How to get hot water in my rv?

How to get hot water in my rv?

rv hot water

An rv is just like your home. When you are home and have to take a shower, you turn on the hot water by turning on the faucet. An rv is just the same way. You turn on the hot water by turning on the faucet.

There are a few things you need to do before you can get hot water in your rv, but it is not hard at all. The first thing you need to do is make sure that your rv has a hot water heater. Not all rvs have them, so you will need to check your owners manual or talk to a salesman at the dealership.

If your rv does have a hot water heater, then you will need to make sure that it is turned on. Most of the time, the switch is in the same area that the faucets are in. You can turn on the hot water heater by turning this knob or switch to on, but some rv units require you to push a button down instead of just turning. It will have instructions there telling you what you need to do so read them carefully and follow them.

Once your hot water heater is turned on and your faucet is turned on, then you need to wait about ten minutes for the hot water to get up into the shower head from the tank in your rv. This may take a few minutes, longer if it has been cold outside recently because cold air has more effect on hot water than warm air does. Once that time is up you should have plenty of hot water coming out of your faucets or shower head.

Different types of hot water heaters

The water heater in an rv can be of different types. These different types are electric, propane, or gas. Each type of water heater has its own benefits and drawbacks that you should be aware of before purchasing or installing one in your rv.

  • Electric Water Heaters
  • Electric water heaters are the most popular type of water heater for rvs. This is because they are relatively cheap to buy and relatively easy to install. They also work well in colder climates because the element inside the tank can be turned up higher to produce more heat. The only downside to electric water heaters is that they use a lot of electricity, so if you are planning on using an electric heater make sure you have a good generator or enough solar panels installed on your rv to power it.

  • Propane Water Heaters
  • Propane water heaters are very popular among those who like to camp and boondock in colder areas. These heaters are popular because they run off of propane which is an efficient fuel source, and uses 1/3 less energy than gasoline. They can also be used to heat water for your engine, so if you decide to use this heater remember that it does require a tank of propane outside the rv.

  • Gas Water Heaters
  • Gas water heaters allow you to heat water directly from the source of your fuel. These heaters use a propane tank which is a less efficient, but cheaper fuel in comparison to running an electrical generator or solar panel. It can be a very good choice if you will be using your rv in warmer climates, and the propane saves you money when not heating water.

Numerous other types of water heaters exist such as oil filled radiators, infrared radiant panels, etc... But these are not recommended because they cost much more than other options and require their own separate energy source.

No hot water? Check These First

There are many things that could happen to stop hot water from flowing in your rv.

  • The first place to check is the water pump switch. This is usually a light on the dashboard that says “Water Pump On” when it is turned on. If the light is off, turn the pump on by flipping the switch to the right.
  • If there is still no hot water, go outside and check the propane tank. Make sure the valve is open all of the way by turning it to the right. If it’s not open all of the way, you will need to loosen the nut on top of the tank using a wrench. Then turn the knob until it’s in line with the arrow pointing up. Finally, tighten the nut back down the wrench.

Below is a list of other things you should check to see why your water isn't getting hot.

  1. Check The Bypass Valves
  2. Bypass valves should be checked to make sure they are in the open position. If they are closed, this will prevent hot water from getting to the faucet.

  3. Check The Temperature
  4. If you think the water is too hot or too cold, you can adjust the temperature by turning the knob on the front of the tank. Clockwise makes it hotter and counterclockwise makes it colder.

  5. Check For Sediment
  6. If your RV has been sitting for a while, there may be sediment built up in the bottom of the tank. This can block the flow of hot water and needs to be cleaned out periodically. To clean it out, turn off the pump and open up the drain valve at the bottom of the tank Some water will flow out, so have a bucket ready. Keep an eye on the water level and let it run until it's just about empty.

    Close the drain valve, turn the pump back on and open your hot water faucet to check for leaks. If you find any, tighten up the fittings and test again before driving anywhere.

    If there are no other problems and you still can't get hot water, it's probably time to replace the pump or repair its electrical connection. Replacing a standard RV propane water heater pump is easy enough that most people can do it themselves with minimal tools (and know-how).

  7. Check Propane Levels
  8. Having low propane levels will prevent your propane water heater from working. The first thing to do is check the gauge, and if it's below a quarter tank, fill up as soon as possible.

    One other easy way to check if you have propane is if you have a propane stove, try to light it. If you get a nice flame, then your water heater should work.

    Put out the fire and crank up the temperature on your hot water tank.

  9. Check your pump for power
  10. The next step is checking the electrical connection at the pump. This may be an unplugged wire or loose terminal, if so, simply tighten it up and test again. If you still don't get hot water, try another pump. If the other pump works, you may have a bad pump.

  11. Flip the switch on your water heater
  12. If you've tried all of the above and still can't get hot water, it's time to flip the switch on your water heater. Sometimes, all it takes is to give it a good kickstart.

  13. There Might Be A Faulty Thermostat
  14. A faulty thermostat can keep your water heater from heating up properly. If you've tried all of the above and still can't get hot water, it might be time to call a technician to take a look at your system.

  15. Water Heater Check Valve Malfunction
  16. The water heater check valve helps maintain a strong water pressure in your pipes. If the check valve is malfunctioning, it will make it difficult to get hot water throughout your rv. You'll need a technician to take a look at this situation as soon as possible.

  17. Electric Heating Element Malfunction
  18. The electric heating element is responsible for heating the water in your rv. If this element is malfunctioning, it will be difficult to get hot water. Again, you'll need to call a technician to take a look at your system and fix the problem.


Hopefully, these tips will help you troubleshoot and fix the issue of not having hot water in your rv. If you're still having problems, don't hesitate to call a technician for help. Never try to fix something that you don't know how to fix. A competent technician can help you get back to spending time with your family or friends and not worrying about the funky hot water.

Before anything, make sure that you check out why you don't have any cold water, either. Or if it's just a fuse issue - because some rvs will shut off power to some appliances when they sense low voltage -- which might happen during an outage if your rv is plugged into shore power. If none of these steps work, then it may be time to call in professionals.

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About Author:

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Hi, I'm Kevin Pommells, a lover of camping and the great outdoors as everyone says nowadays. I'm also a passionate soccer fan and the proud owner of, a website dedicated to helping campers and outdoor enthusiasts make the most of their adventures. With years of experience exploring the wilderness and a deep love for the sport of soccer, I'm always looking for new ways to combine my two passions and share my knowledge with others. Follow me for tips, tricks, and insights on all things camping and outdoor recreation.

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