RV and Camper Trailer: Plumbing Repairs, Parts, and Maintenance Made Easy For DIY Owners. FAQS
Camper Maintenance and repairs
Performing RV plumbing repairs in your particular camping unit is a part of regular maintenance. Inspection at the beginning of the season is a must if your sojourns to our great campgrounds are to be a success. No one wants the RV sewer system acting up while they are on vacation, especially their campsite neighbors.
By checking the RV plumbing at least annually, most plumbing problems can be prevented or repaired before they cause trouble. Leaky faucets should be fixed as soon as possible by replacing the rubber seals and valve seats just as you would in your home. It is a good idea to replace them every two years even if they aren’t leaking.
Since these RV plumbing parts are usually not subjected to water but a few times a year, they tend to dry out and become hard and brittle. If not changed they may not seal correctly or possibly break. The same goes for the shower and bath fixtures.
RV Water Supply Lines
The water supply lines in a RV can be of different materials, but all have one purpose., to deliver water to the sink, bath, shower, or toilet. Flexibility is one common requirement the different materials possess because of the flexing experienced while the camping unit is being transported to and from the campsite.
Older camper units may use copper tubing, while newer models use flexible plastic materials. The copper tubing may require a flare tool when replacing or repairing a broken water line, while the flex tubing uses rubber or plastic pressure fittings to insure a good seal. These parts can be found in most Home Depot or Lowe’s building supply stores.
RV and camper trailer toilets have different mechanisms than that used at home. Instead of retaining water in them at all times they use a trapdoor type slide and water flush component to dispose of the waste. The water connection to the toilet is no different than used at home.One of the most common problems with the toilet is incomplete closing of the sliding trap door.
The slide fits snugly into a groove when operating correctly. After a period of time, bits of toilet paper may become lodged in the groove preventing the slide from closing tightly. This will allow air to seep from the waste holding tank causing an odor problem. Carefully clean this groove with a small piece of wire until the slide will seat properly into the groove.
Size Doesn't Matter
RV Plumbing Repairs are usually simple
Another common problem with an RV waste system is the rubber seals contained in the outside valves leading from both the gray water and black water holding tanks. These seals are merely rubber o-rings which fit tightly around the slide valve rods.
These need changing at least every three years because of the exposure to chemicals which may be in the gray or black water tanks. A messy job yes, but better than doing it in the campground. Inspect both RV holding tanks regularly also.
Any leaks can be easily repaired with patching kits made especially for this purpose. Be sure to follow directions on these products as the hardening time is very short.
In most cases the sewer lines are ordinary ABS black plastic tubing. This pipe, as well as elbows, couplings and other connections can also be purchased at Lowe’s and Home Depot.
You may even want to extend the drain hook up closer to the edge of the unit for easier connection. These repairs only require the correct couplings and a can of cement. It is not a bad idea to carry spare couplings, tubing, and glue along with you on your trips just in case.
Keeping your RV camping unit in good shape is an ongoing job, but well worth the effort. By doing an annual inspection you can rest easy while enjoying the great out doors. And so can your camping neighbors.
Easiest plumbing repairs ever!
SharkBite plumbing connections work on all types of pipes and require no glue to attach and also remove just as easy. Simply snap together for a leak-proof fit. perfect for emergency repairs when away from home. For all sizes of pipes.
Replace or repair the old plumbing with this special SharkBite tubing.
RV Toilet replacement And Repair
There comes a time when the RV toilet may need replacing because of wear and tear, or because the plastic used in some older type RV toilets can become so brittle it cracks around the flushing valves or where it attaches to the floor.
Depending on which type of RV toilet you decide to replace your old one with, you can spend from around $100.00 to over $200.00. Low profile toilets or oversize models can be substituted for the older model camper toilet if you so choose.
An example of these types are shown on this same page. There is a variety of prices to choose from also.
In most cases a new camper toilet can be purchased for a little more than the repair parts cost for the older models. These newer, more efficient model RV toilets have easy to operate flushing valves.and better odor control features than the old types.
Check clearances and RV plumbing connections before changing the type. Follow installation instructions closely to ensure proper operation. Unless the RV toilet problems are minor it is better to just replace it with a newer model.
RV Replacement Hot Water Heaters
Many sizes to choose from!
RV Hot Water Heater Replacement
Although many older RV's and campertrailers used propane to heat the water in the water heaters, today electric models are used in many models. Whichever type your camper uses there are repair parts available from most RV parts dealers. Heating elements and valves are usually the culprits needing repairing most often. Gas models need to be cleaned annually for safe and efficient operation. This may be a job for a professional unless you are knowledgeable about propane gas mechanics. Eventually a RV water heater needs replacing. Today's energy efficient models perform better and cheaper and may actually pay for themselves in gas savings over a period of time.
When ordering a new RV hot water heater make sure the dimensions and water capacity will suit your needs. Some changing of water supply fittings may be required. You may wanty to consider one of the "hot water on demand" type units for the kitchen or bathroom sink to keep from using water out of the main water heater. These units are great for eliminating leaky hot water lines running from the main RV hot water heater. Only the cold water line is used.
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