No Hot Water in RV Shower | Troubleshooting Guide

If your water heater doesn’t work during winter, you may have to take a shower with the lukewarm water which can leave you feeling cold and unsatisfied. As an RVer, I faced this situation a few times and I know the frustration. However, the good news is that most hot water issues can be easily identified and resolved with some basic troubleshooting.

Typically, RV hot water problems arise from clogged plumbing lines, faulty LP gas supply, water heater malfunctions, or electrical issues. With some patience and investigative work, you can have your hot shower back in no time.

Here I will guide you on examining all the likely culprits behind no hot water in your RV shower will provide you with various troubleshooting tips, repair solutions, and preventative maintenance steps. Let’s begin unraveling the hot water mystery so you can enjoy a steamy shower during your next RV adventure.

No Hot Water in RV Shower

What Causes No Hot Water in an RV Shower?

Several issues can cause a lack of hot water in your RV shower:

  1. Clogged Water Lines: Mineral deposits, scale buildup, and accumulated debris can clog the RV’s plumbing lines and restrict water flow. Clogged pipes prevent sufficient hot water from reaching the shower.
  2. LP Gas Supply Problems: If your RV water heater runs on LP gas, an empty tank, closed valve, or faulty regulator can shut off the gas supply. The water heater needs consistent propane flow to heat the water.
  3. Water Heater Malfunction: Water heater failures, like leaks, ignition issues, sediment buildup, and faulty control boards, will prevent hot water production.
  4. Faulty Water Pump: With insufficient water pressure from a worn-out or defective pump, hot water can’t adequately flow to the shower.
  5. Electrical Issues: For RVs with electric water heater elements, blown fuses, broken heating elements, wiring problems, or campground voltage drops can disrupt hot water delivery.
  6. Extreme Weather Conditions: In very cold weather, the water heater may struggle to keep up with hot water demands, resulting in tepid shower temperatures.

Troubleshooting Steps For No Hot Water in RV Shower

Accurately diagnosing and pinpointing the cause of your RV shower’s hot water problems will steer you toward the proper repair solution. Follow these logical troubleshooting steps:

Step 1: Check the Water Heater Power Source

If your RV uses LP gas for hot water, verify propane tanks contain adequate fuel. Ensure gas valves are open. For electric water heating, check circuit breakers and fuses. Restore power to the water heater if needed.

Step 2: Inspect Water Lines and Plumbing

Examine all visible water lines for kinks and bends that might obstruct flow. Confirm that PEX tubing, connectors, and pipe joints don’t leak. Remove the showerhead and filters to check for blockages. Flush water lines to clear any scale and sediment.

Step 3: Clear Clogged Plumbing Lines

Use drain cleaners and wire pipe brushes to remove obstructions from showerheads, valves, PEX tubing, and fittings. Prevent future clogs by flushing tanks regularly and installing washers.

Step 4: Test Water Pressure

Make sure the water pump successfully builds adequate water pressure. Listen for the pump cycling on/off. Check the pump strainer for debris. Replace the worn pump if necessary.

Step 5: Check Water Heater Components

Thoroughly inspect burner assembly, heating elements, control board, and valves for any apparent flaws needing repair. Confirm venting allows proper airflow. Drain and flush the tank to remove sediment.

Step 6: Monitor Water Heater Operation

Observe the water heater while it runs to check for error codes, strange sounds, or other performance issues indicating problems. Compare hot and cold side supply temperatures.

Step 7: Consider Quick Water Heater Bypasses

Try bypassing the water heater temporarily using an external portable camp shower and water heating source. This determines if the issue resides within the RV’s plumbing versus the water heater itself.

Step 8: Repair LP Gas Supply

Refill empty propane tanks. Replace damaged hoses and valves allowing gas to reach the water heater. Adjust the regulator to establish proper gas pressure.

Step 9: Install a New Water Pump

Replace defective RV water pumps inhibiting hot water flow due to insufficient pressure. Match pump specs to your RV model. Properly prime new pump.

Step 10: Address Electrical Problems

Reset tripped breakers and replace blown fuses on electric water heater circuits. Have a licensed electrician correct wiring issues and replace bad heating elements. Use a voltage regulator to correct campground voltage drops.

Step 11: Weatherize Plumbing

Insulate water lines and faucet plumbing to prevent freezing and retain heat in extreme cold. Let faucets drip overnight. Use space heaters and skirting.

Preventing No Hot Water Problems in RV

A little preventative maintenance goes a long way toward avoiding hot water headaches during your RV travels:

  • Flush the water heater tank every 6 months to remove sediment and limescale. Drain through the anode rod opening.
  • Inspect rubber washers and gaskets on plumbing fittings. Replace as needed to prevent leaks and buildup restricting water flow.
  • Check LP gas lines and valves annually for wear, cracks, or blockages impeding consistent gas supply to the water heater.
  • Clean shower heads regularly to avoid mineral deposits and buildup limiting water pressure.
  • Use water pressure regulators and softeners to reduce sediments collecting inside plumbing over time.
  • Insulate exposed exterior water lines and tanks to prevent freezing in cold temperatures.
  • Maintain the water pump by checking the strainer and replacing worn parts when needed.
  • Exercise water systems during winter or long storage periods to avoid stagnation buildup in plumbing.
  • Upgrade to a tankless water heater for endless and reliable hot water. Requires proper maintenance as well.

FAQs about No Hot Water in RV Shower

What Should I Check First If I Have No Hot Water In My RV Shower?

First, check that the water heater has proper power – either LP gas supply or electricity depending on your RV model. Make sure tanks have propane and gas valves are open. For electric units, verify circuit breakers or fuses are not tripped or blown.

Why Does My RV Shower Start Out Hot And Then Go Cold?

This usually indicates the water heater cannot keep up with the shower’s hot water demand. Try reducing shower head restrictor flow, installing a water pressure regulator, or upgrading to a tankless water heater with higher hot water output.

How Can I Get Hot Water To My RV Shower When Dry Camping?

Use an external portable water heater like a propane camp shower. Or manually heat water over a campfire or camp stove in a pot then transfer to a solar shower bag. Take shorter showers to conserve hot water.

Why Does My RV have Hot Water In The Sinks But Not The Shower?

Showers require greater water flow. If the flow is obstructed by sediment buildup or kinked piping only allowing a trickle of water through, hot water won’t reach the shower. Inspect plumbing lines and clear out any blockages.

Is No Hot Water In An RV Shower Dangerous?

Lack of hot water mainly causes inconvenience versus safety issues. But troubleshoot problems immediately rather than taking cold showers long-term. Consult a professional if needed to avoid DIY mistakes damaging systems further. Prevent scalding with properly regulated water temperatures.

Closing Thoughts

A dysfunctional RV shower lacking hot water certainly dampens the camping experience. But some basic troubleshooting paired with targeted repairs will have you singing in the shower once again. Spending a little time flushing and insulating the plumbing regularly will minimize annoying hot water shortages down the road. Don’t hesitate to call in a service pro if needed – getting the hot water running again quickly is worth the peace of mind. We hope this guide helped shed light on the common causes of and practical fixes for no hot water in your RV shower. Please leave a comment below if you have any lingering questions. Happy travels and enjoy your next steamy RV shower!

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