Don’t bypass important RV Water Heater steps

Birds chirping in the trees, the gentle rustle of the breeze rippling through the leaves…the sounds of an angry RV’er in the next campsite shouting that the water heater must be broken because there is no hot water…

Ahh, the sounds of the start of another camping season!

But just because your water is not hot does not mean your water heater is broken and you are facing a hefty bill– in 8 out of 10 times, it means that you forgot to reset the Water Heater Bypass Valves!

Those valves, usually in sets of three, are there to protect your water heater from winter’s freezing, while still allowing you to winterize the rest of your RV’s plumbing. Without them, you would need to fill the entire water heater (5 -10 gallons!) with antifreeze in order to properly winterize…. The bypass prevents that, by…well, by BYPASSING the water heater with a few shutoff valves. It prevents water (or antifreeze) from flowing into the water heater.

RV Water Heater Bypass Valves.
A typical three-valve water heater bypass. If you forget to close the one in the middle (the actual bypass pipe) you will get the common symptom of 5 seconds of warm water followed by cold.

The problem is, all too often, in the excitement to get back to camping, the bypass gets forgotten or improperly set in the spring.

The first symptom of an open bypass valve is ..you guessed it: cold water. But sometimes, you THINK you properly set the valves, but your water comes out warm for a few seconds, then reverts to cold…

But be careful and
MAKE SURE YOUR WATER HEATER IS
FULL OF WATER BEFORE TURNING IT ON!

Watch this video to learn more.

Now, this is a typical set up. Some RVs which were built without bypass valves will instead have a short piece of tubing that has to be uninstalled. And of course, in the minority of cases there may be another issue, such as the propane shut off, or in the case of those without automatic ignition, the pilot might be off.

If you still need help. contact our service department at 609.624-1221 or  online HERE


Jack Worthington, currently Marketing & Information Technology Director for Driftwood RV Center, along with his wife and children (now long-since grown) have been avid RV'ers for two decades, having camped in all 48 contiguous states, with Alaska on their minds...
Some day, if they can find the right pontoons to float their current Rig, a Class B motor home across the sea, they hope to complete their dream of camping in all 50 states!

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