Traveling and camping with a mobile home, camper or motorhome is a rewarding experience. It gets us closer to nature and gives us an opportunity to spend time with fellow RVers, family and friends.
However, it can also be a frustrating experience to find out that there is no hot water coming out of the faucet or shower especially in the cold winter season. It feels really uncomfortable to know that we cannot use hot water on demand.
Some RV owners choose hiring a professional to do the job, but for others, it calls for a DIY solution. If you belong to the second group and want to restore hot water in your mobile home, you should keep reading.
In the following, we’re touching on the topic on how to troubleshoot “no water in the hot water tank problem” and outlining some hot water basics to know.
How To Troubleshoot Hot Water Heater?
Okay, so here we go. Check out these steps and follow them closely so that you can troubleshoot the issue and restore hot water in your recreational vehicle.
- Do a quick visual inspection. It is an essential step that you need to follow so that you will have a basic idea on what probably might have been malfunctioning or what causes the problem.
- Check for water at the base of the tank. See if the status light is turned on.
- Proceed to and remove the panel door. See if the pilot is lit and status light is blinking. Next, you need to look into the status voltage to see if it falls into the right specs.
- If the thermopile test failed, you need to replace the thermopile. There is another set of steps involved in this process. If the test passed, replace the gas control valve.
- See if there is a gas supply in the residence before lighting the fire. For example, check if there is gas supply in the stove.
- If there is no gas supply, you should go ahead and check the storage tank. On the other hand, you must check the gas meter if the gas is municipally supplied.
- If the valve is in the horizontal position, with its lock to the hole, someone might not have been paying his bills or someone has cut gas to your residence. Anyway, you have to inspect this thing to be on the right track.
- You have to check to see if the gas control valve is in the ON position, and switch it on if not.
- Spark the igniter a few times to see if it is working properly. This is another simple but important step to follow when trying to troubleshoot the “now hot water” issue in your mobile home.
- Turn the gas control knob to pilot, and then press the knob to spark the igniter. You need to keep holding on to the knob to about a minute, and then the status light should start blinking. The control may give one flash every three seconds, and that is a normal operation. Take note of this.
- The pilot light will turn off once you released the control knob. Then Look for the resettable thermal switch. If the combustion chamber gets too hot, the device will trip. When it does, the pilot won’t stay lit. To reset, push the center button slightly. If it clicks, you know by now what tripped. You can now relight the pilot as per the previous steps.
- If the tripped thermal switch is the problem, common causes include lack of combustion air or an obstructed exhaust.
- Inspect the intake screen at the water gear’s base. Vacuum away the dust if it is clogged. Doing so can improve the performance of the intake screen that must be free from debris and dust to work properly.
- Inspect the baffle to see if it is installed properly. It might not work well if it is misaligned, which can happen because of transport
- Be careful when checking the baffle. Make sure that the water heater is turned off. Give it time to cool down because it can be really hot and dangerous to the touch.
- If the pilot stays lit once done resetting the thermal switch, you can check the wiring. Make sure that it has no loose connections or no breaks. It will also ensure that the wiring is in a good condition that affects the operation of the heater.
- The next thing to do is bypassing the thermal switch. Be careful and follow the steps closely. Run a jumper wire from connection to connection.
Then, you need to replace the metal bit across the connection. Try relighting the water heater and see that it stays lit. If it does, you will know that the thermal switch needs replacement because it’s faulty.
- Remember, the jumper is only for testing purposes. You must never run the water heater with it in place. The thermal switch is a safety device and needs replacement if damaged.
- If the pilot flame won’t stay lit at this point, you need to check the thermal pilot’s voltage. Replace the thermopile if the test failed or the gas control valve if it passed.
If checking for air codes, you need to remember that –
- One flash every three seconds is a normal operation.
- Two flashes is a weak thermopile voltage. Confirm it by doing a voltage test.
- And 4, 5 and 7 flashes are issues with the gas control valve, which needs replacement.
There you have a few basics to know about normal operation and faulty operation. Take note of the number of flashes to give you an idea on this matter.
Here are some hot water basics and tips that might also help
- Check the on and off switch of the hot water heater.
- Turn it off unless hooking up to an electric. If switched off, you’re not going to have a hot water electric. It is going to be heated by gas.
- Check if the tank has water, but even if it has, it will not fill the hot water heater.
- But if using a city water connection, you just pop the water valve open so that it will go inside and turn the hot water faucet on and the hot water tank.
- If you decide to use electric, go to the control panel. If connected to the city water, you don’t need to use the water pump because the pressure is provided by the outside water source.
- You got to have water in your hot water tank. If there is, go ahead and use your hot water electric source for heating. Turn the switch on, but remember it won’t run on 10 volts. It will on 110V
- Now the question, can I have both the electric and gas switched on at the same time? Yes, you can but the recovery time to fill your six-gallon tank is going to be faster and you will be using propane! It will just waste gas, so you need to spend more on it.
- REMEMBER Make sure that there is hot water in the tank. Test it by turning on one of the hot water faucets.
Do you want to know how to drain the hot water tank?
Here is how easy that is to do it.
- Drain the hot water heater tank. You can find the anode rod that you have to replace every year or when needed. It is affordable and easy to buy, so you don’t have to worry about replacing it.
- You will need a socket wrench like a 1 and 1/16 for this task, or what is needed.
- Once done draining the hot water tank, you can start flushing out the sediments if you can. You can use a flush tool for the job that you can also buy in supplies stores and online shops.
Having a supply of hot water in the RV is important because it makes cooking and life comfortable and convenient. Without hot water especially in the winter, it can be really frustrating and stressful. And you don’t want your loved ones to experience it, do you?
Hoping you learned something from this guide. By now, you probably have the basic idea on how you can troubleshoot the “no hot water” issue in your motorhome or camper. Follow these steps and solve the problem today!
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