Simple devices can stump people. It is not that people are not smart but those simple appliances like a water heater can stop working for very simple reasons. This failure can stump even the smartest of RVers because it is hard to find what went wrong
Water pressure is going to be one of the keys and when you are using your fresh water tank, the pump may not provide enough pressure for the heater to work. You may have to hook up to city water to get the pressure that you need for your heater to work right.
To learn more about how to use a water heater in your Jayco or other RV just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so you do not have the same issues as other RV owners.
Most Jayco RVs come with either the Atwood or Suburban water heater and system. Those are the two more popular brands RV makers like to use and Atwood is actually owned by Dometic.
That means that if your friend has a Dometic water heater and you have an Atwood brand, you have water heaters from the same company and it is possible they may be the same models.
For our Australian readers, some of your caravans may be equipped with a Nautilus water system and heater. Suburban is in those models as well. For those in other countries where Jayco RVs are sold, check the tank to see the badge that carries the brand name.
Most likely, yours will be one of those 4 brands unless your country has a smaller private brand that Jayco uses. The majority of RVs and trailers will be using one of those four.
The first step in the process is to make sure that the water lines are off the bypass system. When you have a 2 valve system, both valves should be parallel to the waterlines. When thy are the water will go to the tank.
If you have a 3 valve system, the 2 water line valves need to be parallel and the third bypass valve needs to be at a 90-degree angle for the water to go to the tank. Once that is straightened out you can move on to the next steps.
Next, make sure the water tank is full of water first, and when filling the tank, open the faucets on the other end to get rid of any air pockets that may have formed. Third, if your model has both an electric and gas operating system, you will have to choose which system you want to power the heater.
After all that is done, you can light the pilot. When the pilot is lit, you may have to wait about 20 to 30 minutes before the water in the tank is fully heated. If there is no hot water at this point, you may have a problem and need a good repairman to fix it.
This task may be a thing of the past soon. Many RV makers are moving toward automatic or electronic ignition systems that take the guesswork and hassle out of manually lighting your water heater.
If you own one of those RVs or trailers with this type of system, you just simply open the cabinet door housing the switches and select the switch to the fuel source you want to use. There will be one for electricity and one for gas. When you switch on the gas option, make sure to have opened your gas valve on your tanks first.
For manual operations, you will need to have a lighter or a match long enough to reach the part that holds the pilot light. Before you light the match or lighter, you need to turn the dial to pilot or light and hold it in.
Then use your match to light the pilot light and let it run for a few seconds before moving the dial to the on position. That is all there is to this process.
This is a very simple task that any 12-year-old boy can handle without any trouble at all. On the 6 and 10-gallon water heaters there is a drain plug. This is plastic so you have to be careful about turning it too tightly or hard.
All you have to do is use a crescent or ratchet set with a 15/16ths head and turn the plug. Once it is loose, the water will start to flow out. Now some people use the air valve at the top of the tank to provide the air pressure needed to fully drain the tank.
Other owners use a hot water faucet. Either way, you need one of them open to completely drain the tank. When it comes to that plastic plug, it is best to replace it with a brass model. The reason for saying that is that plastic threads do not last.
One owner uses a brass plug with a T valve so he never has to remove the plug. But it is also said that aluminum, brass, and heat do not get along. You may want to buy a couple of extra nylon plugs to have on hand when the one in the tank starts to wear out.
The location will depend on the make and model of your RV but generally, the bypass valves are located on the back side of the water tank. Getting to them may be another story. One owner had to go through his pantry area to get to them.
How you access yours will also depend on the make and model of a Jayco RV or trailer. Also, Jayco has now gone to the 2 valve system so you will only have 2 valves to turn when you want to engage or disengage the system.
When you are operating the bypass valves and want to drain the tank or even fill it, make sure the power to the water heater is turned off. You do not want to risk burning out your elements or heating sources.
Only turn the water heater power on when you know the tank is full and it has a continuous supply of water running through the pipes. Usually, the valves are parallel to the pipes when the bypass is turned off and at 90-degree angles when turned on.
Because of the position of the valves, you may need small hands to get inside and operate those valves
There are numerous sources for this situation and it may take a while to get to the part that is causing the problem. The first place to look will be your power supply options. The questions to ask yourselves in this situation are #1. are you hooked up to power; #2. did you turn the switch on?; #3. did fuse blow or a breaker trip?
Those are the easiest sources to solve. When the fuse blows you just need to replace the fuse and when the breaker trips, you need to simply turn it on. Then check for any shorts in the system if they keep blowing or tripping.
After that you need to check the parts on the water heater and the source may be the thermostat has gone bad, the thermocouple is not working or you burned out an element or it has failed on you.
Also, your pilot light burner may need cleaning or replacing. Then you may have a problem with gas delivery and need to check to see if the valves and tanks are turned on. This is not to mention if there is bad wiring, loose wires, or a frayed wire someplace.
The common problems often come from human error more than they do from failing parts. Not always but a large portion of the time this is the main source. Part of human error is forgetfulness or oversight.
Someone forgets to turn the thermostat on, open the bypass, or even fails to turn the power to the water heater on. Or they forget to open the propane tank when they want to use the gas mode.
Other common problems come from failed parts. Sometimes the elements get too old and do not heat up anymore. Replacing the element is your only solution. If the thermostat has gone bad then you will need to replace that part as well. Fixing it would be a waste of money.
Finally, the burner may just need to be cleaned as one common problem includes soot build-up. This build-up can interfere with the water heater’s operation.
There are several sources for this problem as well. The first places to look would be the drain plug and the water pressure valve. The former may not be threaded properly leaving room for the water to escape.
The latter could be open and the water is getting out through that part. However, if both of these parts are fine, then you may have a leak in any one of the connections or seals on the water heater.
There may be cracks in the pipes, holes in the same pipes, or loose connections or connections that have worn out. There also may be a hole somewhere in your water heater.
In all situations, you should replace the cracked or broken parts and only use duct tape as a temporary fix where applicable.
One way to cut costs is to look for the brand name of the company that makes your water heater in your specific RV or trailer. Then you can contact those companies to see if they sell parts directly to the public. They may or may not offer this service.
Or you take the name and model or the serial number of the water heater to the outlet that sells those parts and gets a replacement. These are not few and far in between as there is a place called World Wide RV that sells factory-direct parts.
Plus, you can try Amazon to save some more money. Just use the brand name in your search box and many parts will turn up for water heater models. There are many retail outlets online that will be glad to have your business.
Your task will be to find the one that is near you or has the fastest and cheapest shipping.
We should mention that you should not do any searches at Amazon or eBay using the term Jayco. It would be better to use the actual brand name of the water heater in your RV or trailer. You will get better results that way.
With that said, using Jayco in your search term for a general internet search will turn up a lot of retail parts and accessories stores that classify their parts by RV brand names. Then you just pick the outlet you think will serve you the best.
Make sure to have the serial or model number of the heating element you need to replace. That will make finding the right part easy. Pull the element out to find that number if it is not listed in your heater’s owner’s manual.
Using the water heater in your RV is not that hard. As long as you follow the right procedures you and your family should have enough hot water to last all day. When it comes to those times when there is no hot water, check the simple sources first.
It is not hard to forget to turn something on after a long drive.