How to Fix Forest River RV Hot Water Heater Not Working?

Forest River RV water heaters can enhance your RV experience by providing hot water for cooking, cleaning, and personal hygiene. They ensure comfort and convenience during your travels. However, you may experience Forest River RV hot water heater not working.

Electrical issues could be causing a malfunction in the system. Moreover, gas supply problems might lead to a need for more heating. Furthermore, thermostat malfunctions or sediment buildup could also contribute to the problem.

I crafted this comprehensive guide with the troubleshooting steps for an RV water heater not working on Forest River.

Forest River RV Hot Water Heater Not Working

Forest River RV Hot Water Heater Not Working: Reasons and Solutions

If you’re facing the frustrating issue of your RV hot water heater not working, several factors could be causing the malfunction. Let’s explore common reasons and potential solutions.

1. Check Your Propane

The first step is to confirm that the hot water tank is getting propane.

In this case, check whether the gas valve is turned on. Then consider checking the propane’s pressure and ensure the line has propane.

Remember, when you return to the road with your RV, the supply line may lose some propane. At the same time, a few air pockets will be generated in the supply line. The air pockets need to be removed.

So, how to do so?

Turn the propane stove on. Thus, air pockets will be removed easily.

At the same time, check the flame color.

How does it look?

If the flame looks blue-colored solid, be sure the propane fuel is good.

Read Also: How to Know Your RV Water Heater Switch On or Off?

2. Check the Bypass Valve

Checking the bypass valve is another troubleshooting tip for the Forest River RV water heater not functioning. A bypass valve is responsible for winterizing.

If you keep the bypass valve in the winterization position, cold water will fail to get into your trailer tank. Therefore, you will not get hot water in your kitchen or bathroom faucets.

So, check the bypass valve for proper functionality to see if it is positioned correctly. These valves are inside the camper and closer to the hot water tank. Besides, the hot water tank is usually closer to the kitchen faucet and behind a detachable panel.

After accessing the water tank, there will be 2 valves: one for hot and the other for cold water. Make sure the valves are located in the flow position. As a result, water can enter the hot tank without trouble.

Read Also: How to Troubleshoot & Fix RV Tankless Water Heater Problems?

3. Check the Ignition System

An ignition system is common in every RV appliance. Similar to the RV stove and furnace, the hot water tank also gives a spark during the beginning of the combustion process.

Remember, the ignitor creates a clicking sound when at work. So, after turning the hot water tank on, the ignitor generates a spark to ignite the propane. The clicking noise can often be heard for a couple of seconds and then shut off.

When it happens, the water can’t be heated.

Wondering why it occurs?

Too much wind is the most common culprit to ignition system failure. The water heater cover has a vent, permitting fresh air to get in for convenient combustion.

However, excessive wind can blow out the burner. Thus, the water heater turns off.

So, the best solution is to block the air from getting into the system. Block the vent by putting in a screen. Be careful not to close the vent fully. The reason is the vent is kept to let the system breathe. Complete blocking can damage the system.

Read Also: Where is the RV Water Heater Reset Button and How To Use It?

4. Clean Dirt and Debris from the Thermocouple & Thermostat

Thermocouple is another component creating Forest River trailer hot water not functioning. Before getting into the troubleshooting process, you will need to know how the thermocouple fuses work.

The thermocouple receives heat from the burner. Then the heat gets converted to a low-voltage electrical signal. With the signal, the water heater understands that the water temperature is increasing. Thus, it considers that the fuel is burning properly and turns the source on.

If the thermocouple fuse malfunctions and fails to signal, the water heater turns the fuel source off. As a result, the water heater doesn’t work.

A pre-set temperature thermostat is also available in the water heater. It turns on the heater automatically to make the water hot. If the thermostat malfunctions, it sends the wrong signal to the heater and turns it off.

Corrosion or dirt in the flame sensor is the prime responsible for such an issue. Thoroughly inspect the flame sensor for dirt and debris. Get a soft cloth and gently clean the sensor if you find any.

Read Also: Why Does My RV Water Heater Sound Like A Jet Engine?

5. Check for Power

Have you checked the power source?

If not, I suggest checking it just after facing the issue. The Forest River RV water heater may stop working due to a lack of power.

First, check whether there is power in your RV water heater. Plug the water heater into a 120V power source. If you don’t find the power to the receptacle, consider checking the breaker in the fuse box. A tripped breaker can stop the water heater from functioning.

For a tripped breaker, resetting the water heater is the best solution. After resetting, check if the water heater works.

Read Also: All About RV Water Heater (9 Things You Should Know)

How to Reset Forest River RV Water Heater

Wondering how to reset your Forest River RV water heater? This guide will provide simple steps to troubleshoot and restore its functionality.

Step 01: Turn off the power supply

Begin by locating the breaker for the water heater on your RV’s breaker panel and switch it off. This ensures there is no electrical power flowing to the unit.

Step 02: Find the reset button

Locate the reset button on the upper thermostat of the water heater. To access it, remove the cover from the thermostat.

Step 03: Press and hold the reset button

Press the reset button and hold it for approximately five seconds. While doing this, you may hear a clicking sound, which is normal.

Step 04: Replace the thermostat cover

After successfully resetting the water heater, securely put back the thermostat cover in its place.

Step 05: Turn on the power supply

Return to the RV’s breaker panel and switch on the breaker dedicated to the water heater. This action restores the power supply to the unit.

Step 06: Test the water heater

Allow about an hour for the water heater to heat the water. After the wait, check the hot water supply to see if it functions correctly.

Read Also: How To Tell If Your RV Tank Heaters Are Working?

How Long Does a Forest River RV Water Heater Last?

The durability of a Forest River water heater can be influenced by various factors like its model, usage, maintenance, and installation quality. Typically, a well-maintained unit can last anywhere from 6 to 10 years on average.

To prolong the life of your water heater, regular maintenance is crucial. This involves periodic tank flushing to eliminate sediment buildup, checking and replacing the anode rod, inspecting the pressure relief valve, and examining the unit for leaks or damages.

Proper installation also plays a significant role in determining the longevity of your water heater. To ensure a correct and manufacturer-approved installation, it is advisable to enlist the services of a professional plumber or RV technician.

If your Forest River water heater is nearing the end of its lifespan, it might be wise to consider a replacement. Investing in a new water heater can enhance your RV’s water system efficiency and performance, ensuring a dependable hot water supply for many years ahead.

Read Also: 5 Common Reasons Why Your RV Water Heater Won’t Shut Off


Is there a reset button on the Forest River RV water heater, and how do I use it?

Yes, the Forest River RV water heater usually has a reset button. To use it, locate the button on the upper thermostat, remove the thermostat cover, and press and hold the reset button for about five seconds. This can help reset the heater and resolve specific issues.

Is it better to repair or replace my Forest River RV water heater if it’s not working?

The decision to repair or replace your Forest River RV water heater depends on the extent of the issue, its age, and the repair cost versus a new unit. If the repair cost is significant or the heater is old, replacing it with a new one may be more cost-effective in the long run.

What are the common reasons for a malfunctioning Forest River RV water heater?

Common reasons for a malfunctioning Forest River RV water heater include:

  • A blown fuse.
  • Tripped circuit breaker.
  • Faulty heating element.
  • Depleted or faulty anode rod.
  • Gas supply issues.
  • Thermostat problems.
  • Sediment buildup.
  • A malfunctioning pilot light.

Regular maintenance and troubleshooting can help identify and address these issues.

Final Words

A properly functioning Forest River RV water heater is essential for a comfortable and enjoyable camping experience. Hot water is necessary for various tasks, including cooking, cleaning, and personal hygiene. 

However, it is not uncommon for RV water heaters to encounter malfunctions over time. Regular maintenance is vital to prevent such issues and ensure a consistent hot water supply. Flushing the tank, checking the anode rod, inspecting for leaks, and testing the thermostat are key maintenance tips. 

By being proactive in caring for the RV hot water heater, travelers can avoid the inconvenience of a “Forest River RV Hot Water Heater not Working” scenario and prolong the unit’s lifespan.

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