RV Water Heater Switch On or Off? (Do You Leave It On?)

Dealers are not always correct... Of course, that is because RV makers may have hundreds of RV models combined. It is hard to keep track of every little detail each RV model comes with. This applies to the water heater switches. These switches are not always in the same place on every model.

The electric water heater switch is not always inside your RV like the gas power switch. Sometimes it is outside in the exterior panel. You can leave these switches on without any problem as long as you keep the water heater full of water.

To learn more about this switch, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so you know what to do with those switches. The key element will be water levels so be wary.

Do You Leave The Water Heater Switch On In an RV?


This will depend on your camping situation. When you are driving, your house batteries are probably not powering anything nor is your generator. If you leave the switches on you are not using any power as you drive.

In this case, it is okay to leave your switches turned on. There are only about two situations where you would have to turn those switches off. The first situation is when you have no water in your water heater tank.

You will burn out the element if you leave it on in this situation. The second situation is when you do not want to use any electricity while heating the water. Other than that, it is fairly safe to leave one, none, or both switches on as you camp.

RV Water Heater Switch On or Off?


This is a depends situation as well. There is nothing wrong if you leave the switch on at all times. Not much will happen except that the water in the water heater will be warm when you are ready to use some.

If you tend to have memory lapses when it comes to these smaller details, then it is best to leave it on so you do not have to worry about turning it on later. This is for the electric switch.

If you have a propane gas on-off switch then yes, you should turn that off when you are ready to drive to your next camping spot or home. There are some people who say to turn the electric switch off but this all depends on you and your situation.

You really have to make sure that the water tank is full of water if you are going to go that route.

Are You Supposed To Leave The Water Heater On?


Technically, you should turn the electric water heater switch off when you are not using the water heater. This will do two things. First, if your house battery is turned on, it will drain the battery and then you will have to wait till it recharges to use your electrical components.

Second, it protects your water heater if you drain it of water for when you are traveling. You will burn the element out if there is no water in the tank. Also, you do not need to have the electrical switch on if you are going to use propane to heat the water.

Nothing is wrong with having both switches on as the dual power sources will help with faster water temperature recovery. This situation is up to you as many owners prefer leaving it on. It saves time and hassles.

How do I Turn On My RV Water Heater?


The most important first step is to make sure the tank is full of water. If it is not then it does not take long to burn out the elements. Make a sign if you have to, to let everyone know to check the water level in the tank before turning the switch on.

The second step is to find the water heater access panel and take the door off. Then look for the electric water heater switch. Sometimes you have to look because it is hidden under wires or other key parts to make the water heater run right.

Once you find the switch, turn it to on and then put the access panel door back on and enjoy a nice hot shower. For the propane option, there is a little switch there is usually an indoor switch on the control panel on your dash or a separate control panel somewhere in your RV.

RV makers make this switch more accessible because you need to turn that propane off when traveling, etc. In case of problems turning your water heater on, read our article How do I turn on my electric water heater.

Forest River Water Heater Switch


There will be two locations and the first one is fairly standard for all RV brands and not just Forest River. That switch will be located in the water heater access panel. Just take the lid off and look around the drain plug to find it.

It is not always there but a couple of reset buttons should be nearby as well. The second location will be inside your RV or trailer. Exactly where may depend on your model of RV or trailer?

These interior switches are not always in the same spot but they will be next to the gas switch. Your dealer should be able to show you where the interior switches will be.

Some Additional Words

The only time there is harm when you leave the water heater electrical switch on is when there is no water in the tank. You need to make sure that tank is full of water when the switch has power running through it.

Other than that, it does not matter if you leave the switch on or take the trouble to turn it on every morning when you want a shower or hot water. Some people will say it should be off but that is not necessary just precautionary.

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