How Often Should I Drain My RV Water Heater? [The Trught]

How Often Should I Drain My RV Water Heater

Water heaters are essential to recreational vehicles, otherwise known as RVs. RV water heaters allow for hot water to flow throughout your RV, which makes it possible to utilize plumbing in your mobile home.

RV water heaters make it possible to take hot showers and have access to hot water from the sink for cooking or cleaning in your mobile home.

It is necessary to know proper maintenance protocols for your RV’s water heater so that your equipment can continue to run efficiently.

How often should I drain my RV water heater? You should drain your RV water heater after each and every RV use. Avoiding draining your RV’s water heater could result in a foul, lingering smell.

Dormant water that has not been drained could potentially harbor harmful bacteria that is dangerous to humans and could damage your RV’s water tank.

If your RV’s water heater is properly taken care of, it could last for as long as a decade. It is better to take the necessary steps to keep your mobile home’s water heater in tip-top shape than it is to neglect the maintenance and end up having to spend a small fortune on a replacement.

There are numerous types and sizes of RV water heaters, but all of them should be suitably serviced and maintained.

Why Should I Drain My RV Water Heater So Frequently?

In addition to a nasty smell and bacteria growth, there are several reasons why it is important to drain your RV water heater every time you use your RV.

Frequent draining reduces the risk of water tank clogs and blockages becoming an issue. It also ensures that your RV’s water heater will not malfunction due to built-up minerals and toxic debris.

Staying up to date on your water heater’s draining needs will make sure that none of these issues arise and that your RV’s water heater will remain in excellent condition.

Related reading: Why Does My RV Water Smell Like Sulfur? – 4 Ways to Fix It

It is better to drain your RV’s water heater too often than not often enough. It is more worthwhile to go through the draining process than to deal with the complications that can derive from not draining the tank.

Draining RV Water Heater

How Should I Drain My RV Water Heater?

Draining your RV’s water heater might sound like a simple task, and with some practice, it will be. However, water heater draining can also bring about serious threats and hazards.

There are necessary safety precautions you should take so that the draining process is both safe and productive.

To begin draining your RV’s water heater, you should be sure to disconnect anything that is attached to the water heater. You should also be sure to turn off the water pump. 

The power and propane to the water heater should also be turned off so that the tank does not contain any hot water that could possibly burn you.

It is extremely important to cover any open gas valves or power switches so that the heater cannot possibly gets turned on while the tank is dry because that poses a serious threat, your water heater could be destroyed or even start a fire.

How to drain your RV or travel trailer water heater >> Check out the video below:

After safety measures have been successfully completed, your water heater should then be drained by opening the relief valve to alleviate pressure, followed by opening the drain plug and allowing the water to run out.

It is advisable to perform water heater draining away from concrete since rusty water could stain a driveway, sidewalk, or street.

Many RV owners recommend draining water heaters into grass, a bucket, or utilizing a tarp to protect the underlying surface.

Because water heater draining is a common and somewhat complex task to complete, there are many accessories on the market that are designed to assist you with the draining process.

Gadgets such as tank wands or jury rigs can be helpful in draining your water heater.

Is Draining My RV Water Heater Enough?

While draining is a crucial part in maintaining and taking care of your RV’s water heater, there are additional steps that can be taken to enhance your upkeep routine.

There are other important steps outside of draining to take that will prolong the life of your water heater and uphold its fantastic condition.

It is a good idea to not only drain your RV’s water heater but also to sanitize it. The most common and effective way to sanitize your mobile home’s water heater is to clean it with diluted bleach.

You can pump the bleach solution through the system for the best results. This will clean and sanitize the tank. It will also make sure that no damaging elements are left behind in the tank and that the water heater is as clean as it can possibly be.

Related: Is It Safe to Put Bleach in RV Black Tank? (Clean Black Tank in 4 Steps)

Does My RV Water Heater Need Flushed Or Fully Replaced?

Water heaters will naturally need replaced every 10-15 years due to natural wear and tear from use, even with regular and frequent draining.

However, if you have not flushed your RV’s water heater within the past six months, now is the time to do so. You should also check for any damages and signs that your water heater might need replaced.

If you have noticed that your hot water runs out faster than it used to, that might be a sign that your water heater has weakened.

A leaking tank is another indicator of a deteriorating water heater. There is something wrong if you have noticed discoloration in your water.

Related: Is Your RV Water Foamy? This Might Be Why.

The first step to troubleshooting any of these problems is to try to drain the water heater. If draining the tank and refilling it with fresh water does not make a difference in any of the aforementioned issues, it might be time for a replacement.

Unfortunately, RV water heaters can be quite expensive to replace. Luckily, regular draining can prevent the need for replacement.

Storing Your RV’s Water Heater

There are several procedures that you should follow in order to winterize your RV and get it ready for storing in the off-season or when you are not frequently using it.

Part of RV storage preparation includes draining the water heater, but there are many other actions that should be taken that will preserve your RV during cold weather.

Related reading: What Size Air Compressor Do You Need to Winterize an RV?

Closing gas valves, powering down switches, removing food, cleaning sinks, taping vents shut, distributing odor eliminators throughout the vehicle, and utilizing anti-freeze products are all elements of winterizing your RV.

Draining your water heater frequently upon regular usage will make the winterizing process much easier and more efficient since the water tank plays a vital role in how other components of the RV function.

If there is anything that you should not do as an RV owner, neglecting water heater drainage is at the top of the list. It is an imperative part of keeping your RV operating to the best of its abilities for the longest time possible.

Draining your RV water heater is crucial to the life of your water tank, your RV, and the functionality of your mobile vehicle.

Related reading: 5 Practical Ways To Unfreeze Water Lines In RVs (That Actually Work)

Now that you know why and how you should drain your RV water heater after every single use, your water heater is sure to last you a long time.

By knowing how to maintain your RV’s water heater, you are saving yourself time, money, and stress.

There are several help forums, advice posts, and tutorials online for RV owners to reference for assistance when it comes to not only draining the water heater but for all things related to caring for your RV.


Mike Gilmour

Hi, I'm Mike, co-founder, and editor of RV and Playa. My passion is traveling (with my RV) and enjoying the day at the beach (Playa)! Well, I originally created this blog as a way to share what I've learned by experimenting with the RV lifestyle, and I want to help others develop in life through new skills and opportunities.

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