How to Fill RV Hot Water Heater

How to Fill RV Hot Water Heater | DIY Step by Step Guide

Last Updated on June 28, 2022

Maintaining a healthy and hydrated body requires water. Many people believe that drinking hot water can help improve digestion, relieve congestion, and even help promote relaxation in comparison with cold water.

Everyone needs hot water to do the dishes, take a bath or make a cup of tea. But not everyone has access to a natural gas hookup at their camp-site or RV site. The question is now how to fill RV hot water heater with fresh, clean water?

Filling an RV hot water heater tank is a simple process that can be done in a matter of minutes. This article will discuss how to fill a hot water heater in an RV.

What is an RV Water Heater Tank?

What Is an RV Water Heater Tank

An RV water heater tank is a tank that provides hot water for showers, cooking, and other purposes.

A hot water heater tank in an RV is available in many sizes and shapes, ranging from standard 6-gallons to 10-gallons or even smaller 4-gallons to larger 16-gallons.

On the other hand, you can find electric tankless heaters, natural gas, or propane-powered heaters. 

How Does RV Hot Water Tank Work?

The RV water heater works by transferring heat to the water. If electricity is used, this is done with an electric heating element, like the ones found in an oven or stove. Water-based heating systems often depend on natural gas, although propane can also be used in some instances. 

Different Types of Water Heaters

There are two different types of heaters, such as:

01. Electric Hot Water Heater

An electric hot water heater contains a heating element that transfers energy to the water. The hot water is stored inside a vessel or tank and can be used at any time for washing hands, dishes, taking a shower, etc. These heaters are also known as on-demand heaters or tankless heaters.

02. Traditional Gas Water Heater

A hot water heater that uses natural gas is a traditional gas water heater. These systems transfer warmth to the water via a heat exchanger, just like car engines and ovens.

Natural gas is fed into the hot water tank, where it passes over two metal coils, one on top of another, with cool water in between them. As the gas heats up on the coils, it heats the water on the other side.

Now, let’s discuss how to fill these two types of heaters. 

How to Fill RV Hot Water Heater: Step-By-Guide

How to Fill RV Hot Water Heater Step-By-Guide

A few steps are involved in adding water to an RV water heater. To fill up the two types of RV heaters, two different methods must be used:

Filling Electric Water Heater

Before filling an electric hot water heater tank found in an RV, it must be disconnected from the power source first. Let’s see how it’s done:

Step 1: Turn off Electricity and Water Supply

After disconnecting your RV water heater from the source of electricity and running water, you should know that it is essential to turn off both before filling up your water heater. You need to turn the water off at the source and shut down your RV’s built-in water pump.

Step 2: Find Out Water pressure relief valve Location

Open your RV’s kitchen sink faucet. If the hot water runs, then you have to open it up until no more warm water comes out of it. Once this happens, find out where the valve is and make sure it is closed.

Step 3: Check for Leaks

Before filling your hot water heater with clean, freshwater, you should check for any leaks first. Fixing these leaks can prevent further damage to your RV’s floor, cabinets, and other accessories when full of hot water later on.

Step 4: Find Out How to Open the Hot Water Tank Heater

With a wrench and a screwdriver, find out how to open up your RV hot water heater. Once you have located this equipment, carefully unhook any fasteners holding the top of the tank in place. 

If you cannot open up the top of your water heater, check out your owner’s manual for more information on how to dismantle it safely.

Step 5: Add Water into the Heater

Using a clean hose, fill the tank with fresh water until the level is almost at the top. Make sure to leave some room for expansion later on. You can add the freshwater using a pitcher, funnel, or hose.

Step 6- Fill the Hot Water Tank

Once you have filled up your water heater with water until it reaches the top, turn on both the electric and the hot water faucet and cold water faucets in your RV’s kitchen sink. Turn on your water pump and make sure the water is circulating correctly throughout your water heater.

Filling Traditional Gas Water Heater

Filling Traditional Gas Water Heater

If you are filling up a traditional gas-powered water heater found in an RV, some steps must be taken to ensure safety.

Step 1: Turn Off Electrical Power and Water

Just like with electric heaters found in RVs, you should turn off your electric supply and the water supply that runs into your RV before loading it up. Also, make sure to shut down any built-in water pump.

Most RV water heaters are equipped with a pilot light. In some cases, direct spark ignition is available. If you have the latter installed in your RV, you’ll use a switch inside the RV or trailer to turn on the water heater.

Step 2: Check for Leaks

Before filling an RV’s traditional hot water tank heater, check for leaks first. Checking the tank to see any leaks is very important, as repairing these leaks before loading them with water can help prevent further damage to your RV later on.

Step 3: Open Water Valve

Using a wrench and screwdriver, locate the opening of your RV water heater’s spigot. Open it up until no more water comes out of your hot water faucet. If you cannot locate the under-sink spigot, check out your owner’s manual for more information on how to disconnect it safely.

Step 4: Find Out How to Fill It Up

Find out how to top up your traditional gas water heater with freshwater. Once you have located this equipment, carefully unhook any fasteners holding the top of the tank in place.

Step 5: Add Water into the Heater

Using a hose, top off your traditional gas water heater with freshwater until it reaches the top. Make sure to leave some room for expansion later on. You can add the water using a pitcher, funnel, or hose.

Step 6: Fill Hot Water Tank

Turn on the electric outlet and the hot water tap and cold faucets in your RV’s kitchen sink. Turn on your pumps and make sure the water is circulating correctly throughout your water heater.

Step 7: Add Water Heater Antifreeze

Once everything has been filled up, you need to add some water heater antifreeze into it. You can buy this product at any hardware store. If you cannot buy it, you can also substitute the water heater antifreeze with a gallon of fresh water.

Step 8: Connect Everything Back Again

Once you have poured in the water heater antifreeze and made sure that no more leaks will occur, you can connect everything back again and flip on the power to your traditional gas water heater.

Common Mistakes When Filling the Tank

There are a few common mistakes that people make when filling up their water heaters, such as:

  • Letting the Water Heater Fill Up to a Specific Level
  • Not Filling Up Your Tank with Antifreeze
  • Leaving Scum Rings in Your Water Heater
  • Forgetting to Turn on Electrical Supply and Water Supply or Vice Versa
  • Filling Up Gas Water Heaters with Tap Water

FAQs

The following are some frequently asked questions:

01. How Do I Know If My RV Water Heater is Full?

You can tell that your water heater is full when the indicator light goes off. You can also check out your owner’s manual for more information on correctly filling up the tank.

02. How to Drain Your RV Hot Water-tank Heater?

You can drain out your water heater by opening the spigot or drain valve located at the bottom of your tank. You should pour this water into a large bucket and dispose of it later on.

03. How Often Should You Drain the RV Water Heater?

Most experts recommend that you dump your traditional gas water heater every three to six months. This is to prevent the buildup of minerals in the tank, which will affect its performance over time.

04. How Do I Add Antifreeze?

You can add a water heater antifreeze by pouring it into your gas water system after it is filled up with fresh water. You should also check your owner’s manual for more information on adequately adding the antifreeze into your tank.

05. How Do I Turn Off My Traditional Gas Water Heater?

For some models, your fresh-water tank heater will automatically turn off once the water has reached a set temperature. You can also turn off your traditional gas water heater manually by locating the single handle valve inside your RV or trailer at the base of the heater.

Final Words

So, we’ve done our best to answer the question of how do you fill an RV water heater. We hope it gave you some ideas for your use.

Now that you have learned how to fill RV hot water heater, it’s time to take the next step. The best way to keep an eye on your tank is by installing a high-quality monitoring system in the home or workspace where you will be filling up your tank.

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