Many of our Dallas/Fort Worth RV owners are prepping their coach for this year’s big trip. You might have even made some sort of checklist of preparations for the trip. Our question is: where is plumbing on your checklist? While many RV drivers know the importance of cleaning an RV’s roof, or getting an engine checkup, we found that many of our DFW drivers do not make plumbing maintenance as high of a priority. That is why we wanted to dedicate this week’s blog to helpful tips to maintain your RV’s plumbing.
Check your Plumbing Annually
The first step towards maintaining your RV’s plumbing is to make it an annual priority. Checking your plumbing at least annually will help you prevent or fix most plumbing issues before they become financially burdensome. For instance, if you run across a leaky faucet during your checkup, fixing it immediately by replacing the rubber seals and valve seats. These should also be replaced once every two years.
You should also make it a habit of checking all of your RV plumbing parts. These parts are only exposed to water a few times a year, so they tend to harden and become brittle, which may cause them to break or not fit correctly. Once you notice that these parts are becoming dry or hard, it means you should change them out. This also applies to shower or bath fixtures.
Operating the RV Water Heater
Many of us are familiar with using a water heater designed for a house; however, a water heater for an RV is quite different. Unlike the house’s water heater, the RV’s requires user intervention. Here are a few tips of things to pay attention to:
- Before lighting the gas pilot or turning on any electric heating function, make sure your water heater tank is filled with water. This may seem like an obvious tip; however, you’d be surprised how many repairs we’ve had based from this problem alone.
- Check to be sure that the water heater inlet and outlet lines are not bypassed with a winterization bypass kit and that water flows from the hot faucet in the sink or shower.
- After you check that water is flowing, turn on the heater. Now, there are a number of different heating systems used by RVs, ranging from a pilot to a Direct Spark ignition, so we recommend you check your user manual to see how to properly turn on your RV’s heater.
- While you have your manual out, check to see the appropriate temperature for your water. Be careful not to overheat, as it could lead to severe scalding.
What Not to Put Down Your Drain
RV’s plumbing, despite the extra work, is still very effective at disposing waste. That being said, there are a number of items that should not be put down your drain:
- Grease or oil because it will congeal in the tanks and pipes, which could require dynamite to remove.
- Caustic cleaners or solvents because tanks are ABS plastic and solvents can destroy them.
- Flammable liquids.
- Toxic wastes.
- Food scraps. Even small scraps can build up in your tanks and cause a blockage. We recommend using a drain screen.
- Don’t flush anything down the toilet that isn’t disposable in water. This includes tampons, paper towel, bottle caps, toys, Q-tips, cotton balls, and so on, as you will be leaving your RV at risk of severe blockage.
- The less ply your toilet paper has, the better off your plumbing will be. It’s best to use either an inexpensive one or two ply tissue you can get at your local food store. There is also specialized RV toilet paper, which unfortunately is quite pricey. Whatever you use, it needs to dissolve fully in your tank. If you are unsure if your toilet paper will dissolve, always do the jar test: take a sheet or two of your toilet paper, put it in a jar that is half full of water and give it a shake. Safe toilet paper will dissolve readily, while anything else will not.
- Toilet chemicals containing formaldehyde. These chemicals wreck havoc with sewage treatment plants and septic systems alike.
- Pine oil will do long term damage to the seals on the tank gate valves, leading to expensive and disgusting repairs down the road.
There is still so much more to cover for plumbing maintenance for RVs, and we plan to go further in the following weeks. If you have any plumbing questions or concerns, do not hesitate to make an appointment with Coach Specialists of Texas. We have a staff full of experienced experts who have worked with numerous plumbing systems for a variety of RVs. Click on our link to set up your appointment today!