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Is Your RV Water Heater Leaking? How to fix it?

    Updated December 11, 2022

    Is the water heater in your RV leaking? If so, you have a problem that could make your camping experience miserable. We’ll examine the primary causes of an electric or gas water heater leak and provide solutions. There is no time to spend when an RV has a leak of any kind, so let’s get started.

    How do I fix my RV Water Heater from Leaking?

    We’ve learned to enjoy the luxury of hot water in our RVs so we can wash off the bug spray and camp smoke. Can cold water be used to wash dishes and take a shower? Sure, but are you interested? No. For the optimal performance and life cycle, water heaters in an RV require maintenance just like all other systems and appliances do.

    Even with routine maintenance, problems from use can arise. The issue that occurs most frequently is a leaking water heater. This could seem negative at first glance. A new water heater can be expensive to install and is frequently beyond the technical capabilities of the majority of RV owners. However, fixing a leaking RV water heater is frequently simple. A water heater might leak for a few typical reasons.

    Pressure relief valve

    The fundamental workings of a water heater are as follows: Water is put into a tank, which is then heated using either gas or electricity. When this occurs, the temperature and expansion increase, leading to an increase in pressure inside the tank. The tank and its components can only withstand a given amount of pressure, and the high temperatures and associated pressures can be hazardous. The safety device that makes sure the maximum pressure or temperature isn’t exceeded is the pressure relief valve.

    However, if the pressure relief valve on your water heater is leaking, it might just be performing its job. It may be necessary to refill the tank to the correct level and with the correct air gap if the valve only leaks while the tank is hot. The top of the tank has an air gap that allows for some expansion, but occasionally this space is reduced, increasing the access pressure and causing water to drop from the valve. The valve can be replaced by removing it and replacing it after draining the tank and before refilling it if it is leaking when the tank is cold or producing more than a trickle.

    Drain plug

    There is a drain plug at the base of the tank on every water heater. For maintenance purposes, this plug must be continually withdrawn and reinstalled; as a result, thread wear and breakage are likely. Since most drain plugs are made of plastic, it’s simple to damage the threads, which will cause a leak. If the stopper has a suspected pinhole, heating the tank will probably cause the leak to pressurize and produce more of a spray.

    By using plastic, a metal plug is prevented from corroding and harming the tank itself. A drain plug’s damaged threads are inexpensive and simple to replace. The tank may need to be completely replaced if its threads get damaged. There are metal plugs that, in theory, shouldn’t ever need to be taken out. Remember that flushing your tank is more difficult if the drain stopper is not removed, and the narrower valve may prevent heavier material from being drained out. It’s simple to replace the drain stopper, and now is an excellent opportunity to flush the water heater.


    The fittings on your water heater are probably plastic fittings with a metal clamp holding them in place, just like the majority of RV plumbing fittings. When these clamps and fittings malfunction, water may leak slowly or continuously.

    A camping excursion over the weekend might be avoided if you keep a few connections and clamps in your toolbox. Keep in mind that the clamps need a certain tool to be fastened, which is another useful item to have. You must always turn off the water supply and drain any water from the lines before removing a fitting or disconnecting a water line.