The last thing you want to see when you are getting your RV ready for a trip is water leaking onto the floor. This is a good reason to check everything before you leave – it’s easier to repair a burst RV water line before you hit the road. While a plumbing problem can arise at any time, the most common time is when you first take the RV out of winter storage.
Because the lines in most modern RVs are plastic, you should check the plumbing system every time you take your RV out for a trip. Checking the lines before you leave can help you avoid downtime when you are on the road, especially if you are camping in a remote spot where it is hard to get to an RV shop or home repair store.
Find the Leak
If you notice water leaking or very low pressure when you first turn the water on to check it, look for a leak. It’s easier to find a leak when you can see the water leaking onto the floor, but with a little help from a friend, you can find a leak that you can’t immediately see.
If you see water leaking on the floor, immediately turn the water off. Remove the panel, open the cabinet, or lift the seat cushion to access the leaking water line. Once you see the leak, you are ready for the next step.
If you cannot see water leaking and the water pressure is low, you’ll have to go hunting for the leak. Turn the water off, remove all panels, lift seat cushion covers, and open all cabinets. Have a couple of people monitor those areas. Someone will need to monitor the outside areas where panels can be removed, such as over the water heater.
Once you have the spotters you need, turn the water on. Look for spraying or even drips of water. Once you find the problem area, turn the water off. Clean up any water that leaked. You are now ready for water line repair RV DIY.
Find the Correct Fitting, Line or Elbow
DIYing an RV water line repair is easy enough for most, but if the damaged section of the line is in a difficult place to reach, or if too much of the line is cracked, you might want to call in the professionals. Otherwise, even those without a lot of mechanical ability can fix an RV water line.
Before repairing RV water line, cut the broken piece of line out or remove the elbow if the crack is there. Take the piece of the broken line or the old elbow to the hardware store. It will help you with sizing the proper fitting. Be sure to use an all-purpose pipe cutter for a clean cut in the line. You use this for plastic or copper lines.
To remove an elbow, unscrew the lock nuts and remove the entire elbow. If you bring it with you, it’s easier to find the right size. If the break is in a straight part of the line and is small enough, you can use a compression fitting to replace the broken section of the line. If the broken section is longer, you’ll need the length of the line to replace the cracked line and two compression fittings.
Installing the Repair Pieces
If you are installing a compression fitting, slide the line through the holes on each end as far as it will go. Using a wrench, tighten the nut in the middle of the fitting. Gently tug on each end of the line to make sure it won’t pull out. Turn the water on and check for leaks.
To replace the elbow, wrap the plumber’s sealing tape around the threads three times. Fit the elbow in place and tighten the nuts. When you slide the elbow in place, make sure not to disturb the tape. Also, don’t over tighten the nuts, as you could crack the plastic or strip the fitting.
You don’t want the nuts too loose either as they will leak. They should be a bit more than hand-tight. Turn the water on to test the system and make sure your repair doesn’t leak.
For more information about RVing, visit Wayfarer Insurance Group.