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Guide to RV Water Heaters

Having a reliable and efficient water heater is essential to enjoying the comforts of home while traveling in your RV. A hot shower or warm water for cooking can greatly enhance your camping experience and make you feel more at ease on the road.

But what else matters regarding a water heater on the go? Read on as we dive into our comprehensive guide to all things RV water heaters: the benefits of tankless water heaters, maintenance, troubleshooting, and insurance coverage.


If you're searching for the most efficient and effective way to heat the water in your RV, you may be weighing the benefits of tankless versus tank-based water heaters.

On one hand, tankless water heaters can provide unlimited hot water and take up less space.

In contrast, tank-based water heaters are typically less expensive upfront and can hold more water for longer showers.

It ultimately comes down to your personal needs and preferences, but it's essential to consider the various factors when deciding which type of RV water heater is right for you.


Tankless RV water heaters are popular due to their on-demand hot water capabilities. Unlike traditional tank-based heaters, they heat water instantly as it flows through the unit, eliminating the need for storing hot water in a tank. This results in energy savings, increased space efficiency, and an endless hot water supply.


Ensuring your RV water heater operates at its peak performance requires diligent and routine maintenance. Key maintenance tasks include periodic tank flushing to remove sediment buildup, thorough inspections for any signs of leaks, and meticulous cleaning of the burner or heating element.

Committing to a regular maintenance regimen is not just a best practice; it's a fundamental step in prolonging the lifespan and efficiency of your valuable water heating system.


Troubleshooting common problems with RV water heaters requires a systematic approach to identify and resolve issues — and it’s vital when you’re on the road, heading to your next adventure.

Here's a guide on how to troubleshoot some of the most prevalent problems:

1. Low Hot Water Pressure

  • Start by checking if the water pressure is low throughout the RV, not just at the water heater.
  • Ensure that the water heater bypass valve is in the correct position (usually in the "use" position) and that any valves on the hot and cold water lines leading to the heater are fully open.
  • Examine the pressure relief valve on the water heater for signs of blockage or damage. If it's faulty, it may need replacement.

2. Pilot Light Issues

  • For units with a pilot light, ensure the pilot light is lit. If not, follow the manufacturer's instructions to relight it.
  • If the pilot light goes out repeatedly, it could be due to a faulty thermocouple or gas control valve. These components may need to be inspected and replaced by a professional.


3. Water Leaks

  • Check all connections and fittings around the water heater for any visible leaks. Tighten loose connections gently if needed.
  • Inspect the pressure relief valve for leaks. Sometimes, it may need to be replaced if it's not sealing properly.
  • Suppose you find water leaking from the tank itself. In that case, it's a sign of a more serious issue, potentially a cracked tank, and you should contact a professional for evaluation and repair.

4. Inconsistent Hot Water Temperature

  • Confirm that the thermostat on the water heater is set to the desired temperature.
  • Sediment buildup in the tank can affect water heating efficiency. Periodically flushing the tank can help resolve this issue.


5. No Hot Water at All

  • Verify that there’s power to the water heater (for electric models) and that the propane supply (for gas models) is functioning.
  • Check the circuit breaker or fuse for electric water heaters to ensure it hasn't tripped.
  • If you have a dual-mode water heater (electric and gas), ensure the correct mode is selected and the other power source is available.

Remember that safety should be a priority when troubleshooting RV water heaters. Always follow manufacturer instructions and consult a professional if you're unsure about any aspect of the troubleshooting process or if the problem persists despite your efforts. Ultimately, regular maintenance and proactive problem-solving will help ensure your RV water heater continues to provide reliable hot water on your journeys.


Insurance coverage for damage caused by RV water heaters and their replacement can vary depending on your insurance policy and the specific circumstances of the damage. In many cases, standard RV insurance policies may cover damage from accidents, such as fires or collisions, where the RV water heater is damaged.

However, a basic policy may not include coverage for damage due to wear and tear, corrosion, or other non-accidental issues. To determine the extent of your coverage, it's essential to thoroughly review your insurance policy documents, paying close attention to any language related to water heaters or appliances.

If your policy lacks adequate coverage for your RV water heater, you may have the option to purchase additional coverage or endorsement to ensure protection in case of various scenarios. It's advisable to contact your insurance provider to clarify your policy's coverage and explore options for enhancing it if needed.


RV water heaters are a significant part of ensuring the warmth and comfort of your travels. Their ability to provide hot water for bathing, cleaning, and dishwashing makes them invaluable for long trips, and understanding the basics such as how it works, how to troubleshoot any problems that come up, and what kind of insurance coverage you might need, can help ensure you get the most out of your RV's water heater.

If you need help finding the best RV insurance coverage for the best price, start by speaking to a SimplyIOA agent at 833.872.4467 or get an auto insurance quote online now.

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