How To Start Hot Water Heater in RV


Taking cold showers might be considered healthful and mentally stimulating, but it’s the last thing you want to experience in your RV while on vacation. 

If you want to understand your RV’s water heater better and learn how to start or troubleshoot it before you hit the road, continue reading this article or give Kirkland RV a call with your RV questions.

how to start hot water heater in rv


How to Start a Hot Water Heater in an RV

Before you do anything else, you need to locate your RV’s hot water heater. The hot water heater is usually behind a panel on the exterior of your RV. 

Your RV hot water heater will either be an electric heater, propane water heater, or combination heater.

If you have your RV’s hot water heater manual, refer to it when starting the heater. Otherwise, follow these 2 easy steps for how to start a traditional RV hot water heater:

  1. Make sure that you aren’t running your hot water heater dry. Check to ensure that your RV hot water heater has water in the tank before starting it. If your hot water tank is empty, follow the instructions on your hot water heater’s manual to refill the tank.
  2. With a full hot water tank, switch your tank on and voila! You should have hot water in 20 or so minutes. 

Pro tip: make sure that you are switching your RV’s hot water heater off when your RV is parked and not in use. This will save you money by keeping your fuel tank from running out too quickly. 


Troubleshooting an RV Hot Water Heater

When it comes to troubleshooting RV hot water heater issues, here are several things to try.

  1. Take a look and see if anything appears to be amiss with your hot water heater to the naked eye. If you spot an issue, you might be able to resolve your RV’s water heater issue without consulting a mechanic (provided you have experience troubleshooting RV water heaters).
  2. If you’re unsure what the issue is, try switching the reset valve (not every RV hot water heater has one, but if yours does it could resolve the issue).
  3. If you’re at a loss for what the issue could be, visit a reliable mechanic.


Electric RV Hot Water Heater vs. Propane RV Water Heater

What are the big differences between the different types of RV hot water heaters? Is an electric or propane water heater better for your RV? Here’s a brief overview of each to help you choose what type of hot water heater will make the best replacement for your RV.

  • Electric water heaters. If you want to conserve your propane, an electric water heater could work best for your RV. However, if you plan on doing boondocking or off campsite camping, it’s good to keep in mind that electric heaters won’t work unless hooked up.
  • Propane water heaters. Propane is probably the most popular type of water heater as it allows RVers to conserve electricity and gives the option of off-site camping.
  • Combination water heaters. This type of water heater uses both propane and electricity, depending on which is more practical for the RVer at the time.


Give Us a Call!

Give Kirkland RV a call today to hear about the wide range of premium RVs we have for sale. We offer affordable, high-quality, used RVs from some of the best-known names in the RVing world. 

If you are looking for the perfect RV for your upcoming trip, give us a call today.

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