We will cover three very important RV Water Procedures every RVer needs to know. We'll cover sanitizing and winterizing the fresh water system and flushing and cleaning the RV water heater.
The quality of the water in the fresh water tank is vitally important to your health. Algae and other possibly harmful bacteria can grow quite well in your tank if you don’t pay attention to a few precautions. If you are a part time RVer, you should sanitize the fresh water tank before every trip, and full timers should do this at least annually. It is a simple but lengthy process:
Start with a nearly full fresh water tank.
Turn off the external water supply and turn on the water pump.
Your RV fresh water system should now be safe for use.
If you aren’t a full-timer yet, you will probably need to winterize your fresh water system. Winterizing can be a simple process, if you just follow the steps below. There are other ways to do this; I have given you the most common.
If your rig does not have one, an important accessory you can add to your RV is a water heater by-pass. It is a simple device; one or two valves that isolate the tank from the rest of the water system. A water heater tank is normally about 7 gallons. If you do not have one of these, you will have to fill the tank with seven more gallons of expensive RV antifreeze than you need. Installation is a pretty simple do it yourself project, or any RV dealer can install it for you. You will save the cost of the valve in just a few years with the value of the antifreeze you save.
RV antifreeze is safe to use in drinking water systems. Please do not use automotive antifreeze as it is poisonous and can cause serious illness and possibly death.
So let’s get started. Here are the steps for winterization:
As a result of our traveling to
different places around the country in our RV, we encounter water with
degrees of hardness or mineralization. It is important to flush the hot
heater tank in order to extend the life of the inner tank and to
buildup of mineral deposits. This should be done two or three times a
especially at the start of the RVing season. Mineral deposits settle to
bottom of the tank, so simply draining the tank will not usually rinse
these deposits. The smaller particles move up the hot water line and
clog the shower head and sink aerators. They must be cleaned
1. Turn off the switches for gas and if so equipped, electric hot water. Make sure the water inside has cooled.
2. Turn off the water pump and the city water connection to de-pressurize the system.
3. Drain the water heater by opening its drain valve (or removing the plug/anode). You can also lift the pressure and temperature relief valve handle to increase the flow. To aid in draining, open all hot water faucets throughout the RV.
4. Now is the time to use a tank flush tool and thoroughly flush out the tank and remove mineral deposits trapped below the drain opening. The Tank Flush Tool is available at Camping World and most RV parts stores
5. Close all hot water faucets opened earlier and turn on the city water or the water pump (the higher the pressure, the better).
6. Open the pressure and temperature relief valve and allow water to gush from the drain opening as fresh water rushes in.
7. Allow this flushing to continue for five to ten minutes. This will remove any stagnant water along with any residual mineral deposits that may remain.
8. After flushing, turn off the water source, reinstall the drain plug/anode (or close the drain valve) and close the pressure and temperature relief valve by allowing the lever to snap shut.
Note: Inspect the anode rod and replace if more than 50% is missing.
9. Turn on the water pressure again and open all the hot water faucets inside the coach until water flows freely from all hot faucets.
10. Now, turn off the water and all but one of the hot faucets, then open the pressure and temperature relief valve again to release any water and to establish a cushion of air on top of the water in the water heater. When water stops dripping from the pressure and temperature relief valve, close it and the last hot faucet inside the RV. The heater is now ready for use and you can turn on the gas or electric switch to heat the water in the tank.