RV plumbing is a huge topic. I have several pages dedicated to the subject, but this is your “start here” page for the topic.
RV plumbing repairs are the number one repair that my local repair guy performs. The number of rv plumbing repairs are probably due to many factors. I'll list my theories here why plumbing might be so problematic :
- Traveling in an RV is a bumpy affair.
- RV's mobility causes bumps and vibrations – vibrations loosen fittings
- The longer the trip, the higher probability of a loose fitting. Observe for leaks carefully after a long trip.
- Connecting and un-connecting water pressure causes loosening
- RV's have water pressure turned on and off all the time.
- Water cycling could cause leaks in a water system.
- Watch for water leaks even more diligently after long periods of being without pressure.
- Temperature cycling
- I believe that RV's experience a greater range of temperatures.
- Temperature cycling would cause leaks due to expansion and contraction of rv plumbing fittings. Have you ever seen northern US roads after a cold winter? That is temperature cycling. This is the same with your RV.
- Dry fittings
- If an RV has been in storage for along time, rubber gaskets and washers can lose their ability to be a gasket. They can become dry, hard, and cracked.
- If your RV has been in dry storage for a long time, watch for leaks very carefully when you first attach water pressure
- High water pressure
- Many RV parks can have too high water pressure.
- While RVs are designed to manage water pressure – they have a pressurized system – anything over 30 psi is too high and that pressure can cause leaks in your RV.
Some recommendations I would give to reduce plumbing leaks in an RV
- When leaving the RV for more than 2 days, turn off the water to the RV. This may cause your fittings to get dry, but if you are gone at least it won't spring a leak for 30 days unnoticed and cause a $10K floor repair.
- Whenever you turn off the water, make sure you turn off the hot water heater. Heating an empty hot water heater will cause you buy a new hot water heater.
- Whenever the water is turned off, but you aren't taking off, open a faucet and reduce the pressure in the system.
- When turning water back on to the RV, check all of the fittings to make sure there are no new leaks.
- When you are unsure of the external water pressure, make sure you have an incoming pressure control valve.
Here are some more detailed rv plumbing articles and how-to video pages:
RV Outdoor Shower – How To, Videos, and Information
RV Sink How To, Video, and Information
RV Faucet How To, Video, and Information
Here are some other articles about plumbing in the RV you might find handy :
- Article on fixing a bathroom sink in an RV.
- Check out the fresh water inlet article.
- Where you fill your fresh water tank - the inlet
- How to page on Fresh water
- Water routing controls from my book The 5th Wheel RV - the Exterior
- RV Plumbing basics article
- Hooking up the utilities at a campsite
- Tighten those plumbing fixtures regularly!
- Glamping - the coolness of hot water.
- Things come loose with vibration in an RV - Sheri's suprise
- Fixing the kitchen sink with fixtures from Lowes
- Typical RV water convenience center
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