how to turn on electric water heater in rv

How To Turn On Electric Water Heater in RV: Four Easy Steps [Must Know]

Last Updated on July 10, 2023

Turning on the electric water heater in your RV is an essential task. It could make or break your journey. Turning on an electric water heater is necessary to avoid mishaps. There are some straightforward steps that you should follow.

To turn on your RV’s electric water heater, make sure you’re connected to a power outlet. This will allow you to conserve propane while boondocking. Afterward, power on the electric water heater and flip the propane gas switch. This will power your heater to heat the water, which may take 60 to 90 minutes.

Today we will discuss these simple steps for turning on your electric water heater. You will be better equipped for your next trip if you understand the process. For more information on preserving propane, please continue reading.

How to Turn On Electric Water Heater in RV: 4 Steps to Follow

Turn On Electric Water Heater in RV

Electric water heaters in RVs are essential for a comfortable living experience on the road. You must know the proper steps to turn on the water heater to ensure a constant hot water supply.

Follow these easy steps to get your electric water heater up:

Step 1. Connect the RV to a Power Source (if possible)

Connect your RV for hot water convenience if you can access a power source at your campsite. Most campsites have electric hookups for RVs. These hookups provide a reliable source of power that helps you heat your water without draining your RV battery.

Connecting your RV to a power source is easy. Simply plug your vehicle into the outlet using an electrical cord. Once you’ve done that, you can turn on your electric water heater. But, if you don’t have access to a power source, you can still use your RV battery to turn on the water heater.

Step 2. Flip the Propane Water Heater Switch

Now you need to turn off the propane supply to the heater. Just flip the switch to ‘OFF’, and you’ll be good to go. Always ensure the propane water heater is turned off to prevent accidents.

[Note: This switch only controls the propane water heater, not the electric one.]

Step 3. Turn the Water Heater Power Switch On

Now that you’ve turned off the propane water heater, it’s time to turn on the electric one. Look for the water heater power switch near the propane switch.

After locating the panel and flipping the water heater switch, turn the water heater power switch ‘ON’. You’ll know you’ve found the right switch when you see a light indicating that the water heater is on. This will send electric power to your water heater and start heating the water.

Step 4. Wait Several Minutes

Depending on the size and capacity of your electric water heater in your RV, it can take anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes for the water to heat up. During this time, ensure that the water heater power switch remains on and that there are no interruptions in the electricity supply.

Why does my RV water heater not work on electricity?

Why does my RV water heater not work on electricity

If you find your RV water heater is not working on electricity, there are some things you can do to troubleshoot the issue:

  • Ensure you have a proper shore power connection and that the breaker on your campground pedestal is turned on. Sometimes, a simple power interruption can cause the electric water heater to stop working.
  • Check your RV’s 120-volt breaker panel for a tripped water heater breaker. If it is, reset the breaker and see if this resolves the issue.

If you’ve checked your shore power connection and breaker panel, and the water heater still doesn’t work on electricity, something else might be wrong. For example,

  • The heating element may be damaged or faulty, requiring a replacement.
  • Alternatively, the thermostat may be malfunctioning, which can be another cause of the problem.

To diagnose and fix these problems, you must contact a professional RV technician.

Should I run my RV water heater on electric or gas?

If you’re looking for convenience and cost-effectiveness, an electric water heater might be the way. But, a gas-powered RV water heater might be a better choice if you need hot water quickly and often camp in areas without shore power.

While electric water heaters are convenient and cost-effective, gas-powered ones heat water more quickly and are useful when there is a lack of shore power. You have to decide based on your preferences and needs.

If you plan on using your RV water heater frequently and have access to shore power, an electric RV water heater might be the right choice. However, if you plan on doing a lot of dry camping or need hot water quickly, a gas-powered water heater might be a better option.

Will an RV water heater run on battery?

You can run your RV hot water heater on battery power alone, making it convenient to have hot water even when disconnected from shore power. But remember that the battery will drain faster than usual, and you’ll need to recharge it more frequently.

If you’re concerned about draining your battery, you can run your RV water heater on propane gas. This will save your battery power and allow you to conserve energy.

How long does it take for an electric water heater in an RV to heat up?

Typically a 10-gallon tank RV water heater typically takes 12-30 minutes to heat up the water. But if your RV has a high-gallon tank, it might take a while to heat up.

Having a good electrical connection is the key to getting your electric water heater in the RV to heat up quickly. To work properly, the heater needs a steady flow of electricity. If the electrical connection weakens, the heater will take longer to heat the water.

Another factor that can affect the heating time is the outside temperature. If it’s very cold outside, the heater may take a long period to heat the water, so you should plan accordingly.

Can an RV water heater run on electricity only?

Can an RV water heater run on electricity only

It is impossible to run solely electric water heaters while boondocking unless a power source is available. If your camping fee includes electricity, and you wish to conserve propane, this method works well.

Running your hot water tank solely on electricity might be a great option if you’re trying to conserve propane while camping. But note that not all RV water heaters can run on electricity alone. Only those with an electric heating element can operate without propane.

Most RV models have a separate switch for the electric heating element located in a panel in the left-hand corner. Once you’ve found the switch, simply flip it on and wait for your water to heat up.

Get Endless Hot Water with an RV’s Electric Water Heater

Turning on your RV’s electric water heater is a simple process that can make a big difference in your camping experience. With hot water readily available at your fingertips, you can enjoy comfortable showers and clean dishes without any hassle. 

By benefiting from your RV’s electric hookup, you can get hot water without draining the RV battery. Remember to disconnect the power when not in use and prioritize safety. Hit the road and embark on your next adventure with the convenience of hot water on demand.

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