RV Water Heater Fires Up Then Goes Out [7 Easy Solutions]

RV water heater fires up then goes out mainly due to the control board malfunction, faulty flame sensor, pushed down temperature regulator switch, and defective thermocouple.

Also, the bad ground connection, wind blowing out the flame, and insufficient propane gas supply are responsible factors for causing this issue.

If you know the causes behind each problem, you will quickly determine which one is creating trouble in your RV water heater. So, go on reading to know the reasons and their solutions.

RV Water Heater Fires Up Then Goes Out [7 Easy Solutions]

After turning on the switch of your RV water heater, it fires up, but after 1-2 minutes, the fire goes out, and the heater shuts down. This is a common problem that the heater’s user often encounters. The major factors causing this issue and their solutions are the following:

1. Defective Control Board

Control board malfunction of your water heater is one of the primary reasons for which its fire goes out. When your heater’s control board fails to get the power, it can’t function properly and goes wrong.

Once the flame goes out, then the fault light comes on the control board’s inside. The reasons behind the control board malfunctioning are:

  • Tripped circuit breaker
  • Electrical panel’s loose wire connection  
  • Damaged capacitors inboard
  • The board itself dirty or faulty
  • Broken or melted internal components within the main board
  • Power surge/blown fuse
  • Bad regulator or wiring


To fix the RV water heater not staying lit issue, follow the ways below:

  • Replace the defective control board, corroded capacitors, broken internal components, blown fuse, lousy regulator, and wiring.
  • Replace the tripped or faulty circuit breaker
  • Tighten the loose wiring connection of your home’s electrical panel
  • Ensure there is no voltage up-down or power surge issue in your heater
  • Properly clean the control board’s dirt build-up.

2. Flame Sensor Malfunction

When your RV water heater fires up, the faulty flame sensor fails to sense the heat, shutting down your water heater. The following factors cause the bad flame sensor:

  • Rust or carbon build-up or excessive dirt on the sensor
  • Defective sensor itself
  • Cracked insulator
  • Flame sensor gap


If your water heater lights then go out, it indicates the flame sensor is defective. Combat the above trouble by following the fixing ways below:

  • Properly clean the flame sensor’s carbon, rust, or dirt build-up
  • Replace the faulty flame sensor, broken sensor, and cracked insulator
  • Adjust the flame sensor gap

3. Pushed Down Temperature Regulator Switch

If the temperature regulator switch of your RV water heater pushes down to almost no heat position, then your heater will shut off after a few seconds. This is another reason why your water heater lights then go out. The causes of it are:

  • A defective regulator switch or switch is not functioning correctly
  • Putting excessive pressure on pressing the regulator switch
  • Switch’s loose wire connection


If you see after firing up, the flame goes out from your RV water heater, immediately check the temperature regulator switch. If pushed down regulator switch is the culprit, then follow the ways below to get rid of it:

  • Make sure the temperature regulator switch is functioning perfectly.
  • Replace the bad regulator switch.
  • Press your heater’s temperature regulator switch with minimal pressure. Avoid putting excessive strain on turning on the button.
  • Check and tighten the loose connection of your temperature regulator switch

4. Faulty Thermocouple

Your RV water heater’s thermocouple senses the burning pilot light. The thermocouple’s tip generates a voltage by sitting on the pilot flame. RV water heater thermocouple malfunction is one of the main reasons why the fire goes out after a few seconds.

The defective thermocouple fails to sense the burning pilot light and discontinues the gas supply. The accountable factors for it are:

  • Worn out thermocouple
  • Dust or dirt accumulation on thermocouple
  • Oxidation or changes in wires composition
  • During installation or operation, the thermocouple gets damaged


First, inspect your RV water heater thermocouple’s condition and replace the defective one. The other easy solutions are:

  • Replace the worn-out or bent-away thermocouple
  • Properly clean the thermocouple and remove the dirt or dust accumulation on it
  • Inspect the wire’s composition and make sure the cables are functioning correctly
  • Carefully and adequately install and operate your heater’s thermocouple to avoid damage

5. Bad Ground Connection

The faulty or improper ground connection is another culprit for which your RV water heater’s fires go out after burning for some time. The factors that cause it are:

  • Corrosion or rust on contacts
  • Lose ground connection
  • Damaged cables or connectors
  • Loose, corroded, or broken ground battery terminal
  • Incorrect wiring


Carefully check your RV water heater’s ground connection and make sure it works perfectly. The other ways to solve the above troubles are:

  • Properly clean the ground contact’s rust or corrosion build-up
  • Tighten the ground connection
  • Replace the corroded connectors, cables, and damaged ground battery terminal
  • Ensure the proper wiring of your RV water heater and ground connection

6. Wind Blowing Out the Flame

Wind blowing out the flame in your RV water heater is a significant reason that you often overlook.

Don’t be confused if you start your water heater in windy weather and the fire goes out. Be sure that the windy weather is creating a puzzle for you.


Construct a permanent or temporary wind block to diagnose this issue. Place the wind block on the front of your RV water heater’s vent, and the flame will not go out again. Ensure that your wind block is sturdy enough so that it can strongly prevent the wind.

7. Inadequate Propane Gas Supply

If your RV water heater is not functioning correctly and frequently the fire is going out from it, you should check the propane gas tank.

Your heater is not getting enough fuel due to the inadequate propane gas supply. As a result, it fails to create the flame continuously after firing up. The accountable factors for it are:

  • Leakage in propane gas tank
  • Fuel runs out or an empty tank
  • Dirt or debris build-up in the gas tank’s nozzle or clogged gas line
  • Bent gas supply pipe or line


The easy solutions to get rid of these above troubles are the following:

  • Inspect the leakage and replace the leaked propane gas tank
  • Fill the fuel in the empty tank
  • Properly clean the gas line’s blockage and dirt and debris from the nozzle
  • Replace the bent gas supply pipe


How do I reset my RV water heater?

Inspect the panel’s DCI lights, whether they are lit or not. Go outside and push your RV water heater’s reset button if the DCI lights are on.

How do I troubleshoot my RV hot water heater?

To troubleshoot your RV’s hot water heater check its manual. Then inspect the outdoor shower, bypass valves, propane levels, and an anode rod. Check your electric RV water heater’s heating element, faulty valve, and defective thermostat.

How do I test the heating element in my RV water heater?

First, unplug your RV water heater’s heating element. Now use the continuity setting or ohm scale to test the heating elements. Two terminals will show continuity or reading after putting the meter on the component.

How do you clean a thermocouple?

Use the sponge’s coarse side or a steel wool piece gently to clean your thermocouple’s soot or carbon build-up. For cleaning the screw thread, you can use the pencil eraser.


Now you have a clear idea of why your RV water heater fires up then goes out. If you face such trouble optimistically, you will detect and solve the problem by yourself in no time.

If you failed to fix your heater’s issue after following the above solutions, comment and let us know. ASAP we’ll reply to you.

Note: You can also read Atwood water heater manual reset & troubleshooting guide-step by step.

About William

William is the founder of Fireplacehubs.com. He has real life practical skills in fixing smoker & heating appliance issues. He loves to share his knowledge & helps others in fixing their appliances & saving their money. William firmly believes that anyone can repair his or her unit with the correct guidance & knowledge. See more at about us.

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