RVing 101: A Guide to RV Water System Components

RVing by the water
••• Understanding your RV's water systems is essential for a comfortable RV stay anywhere. Multi-bits/Taxi/Getty Images

If there’s one resource on this planet that rules all, it has to be water. Water is essential to life and RV travel. Most RVs come with some type of RV water system that you will need to get acquainted with to ensure you have comfortable road trips for years to come. 

RV water systems will, of course, vary with different types of RVs. The more complex and outfitted an RV system, the chances are that its RV water system will be, too, and vice versa with simple RVs.

Typical Components of RV Water Systems

While we can’t talk about every single component of RV water systems in one article, here's an overview including some of the more common RV water system components. 

Fresh Water Tank

As the name implies the fresh water tank holds fresh and potable water to be used in every part of your RV from showering to drinking. Freshwater tanks can vary in size depending on the size of the RV. They often can hook up to outside water systems to give you consistent water throughout your RV journey. The freshwater tank will be found on all RVs with functional plumbing. 

Gray Water Tank

The gray water tank is not found on all RVs, but most do contain a gray water tank and they are becoming more popular as both RV manufacturers and consumers recognize their benefits. The gray water tank holds water that is not potable but is safer than your waste water tank’s contents. The gray water tank might be filled with water from your sink or shower and can be reused in situations where the water doesn’t need to be pristine, like washing dishes or toilet water.

 

Waste Water Tank 

The wastewater tank is also known as the black water tank. As the name implies this is the tank that holds all of your dirty business such as water from the toilet and may collect water from all drains in your RV in a system that doesn’t have a gray water tank. Wastewater is not potable under any conditions.

 

Those are the three main components of RV water systems, but RVs may come with different components depending on the complexity of your ride. Here are some more common RV water system components. 

Accumulator Tanks 

An accumulator tank collects and pressurizes water, usually with an air bladder for distribution in your RV. An accumulator tank can help decrease the work that your RV’s water pump has to do and also can reduce water pressure spikes and sags. If your RV pump is running or your water pressure fluctuates, it might be time to consider an accumulator tank. Accumulator tanks may be preinstalled in some models of RVs.

Water Pumps 

Most RVs with taps and faucets come with water pumps. Water pumps help push water through all your lines and hoses and get it where it needs to go. Not all water pumps are created equal and, unfortunately, low-quality pumps and found in the world of RVing. If your RV water pump isn’t getting the job done, consider upgrading to something bigger and better for your rig and setup.

Water Filtration Systems 

RVers travel all over, but they can’t be expected to know the water quality at RV park in America. That’s why many RVers have installed water filtration systems.

Most filtration systems rely on the time-tested method of carbon filtration, but there are other systems out there. If you are concerned about the quality of your water you might consider a water filtration system. Water filtration systems vary in price depending on their quality. 

These are some of the main components of RV water systems but not a complete list by any means. If you are concerned about the quality of your RV’s system or are considering upgrading all the better. Visit your local RV supply store or hop on some RV forums to get an idea of what can benefit your RV’s water system.