Understanding and Using RV Water Systems

The water system in your RV provides your fresh water and removes used water from the inside of your unit. Keeping an eye on every aspect of your water system before, during and after your road trip will reduce the chances of your unit having issues. This includes taking the time to properly winterize your unit before storing it away during colder months.

Every RV has a clean and waste water system. The clean system provides potable water and the other holds waste water, also referred to as black and gray water.

Here are some tips to help maintain the fresh water system:

Hoses: Do not use a simple garden hose to connect to a water source. Purchase a hose that is designed for drinking water. Drinking water hoses are usually white, and are lead free, bpa free and have no plastic or rubbery taste. When not in use, coil up the drinking water hose and connect the two ends together. Store in a clean compartment, not with the sewage hoses.

Filters: Connect a high-quality filter to the end of the drinking hose where it connects to the outside water sources. This will purify the incoming water, removing dangerous bacteria and other contaminants.

Sanitation: Over time water can get stale and tanks can get a bit of an odor. Take time to regularly clean and sanitize the fresh water tank. Use one cup of bleach for every fifteen gallons of water the tank is capable of holding. Add bleach and fill tank with water. Turn on the water pump and open up all faucets until you start to smell bleach coming out of the faucet. Then drain the system and run water through all faucets again until the smell of bleach is entirely gone

Winterizing: When putting your RV away for the winter months you will want to properly winterize the entire water system. This includes draining the system of all water and by blowing out the lines or adding anti-freeze. Open up all water lines until you see antifreeze coming out of faucets. Don’t forget about the water heater. Drain the heater and if applicable, close the water heater bypass valve otherwise you’ll need to add an additional 6-10 gallons of antifreeze!

When draining the water system to either sanitize or winterize, do not open the water heater drain plug when the water is hot. You will want to turn off the water heater and allow it to cool before opening up.

Here are some tips for your black and gray water tanks:

Gray water: Gray water is the water that comes from sinks and the shower. The gray valve can be identified by the smaller pipe, usually 1.5” in diameter. Dump the gray water last to help clean up the hose.

Black water: The black water tank is the one that holds the water from the toilet. This tank should not be dumped anywhere but an approved RV dump site. Keep the valve to the black water tank closed at all times, even when hooked up at a campsite. This will prevent solids from getting left behind in the tank and allow time for them to break up before dumping. It also prevents odor from the sewage system from coming up into the coach.

The biggest tip about your water system anyone can give you is to make sure you are aware of the different tanks, what they are used for, and how to drain the holding tanks properly. This will help you efficiently use your water system and keep everything clean and sanitized.

Discussion
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141 Responses to “Understanding and Using RV Water Systems”
  1. Trisha

    Is it really necessary to use special RV toilet paper and what chemicals are best?

    Reply
    • Customer Service Techs

      Hi Tricia, If you don’t want a messy backup in your black water tank valve and improper readings from your tank level probes, you will definitely want to use specific RV toilet paper! Even toilet paper that has been approved for residential septic systems does not dissolve adequately and can create problems. Paper that does not dissolve can get stuck in the dump valves and piping and can also cling to the side of the tank and disrupt the probe readings, a common problem with black water tanks.

      As for chemicals, always use an RV approved black and grey water tank chemical. Most are biodegradable and there are some natural product that have recently been introduced to the market.

      Reply
      • Al & Linda DeArroyo

        Trica, If you need to clean the probes that detect you black water level. You can add a bag of ice and a little water. the slosh of the ice will clean of the probes and you’ll get a proper reading.

        Reply
      • Bernadette

        We take regular toilet paper with us and use an empty coffee can or ice cream bucket with a lid and just toss the used toilet paper into them (we found a Folgers container works great, line it with a doggy poop bag or a dirty diaper bag. Then just toss the bag out. 🙂

        Reply
        • Blake N

          Just a word of caution: You’re running a high risk of Pneumo Contamination doing this. Bacterial & viral components which are on the paper can, in a fairly short time, go through the average plastic bag (grocery bags & the like). This means whoever opens the can gets a room-full of airborne bugs. Red bio-bags are 12-layers, and can hold up to bio- waste for days. Costs to treat a case of staph or worse will greatly outweigh the cost of a package of RV TP.

          Reply
    • Carrie Montgomery

      RV Make: Keystone, RV Model: Everest, RV Year: 2002

      Ok I am hooked up to city water and have had several leaking problems and lines blowing off.and faucet replacement in kitchen.after all that was fixed.(now the new faucet cold is hot and hot is cold) I can live with that but 3 days later turn on hot water and nothing comes out.am I correct that my surflo pump is not necessary to pull hot water from my 10 gallon tank,that the pump is only used when drawing water from fresh water tank.and if this is true how does the water get from hot water tank to the faucet. Help please

      Reply
      • Customer Service

        Hi Carrie. Let’s start with the issue of “several leaking problems and lines blowing off”. This is a flag that you might be getting to much water pressure for the system to handle. I would recommend getting a water pressure regulator at any store that sells RV parts or online that will regulate the pressure to under 40 psi. I also like to add a filter after the regulator, but that’s another question/video! Second, if you have the hot and cold coming out the wrong sides, it’s a simple fix, swap the lines at the faucet! Open the cabinet doors under the sink and you should see two lines coming up to the base of the faucet. #3, you are correct, when hooked to a city water source, you have pressurized water going throughout the system including the water heater just like in your home. When you open the faucet on the hot side, water is delivered through the hot water lines from the water heater. The onboard pump is before the water heater and provides pressure to both hot and cold from the fresh water tank.

        Here are a few questions. Does this happen every time after 3 days temporarily and then it works, or did it just happen 3 days after the fix and now you have no hot water at all? If it’s a 10 gallon system, it’s probably an LP and 120-volt electric model? I believe you need to do some troubleshooting on the water heater. Check the breakers, 12-volt fuses, and especially the water heater bypass valve. Most units today have a valve that diverts or bypasses the water around the water heater so you can drain the water heater in the winter and not have to add 10 gallons of antifreeze for the water heater. If the bypass is shut off, you will not get any water into the heater. If you ran the heater without water, you may have damaged it? Check these things out and let us know.

        Reply
  2. Gary

    This is very helpful. Its easy to forget some of this information when you camp only during the summer.

    Reply
  3. Dennis

    Does anyone have information about water pumps? We see nothing in Videos or the blog. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Customer Service Techs

      Thanks for viewing the RV Repair Club site and requesting information on the water pumps. We did shoot video of the water pumps, however it was mis-labeled in the plumbing section with a title of Troubleshooting Water Heaters! We’ve corrected the title and description and you should be able to see the video in that section. If you have any specific question or issues with your water pump, please post it listing the make of your RV, model, year, and brand of water pump. Thanks again for bringing this to our attention and happy camping. RVRC Team

      Reply
  4. Michael Storment

    I have a 2004 Winnebago Adventure 33v. When it is parked in driveway an hooked up to city water for a few days my grey tank fills up without any water turned on in sinks or shower. I find no water leaking from sinks or shower.

    Reply
    • Customer Service Techs

      Thanks for visiting the RV Repair Club site and for the opportunity to assist with your Grey Water Tank issue. The grey water tank collects waste water from the shower and some sinks inside the rig. Not all sinks go to the grey water tank, depending on floorplan and location, sometime Winnebago routed the bath sink into the black water tank or kitchen sink as well. When hooked to the city water fill, the water bypasses the on-demand pump and provides pressurized water to the faucets, toilet, and shower head. There is no plumbing going anywhere close to the grey water tank so if it is filling the tank, you have a faucet leaking somewhere to to drain. You may not be able to physically see it, it might be under the sink leaking down the overflow path into the drain or the shower behind the wall down into the pan? Keep in mind that Winnebago makes their own tanks and usually uses grey material for both the black and grey water tanks! So what you are calling grey, may actually be the black water or sewage tank from the toilet? A common problem with tanks filling is owner’s hooking up the city water hose to the black water flush valve as it looks very similar to the city water connection. This will fill the tank rather quickly and since the tank is actually grey in color, owner’s think it’s coming from a leak. You can identify the proper tank by running a hose down the toilet and see what tank on the monitor panel is filling. Make sure you throw the hose away when you are done! Or you can run a hose into the shower pan and make sure you know which tank is actually grey water. Otherwise, you will need to trace the drains to see where the water is coming from. Disconnect the kitchen and bath sink drain P-trap and connect to city water. Place a bucket underneath otherwise you’ll have a huge mess! Hope this helps!

      Reply
      • Robert

        A crack in the skylight or roof leak over the shower can cause rain water to fill your gray tank as well, depending on how much rain you get. If you are running your air conditioner the condensation may leak through the roof around a ceiling fixture like the skylight or the holding tank roof vent.

        Reply
  5. Kenneth

    I have a 1995 kountry air you137 foot close to my waterpump is a 4 inch vent with looks like a fan mortar keep warm air to the water pump and cold weather. My question is If this is true what turns it on and off? Is it automatic or do I have to turn a switch on someplace?

    Reply
    • Customer Service Techs

      Hi Kenneth. Thanks for visiting the RV Repair Club site and the opportunity to assist with info on your 1995 Newmar. From what I can tell on the older models, Newmar had a basement fan to supply warm air to the water pump and other plumbing fixtures that would draw from a furnace duct routed close to it. Typically it was controlled by a separate temperature switch, however there seems to be several variations in models in the various forums? I would first look at the 12-volt fuses in the distribution center to see if there is a dedicated fuse for that fan. Some models were wired to the furnace so it would turn on any time the furnace ran. Newmar should be able to provide a wiring diagram that can help trace this as they have weathered all the financial storms over the years and not bought and sold like so many others. Hope this helps.

      Reply
  6. Randy

    I I I would like to replace my Restroom fan and put a NEW unit and cover on, but I cannot find where to go? Can you please help me? Thank-you, Randy

    Reply
    • Customer Service Techs

      Thanks for visiting the RV Repair Club site Randy. I would recommend replacing your roof vent with a new Fantastic model which can be a standard fan, or upgraded to the temperature and rain sensing models. You can purchase these from any RV dealer or online at Amazon.com

      Reply
  7. Ron

    I have a 2005 Winnebago 37B, recently when I turn the tap to hot the flow stops.. Works fine in cold on all taps. Seems like there is a check valve that is malfunctioning but I can’t find it in the manuals.

    Reply
    • Customer Service Techs

      Thanks for visiting the RV Repair Club site and the opportunity to assist with your hot water issue. Just to verify, the hot does not work on all taps as well? There is a check valve on the incoming water line to the water heater and outgoing line as well. Visit http://www.winnebagoind.com/diagram/2005/05_g37b_plumb.pdf for a water systems diagram from your 2005 Adventurer. You will see the valves listed as V-6 coming in and out of the water heater. There is also a water heater by-pass valve on your system that could have gotten something stuck inside? This should be located in the service compartment.

      Hope this helps.

      Reply
  8. Al & Linda DeArroyo

    My wife and I don’t like the lingering residue in our water lines from the RV antifreeze the dealer used to winterize the RV. I do it myself now and decided to use 100 Proof vodka 2 year in a row because it leaves no after taste and there is no foaming. It will protect from freezing to -41*F. And it makes it fun to open the RV in spring….

    Reply
    • Lon D

      RV Make: Grand Design, RV Model: Imagine, RV Year: 2017

      Vodka for winterizing is fabulous – does it work??

      Reply
  9. Marc andris

    Purchased a new trailer and it has antifreeze. What should I do to clean out the antifreeze and start out fresh for the 1st time? Thx

    Reply
    • RV Repair Club Team

      Thanks for visiting the RV Repair Club site. The antifreeze should be a pink colored, non-toxic antifreeze designed for RV and/or marine use which has no taste. Therefore you should be able to just put water in the fresh water tank or connect to a city source and run each faucet and toilet until you get a clear stream of water. Don’t forget about the 6 gallon water heater. It probably has the plug pulled and the water heater bypass valve turned so they did not have to fill the tank with 6 gallons of antifreeze. Some owner’s like to run a little bleach solution through the system as well to get rid of stale taste and any plastic residue from the lines. 1/4 cup bleach in a gallon of water and use about 8 gallons of the solution and run it through each of the faucets. Then plain water through or let it sit for a couple days and the bleach smell will dissipate. (ZD: 3013)

      Reply
  10. Mike Hewes

    Have a 2000 Itasca 32. Every time I take the cap off to drain my waste tanks, I get a fair amount of liquid spillage from the grey and black tanks.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Mike. Thanks for visiting the RV Repair Club. If you have liquid at the cap then you have one of the valves not sealing. Check out the RV Dump Valve Troubleshooting video in the Plumbing section of the site. You can try adding some lubricating liquid available from Thetford, however it’s more likely you will need to disassemble the piping and either clean the rubber gasket or replace the valve. Make sure you empty the tanks well before tackling this!

      Reply
  11. James

    How do you sanitize the fresh water system when it does not have the gravity fill opening and only the city water hookup to fill the fresh water tank?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi James. Thanks for visiting the RV Repair Club site and the opportunity to assist with your water systems issue. This is one of those situations that I’ve argued with designers and engineers for years and falls into the “real world scenario”. They design this cool valve to switch the city water pressure to fill the tank rather than having a gravity feed thinking it’s so much easier and better. But…what about adding bleach to sanitize, deodorizer, or even filling the tank when boondocking with out access to pressurized water? There are several homemade solutions for most of these situation such as using a small pump like the type used in landscape ponds, however for your situation I would suggest measuring out the correct amount of bleach in a container and just use a funnel to pour it into the city fill hose before hooking it up to the city source. Once you connect it and open the valve, the bleach will flow into the fresh water tank and eventually the bleach smell will dissipate.

      Reply
  12. jane bartosek

    we have a 1998 fleetwood jamboree and the bypass is not working when we switch it over the water keeps going in to the hot water tank

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Jane. Thanks for visiting the RV Repair Club site. When you turn the handle on your bypass valve it is supposed to turn a cylinder inside with holes that divert the flow either to the water heater or to the bypass hose. My first question is: Has it ever worked properly for you? I ask this because there are cases where RV DIYer’s attempt to install certain features with parts from home improvement stores that don’t work and then they sell the unit so you don’t really know what was installed? Let’s assume it did work at one time and is now not changing the flow to bypass. This means the inside cylinder has either become too loose to turn or broken off the handle. If it’s a plastic valve, it probably got frozen and turning the handle snapped it off. If so, I would suggest replacing it with a brass valve.

      Reply
  13. Connie

    RV Make: Keystone, RV Model: Laredo fifth wheel, RV Year: 2002, Brand: Dometic, Model Number: 310

    Dropped object into waste tank. How to remove. Is removal recommended for smaller object?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Connie. Thank you for visiting the RV Repair Club site and the opportunity to assist with your toilet obstruction issue. Nothing but waste, water, and RV toilet paper should go into the waste water tank, however I guess it depends on the item and what it will do to obstruct the pipes, valves and what damage it can do. If you dropped it down the toilet, there is a fairly large pipe that it probably went into the holding tank. Your next issue is that item obstructing the 2” drain pipe? If you think it could obstruct that, then yes have it removed.

      Reply
  14. Kenneth

    RV Make: Winnebago, RV Model: Brave, RV Year: 2000

    Odor only from bathroom sink hot & cold.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Kenneth. Thanks for visiting the RV Repair Club site and the opportunity to assist with your bathroom odor issue. Are you getting an odor only from the hot and cold freshwater coming out of the faucet and not the shower or kitchen? It sounds more like your getting an odor from drain when turning the water on as it hits the P-trap forces odors back up? This is fairly common just after arriving at a campsite as the water that is supposed to sit in the P-trap to stop odors from coming up from the waste tank gets splashed around and has drained out? And sometimes the bathroom sink is plumbed into the black water just because of location? If it is the water, replace the lines using Pex and the new compression fittings by Sealand or Watts available at home improvement stores. It’s an easy job. Also, check your water heater to make sure it’s clean and you don’t need a new anode rod used in Suburban water heaters.

      Reply
  15. Dennis

    RV Make: Forest River , RV Model: Sandpiper 35 ROK, RV Year: 2014

    How do you get water into your fresh water tank? All of the instructions about sanitizing the water lines says to add bleach and water to the freshwater tank. Hate to sound stupid but not sure how this is done. That’s why I joined the RV repair Club.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Dennis. Thanks for visiting the RV Repair Club site and the opportunity to assist with your sanitizing question. You should have a gravity feed on the side of the rig which allows you to insert a hose and fill the tank rather than attaching to the city fill and turning the valve. Use a funnel and pour the appropriate amount in the gravity fill and then add water. It will either be a small door on the side of the rig (3” x 3”) with a tube like opening behind it, or in the service center if your rig has an enclosed compartment for the water center.

      Reply
  16. KIm R. Conley

    RV Make: Forest River, RV Model: Sunseeker, RV Year: 2016

    Hooked up a hose to the tank flush for the first time to clean. I was a little concerned because I did not hear any water running in the tank and only a trickle came through the sewer house. What is wrong?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      We would be happy to assist you; we just need some more information. What is the make/model/year of your RV?

      Reply
  17. ANTHONY

    RV Make: Forest River, RV Model: 272BH, RV Year: 2016, Brand: Heritage Glen, Model Number: 272 BH

    How do I get the Fresh water tank to drain and also step by step to winterize this trailer.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Anthony. Thank you for visiting the RV Repair Club site and the opportunity to assist with your winterizing question. To provide more specific information we need the make, model, and year of your RV. However most water tanks can be drained by a small valve that is placed in the supply line going to the water pump? Look underneath the rig to see where a water line extends through the floor and the valve should be above that. See the attached photo. To winterize with RV Antifreeze, fill the fresh water tank with about 6-8 gallons of antifreeze after you have drained all the water out. If your unit has a winterizing valve, you can just put the tube in the gallon jug and draw it from there. Next, empty your water heater and switch the water heater bypass valve to bypass, you don’t want to waste 6 gallons of antifreeze in the water heater! Turn on your water pump and open the nearest faucet and let it run until pink antifreeze comes out. Do this for all faucets, toilet, toilet sprayer, shower, and outside faucet/shower. Drain your ice maker in the refrigerator if applicable!

      Reply
  18. Bud

    RV Make: National RV, RV Model: Sea Breeze, RV Year: 2008

    I want to replace my ice maker. The one I have leaks. Is leaking a common problem?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Bud. Thank you for visiting the RV Repair Club site and the opportunity to assist with your ice maker issue. Most often what happens with an ice maker is the owner forgets to drain all the water from the lines, valve, and tray and it doesn’t take much of a freeze to crack the plastic in any of those places. It’s important to not only drain the lines, but cycle the ice maker a few times to get all the water out.

      Reply
  19. Kristi

    RV Make: Keystone, RV Model: Everest, RV Year: 2005

    Does black water tank have an overflow feature just in case ?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Kristi. Thank you for visiting the RV Repair Club site and the opportunity to assist with your black water tank question. The black water tank does not have an overflow feature as you would not want raw sewage going out of an overflow to the open! It will basically back up in the toilet.

      Reply
  20. John

    RV Make: Winnebago , RV Model: View, RV Year: View

    The connection to ther shower hose and the faucetcontrol was leaking. I took the hose off and tightened the part that appeared to be leaking but now I can’t get the hose to thread back on. Any suggestions.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, John. Thank you for visiting the RV Repair Club site and the opportunity to assist with your shower/faucet issue. To provide more specific information we need to know the make, model, and year of your RV and what type of shower/faucet you have. The typical set up is a plastic faucet with a hot and cold knob mounted to the wall at about 3’ with a plastic male thread coming out the bottom. A plastic female connection on the end of a rubber hose is threaded to that and goes up to the shower head. Not sure what “part” you tightened to keep it from leaking if it was not the actual hose end? Usually these are plastic so you might have a striped or damage thread on either the male or female end?

      Reply
  21. Kenneth

    RV Make: Keystone, RV Model: Copper Creek, RV Year: 2013

    My water levels in my gray water tank are not functioning correctly. It registers as full after a complete emptying. Any help short of replacing the probes and are there any videos regarding the process?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Kenneth. This is a very common problem with waste water system probes that are the metal screw in type that go through the tank and use fluid inside to “arch” across for signal. You should have one wire coming in to the bottom part of the tank and three screws and wires across and going up about 4-5 inches apart? When the liquid drains, there is still something clinging to the side of the tank and creating the false reading. Start with using the Thetford probe cleaner product available at any dealership or online. I would also recommend installing a black water flush valve which sprays water on the probes to help clean them. You might also be able to use a flush wand stuck down the toilet. Some owners have been successful pouring 5-6 bags of ice down the toilet and driving around for an hour but it’s hit and miss with this. There are several videos on the site showing these procedures in the “Plumbing and Water Systems” section.

      Reply
        • Billy

          Kenneth, I had the same problem with my grey tank sensors and I finally figured out that apparently one time or another grease or cooking oil was washed into the grey tank after washing an oily or greasy pan, This oil was clinging to the side of the tank where the sensors were and was conducting just enough to give the monitor false readings. The way I solved the problem was I poured about a quarter cup of dawn dishwashing liquid a half gallon of bleach into the kitchen drain and then run the faucets until I filled the tank. Let it set for a day then drained the tank. From that point on my monitor readings were correct and I make sure now that no oil or grease enters my drains.

          Reply
  22. Mike Mushkin

    RV Make: Open range, RV Model: 345RLS, RV Year: 2011

    Water hose leak that seams to be along sides he hot water tank Need help in finding where this hose is attached to. As so far does go into the hot water tank. But we have a good sized leak when water is turned on by outside faucet meant to say hose does not seem to be connected to hot water tank. Not sure where does connect.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Mike. Thank you for visiting the RV Repair Club site and the opportunity to assist with your water leak issue. To provide more specific information we need to know the make, model, and year of your RV. In the mean time, you might be able to find it by isolating where the leak is, and if it’s hot or cold water. Most water lines are routed in the bottom of kitchen and bath base cabinets or closets. Sometimes you need to take off the false floor or bottom shelf. Some trailers have them sandwiched under the floor above the corrugated underbelly.

      Reply
  23. Vickie Abbott

    RV Make: Open Range, RV Model: 3X, RV Year: 2017

    We just purchased a new 5th wheel camper. We have the model with the front bathroom and bedroom. There are 2 sinks the master bath. I dropped a ring down the drain on the sink. We are trying to figure out how to get it out. Would you know the diagram of the plumbing under the sink?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Vickie. To provide more specific information on the configuration of your sink drains we need the make, model, and year of your 5th wheel. Typically a two sink mode would have a drain pipe coming off the bottom of the bowl into a “P” trap which is an S shaped curve that holds water to keep odors from the holding tank from coming up into the bathroom. Some manufacturers use a separate “P” trap for each sink and then run them into a T down into the gray water tank while others use the T first then a “P” trap. You should be able to open the vanity under the sink and see the bottom of the sink and the plumbing?

      Reply
  24. Royce

    RV Make: Redwood, RV Model: 36FB, RV Year: 2012, Brand: Gray tank waste valve

    My handle for the gray shower water is really easy to operate but before it was rather stiff. I cant tell if it is really closing all the way or not. Does the handle rod ever break off inside the valve and can I access this valve by removing part of the basement wall?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Royce. The rod of your dump valve can break inside the channel, however it usually will pull all the way out? Without knowing the make, model, and year of your RV, I can’t advise to the access, however since you indicated removing part of the “basement wall”, I assume you have a motorized unit? If it looks like you can remove the wall or panel, I would start with that and see if it provides access. You can also tell if the valve is opening and closing by running a couple of gallons of water down the shower drain with the valve closed and see if it comes out of the sewage bayonet with the valve closed. Usually will not if the rod is broken as it will push the spade valve shut. Then open the valve to see if the water comes out. If it does, you do not have a broken rod, if it doesn’t, you have a broken valve and at least you’ll only have 1 gallon of fairly fresh water in the tank to capture when you tear the valve apart.

      Reply
  25. Thomas

    RV Make: coachmen, RV Model: Mirada, RV Year: 2012-13

    in the specs it says I have one black water tank but I have two bath rooms and on my panel it shows an aux tank with a black water falve it has a tag on both black water tanks for hookup for flushing them it says to keep the valves open when I hooked the hose to it to flush it I got water all up in the bath room what did I do wrong

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Thomas. To provide more specific troubleshooting information we need to know the make, model, and year of your RV. However, let’s walk through your question and see if we can identify some of the component descriptions? First, it’s not uncommon to have two bathrooms and only one black water tank as that is typically only toilet waste. “On the panel it shows an aux tank with a black water falve” (I assume valve)? Are you referring to the monitor panel inside with the tank levels or the panel outside in the service compartment? I assume your monitor panel has an aux tank listed with the fresh water and black water? Typically a black water flush valve is designed to connect a garden hose to and flush out the tank. If you connected to the black water flush valve and got water in the bathroom, you probably have a problem with the toilet seal or valve as this should not happen. Check out the videos on how the waste water dumping works. You will see the valves at the dump station as well as the flush valves. Also, if you could provide a photo of the area you are describing, we should be able to provide more information.

      Reply
  26. Richard

    RV Make: Grand Design, RV Model: 376TH, RV Year: 2016

    Heather, good article.

    I was wondering if it would be advisable to install the in-line filter at the site hookup to filter and clean the water before it enters the fresh water hose, thereby preventing contaminating it with unknown water borne contaminates the filter is to eliminate?

    Reply
  27. Ken

    RV Make: Keystone, RV Model: Cougar, RV Year: 2017

    How do you turn on the water heater?

    Reply
  28. Rich

    RV Make: Winnebago , RV Model: Tour, RV Year: 2007

    My unit is in its storage bay awaiting our next trip. I don’t have access to city water and my fresh water tank is smelling. I want to add some bleach to this tank but don’t have a pump nor gravity feed option. Can I use the winterizing siphon hose and set my valve on “fill tank” to get bleach into the fresh water tank?

    Reply
  29. Craig Holtz

    RV Make: National, RV Model: Sea Breeze, RV Year: 2003

    I’m trying to figure out how to sanitize my RV fresh water tank. It wants me to open the water tank drain valve. Does anyone know where this is on a 2003 National Sea Breeze?

    Reply
  30. George

    RV Make: Fleetwood, RV Model: Southwind, RV Year: 2007

    I have low water pressure on my on board fresh water pump. When I turn the water pump on the pump will
    run and charge the lines . when I use the water it will run normal for a run normal for about 8 to 10 seconds
    and then almost nothing

    Reply
  31. Tammy

    RV Make: 2004 sunseeker, RV Model: Sunseeker, RV Year: 2004, Brand: Ford

    Flooding

    Reply
  32. Rich

    RV Make: Dynamx, RV Model: Trilogy, RV Year: 2014

    I am getting back pressure in the water system and it is blowing the filter off. What could be causing this?

    Reply
  33. Denise Brain

    RV Make: Heritage glen, RV Model: 356QB, RV Year: 2017, Brand: Heritage glen

    Where is the water filter located

    Reply
  34. David

    RV Make: Country Coach , RV Model: Affinity , RV Year: 2000, Brand: Universal Switch

    Service says I need to replace or rebuild my “red top” switches. Any information on this is appreciated.

    Reply
  35. Lea

    RV Make: Fleetwood, RV Model: Tioga, RV Year: 1996

    We think we have a busted pipe. When we hooked up to water for the first time in 2 years it started running out from under the stove onto he step

    Reply
  36. Lea

    RV Make: Fleetwood, RV Model: Tioga, RV Year: 1996

    How do you get to the hot water tank? We are new to this

    Reply
  37. Steve Behrens

    RV Make: Roadtrek, RV Model: Versitile, RV Year: 1986

    I have what looks like two connections for city water, I’m sure only one is correct, they aren’t labeled in any way what is the best way to determine where to hook my hose. I am very new to all this

    Reply
  38. Kurt

    RV Make: Gulf stream, RV Model: Ultra supreme, RV Year: 2003

    Water pressure seems low even though I have a regulator turned up to 45 lbs.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello Kurt,

      In order to assist you better, could you please provide us with the year make and model of your RV?

      Thanks,
      Becky RVRC Video Membership

      Reply
  39. Tom

    RV Make: Keystone, RV Model: Laredo 350FB, RV Year: 2017, Brand: Laredo, Model Number: 350FB

    My water fill has a city, tank, and normal selection on it. What is the “normal” selection for?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello Molly,

      To provide more specific troubleshooting information regarding your cold
      water issue, we need the make, model, and year of your RV. I also
      have a few questions:

      Do you get cold water to other faucets?

      Do you have a single handle faucet or hot and cold dials?

      Does this happen when connected to city pressurized water and using the on
      board water pumps?

      Do you get any water coming out when opening the cold faucet?

      If you are getting hot or warm water when opening the cold, have you let
      it run for a couple of minutes?

      Depending on these questions, it could be a plugged line or faucet,
      defective faucet, kinked line, or a cold line getting heated by a furnace
      duct?

      Thanks,
      David RVRC Video Membership

      We’d love to have you be a part of our community. We are convinced you will enjoy the benefits of becoming a member and having access to the best instructional how to videos and professional tips. We would like to offer you a special promotion for your first year membership.
      http://go.rvrepairclub.com/C9317

      Reply
  40. Kelsey

    RV Make: Road Ranger, RV Year: 1988

    I’m trying to figure out why my camper hose is spraying at the RV hookup area, last year I had no problems, this year it got so bad that I had to shut off our water. My landlord told me it’s my camper. Not their faucet. What do I do to find out if it is me or not?

    Reply
  41. Susan

    RV Make: Coachman, RV Model: Leprechaun, RV Year: 2000

    We need to replace the shower H/C nobs and hand held shower sprayer….
    but we can’t find the main water shutoff for the entire RV. Please, please help.
    We have tried everything and still cannot shut off water to sinks and shower.
    We are getting quite wet.

    Reply
  42. Bob Evans

    RV Make: Cardinal, RV Model: 29LE, RV Year: 2005

    Dear Friend: I have just noticed a recent leak in my left (driver’s) side storage compartment. The leak is coming thru the hole in the floor where my fresh water lines move from the water pump thru the floor up into the shower. Leak is either from the fresh water lines or the drain. Since it is only a steady drip (not a steady flow like from a drain) I think the leak is somewhere in the supply line. How to I access the supply lines feeding the inside shower unit? Thnx for your help!! bob

    Reply
  43. john

    RV Make: holiday ramlber, RV Model: endeavor, RV Year: 2010

    could you tell me or show me were are the water level are cannot get any water throught my motorhome

    Reply
    • john

      RV Make: holiday ramlber, RV Model: endeavor, RV Year: 2010

      could you tell me or show me were are the water level are cannot get any water throught my motorhome iam hook up to city water but nothing in coming out of my faucet

      Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi John, can you provide us with the year, make and model of your RV? Thank you, Hallie RVRC Video Membership

      Reply
  44. Keith

    RV Make: Forest River, RV Model: Sunseeker, RV Year: 2008

    Does anyone know what the stock filter replacement is for the filter beside the fresh water holding tank that can be accessed in the rear bed. This RV is new to me and has been winterized and the pink antifreeze is in the filter container and I will need to replace it when I use it.

    Reply
  45. Dale Brooks

    RV Make: Coachman, RV Model: 218FL, RV Year: 2004

    I think you answered my question in your response to Carrie regarding hot water. We have an lp only hot water heater. Heater produces plenty of hot water, but when I have the system hooked up and the water supply turned on, we only get cold water. If I turn the supply off at the faucet, we get hot water (for as long as the residual pressure lasts). I’m guessing it’s a pressure problem then. I live in Lancaster, SC. Where would I be able to find a pressure regulator, and what should I set it at?
    Thanks!

    Reply
  46. Joe

    RV Make: Keystone , RV Model: Montana 3160RL, RV Year: 2017, Brand: Flojet, Model Number: Triplex Diaphragm

    Our water pump turns on on its own and runs for 2-3 seconds every 20 minutes or so. None of the faucets drip or leak. There are no leaks at the connections under the sinks.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello Joe,

      Somewhere you have an air leak or a pinhole in the diaphragm of the pump. This allows air to get into the system and reduces the pressure over a gradual time and the pump senses a demand as the pressure has dropped and starts up to build pressure. Take the pump off and check all your connections, plastic screen housing, and diaphragm.

      Thanks,
      David
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  47. Irwin

    RV Make: Winnebago, RV Model: View, RV Year: 2017

    When I am driving, I notice water spilling out the white water gravity door. I seem to lose about 1/3 of a tank. I talked to the dealer and he said to only fill the tank about half full. This does not sound correct to me. I’m wonder if it’s a design flaw and if there is something I can do about it.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello Irwin,

      Normally a gravity feed door has a rubber gasket on the inside of the door that seals the vent and keeps the water from splashing out? It could be a design flaw as you indicated with the gravity feed designed a little low allow the water to slosh up the supply hose as well? Another option would be to get a rubber stopper from a home improvement store plug it will traveling?

      Thanks,
      David
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  48. Dennis Reese

    RV Make: Heartland , RV Model: Trail runner rl25, RV Year: 2017

    I’m getting water coming from somewhere under the sink but I cannot find any leaks. It seems to not always be doing it I can’t seem to figure it out

    Reply
  49. Tom anderson

    RV Make: Winnebago , RV Model: Vista, RV Year: 2015

    I am currently on a no water supplied site in pa. I have been having water delivered on a daily basis, we on do dishes an toilet no showers and are tank is empty by morning. No visible leaks visible underneath rv or in storage are where the fresh water tank is. Really stumped by this. Any recommendations please help

    Reply
  50. Egan Lambert

    RV Make: Forest River, RV Model: Rev RB, RV Year: 2016

    Hello, I just purchased this RV. I have 3 options for water selection: normal, tank, and city. Which selection should i be on if I am hooked up to water?
    Thank you

    Reply
  51. Jessica

    RV Make: Coachman, RV Model: Mirada, RV Year: 2003

    I have water leaking into my closets in the rear of my coachman, is potentially a leak in the inner water system?

    Reply
  52. Tom Gibson

    RV Make: Winabago journey DL, RV Model: Journey DL, RV Year: 2002

    What is wrong when my shower is getting no water and a small trickle comes out of faucet

    Reply
  53. charlie1

    RV Make: monaco, RV Model: cayman xl, RV Year: 2008

    just bought this unit and on my first trip the water pressure is very low on 12 volt system. I haven’t tried it on water hose yet

    Reply
    • charlie1

      RV Make: monaco, RV Model: cayman xl, RV Year: 2008

      12 volt water supply is low on pressure. it sounds like it may be sucking air at times.

      Reply
  54. Conner

    RV Make: Winnebago , RV Model: Vista , RV Year: 2014

    Unable to disconnect hose from city water line

    Reply
  55. Thomas Schultz

    RV Make: Itasca, RV Model: 38' work horse, RV Year: 2007, Brand: Atwood , Model Number: 6 gal. Water heater

    I have a leak at the water heater this year. It was winterized by our local dealer, they said it is probably a broken tank, although it was properly winterized by them. Any suggestions for me to take apart to Chek ?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello Thomas,

      If you paid the dealer to winterize the unit, they should have drained the tank and all lines, or ran RV antifreeze through the line with the tank drained. I would suggest contacting the dealer and asking for a review of what happened and what is actually leaking. The only way you can tell if it’s the tank is to pull the water heater out and take the insulation off to inspect the tank. There is no such thing as a broken tank! It gets cracked when water is left inside and it freezes and splits the tank!

      Ask these questions:
      How did you winterize? Blow out all the water in the lines or add RV antifreeze? How did you drain the water heater? Find out if you have an Atwood or Suburban water heater. If it’s Suburban, ask them; “How did the anode rod look?” Ask them to show you the water heater bypass valve. How do they know it’s a broken tank?

      Bottom line…if the unit did not leak before it was winterized, then they did something wrong and either the tank or a line had water in it and froze causing a crack and leak. Find the service manager and ask the right questions.

      Thanks,

      David
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  56. Cath

    RV Make: Heritage glen , RV Year: 2016, Brand: Heritage glen

    Leak in water fliter vacuum side only model 15-085-00255-213

    Reply
  57. Ken

    RV Make: Kodiak, RV Model: 291RESL, RV Year: 2018

    In the compartment for the water pump; The viewing glasses of the strainer popped off and the hose that went to the spray port popped off and had water all over the floor. I was trying to D winterize my camper, when I turned the water on At the spigot, i found water laying on the floor. The water line popped out of the threaded part of the line which was connected to the spray port. Confused as to why?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Ken,

      I assume you are talking about the clear plastic cover for the water pump filter? There could be a couple different issues that cause this and the hose to come off, first would be high pressure. Did you check the water pressure (psi) of the hose you connected from a residential source? Most of those can not take more than 40 psi and some garage and outside faucets have much more than that to run sprinklers. Otherwise, the pump could have frozen in the winter? If you blew out the system with compressed air it will blow out all the lines through the faucets and shower after the pump as the city water system bypasses the water pump. You would need to run the pump out of water to winterize that as well. If the pump froze, it could have cracked the plastic.

      Thanks,

      David
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  58. Jim

    RV Year: 2009, Brand: forest river, Model Number: cardinal

    Fresh water tank is full ,took lines of the back to drain and nothing comes out ,unless I turn the pump on

    Reply
  59. Anita

    RV Make: Montana, RV Year: 2008

    Can’t get hot water through the lines. Water heater is working, hot water in tank but hot water through the faucets.

    Reply
  60. macecrouch

    RV Make: Thor, RV Model: ACE, RV Year: 2018, Brand: Thor ACE, Model Number: 30.3

    When filling the fresh water tank when it gets full it over flows from somewhere like top of the tank into the storage beneath and comes out of the bottom of the kitchen cabinet. What’s up?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello,

      You should have an overflow tube that prevents the tank from overfilling
      and running back out the fill neck which seems to be disconnected or
      broken? You will need to get to the freshwater tank and inspect that
      tube as it should direct water out the bottom of the rig?

      Thanks,

      David
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  61. Ken Bertram

    RV Make: Itasca Sunrise, RV Model: Sunrise, RV Year: 2005, Brand: Shurflo, Model Number: 2088-403-144

    My pump is pumping less gpm. Is it repairable or must it be replaced? Is there a better pump that has quieter operation?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello Ken,

      Your water pump should be repairable, it’s probably an issue with the rubber diaphram or even a crack in a fitting that is allowing air to come in? Check out the video on water pump repair on the site. Shurflo and Flojet both have upgrades available for more gpm and quieter operation.

      Thanks,

      David
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  62. janice

    RV Make: Pilgrim Intl, RV Model: Open Road, RV Year: 2008

    We just purchased this used 5th wheel, 366SA3S. Took it to our lake lot & when hooked up to a water source we have no running water in the trailer.

    Reply
  63. Ted greely

    RV Make: Palamenio, RV Model: Sabre, RV Year: 2011, Brand: Forest river, Model Number: 31CKTS

    I have almost no water pressure at faucets while hooked up to city water. Hose has good pressure. What can be the cause or lower the pressure after the inlet screen?

    Reply
  64. Linda Balster

    RV Make: Ford , RV Model: Class C Tioga , RV Year: 2002

    hooked up hose to flush antifreeze and check previous kitchen o ring replacement when moved by pass to begin flush could hear water running-shut off the hose, and I saw water dripping from underneath the rv-passenger side below the sink and hot water heater area. I crawled under the rv and water is coming through the floor at the entrance of 3 copper pipes and further ahead through 3 small holes in the center of the floor. All sealed no doors or openings through the floor or below the sink. My only access is through the hot water heater compartment. So do i start there and just take it all out to find the leak. PS no water on hoses or lines under the sink or up to bypass valve –only water running out from under rv Thanks in advance.

    Reply
  65. Donna Rogers

    RV Make: Keystone , RV Model: Cougar High Country 321res, RV Year: 2014

    The anti siphon value for the black water tank overflows when I turn the bathroom sink faucet on and my water pressure has deteriorated in kitchen faucet and shower.. any ideas?

    Reply
  66. Joseph Price

    RV Make: Allegro, RV Model: Allegro, RV Year: 87

    Shore water issues. Issue is only shore water. I have good pressure at bath sink and toilet weak pressure at shower and kitchen sink can get good pressure at shower and kitchen sink if while the water is running either flush toilet or turn on faucet in bathroom sink. Any help

    Reply
  67. chuck szymanski

    RV Make: winniebago, RV Model: adventurer, RV Year: 2004

    my city water fill and tank fill selector valve is leaking water to fresh water tank,how do i access the valve to change the part?

    Reply
  68. Jessica sines

    RV Make: Trailcruiser, RV Model: 26qbh, RV Year: 2005

    We purchased our camper trailer used and there is nothing connected to the potable water fill up port it just goes into the trailer underneath where the dinette is. I am able to see where it comes in but it is basically a hole to the outside. Where is the potable water tank normally located?

    Reply
  69. Betty

    RV Make: Bornfree, RV Model: President, RV Year: 1988

    I cannot figure out how to drain the fresh water tank. Does anyone out there know how it’s done?

    Reply
  70. Trevizo225

    RV Make: Tiffen, RV Model: Allegro bus, RV Year: 2001

    How do you turn on the water heater. This is my first Motorhome and I am not sure where do I begin from the basic beginning

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello,

      Could you please provide us with the year, make, and model of your RV and we will look further into your question for you.

      Thanks,

      Becky
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  71. STEVEN LEWANDOWSKI

    RV Make: FOREST RIVER, RV Model: CHEROKEE, RV Year: 2007

    AFTER I FILL MY FRESH WATER TANK AND TURN ON THE PUMP WHY DOES WATER COME OUT OF MY CITY CONNECTION ?

    Reply
  72. Ken Davault

    RV Make: Cougar, RV Model: 25rks, RV Year: 2015

    Where you put the water hose into the trailer the L shape plastic pipe leaked took off it was cracked when I took it off several pieces came out with it looks like gaskets. Two different kinds. Can’t find at any store waiting to get to a camping world. I am camping. But I contacted two that I will be passing non can see it till end of Aug. I am wondering if the complete box that hasconnections to the outdoor shower etc needs to be replaced. This will be my first do it my self job. Can you help me . Please. Thank you

    Reply
  73. Don

    RV Make: Winnebago brave, RV Model: Brave, RV Year: 1997 29ft

    Cannot get hot water out of the water heater both faucets run cold don’t know for sure if I am missing a valve somewhere only had the motorhome for a couple of weeks Cording to the manual there should be a water heater shut off in the bedroom under the drawer but that’s not the case could you help me out

    Reply
  74. Larry Stanley

    RV Make: Coachmen, RV Model: 296REDS, RV Year: 2011

    In this model there are three water shutoff valves associated with the hot water tank, city water supply and fresh water tank pump. One valve is the hot water tank bypass, the second appears to control water flow from the hot water tank to the interior faucets and toilet. The third valve is the one I’m unsure about. Visual inspection seems to indicate that it is a mixer valve, adding cold water (white line) to hot water (delivery) red line. This third valve’s use is what I am questioning. Can you clarify this plumbing configuration for me?

    Reply
  75. Kevin Kerr

    RV Make: Sandpiper, RV Model: 35ROK, RV Year: 2014

    What would cause the 2nd hose connection on our 5th wheel to stop working? It is fed from the same valves as the main hose fitting, which still works. The second fitting is on the opposite side of the RV and has a quick disconnect fitting, just like the main.

    Reply
  76. Dave

    RV Make: Fleetwood, RV Model: Tioga, RV Year: 1994

    Floor wet around stool. No water leaks anywhere else.

    Reply
  77. mpknotts

    RV Make: Winnebago , RV Model: Brave, RV Year: 1992

    Need to replace shower faucet and fixtures

    Reply
  78. Lorri

    RV Make: Wilderness, RV Model: 28 Ft., RV Year: 1993

    I just purchased this rv. and intend to have it parked for a year. I have a fresh water hookup. For some reason the water is going into the holding tank, and leaking outside the unit when full. I have asked everyone I know with RV experience, however they do not have a consistent answer. Can you tell me why and what to do? Appreciate your time.

    Reply
  79. Try2KeepUp52

    RV Model: Bighorn, RV Year: 2009

    Just wondering if I can use Liquid Plumber in my kitchen sinks. It is draining slow-and I have tried boiling water with vinegar and baking soda-to no avail. Thanx

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello,

      All of their products are listed as safe for plastic, which RV plumbing is, and safe for septic so it can be emptied into any sewer. Just make sure not to dump it on the ground, must be in a sewer.

      I hope this helps!

      Dan
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  80. cmf10471

    RV Make: Thor, RV Model: Tuscany, RV Year: 2012

    I know I’ve seen you cleaning the water source hook-up at a campground, but I can’t find the video again. I’m looking for the recipe of the spray cleaner used to spray on the faucet connection. Thanks

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello,

      Dave used a mixture of 1/4 cup of bleach with a gallon of water and then put it into a spray bottle. This will disinfect and clean just about anything.

      I hope this helps!

      Dan
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  81. ohn Rhodes

    RV Make: Winnebago, RV Model: Journey, RV Year: 2002

    my overflow line leaks as I try to fill the freshwater tank. The light on the panel says the tank is empty. I dont know what to do

    Reply
  82. Charles Huffman

    RV Make: newmar, RV Model: Kountry star, RV Year: 2005

    have a slight water leak involving cold water that runs into a white valve and down a seperate pipe to both sink and shower cold water line. On the down return, I can see and hear some type of air gurgle … sounds a little like a scratching noise. Turned off water input to coach and noise quit and leak stopped. What is that valve and its purpose, and could it be the source of the leak as water tracks down the pipe to the floor.

    Reply
  83. Angela Gilmore

    RV Make: Coachmen, RV Year: 1994

    Grey water won’t drain , we keep stuffing water hose in shower to UN clog, it won’t! Where is the water going? We looked under trailer and nothing, but its not going out the sewer hose???

    Reply
  84. Jeff Davis

    RV Make: Keystone, RV Model: Montana 3811MS, RV Year: 2018

    Can I use the water pump to put the antifreeze into the waterlines for winterizing the RV?

    Reply
  85. slkluck27

    RV Make: Monaco, RV Model: Diplomat, RV Year: 2002

    My shower and bathroom sink seems to drain extremely slow, my unit is level. Was wondering if there is anything safe to use in the drains for possible build up?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello,

      Drano advertises that their products are safe for all draining systems including plastic, which most RV’s are ABS plastic. You could try any of their products. If those don’e seem to work, there could be a venting problem. If the vent on the exterior, usually the roof, gets clogged with debris from leaves or critters it will cause water to drain slow. There could also be another vent under the sink past the p-trap that sticks straight up. There is a check valve in there and if it gets stuck into a certain position it will also cause slow draining. These can be easily removed by twisting them off. If the vent cover is removed and the drains work better, replace the vent cap.

      I hope this helps!

      Dan
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply