Know Your Rig Like the Back of Your Hand: Everything You Need to Know About Your RV Water System

by Ken Morris

Did you know that several chemical properties of water make it a necessity for living creatures?

It's no wonder that we can't go a day without using water in some way other than the obvious of drinking water.

Whether you plan on staying in an RV resort or you plan to boondock you will find yourself needing water in your RV.

How well do you know your rig? RVs have lots of moving parts. Especially in the water system.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about your RV water system.

Know Your Rig: Everything You Need to Know About Your RV Water System

Rving will take you to beautiful places and help you collect wonderful experiences but if you don't understand your RV water system you can find yourself in a dilemma. It's important to understand your system and know how to care for it.

Keep in mind water systems will vary with each RV. Some RVs have a simple system and some are more complex.

RV Water System Components

There are so many options when buying an RV. You have million dollar options and a couple hundred dollar options. With so many options it's impossible to cover every single water system found in an RV but we will cover the most common components.

Fresh Water Tank

This is the water tank that holds your clean water. When you turn on your shower, faucet, and kitchen sinks fresh water is what's coming out of those taps. Fresh water tanks vary in size some RVs have as little as 20 gallons they can hold and some have a 100-gallon capacity.

If you're sitting at a campground you can hook up your water hose to the outside water system they offer to have an unlimited supply of water coming into your RV. If you are RVing in the winter in a cold location you will want to be careful with your tank and your hose. The last thing you want is for your tank or your hose to freeze.

A frozen water tank can cause serious problems to your RV and its plumbing system. A frozen water hose will prevent you from getting the water you need to enjoy your RV. When water freezes it expands which is what causes damage.

It's important to be careful to not have your hose freeze and cause damage to your experience. There are water hoses in the market that are reliable and will never freeze giving you peace of mind no matter what the temperature is outside.

If you're boondocking also known as dry camping or living off the resources your rig can hold then you will fill up your fresh water tank to the max before parking. You will have to conscious of how much water you use to not run out within a day.

Watching how much water you use can get tricky especially if you're used to running your water without limits. The larger your fresh water tank is the easier this can be.

Gray Water Tank

The gray water tank holds the water from when you shower, brush your teeth and do the dishes. The water held in this tank isn't potable water (meaning you can drink it) but it can be reused in situations where you're running low on water for flushing your toilet.

Larger RVs sometimes have 2 separate gray water tanks because they have more than one bathroom. Some vintage RVs do not have a separate gray water tank. This water can also be used to flush out your sewer hose when cleaning your black water tank.

Black Water Tank

This tank holds the waste from the toilet and is also known as the wastewater tank. If your RV doesn't have a gray water tank all of your dirty water goes into this tank too.

When you empty out your tanks you will want to empty your black water tank via a sewer hose first. Once it's empty you'll want to empty your gray water tank if you have one. This will help push down anything that might've been left from your black water tank in your hose.

Water Filters

Traveling in an RV is the main reason most people own an RV. With changing scenery there comes the issue of changing water. You never know how the water is or is going to be at your destination. 

Installing a water filter will help you not worry about the quality of water where you are. The water filter can easily be adapted to run through the entire water system in your RV. You can have the same filtered water for when you brush your teeth, shower, wash dishes, or drink water. 

Water Pumps

The water pump in your RV will push water through all of your pipes and get it where it needs to go. When you open your faucet because you're going to wash your dishes your water pump is the one that pushes the water from either the hose to the faucet or from your tank to the faucet.

Some rigs have great water pumps and some are not so great. If you fall into the not so great category like most RVs do you might want to upgrade your water pump before you're stranded with no water coming out in the middle of a shower.

Feeling Like an RV Water System Expert?

After learning the most common components of your RV water system this will make your RVing experience more enjoyable. Dumping and filling your own tanks can be scary especially in the beginning but it doesn't have to be scary. Maintenance of your water system will help it last a long time.

Make sure you're also well aware of the temperatures where you are. The tanks and water system in your RV are more delicate than the water system in sticks and bricks home.

RVing in Alaska or cold weather this winter? Order a water heated hose today to avoid any tank accidents.


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