocouple, and verifying gas flow. If these don’t work, consult a professional.

What Causes Sediment Buildup In Rv Hot Water Heaters, And How Can It Be Prevented?

Sediment buildup occurs from hard water minerals, which can impact the heater’s efficiency and longevity. Regular flushing and installing a water softener can help prevent sediment buildup.


After reading this post, it’s clear that rv hot water heater problems can happen to anyone, but with the right information and guidance, they can be easily resolved. From identifying common issues to knowing when to call in professionals, you now have the knowledge needed to handle any problem that may arise.

Remember to regularly maintain your rv’s hot water heater and address problems promptly when they appear to prevent bigger, costlier issues down the road. Taking the time to educate yourself on these common problems can ultimately save you time and money, allowing you to enjoy your rv without any of the discomfort that comes with a malfunctioning hot water heater.

With these tips and tricks at your disposal, you can fix any problem and continue to make happy memories on the road.

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