How to Repair a Hot Water Heater in an RV: Fix it Fast!

Hot water is a must in an RV. But when it stops working, it can ruin your journey. Let’s discuss common troubles with RV hot water heaters and how to fix them.

To start, make sure you have propane or shore power connected. Also, verify the gas valve is open and the pilot light is lit for gas-powered heaters. For electric heaters, check if the circuit breaker has tripped or if the heating element is not working.

If the hot water isn’t coming out or the flow is low, it may be because of a faulty thermostat or pressure relief valve. These need to be replaced over time. Also, sediment builds up in the tank and causes bad heat transfer. Flushing the tank regularly helps.

If it’s leaking, check the pressure relief valve and drain plug are secured. If they are, you may need to replace the valves or check for cracks in the tank. A corroded anode rod could also be the cause.

Upgrading to a tankless hot water heater? Consider that they offer endless hot water and are energy-efficient. However, they require complex installation and may not fit all RVs.

Key Notes

  • 1. Regular maintenance is key to preventing hot water heater issues in an RV. Flushing the tank and checking for leaks should be done at least once a year.
  • 2. If your hot water heater is not producing hot water, check the propane supply and ensure the pilot light is lit. If these are not the issue, it may be a faulty thermostat or heating element that needs to be replaced.
  • 3. If you notice a leak in your hot water heater, it is important to address it immediately. This could be a sign of a cracked tank or a faulty valve, both of which will require professional repair or replacement.
  • 4. It is important to familiarize yourself with the specific make and model of your RV’s hot water heater, as different units may have different troubleshooting and repair methods.
  • 5. If you are uncomfortable or unsure about repairing your hot water heater yourself, it is best to contact a professional RV technician who can diagnose and fix the issue safely and effectively.

Assessing the Problem

Assessing the problem with your RV’s hot water heater? Check the circuit breaker and power switch first. Is there propane or shore power? For electric water heaters, inspect the heating element. For both, ensure the pilot light or ignition system works. Also, inspect the pressure relief valve and anode rod.

A unique detail: look for the eco button or eco feature. It could be limiting the temperature but causing issues. Adjust it if needed.

Good news! Many common problems can be fixed with replacement parts. No need to buy a whole new unit. RV water heaters aren’t doomed to fail – they can be repaired!

Repairs and Replacements

Repairs and replacements for an RV’s hot water heater can be daunting, but with the right guidance, it’s doable! Here are essential points:

  1. Inspect the Ignitor: Is it sparking? If not, clean or replace it. A faulty ignitor stops the heater from working.
  2. Test the Heating Element: Check the resistance with a multimeter. If damaged, replace it.
  3. Check the Pressure Relief Valve: Pull up and release it. No water flow or leak? Consider replacing the valve.

Regular maintenance is the key to a longer lifespan. Watch out for leaks and noises, and consult the user manual for specific problems. Safety first! Disconnect all power sources before repairs.

For optimal results:

  1. Clean any obstructions from the ignitor area for proper ignition and no damage.
  2. Drain the tank before replacing the heating element, follow manufacturer instructions.
  3. Use plumber’s tape on threaded connections for new pressure relief valve.

With these tips, you can take those hot showers on the road!

Troubleshooting Tips

In the RV and camper world, troubleshooting is key to keeping your hot water heater in perfect condition. Here are some expert tips to help you diagnose and deal with common issues.

  • Check the power: Make sure your RV is connected to a power supply or has enough battery. Also, check the circuit breaker and fuse to double-check they’re not blown.
  • Inspect the element: If no hot water, the heating element may be faulty. Use a multimeter to test its continuity and replace if necessary.
  • Check the relief valve: A leaking valve can cause temp issues. Turn off power, close the cold-water inlet, and open a hot water faucet before testing/replacing.

Maintenance and Prevention

Maintenance and prevention are essential for your RV’s hot water heater to work well and last long. Ignoring these important activities can lead to expensive repairs and trouble while travelling. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  1. Regularly check the unit for any damage or wear, like leaks, corrosion, or loose connections. Addressing these matters quickly can stop further damage and risks.
  2. Flush the tank once a year to take away sediment buildup, which can affect the heater’s performance and life. To do this, turn off the power or gas supply, drain the tank entirely, and refill it.
  3. Check the pressure relief valve often to make sure it is working right. This valve helps control pressure inside the tank and stops too much buildup that might cause a rupture. Lift up the lever and release; if water comes out, it is good.
  4. Scan the anode rod every 6 to 12 months and replace it if needed. This sacrificial rod guards the tank from corrosion by attracting corrosive elements. If you see a lot of deterioration or heavy deposits on the rod, it’s time to get a new one.
  5. Cover your water heater with a thermal blanket or jacket to make it more energy efficient. This will help reduce heat loss during times when it is not used and save you money on energy costs.

Additionally, there are some special details to take note of about RV hot water heaters:

  • Some models may have a bypass valve system that lets you separate the hot water tank for winterizing. Be familiar with how this system works and use it properly when getting ready your RV for colder temperatures.
  • If you have issues with low water flow or irregular temperature settings, search for any kinks or blockages in your water lines. Making sure there is enough pressure and a good connection can solve these problems.
  • Always stick to the manufacturer’s guidelines and instructions when trying to fix or troubleshoot your hot water heater. If you are not sure or not comfortable, get help from an RV technician.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to repair a hot water heater in an RV?

To repair a hot water heater in an RV, start by checking if the propane tank has enough fuel. Next, inspect the water heater’s ignitor or heating element to ensure they are functioning properly. If necessary, replace faulty components or clean any dust or debris. If the issue persists, consider contacting a professional RV technician.

Why is my hot water heater in my RV not working?

There could be several reasons for a hot water heater in an RV to stop working. Start by checking the propane level and ensuring the gas flow. Next, inspect the heating element and thermostat for any faults. Make sure there are no issues with the circuit board or ignition system. If you are unable to troubleshoot the problem, it’s recommended to seek assistance from an RV technician.

How to fix a hot water heater in a camper?

To fix a hot water heater in a camper, first check the breaker to ensure it hasn’t tripped. Next, inspect the heating element and thermostat for any faults. If necessary, replace any faulty components. Check for leaks in the water system and make sure all valves are in the correct position. If the problem persists, consider consulting an RV technician for further assistance.

How much does it cost to replace a hot water heater in an RV?

The cost of replacing a hot water heater in an RV can vary depending on various factors such as the brand, type, and features of the heater, as well as the labor charges. On average, the cost can range from $500 to $1500. It’s recommended to obtain quotes from different suppliers or service providers to get an accurate estimate for replacement.

How to fix electric water heater in an RV?

To fix an electric water heater in an RV, start by checking the power source and ensuring the breaker or fuse hasn’t tripped. Inspect the heating element and thermostat for any faults and replace them if necessary. Check the power switch and shore power connection. If the issue persists, it’s best to consult an RV technician for further troubleshooting and repair.

How to replace the hot water heater element in an RV?

To replace the hot water heater element in an RV, first, ensure the power source is turned off. Drain the water heater tank and locate the heating element access panel. Unscrew the old element using the appropriate tool and disconnect the wires. Install the new element, ensuring proper fitting and connection. Refill the tank with water and test the heater. It’s recommended to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions or consult an RV technician for detailed guidance.


After trying to fix your RV hot water heater, you should now know the possible issues and solutions. Safety should always be your number one concern. If you’re not sure how to do repairs, ask a professional technician.

Regular maintenance is key to making your heater last. Check the anode rod for corrosion and replace it if needed. It stops the tank from corroding. Flush the tank to remove any sediments. By following these tips, you can make sure you have hot water for your RV trips. Keep safety in mind and consult professionals if needed.