3 Steps to Troubleshooting Your Caravan’s Hot Water System

A hot water system that refuses to provide hot water is among the most common issues that a caravan owner faces on the road. It’s a frustrating situation to be in and even more so - to get out of. With so many valves, connections and components, zeroing in on the problem seems near impossible. Lets attempt to simplify the troubleshooting process into 3 steps and with any luck you should be able to regain access to hot water. If not, you should seek the advice of a qualified technician. 


1. Check For Gas or Electrical Supply Issues

More often than not, hot water systems stop working because of a fault in the gas or power supply. If your hot water system runs on gas, your other gas-powered appliances can give you a clue as to whether gas is reaching your system. If they seem to be malfunctioning as well, check the main regulator pressure. It should ideally be 2.8kPa. If all of this is in order and it’s just your hot water system that isn’t powering on, check for physical obstructions in the pipe carrying gas to the burner assembly. This is a common place for wasps or spiders to set up shop, and might need some cleaning. In rare cases, the burner itself is the problem. Again, it’ll mostly be a physical obstruction such as excess carbon build-up, which a jet of compressed air can remove.

Maintanece Tip: For electric hot water systems, check that the electrical connection is in order. For gas hot water systems you should be checking that the lines are free from damaged and all fittings are snug. 


2. Check The Water Supply Line

The water supply to your hot water system is regulated at various points, and any of these could be the source of your problem. Start by turning off the hot water system. In most caravans, the switch (two switches in case of dual mode hot water systems) is located under the kitchen sink. Also turn off the water pump, which is controlled by another rocker switch below your kitchen sink. There should be a light here to indicate whether the pump is on or off, though you can always turn on a tap and listen to hear whether the pump is working. Make sure that it’s off, close the tap, and proceed to check the water supply for your caravan hot water system.

Head to your caravan’s utilities bay and check the position of the water heater bypass lever. This should be in the ‘normal’ position, and not the ‘bypass’ position. The latter option lets you omit the hot water system from your caravan’s plumbing, useful for when you don’t need to use it. In the ‘normal’ setting, turn on a tap to check that the flow of water is about the same in both hot and cold positions. Note that any outdoor shower faucets should be turned off while checking the water supply. Otherwise hot and cold water will mix and you’ll always get lukewarm water out of your taps.

Maintanence Tip: Keeping your water tank/ water supply clean and free of debris is a key factor to keeping your hot water system working when you need it most. Flushing your water lines and your hot water tanks regularly will prevent build-up of residue which can cause problems later on down the track. 


3. Check The Thermostat and Heating Element

If the above steps have failed to bring out a culprit, chances are that the problem is closer to home. If you’ve checked and confirmed that the fuse is all right, and your hot water system still won’t give you any hot water, the most probable cause is a broken thermostat. If you have a dual mode (gas and electric) hot water system, and it works on gas but not in the electric mode, the heating element could be broken. These are relatively small problems, and only need a part replaced. Replacement thermostats and heating elements are easily available and can make your hot water system good as new.

If none of the above steps succeed in giving you a solution to the problem, get in touch with a professional right away. 

Maintanence Tips: Most caravan hot water systems will have a sacrificial anode installed. Water inside the systems tanks can become corrosive. This anode keeps the water cleaner and extends the tanks life. These need to be inspected regularly and replaced periodically.  


If you think it's time for an upgrade, check out our extensive range of caravan hot water systems here.-

DISCLAIMER* Please note, this advice is general in nature and we strongly recommend consulting the product manual and where relevant, a professional installer.

Comments (37)

Swift HWS

The HWS red light in my Jurgen Wallaroo keeps flashing and the water is not getting hot. What does this mean please?
By: Jill Cooper on 27 October 2023

www.caravanrvcamping.com.au Response
Hi Jill, there could be numerous issues with the hot water service. It is probably best to get service technician to inspect the unit and attempt a fault find

Truama ultrastore

Why is water hot in ultrastore when I have not switched it on at anytime, even when I have only just primed the system.
By: Steve Harvey on 22 October 2023

www.caravanrvcamping.com.au Response
Hi Steve, it would be best to get your hot water service inspected by a service agent. You can find your closest agent on the link here https://www.leisure-tec.com.au/services/

Won’t heat on inverter

It seems when we run the inverter for another reason, our Truman’s switches to electric but doesn’t heat? We don’t want it to switch to electric as the inverter is normally task specific and only on for a short time. It doesn’t switch back to gas Ibthink
By: Barry Searle on 15 October 2023

www.caravanrvcamping.com.au Response
Hi Barry, you are best to get your Truma Hot Water system inspect by an authorised Truma dealer, you can find them on their website here https://www.leisure-tec.com.au/services/

Increase temperature of hot water in caravan

I have a late model Suburban gas/electric hot water heater in my Jayco caravan. How/where can I increase the temperature of the hot water? There is no apparent thermostat or temperature control device when I open up the outside door of the van that gives access to the igniter, pressure relief valve, reset buttons etc
By: Charles on 14 October 2023

www.caravanrvcamping.com.au Response
Hi Charles, the Suburban Hot Water systems have a tempering valve installed which stops the water going over 50 degrees, you adjust the temperature at the tap by adding the cold water


2014 SUPREME CLASSIC. Our element on the Swift hotwater system. (Gas & electric) tank has rusted out , the tank itself is still in good condition We have tried everywhere to get a new element . Apparently the system we have is the older model (Hanson) and they no longer exist. Can any one help we cannot afford a new tank. Alll this foR A $60 element
By: Alan Dickinson on 13 October 2023

www.caravanrvcamping.com.au Response
Hi Alan, unfortunately we can't assist with the spare part either. We can certainly help in guiding you in the direction of a new hot water system. We will reach out to you via email

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