RV Repair Manual
  for the RV Do-It-Yourselfer

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The RV Water Heater

Atwood RV Water Heater  There are basically two manufacturers of RV water heaters that are used in todays RVs - Atwood and Suburban. The Atwood uses an aluminum water tank while the Suburban brand uses a glass lined steel water tank. Maintenance and servicing procedures are similar to both models.

The arrow shows the drain plug on an Atwood - a Suburban water heater will have an anode rod rather than a simple drain plug. This anode rod helps to prevent corrosion of the steel tank and should be inspected annually and replaced when necessary.

Flushing the RV Water Heater

I do recommend flushing the hot water tank occasionally to get rid of the sediment and corrosive deposits in the bottom of the tank. Just pull the drain plug, allow it to drain, and direct a stream of water into the drain hole to agitate the sediment. Then allow it to drain, repeat until the water comes out clean. Do this about every other month (or more if your water has a lot of minerals) The flushing also helps to eliminate any hydrogen sulfide that may build up in the tank (causes the rotten egg smell in the water), and makes the heater more efficient.

  • About RV Water Heaters
    RV Water Heater - What You May Not Know About RV Water Heaters. The basic RV water heater is LP gas (pilot light) with a 6 gallon tank.
  • Servicing RV Water Heater
    Servicing the RV Water Heater - A lot of water heater problems are caused by poor electrical connections.
  • Tankless
    Rather than fill up a tank full of water and then heat it, the the electric tankless heater senses water flowing through it, activates the electric heating circuit, and the water is heated instantly.
  • RV Bypass
    The Water Heater Bypass is used when winterizing the water system. It is a series of valves or a single lever valve that allows the water flow to be shut off from the water heater and still be pumped to the rest of the hot water piping.