RV Hookups Explained: Water, Sewer and Electric

Written by Megan

The basics to caring for your RV are water, sewer, and electric.

These three crucial elements aren’t hard to understand, but can ruin your RV if you don’ttake the time to learn about them.

This guide will explain your RV hookups in easy-to-understand terms so you can rest easy, knowing your hookups are properly installed.

WATER HOOKUPS

First and foremost, you want to make sure you buy the correct water hose for your RV. Don’t buy a regular old garden hose! Overtime, it will buildup bacteria and toxins which can lead to a health condition.

Instead, buy a BPA-free hose. Not only is a BPA free hose healthier – you’ll notice a much better taste, as well!

If you travel a lot (and want to use water during your travels), you will need to fill your water tank. To fill your water tank, follow these quick and easy steps:

  1. Unravel your hose to ensure that there are no kinks.
  2. Attach one side of the hose to your freshwater tank (usually located on the side of your RV).
  3. Attach the other side of the hose to the campground water hook up spigot. (Don’t attach to “non-potable” water! Potable is clean enough for drinking, non-potable is dirty and may contain harsh chemicals.)
  4. Turn on the water and be sure to occasionally check the monitor gauge to make sure that you don’t overfill the tank. (If the tank overfills, it can damage many components surrounding your water system.)
  5. Once it’s filled up, turn off the water, remove the hose, and roll it back up to put in your storage container.

It’s that simple! Depending on how many people you have RVing with you will depend on how many times you have to refill the tank. It empties when you shower, wash dishes, and grab a glass of water, so be sure to keep an eye on your monitor gauge!

Another way to keep water running through your RV is to leave it hooked up at the campground. This is great for those who take longer stays (anywhere from a week to a month). The price of your site will be a little more expensive, but it’s well worth it to always have water at the tips of your fingertips. To keep your RV filled with water, follow these simple steps:

  1. Unravel your hose to ensure that there are no kinks.
  2. Attach one side of the hose to your water hookup (usually located on the side of your RV next to your freshwater tank).
  3. Attach the other side of the hose to the campground water hook up.
  4. Turn on the water and viola! You’re set to go.

Don’t forget to turn off your water pump! You don’t need it while connected to pressurized water and it can damage the pump.

While this method is certainly the easiest (especially if you’re staying at a campground for a while) don’t forget to fill the tank before you depart. Follow the steps above and you’ll have water in the tank to last until you get to your next destination.

SEWAGE HOOKUPS

Let’s face it: you can’t start RVing without committing to the dirty work! Whether you shower once, use the bathroom once, or wash dishes once, you’ll have some filthy water that needs to be cleaned out.

Before you work with the RV sewage system, always make sure you have some disposable gloves with you. If not, you’re putting your health at risk! No one wants to be covered in, well, crap! For emptying out your sewage tank, follow the simple steps below:

  1. Put your gloves on (before anything).
  2. Make sure the RV valves are closed.
  3. Remove the cap and attach the sewer hose. If you’re at a campground, there will be an attachment in the ground where you connect the other end of the hose.

Once you have it hooked up, you won’t have to empty it manually. Just leave the valves open and everything will flush right out.

However, if you don’t have hookups, you’ll need to manually empty the tanks. Here are the steps to empty them:

  1. Hook up the sewage hose to your RV and the dump station, just like in the setup (Don’t forget your gloves!)
  2. Slowly open the black water valve. If you’ve got a lot of build up in the tank, you’ll want to make sure you’re taking extra precaution. The sewage hose is sturdy, but you don’t want to put too much pressure into it!
  3. For an extra clean tank, fill it back up with clean water and dump again until nothing but clear water comes You can do this with a manual hose cleaning attachment which you put down the toilet, or with the built-in cleaning button if you have one. Do this as many times as necessary.
  4. After draining the black water tank, close it before you open the greywater tank Draining the grey water tank second will ensure that any raw materials don’t stick to your hose.
  5. Once you’re sure the tank is cleaned out, you can close the valve.
  6. Remove the hose from the sewage tank and put the cap back on.
  7. Rinse out your sewage hose and allow it to dry before storing it!

There you have it, a freshly cleaned RV tank. After a few times of doing this, you’ll notice that it’s not super hard (or even that gross). Make sure you continue to check the monitor gauge, too. You don’t want your black tank (or grey tank) to get full! That’ll leave you with a bigger mess (and a pretty unpleasant odor in the bathroom).

ELECTRIC HOOKUPS

Because of the different shapes and sizes, no RV hookup will be the same. You’ll need to make sure that you have the right electric adapter before attempting to hook-up your RV at a campground. There are 50 AMP and 30 AMP electrical hook-ups (as well as adapters).

So, what’s the easiest way to see what your rig needs? Look at the plug attached to the power cord on your RV. If it’s got three prongs, it’s a 30 AMP. If it’s got four prongs, it’s a 50 AMP!

However, sometimes you’ll go to a campground and they won’t have the right amp for your rig. If that’s the case, you’ll need an adapter If you have a 30 AMP cord and the plug is 50 AMP, you’ll need an adapter with a 30 AMP input (three holes) and a 50 AMP output (four prongs), and vice versa.

There you have it! We hope we were able to help you understand your RV a little more about your RV and its functions, now.

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