If you have an RV, then you know that the hardest part of any trip can be finding a place to park for the night. And one thing all RVs have in common is that they come with holding tanks.
If your holding tank starts to leak or overflow, it could spell disaster for your plumbing and even ruin the inside of your RV. The good news is there’s a quick fix that will save you time and money by preventing any possible damage to your water heater.
Tips on How to Bypass RV Holding Tanks?
Here are five easy steps on how to bypass RV holding water heater tanks:
Step 1) Remove the Vent Pipe
You need to remove the vent pipe that is connected to the holding tank because it will no longer be connected to anything.
Step 2) Take off the Insulation
Remove the insulation wrap from the pipe where it goes through the floor or wall of your RV.
Step 3) Locate Water Heater Bypass Valve
Now locate your water heater valves and determine which one is supplying hot water to your kitchen sink or toilet. You’ll now cut off this valve and connect it directly to the lower part of the bypass hose. Do this by using a small anvil or plumber’s wrench.
Step 4) Connect Bypass Hose
Next use a tee fitting and connect one side of the tee to the valve that you just disconnected on your RV. Then connect the other side of the tee to your new bypass sewer hose.
Step 5) Install a U-Shaped Fitting
Now that all of these connections have been made, you will need to install a U-shaped fitting onto your bypass water hose, and then connect this to your water pump vent pipe. Now, using some plumber’s tape, ensure that the connections are good and secure.
Step 6) Open a Faucet In Your Kitchen Sink
You’ll need to open a faucet in your kitchen sink or RV toilet. This will allow the water pressure to force the RV holding water tank, orifice tube, and nipple off of their connections.
Step 7) Drain Tank Contents
Unscrew the base of the RV holding water heater tank and drain any remaining waste water.
Step 8) Reattach Vent Pipe
Finally, to prevent any possible leaks, wrap your vent pipe with Teflon tape before you reattach it to your RV holding tank.
Why do I Have to Use a Holding Water Heater Tank Bypass?
If you don’t use this RV water system, your RV holding tanks can overflow and you can damage your RV plumbing system, sewer system and even ruin the flooring in your RV. If you wet carpeting or wood floors, it will create a lot of work to have to dry them out before putting everything back together in order for your RV to be ready for its next trip.
How do Holding Water Heater Tanks Work?
The holding water heater tank is the lowest one inside your RV. The water enters into the top of the fresh water tank under a small space and then passes through to fill it. It comes in contact with the heating elements on its way down, which are installed in all tanks these days to prevent freezing.
After passing through, it exits out of an overflow fitting on the top of the tank. A vent pipe is connected to the overflow port and runs up through a wall or ceiling to allow bad air and pressure from inside to escape.
How Does RV Antifreeze Work?
The chemical does not thicken when it meets cold temperatures so it will not freeze the water or rv pipes. It also does not inhibit the taste of the water, antibacterial properties, or any other qualities of the holding tank water. You should use RV antifreeze to protect your plumbing from freezing. Use it as a type of water heater bypass.
What Is The Purpose Of RV Antifreeze?
Colder temperatures make an RV water heater coil less efficient and can lead to rusty, clogged and broken pipes. More importantly, leaked acidic water inside the holding tank can eat away at the metal, weaken it and eventually cause leaks.
RV antifreeze is made to replace the water in your RV tank with a non-toxic solution that will keep it from freezing. It also prevents the water wearing down any metal components or leaks that may occur due to temperature changes. You should always use antifreeze in areas where the temperature falls below 40° F.
What about Holding Tanks Without an RV Antifreeze Filter?
If you have an older RV with no antifreeze filter, there is a way to bypass the water without it. In those instances, you can use a small bucket to catch the water that’s overflowing from your septic tank, so it does not run over and flood onto the floor. You can then put a funnel into the bucket to transfer it back into your RV fresh water holding tank.
What is the Best Method for Winterizing an RV?
Winterizing an RV is a disappointing task that you should not put off until spring. Start by draining out the gray water tank, then connect it to your outside water and drain line. If the plumbing is dirty or there are rust spots, consider replacing these parts before storing them away for winter.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Was I Supposed To Use Antifreeze In My Holding Water Heater Tank?
Answer: Yes, antifreeze should be used in all water heater tanks. And since it is so cold when you set up camp at an RV park, this will keep your holding tank from freezing. Your unit should have come with instructions on how to use the antifreeze.
2. Can I Use Any Type of Antifreeze in My Holding Tanks?
Answer: No, using regular tap water will cause an RV antifreeze leak because it can expand or freeze when it hits a cold water tank. There are products manufactured specifically for RVs that won’t harm plumbing and won’t cause costly repairs.
3. Should I Use the RV Antifreeze Always?
Answer: Yes, using RVs antifreeze chemicals for winterizing will make the water safe to drink. It also protects your plumbing from freezing in winter months. It can be drained out before you travel anywhere in your RV.
4. Is Antifreeze or Bleach Bad For RV Holding Tanks?
Answer: No, you should never use bleach in your holding tank. And while there are some chemicals that can dissolve the buildup and cause algae growth, this is not a good idea either. There are some additives on the market or you simply flush out your tank with water to keep it clean year after year.
You can even get an RV antifreeze filter to make sure you don’t introduce any harmful chemicals into your holding tank.
5. How Much RV Antifreeze Should I Use?
Answer: The best way to find out how much antifreeze you will need is to test the ice cube method. Fill a tumbler with potable water and freeze it, then count how many ice cubes you get in a 24 hour period. This will tell you exactly how much antifreeze you should add before winter sets in.
6. Winter’s Coming! Is It Too Late To Add Antifreeze To My Holding Tank?
Answer: Depending on how cold it has gotten and will continue to get in your area, there is a chance that you can still add good RV antifreeze.
Once the city water has frozen into place inside your tank, you cannot add another dose. You should be able to save yourself from a costly plumbing repair if you catch the freezing when it first starts.
The RV holding tanks can be a pain to manage. But with these 5 easy steps, you’ll have bypassed your hot water tank and prevented any overflow or damage from happening! So before you hit the road this winter (or anytime of year), be sure to check out our blog post on how you can bypass RV holding tanks with a quick fix.