As the dog days of summer approach, it is important to take a few precautions when it comes to your freshwater tanks, plumbing fixtures, and staying hydrated yourself!
Most RVers understand the issues with water in tanks and pipes when RVing in below-freezing weather however they don’t realize the issues when it comes to really hot temperatures.
Fresh Water In Tanks And Pipes
Typically the water you use in your RV is going to be hard water coming from the campground source. This water is not treated and can contain minerals and even some harmful components. Even though campgrounds are required to have the well water tested once a year, it doesn’t guarantee the water is good all year round! According to the CDC, hot weather and extreme drought can lower water levels in the wells and cause contamination. I am a firm believer in testing the water from the campground source prior to hooking it up to your rig. A simple tester is this Intellitec version that will tell you the particles per million which doesn’t tell exactly what is in the water, just the level of acceptable particles.
Essentially, it measures continuity as the cleaner the water, the less continuity between the probes. It is also a good indicator that it is time to change your filter as there are more minerals present when the filter is not working properly.
To get more specific about what is in the water, you can purchase a kit that will test over 20 different minerals, PH levels, and even arsenic.
These are simple tests that use a test strip and can even tell the hardness and alkalinity of the well water.
Always Use A Filter
Even if the water is testing ok, I still recommend a filter to keep calcium, lime, and rust out of your water system. These can clog the in-line screen to your water pump, get particles in the diaphragm of your water pump, and clog up faucets and shower heads.
There are several types such as this in-line filter or even the residential version you can find at a home improvement store. I like this Omni version as you can replace the cartridge for a few dollars rather than the entire cartridge like the in-line version.
If you really want to get fancy and go over the top in water quality, you can get a multi-canister system that will even filter bacteria and then add a water softener!
I would also recommend a water pressure regulator as some well pumps could have a higher pressure than your plumbing lines or fittings can handle!
Use an approved fresh water drinking hose
You want to use a connecting hose that is approved for “Potable” or fresh water as a typical garden hose will have not only a bad taste but when left out in the heat, can actually transfer chemicals from the rubber and plastics used into the water.
Don’t leave water in the RV during storage
If you are not going to use your rig for over 2 weeks in extreme heat, it is a good idea to drain all the water out of the freshwater tanks, water heater, lines, and refrigerator ice maker. Basically, winterize it by blowing out all the water. The hot weather will raise the temperature of the hard water and could be an incubator for bacteria and other pathogens unless the temperature reaches the boiling point of 212 degrees which will then sanitize the water. That will probably not happen even on the hottest days in Death Valley!
Drain, flush, and drain your holding tanks
Make sure both the black and gray water tanks have been drained, thoroughly flushed, and re-drained several times to ensure there is nothing that can grow in the tanks. I recommend using Tank Blaster in the black water tank and dumping/draining it. Then plug or cover all drains to sinks, showers, and toilets as there could be standing water in the “P” traps or other areas.
Do not leave any personal water containers sitting outside
If you carry fresh water in gallon jugs or larger jugs or have a case of individual water bottles, it’s not uncommon to store these under the rig when you get to camp as they can take up a lot of room inside when you want to be RVing. During extreme heat, the plastic can give off toxic components that will mix in with the water. Make sure if you do keep them outside they are in the shade at all times and do not get over 90 degrees.
Probably the best tip is to make sure everyone gets enough water during the summer and extreme heat, especially the kids and pets. Metal pet bowls can get very hot in the sun so keep them in the shade and replenish the water often.
About the author: Dave Solberg: Managing Editor, RV Repair Club
For the last 25 years, Dave has conducted RV maintenance and safety seminars, developed dealer and owner training programs, written RV safety and handyman articles authored an RV handbook reference guide, and logged over 100,000 miles on the road in an RV.
RV Repair Club is your go-to online resource for enthusiasts who want quality RV maintenance, repair and upgrade information – a community where passionate RVers can come together to gather knowledge and share their experiences.
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