Suburban RV Hot Water Heater Troubleshooting

Having a faulty Suburban RV water heater can be a huge hassle, particularly if you’re already planning a trip to a cold-weather destination or if you simply can’t bathe without hot water. Luckily, if you notice that your water heater isn’t functioning properly, you can take some steps to troubleshoot the problem and even make a few repairs that can fix the issue. Here’s a guide to help you get started:

1. The Heater Doesn’t Work/Turn On

One of the most common problems you’ll encounter is a heater that refuses to turn on. If this happens, you can take these steps:

For Gas Water Heaters
A blocked gas supply tube is one of the most common reasons for gas heater problems. So, if your gas heater doesn’t turn on, the first thing you should do is to check the burner tube and see if anything is blocking it, like dirt or insect nests. Clogged tubes can be dangerous since they prevent gas from reaching the pilot assembly, which means it can divert to other nearby objects and put you at risk for fires.

If your gas supply tube is blocked, you can remove the plug using a burner tube cleaning tool. In fact, you should make it a habit to clean the tube before taking your RV on a trip. This way, you can ensure that it’s not blocked, and you can keep your vehicle and your family safe.

For Electric Water Heaters
When you turn your electric heating element on even when there’s not enough water in the tank, it can get damaged over time and will eventually stop working. When this happens, your electric water heater won’t function and you won’t get any hot water in your RV. If this is the case, the best thing you can do is to take out the old heating element and replace it with a new one.

2. The Water Has a Funny/Nasty Smell

The most common culprit for bad-smelling RV water is sulfur, which gives off an odor that’s similar to rotting eggs and is usually caused by bacteria or by certain chemical reactions. If you notice this smell when you use the water in your RV, you’ll need to cleanse the entire system using chlorine. Add around six ounces of chlorinated bleach to every 10 gallons of water that’s in your tank. Don’t disturb it for a few days or until a week to ensure the chlorine can kill off any bacteria in your system.

When several days have passed, flush the chlorine out of your water system using fresh water. It will take a substantial amount of time and water, but keep at it until the chlorine is completely out of your pipes.

3. The Heating Element Shuts Down Repeatedly

Your heating element should function without any interruption. If you notice that it repeatedly shuts down on its own, it’s a sign that the thermostat assembly is old or worn down and has to be replaced. You can do this on your own but, if you’re not sure about what to do, it’s best to get the help of an expert.

Use these troubleshooting tips now to get your Suburban RV water heater back into good shape!

Skip to content