How to Use Hot Water Heater in RV?

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Traveling in an RV can be a truly rewarding experience. It allows us to connect with the outdoors and gives us an opportunity to spend valuable time with loved ones and family. And compared to traditional camping, RV camping offers a lot more luxury. Not only do you get to sleep in a comfortable bed but you also have the luxury of a hot shower whenever you want it. If you will live in an RV full time, you’ll most likely equip it with a hot water heater. That said, first, it’s important to understand how to properly use their RV hot water heater. Luckily, it’s not that difficult and with just a few simple steps you could be enjoying a hot shower.

Things to Know About Your RV Water Heater

How to Use Hot Water Heater in RV

As with just about any other appliance, it’s good to have some knowledge of the inner workings of an RV water heater. This would help you understand how to properly use it and would help you maintain the unit in its best condition.

To start with, there are two main types of hot water tank heaters that are commonly used in RVs. They are categorized based on the way they heat the water and they include propane and electric types.

Electric water heaters are usually more convenient since they are easier to use and you don’t need to worry about gas or fire hazards. You just switch the heater on, wait for the water in the tank to heat up and then you can take a hot shower.

Propane tank water heaters are also commonly used by many since propane is readily available in most RVs as it’s used for powering other appliances. However, keep in mind that propane water heater installation requires proper venting of the gases created by the combustion.

Aside from these two types, one more popular type of RV water heaters is the tankless design. These tankless water heaters provide an endless supply of on demand hot water. And since they don’t have a tank for storing hot water, these units are much more compact and lightweight. Due to all these benefits, this gear has been becoming an increasingly popular choice among many RV owners.

How to Start Hot Water Heater in RV?

Before you turn on your water heater, make sure that you have water in your hot water tank. Or if you have a tankless model, make sure that you have a supply of water. Check that your bypass valves that supply the cold water are open and not closed. You can check it by opening a hot water tap and letting it run for a few seconds. If no water is coming, then your bypass valve is probably closed.

In most cases, starting your RV hot water heater involves just one simple step of toggling the switch to the “on” position. If you have a gas water heater, this would ignite the pilot light and activate the water heating. In some cases, the pilot light might not be automatic and would require to be lit manually.

After you’ve turned the water heater on, you’ll have to wait for the water in the tank to warm up. This can take as long as 20 minutes or even longer, depending on the size of your water tank and the efficiency of the heating water system.

However, if you have a tankless water heater, you’ll be able to receive hot water flow almost instantly since the system heats water only on demand.

RV Water Heater Maintenance

To ensure a longer lasting service life of your RV water heater, it’s important to follow proper maintenance guidelines. This means carrying out maintenance every 6 to 12 months.

An electric water heater is essentially maintenance-free. However, a propane unit requires regular cleaning of the burner tube as it can collect spider webs, rust, etc.

It’s also recommended to install an anode rod in your water tank, which will help prevent hard water corrosion. This way, the corrosion will only impact the rod and not the tank. And these rods are inexpensive and very easy to install. Due to this, it makes a lot of sense to use one. It will help you significantly extend the service life of your water heater.

If you’re storing your RV, drain the water tank. And if you’ll be storing or using your RV in cold months, it’s also a good idea to winterize the pipes. Otherwise, they can crack and start leaking when you start using it again in spring.

You can keep track of your RV water heater maintenance by using online tools. There, you can keep all the maintenance records and documents. It will give you easy access to all the information you need and will send you timely reminders when maintenance is due. This can be very helpful in avoiding costly repairs and replacements due to skipped maintenance.

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