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Forest River RV Hot Water Heater Not Working: How to Fix?

Forest River RV Hot Water Heater Not Working: How to Fix?

Going on an RV adventure is one of the most exciting things you can do in life. It’s perfect for when you want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and embrace nature. However, when it comes to your RV appliances, they can sometimes malfunction and bring down the mood. In this blog post, we’ll be discussing what to do when your Forest River RV hot water heater is not working. We’ll be giving you a step-by-step guide on how to troubleshoot and fix the problem.

The Importance of Hot Water In RV and How to Get It

When you’re out on the road in your RV, there are few things as important as having access to hot water. From cooking and showering to simply washing your hands, hot water is a necessity. But depending on the type of RV you have, getting hot water can be a challenge.We will start with clarifying the importance of hot water in RV and checking the easiest ways of getting it there.

Why is Hot Water Important in an RV? Hot water is important in an RV for many of the same reasons it’s important in a home. First and foremost, it’s necessary for personal hygiene such as showering and hand washing. Hot water also makes cooking easier and more efficient, especially when it comes to preparing things like soups or stews that require hot water. Additionally, hot water is crucial for keeping your RV clean, as it will help you better remove dirt and grime from surfaces.

There are three main types of hot water systems found in RVs: tankless, tank, and hybrid. Tankless systems heat water as it’s needed, allowing it to be delivered on demand. While these systems are great for conserving water, they tend to be more expensive and have a slower flow rate compared to other systems. Tank systems store pre-heated water in a tank, making it available whenever you need it. Hybrid systems combine the best elements of both tank and tankless systems. [1]

Tips for Getting Hot Water. If you’re having trouble getting hot water in your RV, there are several things you can try. One of the first things to check is the hot water tank, which may need to be flushed or cleaned out. You should also check for any leaks in the system or damage to the water heater. Another common issue is low water pressure, which can cause the hot water flow to slow down significantly. If you’re still experiencing problems, it may be time to consult a professional.

In conclusion, hot water is essential in an RV for hygiene, cooking, and cleaning purposes. Understanding the different types of the systems and how to troubleshoot common problems can help ensure you have hot water whenever you need it. So, whether you’re a full-time RVer or just planning a weekend trip, make sure you have a reliable hot water system in place to enjoy all the conveniences of home on the road.

The Importance of Hot Water

Forest River Water Heater

If you are planning a family road trip or a weekend getaway with your RV, it’s crucial to have access to warm or even hot water whenever you need it. One of the most important parts of your RV that provides it is the water heater. Among the many options available, the Forest River RV water heater is one of the most popular and efficient. So now let’s dive into everything you need to know and understand about the Forest River RV water heater. Starting with how it works, and finishing with how to maintain it properly.

The Forest River RV water heater uses either propane gas or electric heating elements to heat water inside the tank. The heating system is connected to a thermostat that measures the temperature of the water and regulates the heating functions. The water heater is usually located in a compartment on the outside of your RV, and it’s typically a six-gallon tank. That’s enough for a few showers and washing dishes in a single day.

Should you choose gas or electric heating for your RV? The choice between gas and electric heating depends on your specific needs, budget, and RV design. Gas heating systems are more efficient and also they heat the water more quickly than electric ones. But if you have access to electricity on your camping site, electric heaters may become a more convenient and affordable option. Additionally, electric water heaters do not produce any emissions, making them ideal for environmentally-conscious RV enthusiasts.

Maintenance is essential to keep the Forest River RV water heater running smoothly and lasting long. Here are some maintenance tips to follow:

Tip 1: Regularly drain the heater tank to prevent sediment buildup.

Tip 2: Check and replace the anode rod inside the tank every year or two.

Tip 3: Clean the burner chamber and gas valve periodically.

Tip 4: Check and tighten all electrical connections.

Despite proper maintenance, water heaters can develop issues and malfunctions. Here are some common problems that RVers can encounter: ignition issues, water temperature fluctuations, rusty or smelly water, leaking tank, faulty thermostat or heating element. In such cases, it’s best to consult a professional RV technician to diagnose and fix the issues.

Forest River Water Heater

Tips for maximizing the Forest River RV water heater

To use the Forest River RV water heater to its fullest potential, here are some tips:

Tip 1: Fill up your water tank before taking a shower, so you have enough hot water to last the whole shower session.

Tip 2: If camping in cold when the weather is cold, insulate the water heater and pipes to minimize heat loss.

Tip 3: Use low-flow showerheads and faucets to minimize water use and extend the supply of hot water.

Tip 4: Switch off the water heater when not in use to save energy.

The Forest River RV water heater is a crucial part of your RV that should be working efficiently and effectively. By properly understanding its functions, following maintenance tips, and being mindful when using it, you can ensure it works perfectly during your camping adventures. With the information and tips we’ve covered in this guide, you’re now ready to hit the road and enjoy hot water throughout your trip.

Step-By-Step Guide on How to Diagnose and Fix the Problem

Camping is one of the most wonderful activities, especially during summertime. One of the most important things that you will need while camping is a water heater, especially if you’re up for cold temperatures. Among the most popular water heater brands is Forest River RV water heater. It’s sturdy, efficient, and easy to maintain. Nevertheless, even the best brand can experience a malfunction. Here let’s discuss how to diagnose the problem with the Forest River RV water heater and how to fix it step-by-step. Let’s get started!

Step One: Check the pilot light

The first thing you need to do when you experience problems with the water heater in your Forest River RV is to check the pilot light. This light is responsible for igniting the burner in the water heater. As a rule, it is situated not far from the bottom of the heater unit and has a small blue flame. The easiest way to check if the pilot light is the issue is to turn the power supply off and then turn it back on again, so the burner starts heating up. If the pilot light ignites, then the problem is solved. If it doesn’t, then the thermocouple might be the problem.

Step One: Check the pilot light

Step Two: Check the Thermostat

In case the pilot light is running correctly, but the water isn’t heating up as it should, then the thermostat might be the problem. To check the thermostat, you need to turn the power supply off first and remove the housing. Inspect the thermostat and check if the wires are connected correctly, and the thermostat itself looks okay and isn’t damaged. If you still think the thermostat is the problem, use a multimeter to test the temperature readings.

Step Three: Check the Tank for Sediment Build-Up

If you’re experiencing low water pressure or dirty water, then the water heater tank might have sediment build-up. You can quickly diagnose sediment by checking the color of the water. If the water is brown or orange, that indicates sediment is inside the tank. The best way to fix the problem is to drain this tank and clean it. Cleaning is a relatively easy process: open the drain valve and let the water drain out. You can fill the tank with vinegar or get professional help to get rid of the sediment buildup. Simply cleaning the tank can normally solve your problems with the hot water.

Step Four: Check the Gas Supply

If you’ve checked all other possible problems and still haven’t solved the issue, then you might want to check on the gas supply. Forest River RV water heaters rely on propane supply or butane for energy. If you don’t have enough propane or butane, the water might not heat up as it should. You can check the propane or butane by inspecting the gas valve, checking if it’s open, or replace the propane tank altogether for a new one. [2]

Step Five: Call A Professional

If you’ve tried all the steps above and you still have an issue with your Forest River water heater, it’s time to call a professional to diagnose the problem. Consulting a professional will not only save you the hassle but will prevent accidents from troubleshooting by yourself. Some malfunctions require a unique skill set that only professionals possess.

In conclusion, using a personal water heater while camping out in nature adds a degree of comfort and relaxation to our trips. But, maintaining the functionality of our water heater is equally important. Forest River RV water heaters are renowned for their excellence in heating up water, but it’s not an exception from malfunctions. Diagnosing and fixing the problem can be a relatively easy process, but requires consistently checking the pilot light, thermostat, temperature readings, sediment build-up, and gas supply. When all else fails, hiring a professional makes the process smoother. So, keep these tips in mind and enjoy your camping trip without any hot water troubles!Taking your Forest River RV on an adventure can be an exciting experience, and it is essential to ensure that all systems are working correctly.

Step Five

Forest River RV Hot Water Heater Maintenance

A hot water heater is one of the essential components of an RV, and its condition determines your convenience. Hence you should keep it well-maintained. In this part we aim to educate you on various ways of maintaining your RV hot water heater.

  1. Flush It Regularly

Flushing the hot water tank will remove sediment and mineral buildup in the tank. Mineral buildup can cause your water heater to work less efficiently and, in turn, reduce its lifespan. You should always ensure to flush out the hot water heater after every 6-8 months of use. Flushing the water heater will also improve its performance and extend its life.

  1. Check for Leaks

If you notice any leakage on your hot water heater, it could indicate a damaged or broken valve. Checking for leaks is crucial for the overall system performance and your safety. Checking the valves and piping for leaks and corrosion is vital in preventing larger, more expensive issues from cropping up.

  1. Inspect Anode Rod

The anode rod is a small rod located on the heater’s interior, which protects the heater’s interior from rusting. Checking the anode rod’s condition is essential because once the rod is gone, corrosion will begin to attack the system. If you notice the rod is getting thinner than it used to be, it’s time for a replacement. It’s better to replace it early on so it doesn’t damage the water heater.

  1. Adjust the Temperature

Operating your water heater too hot can waste energy and also pose a risk to your safety. It’s best to set the temperature of your water heater around 120 degrees to ensure energy efficiency and safety. This temperature can provide you with the perfect balance of energy savings, a comfortable shower temperature, and reducing the risk of burns.

  1. Perform Routine Maintenance

Regular maintenance is vital in keeping the water heater functional. You can start by inspecting the connections for signs of wear and tear, rust, or corrosion. Additionally, you can test the pressure-release valve. Doing routine maintenance can help you identify potential problems before they turn into big issues.

Maintaining your hot water heater is essential for long-term performance, efficiency, and safety. By following the tips above, you can keep your Forest River RV hot water heater working in top condition, reducing the risk of costly damage and potential danger. Keep in mind; it’s essential to follow your RV’s user manual and remember to switch off the hot water heater’s power before undertaking any maintenance tasks.

Perform Routine Maintenance


How do I reset my RV hot water heater?

Let’s start with the basics. If you’re experiencing issues with your RV water heater, the first thing to do is try resetting it. With the power and propane turned off, locate the reset button on the heater and press and hold it for a few seconds. Release the button and wait for a few minutes before turning the propane and power back on. The reset sequence can vary depending on the manufacturer, so be sure to check out your owner’s manual before attempting to reset your water heater.

Why is my water heater not working in my RV?

If your water heater isn’t producing hot water, there are a few possible reasons. First, check the propane supply to ensure that it’s turned on and has enough gas to power the heater. Second, check the heating element with a voltage tester to see if it has failed. If either the propane supply or heating element isn’t the root cause, your thermostat may be faulty and needs replacing. It’s important to note that water heaters that run on 110 volts AC will require plugging into an external source of electricity, like a generator or campground outlet.

How do I get my RV water heater to work?

Once you’ve reset your water heater and confirmed that propane is flowing and the heating element is working correctly, you’ll need to light the pilot light. To do so, turn the gas valve knob to “pilot” and light the gas with a match or lighter. Continue to hold the knob down for 30 seconds before releasing, which will keep the pilot light lit. Finally, turn the gas valve knob to “on” and adjust the temperature on the thermostat to your desired water heat intensity.

What are the common issues with an RV water heater?

There are a few common problems with RV water heaters that you should be aware of:

  1. Rust buildup: Like traditional water heaters, RV water heaters can accumulate rust buildup in the tank over time, which can negatively impact the heating element and cause permanent damage.
  2. Leaks: Another issue that can occur is leaking water from the heater, which can be dangerous if not addressed promptly.
  3. Damaged thermostat: Finally, over time, your thermostat may wear down, causing issues with heat and water temperature control.

Useful Video: RV Water Heater Troubleshooting: Troubleshoot, Diagnose, and Repair


It’s always frustrating when your appliances, especially during an RV trip, stop working. If your Forest River RV hot water heater is not working, start by checking the power source, leaks, and the water supply. If none of the above steps works, seek advice from a technician or check your user manual. It is important to handle your RV appliances with care and safety; always switch off the power supply before conducting any repairs, and be sure to let your hot water heater cool down before fixing it. Happy RVing!

  1. https://www.corroprotec.com/blog/hot-water-heater-for-an-rv/#
  2. https://www.avisexplore.com/en/tips/how-does-a-water-heater-work-in-a-motorhome