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Old 11-16-2019, 10:53 PM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Middle Tennessee
Posts: 38
Water Supply for my RV

Greetings! I recently lost my home to a fire (everyone is fine), and I ask my insurance company if, rather than them giving a big rent check to a hotel for the next 6-12 months, I could buy an RV, park it on my property, and they could just give me the rent money they would have given a hotel. This way, depending on how long it takes to rebuild my house, I might just end up with a free RV! However, because I basically had to jump in without much due dilligence/research, I am know the least informed/most inexperienced RV owner you have ever known. Worse still, I'm a white collar guy who shamefully has never aquired much knowledge about things guys should know about like auto repair, construction, etc. I tell you all this just to say please understand and forgive me for the incredibly dumb questions I'm sure I will be asking over the next few weeks. Lets start with this one:

For a number of reasons I won't bore you with, I'm going to have to run a water line 450 feet in order to get water to my camper!!!!! Yes, I know that is a very long way but I can't help that. The good news is that cost isn't so critical since insurance is likely to pay for it. The bad news is I don't know where to start...

I have a friend who is certainly not a plumber, but he does have a fair amount of experience with water lines and he owns a backhoe, so he is going to help me. Let me just tell you what we are planning to do and perhaps you all can tell me if we are making any major mistakes.

Because the camper has to be the opposite direction from my house, we can't really take advantage of the existing line going to my house (what is left of it). Therefore, we are going to start at the water meter, then follow the service line going to my house just about 3-5 feet from the meter, then install some sort of Y with cut offs so either line can be on or off. We are using an old meter box to put the Y cut offs in. THen basically we are going to run the new Y 450 feet over to my camper. WE PLAN TO USE 3/4 INCH PEX PIPE FOR ALL THAT. He has a crimper tool and fittings which I am told are harder to do but cheaper than shark bites). We think 3/4 is size of the meter, btw. I hope that is the size you all say I should be using???

i feel liek we might be ok so far (do you all agree?) but then we get lost....

Once we get right up to the camper with the 3/4 inch Pex, we aren't sure what to do so I'd really love advice on that: Keep in mind we are going to bury the line right it to within a foot or so of camper, but what do we do going from under ground to the camper hose intake? SHould we get adapter/fitting and try to hook the Main Pew we just ran directly into the water intake? Should we set some kind of in-gound faucent that is few by the main PEX line but then is threaded to allow a normal hosepipe to be screwed in (in other words, like a normal hose faucet youd have outside your house except put it down in a meter box so it won't freeze)?

Next, whether you tell me to hook the main Pex line directly into the camper (perhaps with pressure reducer) or to hook pex to an in-ground faucent and then run a hose from that faucet up to water intake, either way you suggest I also need to know what to do about freezing? Reguardless of how I get water ALMOST to the camper, I can't figure out how people hook a hose pipe to a camper in the winter time? Do I have to buy one of those $100 heated hoses? I'm already going to be short on electricity and I bet those use a lot? But I can't imagine any other way that a hose can be ran from ground into my RV water supply without it freezing.

I know this is extremely long, please forgive me. If ayone had the patience to ake it through all that and offer some insight/suggestions about any of the things I'm asking about, I sure would be grateful! Thanks in advance!

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Old 11-17-2019, 03:38 AM   #2
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There are many factors that you have to consider before you commit to this adventure.
1). The trailer has to parked on a level surface to allow appliances to operate properly, for example the fridge and the hot water tank. The water tanks have to be level so you can drain them when they are full.

2). The water line needs to be buried based on your statement that it will be winter where you live. If you don't bury the lines the water will freeze and you will have some issues. Once the water source is at the trailer it will help if you have some type of valve to attach the water supply hose to. I would place the valve in sometype of access box just under the ground so the hose valve is not exposed to the cold temp. You will need to get a heated water hose to make sure the hose does not freeze when you supply the trailer with water.

3). Since the hose needs electric as well as the trailer to run appliances and to charge the batteries you will have to run a supply line as well.

4). If your using the camper in the winter months you should place a skirt around the trailer to stop the cold wind and air from going under the trailer. This will greatly reduce the loss of your heat from the trailer.

5). Propane tanks are typically 20 lb bottles. I would consider getting a fifty or a hundred pound propane external tank to attach into your supply line this way you're not continuously filling the tanks every other day to maintain propane supply to feed the furnace and stove.

There are many videos on winter RV camping on You tube that will assist you in understanding what I just wrote to you. It is a lot of work but it is something that can be achieved. If I was committed to doing this I would make sure i purchased a 4 seasons trailer that has the extra insulation and enclosed underbelly. My current trailer is a 4 season trailer that has the extra insulation and underbelly cover as well as heated underbelly and tanks, some trailer can be installed with double pane windows and electric fireplaces. The fireplaces really save a lot of money on propane. This type of trailer makes a big difference in the cold as well as the hot weather.

On a final note you will have to have some type of sewage to drain your holding tanks into. Most trailer only hold approx 40 gallons of black tank wAste and 60 gallons of gray water waste,. You can also store fresh water in your trailer holding tank put that will only.last a short time, especially if you have a family living in the trailer.

Good luck with your adventure and do your research.

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Old 11-17-2019, 08:30 AM   #3
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You could run the water line to a yard hydrant. They are a tap that has a long shaft that runs down below the frost level, so when turned off, the water stays below the freezing temps. The one in this picture has a 3 ft burial. The ones we use where I live have a 5 ft burial. It just depends on where you live, and the depth of frost you get. Most farm supply places would carry them. You generally have to bury them in a stone bed, because when you turn it off, all the water in the top of the hydrant will drain out the bottom so it doesn't freeze. If you plan on keeping the rv hooked to the faucet, you will need a power supply, and wrap the top of the faucet and hose in heat cable to stop it from freezing. If you constantly turn on, and shut off the hydrant, you run the risk of saturating the ground with water, and freezing the hydrant. As stated, every time you shut it off, all the water in the top drains out into the ground. If you only connected every few days, and filled your on board tank, you would probably be alright, but you don't want to keep turning them off and on in freezing temps. We install these in garages, and barns where they want water, but don't always have them heated.
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Old 11-17-2019, 08:35 AM   #4
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Here is a short video explaining the basic installation. There are others on YouTube. Cheers.
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Old 11-17-2019, 08:51 AM   #5
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i do not under stand why not just run the hose to the camper as yu would do at a camp ground? if worried about the hose getting beat up you can easily cover it up. if it is the water to the property being off go to the next house and over to pay for the water still be cheap
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Old 11-17-2019, 02:08 PM   #6
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Your plan sounds good to me. Good advice above (except for the hose on the ground). You should not be short on power with a 6 ga line. I presume it will be 30 amp 120 volts.

Make sure it is not 240 volts as that will fry your electrical and electronics. You may have to insist to the electrician that it be 120 volts. They are usually more familiar with dryer 30 amp outlets.

The heated hose will probably have a thermostat set at about 48 degrees F. It will only run periodically if the hose insulated well.

Bring the water up under the trailer. Put straw bales around under the perimeter of the trailer. It will be more difficult to connect and disconnect the water, but will offer more winter protection. Heat tape or hose is still needed.

You can build your own custom length heated and insulated hose. Thermostatically controlled heat "tape" is available at hardware stores and on-line.


Build a sealed, insulated, and heated pedestal to house water and electrical connections. Better insulated will use less elec.

Waste tanks and pipe under the TT will need protection as well. How do you plan to deal with sewage?
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Old 11-17-2019, 02:17 PM   #7
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Have to assume there are no city codes, city ordinances, or neighborhood covenants to wrestle with. If there are you better start there.
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Old 11-17-2019, 06:52 PM   #8
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Location: Middle Tennessee
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Words just cannot express the appreciation I have for those who responded to my post. Seriously, from the bottom of my heart- THANK YOU!!! It bodes well for you people and for this forum that at least 6 people took the time to read my giant post, let alone respond, for no other reason than to try and help someone you don't even know. Thanks!

I also want you to know that I don't just appreciate the responses because they were nice of you...They absolutely contained incredibly helpful information. Keep in mind how new I am to all this, so the fact that some of you tried to help me with some basics ended being very valuable. For example, when @snapper23 told me about the importance of leveling my camp trailer. I thought the only reason it mattered was so things didnt slide off the table- I had no idea it affected the appliances and other things. I knew my unit was not level but didn't think it much mattered- so I'm glad you told me before I started to use anything in my camper.

I want all of you to know that even though I'm just now responding to your replies, I read all of them earlier today and have incorporated almost every single thing you all suggested. For example, we dug a deep trench (24 inches even though 18" is code here) and ran a Pex waterline from my meter to my camper (425 feer). we put a cut off valve near the meter on both of the newly "split" Y so I can turn off the line to house or to camper independently. Then, following your advice (2-3 of you suggested this) we put those cut offs as well as the cutoff at the far end right under the camper, inside a bucket that we burried (with both ends removed and gravel in bottom to help it drain. This way, as you all recommended, everything is under ground and protected EXCEPT for the house that runs from the underground faucent (in the bucket) up to the actual water intake of the camper. For that I bought a heated hose. I will insulate it well and hopefully it will prevent the exposed/heated house and RV connection from freezing. Another thing I did after reading suggestions here was to go buy straw bales to line the bottom of my camper. That makes great sense and will certainly help keep things warmer.

Several of you made mention of what I was going to do about sewer, and I'm still not too sure about that. THe good news is that I have a good working septic system that is for my house and I know where the lid to the tank is, so I can left that lit and dump my sewer tank into it periodically. HOWEVER, that would requite moving all my hay bales, unhooking my water and electric, hooking my camper to my truck, and pulling it just 200 feet over to my septic tank to dump my black water. What I'd really like to do is just run a line from my camper to my septic tank 200 feet away....and it IS downhil. But I only got 40 feet of sewrline with my RV and even that was pretty expensive. It would take me 8 more 20 foot sections of RV sewer pipe to run from my camper to the septic tank. I wanted to try and use that black flexible pipe that Lowes sells and that people use on french drains, but it has holes all through it. SO I'm not sure how to run my sewer 200 feet from my camper to my house septic tank.

Oh, @RobertKathy , the reason I cant just run a water hose from my house to my camper is a couple things. First, most of the water line in my house were burned, so the water had to be turned off to my house- meaning I can use my house faucets as a source. Also, my camper is about 180 feet from my house and from what I've read if I ran 180 feet of hosepipes to my camper there would be very little pressure left.

TO answer the questions about codes....I dont want this to sound bad, but I am the City Manager of the City and our codes guy just isn't going to come and say anything about what I'm doing. Also, I am litterally FEET from the city and county line (it runs through my property). If codes from either city or county were to come to say soemthing, I could just tell them its in the other jurisdiction. Most of all, I'm out in the country away from all other houses/prying eyes so I have a lot of freedom from code inspectors (except electrical which have to approve cut on of temp but after that its fairly avoidable.)

I do continue to worry about electrical. Even though I got GIANT wire that is 6 gauge, many people still seem to think I'll lose too many volts over 220 feet. But there just isnt anything else I can do to shorted the distance, so hopefully i will be ok?

I still haven't addressed all your helpful comments, but this has gotten too long so I better stop for now and pick it up later as I have more questions or comments. Thanks again, everyone.
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Old 11-17-2019, 06:55 PM   #9
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You may want to look into a macerator pump for emptying the tanks. If it is downhill the 200 is not a problem and you just use a garden hose. We use the same setup and pump about 150.

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Old 11-17-2019, 07:57 PM   #10
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I camp on property I own. I have electric and wifi...but no water. I have camped there for 5 months at a time. I use my fresh water tank and I have 7 gallon containers to carry water. I can get these filled easy. So I fill the 50 gallon tank once every 5 days.

Sounds like you could do the same kinda thing but easier than me. I had to drive to get water.

Or just run a long hose and no need to use a backhoe which will make a lot of mud and ruts.
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Old 11-17-2019, 08:07 PM   #11
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For the water issue, you can install a RV type water pump in your garden hose to boost the pressure to the RV. You might have to determine where in the hose to place the pump, but try half way assuming you have decent city water pressure at that point. Here is a typical RV water pump that runs off 12V that could be hooked to a battery charger. You would not need to bury the water line, just fill your onboard tank for the cold days/nights when the temp drops below freezing.
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Old 11-18-2019, 11:25 AM   #12
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"I do continue to worry about electrical. Even though I got GIANT wire that is 6 gauge, many people still seem to think I'll lose too many volts over 220 feet. But there just isnt anything else I can do to shorted the distance, so hopefully i will be ok?"
I ran electricity to the shed where I keep my camper some years ago and installed a 30 amp plug. I don't remember exactly what gauge wire I used, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't any larger than 6 gauge, and it's over 200 feet. I have no problems running the AC, fridge, etc with it.
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Old 11-18-2019, 02:30 PM   #13
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In reference to your sewer problem, Two ideas to consider. You can buy a portable waste tank that has wheels and fill it with sewer or gray tank water and take it to your septic system. The other idea which I see a lot of stationary campsites at campgrounds is making a PVC hard 4 inch pipe hookup and leaving it hooked up as long as you want. Since your flow is downhill this should not be a problem.

I don't know how many people are in your family and who is living with you in the trailer but,. I have a family of 4 and it takes 1 week to fill a black tank while we are camping so this is something that does not need dumped everyday, however the gray tank will fill very fast since this is your shower water, and sink water that goes down all the sinks in your trailer. Good luck.
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Old 11-18-2019, 04:38 PM   #14
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I don't know how much you know about septic tanks, but make sure anything you dump into the tank goes into the input side. You could dig up the input line and add a fitting onto it, or dig up lid on top of the tank. You don't want to put solids on the output side of the tank. This would allow solids to get to your septic field. As a general rule, the input side would face the house, and the output side would face the septic field. If the tank is oriented sideways, the input side is the side with the pipe coming from the house.

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