If you are new to owning an RV, you may not understand the intricacies of the hot water system. Although you may be accustomed to traditional hot water heater systems like you'd find in a house, the one in your RV isn't the same. Not only is the water heater in an RV more compact, it requires specific care and attention to protect the aluminum liner. Here are a few tips to help you take care of the hot water system in your RV.
Always Drain The System Before Winter
Make sure you prepare your RV for winter before the temperatures drop below freezing. Draining the hot water tank is a vital part of that preparation. Sometimes, those new to RV ownership will only drain the primary water reservoir and lines, neglecting to drain the hot water tank. If you don't drain hot water tanks, the water inside will freeze. The expansion that happens as a result will likely crack the aluminum liner of the tank.
Fill The Tank When Spring Temperatures Settle In
Don't hit the road with your RV without filling the hot water tank as well as your reservoirs. You should also make sure that the bypass valve is open before you turn on the burner. The bypass valve typically prevents water from flowing into the tank when the gas has been shut off. If you don't open the valve before you turn the burner on, you'll be heating an empty hot water tank. That heat accumulation might melt the aluminum liner.
Inspect the Anode Rod Regularly
If the water supply that feeds your tanks has hard water or you frequent camping facilities with hard water, the aluminum tank liner may suffer from deposits of minerals. The mineral exposure in the water can cause the liner to corrode, which will crack it and lead to leaks. You can prevent this by installing an anode rod in the water heater and inspecting that rod on a regular basis. If it looks worn or corroded, you'll want to replace it. In most RVs, the anode rod attaches to the drain plug, making it easy to check at the start and end of the season when the tank is empty.
Although the aluminum liner in your RV's water heater is replaceable, it can be costly. In fact, you might find that it would cost you the same to install a new one. Talk with a water heater specialist about the best water heater options for your RV today so you can hit the road with confidence that your heater will sustain your hot water supply through the season.