Welcome to the world of motorhome travel, a realm filled with adventure, freedom, and a handful of practical considerations. You're not just a tourist passing through; you're bringing your entire home along with you. Every detail matters, from the amount of gas in your tank to the food in your pantry, and yes, even the water in your tank.
Motorhome travel allows you to see the world from a unique vantage point. You have the chance to explore off-the-beaten-path locations, to wake up to a different breathtaking view every morning, and experience the open road like never before.
But along with this freedom comes responsibility. You have to understand how every component of your motorhome works, including how to manage your water supply. Having a reliable, potable water source is essential when you're on the road.
You need it for cooking, cleaning, and personal hygiene. It's easy to take for granted when you're living in a stationary home, but when you're travelling in a motorhome, you need to know how much water you have, where it's stored, and how to manage it properly.
MOTORHOME PLUMBING SYSTEM EXPLAINED
If you're a motorhome enthusiast, understanding the plumbing system is crucial for a smooth and enjoyable trip on the road.
- Holding tank, also known as the black tank. This tank is responsible for storing all the waste from your motorhome's toilet. It's important to regularly empty and clean this tank to avoid any unpleasant odours or clogs.
- Plumbing system is managing excess water. Motorhomes typically have a grey tank that collects water from sinks, showers, and appliances. It's essential to keep an eye on this tank to prevent overflows and leaks.
- Fresh water tank, which holds the clean water supply for your motorhome. It's important to regularly check and sanitise this tank to ensure that you have a steady and safe water source throughout your journey.
By understanding these components and maintaining them properly, you can ensure a hassle-free plumbing experience in your motorhome.
UNDERSTANDING MOTORHOME WATER TANKS
Your motorhome has two types of water tanks: the fresh water tank, where you store the water you'll use for drinking, cooking, and cleaning, and the waste holding tanks, which collects the water you've used. When you fill up your fresh water tank, it's crucial to consider the total weight, and how it will affect your vehicle's performance.
Water is heavy. A full fresh water tank can add a significant amount of additional weight to your motorhome. This added weight can affect your fuel efficiency, your vehicle's speed, and its manoeuvrability. It's essential to be aware of this when deciding whether to travel with a full fresh water system or an empty tank.
Additionally, it's crucial to consider where your water tank is located. If it's not balanced properly, it can cause your motorhome to be off-balance, creating a potential safety risk.
HOW BIG IS A FRESH WATER TANK?
The answer of fresh tank can vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle, but most motorhomes come equipped with a fresh water tank that holds anywhere from 75 to 378 litres of water.
For those who are new to the world of motorhomes, it may be hard to imagine just how much water 75 to 378 litres actually is. To put it into perspective, a standard bathtub holds around 151 litres of water. That means even the smallest fresh water tanks found in motorhomes can hold enough water to fill half a bathtub!
On the other end of the spectrum, a 378 litres fresh water tank can hold enough water to fill two and a half bathtubs. Now that's a lot of water! Having a larger fresh water tank can be advantageous in several ways.
- It allows you to go longer periods of time without having to refill your fresh water tank filling often. This is especially beneficial if you plan on wild camping or camping in remote areas where access to fresh water may be limited.
- A larger fresh water tank gives you more flexibility when it comes to using water for activities such as showering or washing dishes. You won't have to constantly worry about conserving every drop of water if you have a generous supply on board.
Of course, the size of your motorhomes fresh water tank will also depend on your personal preferences and travel habits. If you tend to stay at campgrounds with full hookups, where you have access to unlimited fresh water, a smaller tank may be sufficient for your needs.
However, if you enjoy spending an extended period of time off the grid and rely on your motorhome's self-sufficiency, a larger fresh water tank is definitely a worthwhile investment.
CAN YOU DRIVE A MOTORHOME WITH A FULL WATER TANK?
So, can you drive a motorhome with a full water tank? The simple answer is yes, you can. But should you? That depends on a variety of factors.
If you're travelling to a location where you know water will be readily available, it may be more practical to travel with a partially filled tank of fresh water and fill it up once you reach your destination. This will reduce the weight of your vehicle and improve fuel efficiency.
However, if you're unsure whether you'll have access to fresh water, it might be best to travel with a very full tank of fresh well. Having a reliable water supply is crucial when you're on the road, and it's better to have too much than not enough.
PROS AND CONS OF DRIVING A MOTORHOME WITH A FULL WATER TANK
Driving a motorhome with a full water tank has both advantages and disadvantages.
SAFETY MEASURES WHEN DRIVING A MOTORHOME WITH A FULL WATER TANK
Safety should always be your top priority when you're on the road. If you decide to drive with a full water tank, there are several precautions you should take.
First, make sure your water tank is balanced properly. An unbalanced load can make your motorhome harder to control. Second, keep in mind that the additional weight will affect your vehicle's performance. You'll need to drive slower and take corners more carefully.
Lastly, always check your vehicle's weight restrictions. Overloading your motorhome with extra weight can cause damage to your vehicle and pose a safety risk.
TIPS FOR EFFICIENT WATER USE IN A MOTORHOME
Efficient water use is crucial when you're travelling in a motorhome. Here are a few tips to help you conserve water:
- Use a dishpan for washing dishes instead of letting the water run.
- Take quick showers instead of baths.
- Keep a bottle of drinking water in the fridge instead of running the tap until the water gets cold.
- Use biodegradable soap and cleaning products to help protect the environment.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT MOTORHOME WATER TANKS
In this section, we'll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about motorhome water tanks.
From how often to empty your waste water tank, to how to clean your fresh water tank, we've got the answers you need.
HOW MANY WATER TANKS DOES A MOTORHOME TYPICALLY HAVE?
Most motorhomes have at least two water tanks: a fresh water tank and a wastewater tank. The fresh water tank is where the clean, potable water is stored and used in the motorhome. The wastewater tank collects all the used water from the sinks, showers, and toilets, ready for disposal.
WHAT IS THE CAPACITY OF MOTORHOME WATER TANKS?
The capacity of motorhome water tanks can vary depending on the size and model of the motorhome. Fresh water tanks typically range from 20 to 100 gallons, with larger freshwater tanks being able to provide for longer periods without refilling. Wastewater tanks or black tanks can range from 20 to 60 gallons, depending on the motorhome's design.
HOW DO YOU FILL THE FRESH WATER TANK IN A MOTORHOME?
Motorhome fresh water tanks can be filled in a few different ways. The most common method is to connect a hose to a water source at a campground or RV park and fill the tank directly. Some motorhomes may also have a gravity fill port, where water can be poured in manually. It's important to ensure that the water source is safe and potable.
HOW DO YOU EMPTY THE BLACK WATER TANK IN A MOTORHOME?
Motorhome wastewater tanks can be emptied through a designated dump station or sewer hookup at a campground or RV park. The process involves connecting a hose from the wastewater tank's outlet valve to the dump station or sewer hookup. The valve is then opened, allowing the wastewater to flow out and be properly disposed of.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I EMPTY THE WASTEWATER TANK IN A MOTORHOME?
The frequency of emptying the wastewater tank depends on the usage and size of the tank. It's generally recommended to empty the tank when it reaches around ¾ full to prevent any overflow or odours. For larger tanks, this may be every few days, while smaller tanks may require more frequent emptying.
HOW TO CLEAN A FRESH WATER TANK?
Here are some steps to help you clean your motorhome's fresh water tank effectively:
- Drain the water: Start by emptying the fresh water tank completely. This can be done by opening the drain valve located at the bottom of the tank and letting the water flow out.
- Rinse the tank: Once the tank is empty, use a hose to rinse the interior of the tank thoroughly. Make sure to remove any sediment or debris that may have accumulated.
- Prepare a cleaning solution: You have two options for the cleaning solution. One option is to use white vinegar. Mix a solution of one part vinegar to three parts water in a bucket. The other option is to use bleach. Mix a solution of 1/4 cup of bleach to one gallon of water. Both vinegar and bleach have antimicrobial properties that can effectively kill bacteria and disinfect the tank.
- Add the cleaning solution: Pour the cleaning solution into the fresh water tank. Make sure to fill it to its maximum capacity to ensure all surfaces are covered. If your motorhome has a water pump, turn it on to circulate the solution throughout the system. Allow the solution to sit in the tank for at least 1-2 hours to effectively kill any bacteria or mould.
- Scrub the tank: After the solution has had time to sit, use a long-handled brush or sponge to scrub the interior of the tank. Pay extra attention to the corners and hard-to-reach areas. This step helps to dislodge any stubborn residue or buildup.
- 7. Rinse thoroughly: Once you have scrubbed the tank, drain the cleaning solution completely. Rinse the tank multiple times with clean water to remove any traces of the cleaning solution. This step is crucial to ensure that no residue remains which could affect the taste or quality of the water.
- Sanitise the water system: Lastly, sanitise the entire water system, including the tank and all connected components. This can be done by adding a small amount of bleach or vinegar to a fresh water supply, filling the tank, and running the water through all faucets and showers until you can smell the bleach or vinegar. Let this solution sit for at least 15 minutes before flushing the system with clean water.
Check out our other article, how to get your motorhome ready for summer, for more tips and tricks for a successful trip!
FINAL TIPS FOR MOTORHOME WATER MANAGEMENT
Managing your water supply effectively is essential when you're on the road. Always keep track of how much water you have, how much you're using, and where you'll be able to refill your tank. And remember, it's always better to have too much water than not enough.
So, can you drive a motorhome with a full water tank? Yes, but it's essential to consider the implications regarding the added weight and safety. Prioritise your needs, the availability of water at your destination, and the impact on your vehicle's performance.
Start your adventure today! Call us now on 01865 818341 or click here for a motorhome insurance quote that fits your budget and vehicle.