/ / Forest River RV Hot Water Heater Not Working? Check Best Fixes Right Now!

Forest River RV Hot Water Heater Not Working? Check Best Fixes Right Now!

Have you been taking cold showers, and are you wondering how to fix the Forest River RV hot water heater not working? You have come to the right place! Not so long ago, I was having problems with my Forest River RV hot water heater not working, but later I managed to solve the problem.

Keep reading, and I will tell you why my Forest River RV hot water was not working and the solutions I used to solve that issue. But before we get there, let me tell you the brand of water heater Forest River uses.

Forest River RV hot water heater not working

Which Water Heater Brand Is Used by Forest River?

Several Forest River companies employ water heaters from other manufacturers, even though the RVs I looked at for the Forest River branch of the corporation might have said Suburban and Dometic Atwood.

Additionally, Forest River has affiliate companies that produce trailers and RVs. Each RV manufacturer has its own manual that you may find here.

Forest River RV Hot Water Heater Not Working. Which Water Heater Brand Is Used by Forest River?
Credit: www.youtube.com @RVgeeks

Forest River RV Hot Water Heater Not Working: Solutions Table at the Glance

Please study the table below to see a summary of common problems that could cause your Forest River RV hot water heater not to work. I have also listed the solutions that can fix the issues.

Common problems that make Forest River RV hot water heater not work


Tripping of the reset button:

Double-check the wiring

Blockage of heater orifice:

Clean the soot and dust

Issues with the pilot light:

Consider resetting the water heater

The gas valve of propane is off:

Open the gas valve

Thermocouple are faulty:

Buy new thermocouple

Low propane:

Fill up the propane in the tank

Cold and hot water mixing:

Winterize, then open the bypass valve

That summarized some of the problems behind your Forest River RV water heater not working.

7 Problems Associated With Forest River Hot Water Heater

Next, I will explain each problem and the solution you can use to remedy the problem in detail.

1. The Propane Level Is Low

A Forest River RV water heater can use gases, electricity, or propane. I prefer propane because propane water heater comes with many advantages, such as:

  • It is cheap: According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average savings when using propane vs. an electric water heater is about $174.
  • It is environmentally friendly: Propane water heaters use an average of 30% less energy to operate than electric models.
The Propane Level Is Low
Credit: www.youtube.com @southernethoslife

When propane is low in the propane tank, the water heater in your RV will not work. Here is how you can determine if the propane level is inadequate:

  • Check the gauge.
  • If your RV does not have a gauge, try lighting your stovetop burner and let it run for a short time. You know there’s still propane in the tank if the burner stays lit (and the flame seems as large as it normally does). You can also try turning on your AC; if it does not work, the propane level is low because propane ignites the Air Conditioner.

You can follow this video for more instructions.

So, what should you do to prevent these problems in your propane-based water heaters?

Quick Fix

To fix the low propane problems in my RV, I usually do the following:

  • Fill up the propane tank.
  • Remedy the leakage in the valves. You can use soapy water to identify if there are any leaks in the valves. The formation of bubbles in the soapy water indicates the presence of valve leakage. You can use XFasten Self-Fusing Silicone Tape to fix it.

2. Blockage of Heater Orifice, Thus Affecting the Heating Element

A pilot light is ignited by the propane gas that flows through the burners, which are opened by the orifice. Hence, propane heaters require frequent cleaning and maintenance to prevent obstruction and ensure consistent fuel flow.

Blockage of Heater Orifice, Thus Affecting the Heating Element
Credit: www.youtube.com @TriStateRVAnna

But what makes it not work?

  • As dust and soot settle into its microscopic openings, they become clogged.
  • The obstruction prevents the propane from reaching the combustion chamber.
  • Propane combustion forms water vapor and carbon dioxide, solidifying into soot on the orifice holes.
  • The carbon dioxide and water vapor obstruct the passage as they accumulate on the burner side.
Quick Fix

There was a day the heater orifice of my RV had blocked, and here is what I did:

  • I used a soft-bristled brush, which cannot damage the heating flame to clean the orifice.
  • I brushed off the accumulated soot particles and dust as soon as they formed.
Tip: Getting into the habit of regular maintenance will take care of the problem.

3. Tripping of the Reset Button

It is common practice to plug these water heaters into electric outlets for usage. You can find the red reset button next to the thermostat.

Tripping of the Reset Button
Credit: www.youtube.com @etrailer

You must learn to understand the warning indication of a malfunctioning device—the reset button tripping. What causes the tripping?

  • Poor or unsecured wiring is usually to blame when the button trips.
  • The problem could also arise if your grounding is unstable.
  • The reset button will go off if the water temperature goes too high.
Quick Fix

In case of tripping, you should:

  • Ensure everything is grounded correctly by checking the shore power source and the connections.
  • Inspecting the wiring and connections is a good idea when sinks and showers stop producing hot water.
Tip: Contact an electrician if you cannot identify or fix the electric problem.

Check out this video for more details.

4. Cold Water and Hot Water Mixing

There was a time when my RV water heater was not producing hot water. This was so stressful as my family, and I had to shower with cold water during the winter. I thought there was a huge problem, but it turned out that I had closed the bypass valve.

Cold Water and Hot Water Mixing
Credit: www.youtube.com @CannonsRvRepair

I usually close the bypass valves during the winterizing process, and I have not once forgotten to reopen the valves.

  • Closing the bypass valve during winterization is crucial as it stops the water flow in the tank.
  • This bypass valve closure lets you get cold water from the cold and hot side faucets.
  • The closed valve prevents the hot water from exiting the heaters even if it continues to get heated.
Quick Fix

In such a case, do the following:

  • Examining the propane switch is also essential since individuals sometimes forget to turn it back on after turning it off.
  • After winterization, you can resolve the problem by reopening the bypass valve. Also, verify that the outside shower and faucets are off.
Tip: Use the enormous hot water tanks to increase the supply. When your shower starts producing cold water, check if you have closed the bypass valves before calling a professional to fix all the water connections.

5. The Gas Valve of Propane Is Off

If your RV water heaters aren’t working, checking the propane valves is another simple way to diagnose the problem. The purpose of the control valves is to restrict the propane flow that goes toward the burner to ignite a flame.

5. The Gas Valve of Propane Is Off
Credit: www.youtube.com @hgffrank
  • These valves can malfunction occasionally, making it difficult to open and close them correctly.
  • The jammed valve restricts the propane flow, which makes it difficult for a flame to ignite.
Quick Fix

Here is how you can fix the gas valve issue:

  • If the valve is loose, tighten it to ensure it is in the correct position and replace it to resolve the problem. You will have to drain the hot water tank first and follow the manual of the Suburban water heater.
  • As they age, the valve also becomes stuck because of insufficient lubrication. Change them as they start aging.
Tip: To find the issue with these valves, it is preferable to call a skilled mechanic.

6. Issues With the Pilot Light

The pilot light in your Forest River RV is the main source of ignition for the burner, which in turn provides warm water to the RV. When my thermostat went out, the pilot light could not ignite the burner.

Issues With the Pilot Light
Credit: www.youtube.com @hilltopcamperandrv3340

The issue with this part also stems from gas pressure fluctuations and broken propane valves. Because of dirtiness or damage, thermocouples are unable to spark. This might happen, for instance, if a propane valve fails and pressure builds up outdoors. What should you do in such a case?

Quick Fix

Issues with the pilot light can be solved by:

  • Disconnecting the propane line and turning off the valve will fix the problem in an RV.
  • After that, you must reattach the connector and slowly open the valve to fix it.
Note: Another option is to push the red reset button next to the thermocouple; this should also fix the pilot light problem.

7. Thermocouple Are Faulty

Thermocouples, which function similarly to fuses, are the main components of water heaters. When the water gets too hot, it cuts off the gas flow. Similar to sensors, these enable gas to be released into the burner upon the arrival of the pilot light, which initiates ignition.

Thermocouple Are Faulty
Credit: www.youtube.com @PROSDIY

These devices can develop malfunctions that sometimes prevent them from receiving or transmitting signals properly. If thermocouples fail, for instance, the flame won’t go out, and a hot shower won’t work.

So, what causes the faults?

  • Improper installation.
  • General wear and tear cause these devices to eventually break down.
  • The presence of oxygen and oxidation processes, which might harm its metal components, are further contributing factors.
Quick Fix

In case the thermocouple becomes faulty, you should try the following.

  • Changing out the thermocouples in the water heater will solve this problem.
  • Replacing is difficult. To replace it, you must contact Forest River RV’s customer support department to arrange installation.

Still Unable to Solve Your Problem? Here’s Visual Assistance

I will share a helpful video if you cannot solve the problem. Check out this visual assistance for a better understanding:

Other common problems include:

  • A problem with the electric heating element.
  • Faulty thermostat. You can use this video to rectify this issue.
  • Malfunctioning of the check valve.

Forest River Water Heater Replacement

Note that you can’t purchase a replacement directly from Forest River. In most cases, their dealers and approved repair shops handle replacement parts. The necessary components could become quite pricey as a result of this.

Many online marketplaces and stores, including Amazon, eBay, and others, provide RV components for Suburbans. Finding local dealers or new water heater outlets with a decent online search should be easy.

Experiences From People Who Have Used Forest Heater

There are several user experiences that I have come across, and I think you should have a look at them in case you are experiencing similar problems.


Mrandolph complained that he has done all of this and still to no avail. The water heaters were still not functioning. He asked if it did go into lock-out mode, and what’s the process to fix that. Wmtire answered him and told him.


All you have to do to reset the lockout on a suburban brand is to turn off the gas/DSI switch to the water heater…wait a few seconds… Then turn it back on. No need to remove any fuses. As per the Suburban water heater service manual, we keep in the library here on our forums.


Justine complained there was no hot water in the camper…2022 Forest River Wildwood. The water heater switch is on and illuminated, DSI light goes on and then off after a few seconds as it should (to my understanding). Propane tanks are full and on.


He was told by KevinS121 to take a picture of the control panel and the ignitor board and send him. After following the instructions the water heater inside and out was cool to the touch, with no noise or flame or anything. He was asked if the electric side was on and that’s when he found the switch.


How Can I Prevent My Forest River RV Hot Water Heater From Not Working?

You can prevent your Forest River RV hot water heater from not working by following the instructions in the water heater manual. You can also regularly monitor the propane level, check the gas valve, and ensure no faulty thermostat. Also, ensure the power and electric heating elements are working in electrical models.

How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Forest River RV Hot Water Heater?

Fixing an RV water heater issue typically costs $50-$150 for minor issues like blown fuse or thermostat, and from $500 for major repairs.


There you have it! That is all I had on why your RV’s water heater is not working. It can be quite frustrating when the water heater is not working, and there is no hot or warm water. I have shared the common reasons why your water heater may not work.

They include tripping the reset button, blockage of the heater orifice, issues with the pilot light, faulty thermocouple, and Low propane. You have to ensure there is no problem with the power, clean the heater orifice, push the red reset button next to the thermocouple, change the faulty thermocouples, and ensure the propane levels are adequate.

Have you experienced any of the issues that I have stated? How did you resolve that issue? Please talk to me in the comment section below.

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