How to Fill RV Hot Water Heater in 8 Easy Steps

If you own an RV, you probably know the importance of its water heater. To enjoy warm water while showering or doing the dishes, you must first learn to fill an RV hot heater.

We know how uncomfortable it is not to have hot water on camping trips or long-distance vacations. That is why we have put together this guide on how to fill an RV water heater. 

Follow these eight easy steps, and you will have hot water on your trip in no time! Let’s get started!

Step 1: Gather the Material

The first step to filling your RV water heater is to gather the required materials. You will need the following items:

  • Hose
  • Rags
  • Source of water

Step 2: Connect a Hose to the Water Intake Valve

After gathering the necessary supplies, locate the water intake valve on the exterior of your RV. Next, connect the hose to the spigot and tighten it to prevent water from leaking. When bringing water inside your RV, make sure to use a clean hose. Otherwise, the water may get contaminated.

Note: When filling up water heaters, most RVs have their own set of instructions. So, always make sure to consult the manual first.

Step 3: Hook the Other End of the Hose to a Water Source

If you are filling the tank at home, you can use the spigot on your garden hose as a water source. The pump for filling your RV water heater can also function as a site for water if you are at a campsite.

Usually, there are dedicated water sources at campgrounds where you can fill your RVs. If you want to fill a tank with water from a lake or stream, you will need a pump mechanism to generate the appropriate pressure for the water to flow into the tank.

Step 4: Turn On the Water Source

Next, turn on the water source’s valve by rotating it anticlockwise to get water flowing into your RV. If the water still is not flowing into the tank, check if your RV’s water intake valve is open. Since some RVs require you to also turn on the intake valve.

Step 5: Fill the Tank

Once the tank is full, turn off the water and disconnect the hose from the water intake valve and source. Some RVs include a fill meter located near the intake valve. If you do not have one, watch the water level in the tank to see when it hits the fill line.

Remember that water is heavy, and your car will use a lot of fuel if it is at its maximum weight. So if you plan on driving, it’s advisable to fill the water tank halfway. Then fill the remainder of it when you get to your location.

Step 6: Shut the Hot Water Bypass Valve

The Water Heater Bypass Valve is responsible for diverting water away from the heater tank and into your cold water tap. Close the bypass valve so that the water goes directly into the water heater.

Step 7: Turn On the Hot Water Faucet

The next step is to switch on the hot water tap in any of the sinks. This draws water from the water heater and directs it to the faucet. If the water is flowing, the system is operating correctly.

However, if the water is not flowing, the hot water tank may be empty. Check that the bypass valve is completely closed.

Step 8: Allow the Water to Run Until No More Air Comes Out

This is an essential step since you must first clear the air from the system before turning on the water heater. When you first turn on the water, it is typical for it to sputter a bit. This implies that air is escaping from the system.

Allow the water to flow until it is smooth and free of air before turning on the water heater. Never turn on the water heater if there is any air in the system since this can cause serious damage to the tank.

Tips on Maintaining RV Hot Water Heaters

Like the rest of your RV’s components, water heaters require a little upkeep. You must examine, clean, and maintain them throughout your trips and at home as well.

Depending on what type of water heater you have, you may need to clean it more than once a year. Here are some tips for maintaining your RV hot water heaters.

  • Include your water heater in your RV’s routine maintenance. Whenever you take your RV to a repair shop, check it to make sure it is in good operating order.
  • A key aspect to remember is always to do maintenance safely. If your RV hot water heater is powered by electricity, you must first switch off all power sources before beginning the cleaning process.
  • Before you start the maintenance, make sure the water tank is cold.
  • Flush your water heater to remove any hard water deposits or debris at least once a year. This provides you with clean, odorless water to drink.
  • It is critical to empty the water heater and clean all of its lines before winterizing your RV.
  • Check the external vent, remove any dust for optimal air movement, repair any rusted parts, and inspect the electric heating element. Maintaining these fundamentals will allow you to enjoy your RV hot water heater for an extended length of time!

Why Won’t the RV’s Hot Water Tank Fill Up?

There might be several reasons why your RV hot water tank is not filling up properly. They include: 

  • Incorrectly opening or shutting one or two bypass valves. Ensure that the proper bypass valves are opened and closed
  • There might be a blockage at the cold water intake valve of the RV hot water heater. Examine the line connecting the bypass kit to the entrance of the cold water intake valve. Check for any obstructions at the cold inlet port produced by deposits in the tank or the anode rod
  • The bypass valves are not functioning correctly
  • The drain valve leaks

You can find many troubleshooting tips in your RV’s manual. However, if you cannot diagnose and resolve the problem on your own, contact an expert.

Can the RV Hot Water Tank Automatically Fill Itself?

You can fill your RV’s hot water tank automatically in two cases. First, if your RV hot water heater is connected to city water. City water has sufficient pressure to fill your water tank automatically. Or while using a water pump, as long as it is not bypassed.

Turn on the hot water faucet in the sink or shower to help the water flow through the system. This causes the water to travel faster, filling your RV’s hot water tank quickly and automatically.

Where Is the RV Hot Water Heater Bypass Valve Located?

In most cases, the RV hot water heater bypass valve is on the rear of the water heater. This is where cold water enters and hot water exits the tank. You can have up to three bypass valves depending on your RV hot water heater bypass system.

Final Thoughts

RV hot water heaters have become more popular due to their convenience on camping trips. With an RV hot water heater, you will have warm water wherever you go. 

Another advantage of these water heaters is their ease of operation, which is why many people choose to install them in their RVs.

Fill the tank with water by attaching a hose to the intake valve and source until the tank is full. Clean up any spilled water and close the bypass valve. 

Finally, you can switch on the water heater after ensuring there is no air in the system. Now you can enjoy the same comforts on your trip as you would at home. Happy camping!

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