How to Find the Hot Water Heater Bypass in an RV
Hey everyone, it’s Eric here with my first post on Mountain Modern Life. As we move forward you will be seeing a lot more from me. My main focus is going to be on the RV maintenance and renovation we are doing, along with highlighting some of the places we visit once we hit the open road.
I’m guessing that if you’ve arrived at this page you’re having a tough time trying to find the hot water heater bypass in your RV. Well, you’re in luck! Below I will describe the process we went through to find our hot water heater bypass, and give you tips on where to look in your own coach.
I do want to give you fair warning and let you know that this article will not tell you exactly where your hot water heater bypass is located. That is not to say this article won’t help you, but more to say that I believe they put them in different places. For every. single. RV. haha.
How to Find the Hot Water Heater Bypass in an RV
Side-note: The info below will highlight how we accomplished the task in our Tiffin Allegro Open Road 32la. Almost every RV is different so please use what you can from below to complete your task, but understand that some steps may be different depending on your specific model.
There can be a million reasons as to why you’re looking to find the hot water heater bypass in an RV, but for us, we were trying to locate it in order to winterize our RV. We didn’t know that we were in for the Easter egg hunt of a lifetime. I will preface this by saying that we spent roughly 2 hours scouring the web and searching through our RV.
The first thing we did was to locate the hot water heater. This is an important step because you will generally find your hot water heater bypass somewhere near the hot water heater.
Before we vigorously started looking through the RV and messing with the water heater we made sure that we cut off the propane and the hot water heater. We have found through hours of research that when working on the coach it’s the best practice to follow all safety precautions.
I had a rough idea of what the hot water heater bypass should look like and began searching the RV. The first place I looked was by the exterior shower, I did this because I remembered seeing red and blue tubing in that compartment. Many of the example pictures I found of the bypass had red and blue tubing.
The problem was that the red and blue tubes located in that underneath compartment were strictly for draining the lines. So I moved on from there and began opening every underneath compartment, starting with the ones closest to the hot water heater. All of this activity netted nothing for results.
This is when I began looking on the internet. Everywhere I looked said basically the same thing, it should be close to your water heater and generally hidden behind a FAKE wall. If you haven’t gotten too deep into your RV yet you’re probably not aware of the fact that a lot of the cabinets have taped off sections that look like the end of the cabinet. If you remove the tape (which generally matches the wood of the cabinets) you can get too small sections that mostly hold wiring and tubing.
Needless to say, our bypass was in none of these places behind the water heater. And so the search continued…
The picture below is of the back of our hot water heater, which is nestled underneath the kitchen counter.
At this point I was becoming discouraged, I had looked practically everywhere within our unit. When we were doing all of this our slides remained in, so I began to think, what if I can’t find it because it’s hidden somewhere I can only reach when the slides are out. The only problem was we have it parked at our house currently and there isn’t a spot where we can level it out.
So, Katie went into one of the RV Facebook groups we had joined and posed the question to some of the seasoned RVers. Most came back with the same answers, it should be close to the water heater, it should be directly behind the water heater, and you just have to keep looking. She then went into the Tiffin forum where someone had mentioned their hot water heater bypass was located in their bathroom. I then decided I should give the bathroom another look.
When I did, I realized that under the bathroom sink there were a couple of screws where I could remove the floor.
So, I went ahead and loosened everything up so I could get underneath and take a look.
What I found was that there was no reason to do what I just did! But it did allow me to see that the bypass was underneath the drawer to the left of the cabinet under the sink. I went ahead and replaced the floor I had just pulled up and removed the lower drawer to the left. By removing the drawer I was able to reach right in and use the bypass to keep water from going into the hot water heater.
You may have just read this entire article only to realize you have a different coach and your hot water heater bypass isn’t in the same spot as mine. Trust me when I say I know how this feels, as I was in the same spot. Below I have listed a couple of places I have read about the hot water heater bypass being located.
- Under the Bathroom Cabinets
- Under the bed in the master bedroom
- In the cabinets within the master bedroom
- Directly behind the Hot Water Heater (generally under kitchen cabinets)
- Directly behind the Hot Water Heater (behind a fake taped wall in the kitchen cabinets)
- In a separate compartment beside the water heater
I hope the information above has helped you in locating the hot water heater bypass in your RV. And if you had difficulty finding yours we would love to hear about it in the comments below.