Learn How to Turn on Water Heater in RV: Tips and Tricks!

Are you ready to get hot water for an RV trip? Water heaters are essential for comfort and convenience. They give hot water for showers, washing dishes and cleaning. It’s important to know how to operate them.

Electric water heaters are easy to use. Find the access panel outside the RV and switch it on. Then turn on the water pump or connect to a city water source. Let the water heat up before trying it out.

Key Takeaways

  • 1. Locate the water heater switch: The first step in turning on the water heater in an RV is to locate the switch. It is usually found on the control panel or near the water heater itself.
  • 2. Check the water heater’s power source: RV water heaters can be powered by either electricity or propane. Make sure you know which power source your water heater uses before attempting to turn it on.
  • 3. Turn on the propane supply: If your water heater is powered by propane, you will need to turn on the propane supply. This is usually done by turning the propane valve to the “on” position.
  • 4. Turn on the water heater switch: Once you have confirmed the power source and turned on the propane supply (if applicable), you can now turn on the water heater switch. This will activate the heating element or burner and start heating the water.
  • 5. Wait for the water to heat up: It may take some time for the water to heat up, especially if it is the first time you are using the water heater or if the tank is completely empty. Be patient and allow the water heater to do its job.
  • 6. Monitor the water temperature: Once the water heater is on, it is important to monitor the water temperature to ensure it reaches the desired level. Most RV water heaters have a temperature control knob that allows you to adjust the temperature to your preference.
  • 7. Turn off the water heater when not in use: To conserve energy and prevent any accidents, it is important to turn off the water heater when it is not in use. This can be done by simply turning off the water heater switch or shutting off the propane supply.
  • 8. Regular maintenance is crucial: To ensure the longevity and efficiency of your RV water heater, regular maintenance is crucial. This includes flushing the tank, checking for any leaks, and inspecting the heating element or burner.
  • 9. Familiarize yourself with the owner’s manual: Every RV water heater is different, so it is important to familiarize yourself with the specific instructions and guidelines provided in the owner’s manual. This will help you understand the proper procedures for turning on and operating your water heater.
  • 10. Seek professional help if needed: If you are unsure about any aspect of turning on or operating your RV water heater, it is always best to seek professional help. This will ensure that everything is done correctly and safely.

Gas water heaters also need some steps. First, check the propane tank. Look for the access panel and a bypass valve. Turn off the bypass valve and open the hot water faucet. Then, light the pilot light – depending on the model, either manually or with an electronic ignition system.

Some RVs have both gas and electric options. You can choose which one to use.

To sum it up, you need to know whether it is gas or electric-powered and follow the right instructions. Read the RV owner’s manual for safety.

Image of a water heater in RV

Safety Precautions:

Highlighting the essential safety measures before turning on the water heater

Before turning on your RV’s water heater, remember to prioritize safety. Take the following measures:

  1. Inspect for Gas Leaks: Use a leak detector to check for any gas leaks. If you find any, turn off the gas supply and get help from an expert.
  2. Check Electrical Connections: Look for any signs of damage or wear in electrical cords and connections. Make sure they are properly grounded to avoid electrical hazards.
  3. Set the Water Temperature: Adjust the temperature to a safe level before turning it on. This is particularly important if you have kids or elderly with you.
  4. Use Caution when Lighting Pilot Light (for gas water heaters): Read the manufacturer’s instructions before lighting the pilot light. Stay away from flammable substances.

Safety is a must. Additionally, maintain your RV’s water heater for optimal performance and longevity. Search for leaks, clean/replace filters as necessary, and drain/flush the tank to remove sediment.

Stay safe and enjoy worry-free travels! Not sure which water heater to choose? We’ll help you decide between gas, electric, and tankless options.

Types of RV Water Heaters:

Explaining the different types of water heaters commonly used in RVs (gas, electric, tankless)

RVs come with different types of water heaters for hot water on the go.

Let’s peek at each one:

  • Gas Water Heaters:
  • – Use propane gas
  • – Pilot light
  • – Super-fast heating
  • Electric Water Heaters:
  • – Rely on electricity
  • – Internal heating elements
  • Tankless Water Heaters:
  • – Heat water as it flows
  • – Small and energy-efficient

Image of tankless water heater

Before you decide, think of your RV size and how much hot water you may need.

Pro Tip: Remember to check for adequate ventilation when using any RV water heater!

The water heater in an RV is like a mythical creature, but with some sleuthing and effort, you can make it blaze hot water like a fierce dragon.

Accessing the Water Heater:

How to locate and access the water heater in an RV

Accessing the Water Heater in an RV? Here’s how:

  1. Find it: Look outside for the access panel. It’s usually on the side or back.
  2. Open it: Use a screwdriver or wrench to remove any screws. Keep it safe.
  3. Locate the tank: Inside the access panel is a cylindrical metal container with pipes.
  4. Identify control features: Check the front of the tank for temperature settings, switches, and buttons.
  5. Safety features: Check for pressure relief valves and reset buttons near the tank.

Safety Precautions: Be cautious and follow RV manufacturer/owner’s manual safety instructions.

Important Details:

  • Gas or Electric: Know which type your heater uses before turning it on. Some models have options for both.
  • Electric Element: To save propane, use an electric element (if hooked up to shore power).
  • Capacity: Most common sizes are 6 and 10 gallons. Adjust usage accordingly.
  • Anode Rod: Replace the anode rod regularly to prevent corrosion and prolong the water heater’s lifespan.

By properly accessing and maintaining the water heater, you can enjoy warm water during your road-trips. Familiarize yourself with its components and features for a comfy experience.

Turning on the Water Heater:

For a steady warm water supply in your RV, follow these steps:

  1. Cut the power: Before you start, switch off all power sources related to the water heater, like gas or electricity. This is for your safety.
  2. Open the panel: Find the access panel of the water heater, usually on the exterior of your vehicle. Take out any screws or fasteners that hold it.
  3. Flip the switch: Locate the switch for the water heater – it could be different if your water heater is gas or electric. For a gas water heater, turn on the pilot light and adjust the temperature. For an electric water heater, switch on the “on” switch.

Remember, these instructions may differ depending on the model of your RV. Check your owner’s manual for guidance.

Also, remember to take care of your water heater: Inspect and clean it often to keep it running optimally, check for signs of leakage or corrosion, and replace any worn out parts, like anode rods. Be prepared with emergency procedures, such as how to turn off gas or electricity to the water heater if any issues come up.

Now you’re equipped to enjoy hot showers on your RV trips. Take a few minutes to turn on your water heater and have a consistent warm water supply wherever you go. Happy travels!

Troubleshooting and Maintenance Tips:

Common issues, troubleshooting steps, and regular maintenance tips for RV water heaters

As an RV owner, you must know how to troubleshoot and maintain your water heater. To help you, here are some steps:

  1. Check the power supply. Is your RV connected to a power source? If your water heater is electric, check the circuit breaker and reset it, if needed. For a gas water heater, make sure the propane tank is full.
  2. Inspect the pilot light. If it’s a gas water heater, is the pilot light lit? If not, follow manufacturer’s instructions and relight it. Be careful and only handle gas appliances if you’re experienced or get a pro.
  3. Look at the pressure relief valve. This stops too much pressure building up. From time to time, open the valve to let out pressure or air.
  4. Maintain the anode rod. This protects the inside of the water heater from corrosion. Check it regularly and change if needed.

Additional tips when dealing with your water heater:

  • Winterize it before storing your RV in cold weather. This means draining all the water and adding antifreeze.
  • Use a water filter to stop sediment building up and damaging your tank.
  • Flush out the tank to remove any built-up sediment or minerals.
  • Invest in a tankless water heater for energy savings and convenience.

Follow these tips and your RV’s water heater will stay in great condition for many years.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to turn on the water heater in an RV?

To turn on the water heater in an RV, locate the access panel on the exterior of the RV. Open the panel and find the water heater. Look for a switch or a knob labeled “on” or “ignition” on the water heater. Turn the switch or knob to the “on” position. If the water heater runs on propane, make sure the propane tanks are open, and if it runs on electricity, ensure the RV is connected to a power source.

2. How to turn on the electric water heater in an RV?

To turn on the electric water heater in an RV, locate the water heater’s access panel. Inside, you’ll find a switch or a breaker labeled for the water heater. Flip the switch or turn on the breaker to supply power to the electric heating element. Verify that the water heater’s bypass valve is in the correct position to allow water to flow through the tank. It may take some time for the water to heat up.

3. How to turn on the gas water heater in an RV?

To turn on the gas water heater in an RV, locate the water heater’s access panel. Inside, you’ll find the gas control valve. Turn the valve to the “on” or “pilot” position, depending on the model. Take a long lighter and hold it near the pilot light assembly while pressing the igniter button. Once the pilot light is lit, you can release the igniter button. Adjust the temperature if needed, and the water should start heating up.

4. How to turn off the water heater in an RV?

To turn off the water heater in an RV, locate the access panel and find the switch or knob labeled for the water heater. Turn the switch or knob to the “off” position. If the water heater runs on propane, close the propane tanks. If it runs on electricity, disconnect the power source. Allow the water heater to cool down before performing any maintenance or repairs.

5. How to turn up the water heater in an RV?

If you want to increase the water temperature in an RV’s water heater, locate the water heater’s access panel. Inside, you’ll find a temperature adjustment dial or knob. Turn the dial or knob to a higher temperature setting. Keep in mind that higher temperatures can increase the risk of scalding, so be cautious when adjusting the temperature.

6. How to turn on the hot water heater in a camper?

Turning on the hot water heater in a camper involves similar steps as in an RV. Locate the access panel, find the water heater, and look for the switch, knob, or gas control valve labeled for the water heater. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions specific to your camper’s model to turn on either the electric or gas water heater. Make sure you have a water supply and give it some time to heat up before using the hot water.


Recap of the importance and functionality of a water heater in an RV, and the step-by-step process of turning it on.

  1. Locate the water heater access panel, usually on the RV’s exterior.
  2. Open the access panel to find the water heater.
  3. Check if it is electric or gas-powered.
    • For electric, switch on the power inside the RV.
    • For gas-powered, turn on the gas supply valve.
  4. Refer to the RV’s user manual for specific instructions.

Ensure a long life for the water heater by following these tips:

  • Check and replace the anode rod annually.
  • Flush and drain the tank regularly to remove any sediment buildup.
  • Monitor and adjust water temperature to save energy and prevent scalding accidents.

Your RV’s water heater is crucial. Follow these steps for proper functionality and enjoy hot water for your adventures!


How to Turn On an Electric Water Heater in an RV

How to Use an RV Water Heater