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RV Hot Water Not Working

Are you facing the frustrating issue of your RV hot water not working?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Many RV owners encounter problems with their hot water systems at some point during their travels.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore common causes and provide troubleshooting tips to help you get your hot water flowing again.

From simple fixes to more complex repairs, we’ve got you covered.

So, let’s dive in and discover how to resolve the issue of RV hot water not working!

RV Hot Water Not Working: Common Causes and Solutions

1. Power Supply Issues

One of the primary reasons for RV hot water system failure is a power supply problem.

The water heater requires electricity or propane to function correctly.

If there’s no power reaching the water heater, it won’t be able to heat the water.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Check the circuit breaker: Make sure the circuit breaker for the water heater is not tripped. Reset it if necessary.
  • Inspect the fuses: Examine the fuses connected to the water heater. Replace any blown fuses with the correct amperage.
  • Test the electrical connection: Use a multimeter to check if there’s power reaching the water heater. If not, investigate the wiring and connections for any loose or damaged components.

2. Propane Supply Problems

If your RV hot water system runs on propane, it’s crucial to ensure a steady supply of gas.

Propane-related issues can prevent the water heater from working correctly.

Consider the following solutions:

  • Check the propane tank: Verify that there’s enough propane in the tank. If it’s empty, refill it at a nearby propane filling station.
  • Inspect the propane lines: Examine the propane lines for leaks or damage. If you detect any issues, seek professional assistance to repair or replace the lines.
  • Purge the air: If you recently replaced the propane tank or lines, air may have entered the system. Purge the air by turning on the stove burners and allowing them to run for a few minutes. This will help restore the propane flow to the water heater.

3. Faulty Heating Element

A faulty heating element can also lead to RV hot water system malfunction.

Over time, the heating element can wear out or become damaged, resulting in inadequate or no hot water production.

Consider the following steps:

  • Locate the heating element: The heating element is typically located inside the water heater tank. Consult your RV owner’s manual to find its exact location.
  • Test the heating element: Use a multimeter to test the heating element for continuity. If it shows no continuity, it means the element is defective and needs replacement.
  • Replace the heating element: Purchase a compatible replacement heating element and install it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

4. Sediment Buildup

Over time, sediment and mineral deposits can accumulate in the water heater tank, hindering its performance.

If your RV hot water system is not working correctly, sediment buildup could be the culprit.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Flush the water heater: Turn off the water heater and disconnect the power supply. Attach a hose to the drain valve located at the bottom of the tank and let the water drain out completely. This will help remove sediment and debris.
  • Clean the tank: After draining, close the drain valve and fill the tank partially with water. Add a cleaning solution specifically designed for removing sediment and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Allow the solution to sit for the recommended time and then flush it out.
  • Repeat the process: If necessary, repeat the flushing and cleaning process until the water drains clear and free of debris.

5. Thermostat Issues

Faulty or misconfigured thermostats can prevent the water heater from reaching the desired temperature, resulting in inadequate hot water supply.

Consider the following solutions:

  • Check the thermostat settings: Ensure that the thermostat is set to the desired temperature. Adjust it accordingly if necessary.
  • Calibrate the thermostat: If you suspect the thermostat is not accurate, calibrate it using a reliable thermometer. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to make the necessary adjustments.
  • Replace the thermostat: If the thermostat is faulty and cannot be calibrated, it’s best to replace it with a new one.

6. Pressure Relief Valve Problems

The pressure relief valve is a crucial safety feature of the water heater, releasing excess pressure to prevent potential damage or explosion.

If this valve is faulty or malfunctioning, it can cause problems with your RV hot water system.

Here’s what you should do:

  • Inspect the pressure relief valve: Check the pressure relief valve for signs of leakage, corrosion, or damage. If you notice any issues, replace the valve with a new one.
  • Test the pressure relief valve: To test the functionality of the pressure relief valve, place a bucket beneath it and lift the lever to allow some water to discharge. If water continues to flow even after releasing the lever, it indicates a faulty valve that needs to be replaced.


Why is my RV hot water not working after winter storage?

During winter storage, your RV hot water system may have been exposed to freezing temperatures, which can cause damage to the water heater and associated components. Freezing can lead to cracked pipes, ruptured water lines, or a malfunctioning heating element. Thoroughly inspect the system for any signs of damage and address them accordingly.

How can I prevent sediment buildup in my RV water heater?

To prevent sediment buildup in your RV water heater, consider using a water softener or installing a water filter. These devices can help reduce the mineral content in the water, minimizing the formation of deposits in the tank. Additionally, regularly flushing and cleaning the water heater as mentioned earlier can significantly reduce sediment accumulation.

What should I do if my RV hot water not working issue persists after troubleshooting?

If you’ve gone through the troubleshooting steps and your RV hot water system is still not working, it’s recommended to consult a professional RV technician or plumber. They have the expertise and tools to diagnose and repair complex issues that may require specialized knowledge.

Can I repair the RV hot water system myself?

While some RV hot water system issues can be resolved with DIY troubleshooting and repairs, certain problems may require professional assistance. If you’re unsure about the complexity of the issue or lack the necessary skills, it’s best to seek professional help to avoid further damage or potential safety hazards.

Are there any safety precautions I should follow when troubleshooting my RV hot water system?

Yes, safety should always be a priority when working with RV hot water systems. Before troubleshooting, ensure the water heater is turned off and disconnected from the power supply. Be cautious of hot surfaces and scalding water during the troubleshooting process. If you’re not comfortable or confident in performing certain tasks, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance.

How often should I perform maintenance on my RV hot water system?

Regular maintenance is crucial to keep your RV hot water system in optimal condition. It’s recommended to perform routine maintenance tasks, such as flushing the tank and inspecting for leaks or damage, at least once a year. Additionally, refer to your RV owner’s manual for specific manufacturer recommendations and guidelines.


Experiencing an RV hot water not working issue can be frustrating, especially when you’re on the road and in need of a warm shower or hot water for daily activities.

By following the troubleshooting tips and solutions outlined in this guide, you can diagnose and resolve common problems that may be preventing your hot water system from functioning correctly.

Remember to exercise caution and seek professional assistance if needed.

With proper maintenance and periodic inspections, you can ensure a reliable and efficient hot water supply in your RV, enhancing your overall camping experience.