Wait, so you’re saying that you can’t keep your freshwater tank with water in it for as long as you want without the need of draining the water? Yep, that’s pretty much exactly what we’re saying, as there’s going to be a good chance that you’ll need to drain your freshwater tank in your RV eventually.

Here’s the good news, the freshwater tank in an RV is the least intimidating tank in your RV’s system. It’s also incredibly easy to understand what it’s used for as it’s a tank devoted to holding freshwater, and it can be used during times when you don’t have direct access to city water.

All that being said, the water in the tank isn’t going to remain safe to use forever and before too long, you’re going to need to learn how to drain it. Yep, indeed, how to drain RV fresh water tank is what we want to dive into for this post.

How to drain RV fresh water tank?

Some tasks you need to perform in your RV will be more complicated than others. When it comes to draining the freshwater tank, however, that’s a pretty easy one. Let out a sigh of relief as the process isn’t too tedious, time-consuming, or difficult.

Now, it does go without saying that you can always consult the owner’s manual of your RV to see if there are specific instructions located in there. But we also have the goods on the process that you need to take to complete the draining of your freshwater tank.

1. Locate the low point drain valves and the freshwater tank drain valve

Okay, so first things first, you need to know where these valves are located. Typically, you’ll find them underneath your RV located near the freshwater holding tank. If you’re having trouble locating them, you can either check your owner’s manual or search online to find the information for your specific RV model.

2. Turn off the hot water heater

Before you begin, you’re going to want to turn off the hot water heater. Not only do you need to turn it off, but you’re also going to need to wait for the water in the heater holding tank to cool down a little bit (until it hits room temperature ideally). Also, if you can, set the water heater to the bypass position.

3. Open the faucets

Now, with the water cool enough to drain and the hot water heater turned off, it’s time to open up all the faucets in your RV. Keep in mind that even if you have an outside shower, the faucet on that should be opened.

4. Open the valves

This is where it becomes mandatory to know where your valves are as it’s time to open them. Firstly, open the freshwater tank dump valve to allow the water to drain out. Then, open the low-point drain valve and note that there should be one for both the cold and hot water lines.

5. Drain and flush

This is the final step of the process when addressing the question of how to drain RV fresh water tank. For starters, flush any and all toilets in your RV until the water stops flowing. Next, remove any remaining water from the freshwater lines by turning on the water pump. Lastly, go ahead and remove the water heater drain plug to allow all the remaining water to pour out.

Should you leave water in your freshwater tank?

All of this talk about how you’re supposed to drain your water tank pretty much indicates that you shouldn’t leave water in it for extended periods of time, right? Yes, that’s the truth, and it really comes down to the simple fact that before too long, water left in the tank will be unhealthy to drink and cook with.

So, if you’re winterizing your RV or just planning to store it for a long time, make sure that freshwater tank is fully drained. Even while on the road, unless you need the water, traveling with a full tank can add weight to your rig and lessen the fuel economy.

Okay, so how long can water stay in the tank?

So, if it’s not a good idea to keep water in your freshwater tank for an extended period of time, how long should you go before draining? You’ll often hear or see the two-week rule be associated with this, and that’s more or less the guideline you should adhere to.

Now, if you don’t plan to use the water for drinking or cooking purposes, you may be able to extend the length it stays in the tank to about a month or so.

What happens if the water and then the tank get contaminated?

This can happen from time to time and if you notice that your freshwater tank starts to emit a funky smell, it may be contaminated. Don’t worry, as there’s an easy solution to this issue.

  • Using household bleach, for every 15 gallons of water, pour ¼ cup of bleach in your tank. Not a ton of bleach will be needed, as you can see.
  • Be sure to run water until you smell bleach.
  • After all the bleached water is out, allow your tank to sit for 24 hours.
  • Finally, run the water and refill your tank until you can no longer smell any bleach.

What happens if you drink contaminated water?

Whenever you drink water that’s deemed unsafe, there are going to be health effects that could result. Hence, it’s very important to have water in your freshwater tank that’s healthy to drink (if you plan to use it for that reason). To learn more, you can check out what the United States Environmental Protection Agency has to say about drinking water.

Final thoughts

As you saw, the overall process of how to drain RV fresh water tank is not too complicated of an endeavor. It just takes a little bit of time and a few steps to accomplish. Really, the important thing to take from this post is the fact that not draining your RV freshwater tank can cause problems in a few different ways.

Depending on how often you use your RV and plan to use your freshwater tank, you may never need to drain it as you may end up always using all the water before it even needs to be drained. Still, it’s a process that you may have to do. So, it’s nice to know how!