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How to Drain an RV Freshwater Tank

Ideally, water should only be left in the freshwater tank for up to 2 weeks at a time- and it should definitely be drained before you put your RV away for the winter. If you’re having trouble draining the freshwater tank of your RV, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll explain how to do this step-by-step.

Draining the freshwater tank of your RV isn’t all that hard- but it does take time. First, you must turn off the hot water heater and allow the water to cool. Then, open all faucets and bypass the water heater. Open drain valve on freshwater tank, allowing water to drain. Flush toilet until water stops flowing. Turn on pump if necessary. Open drain valve on hot water heater to drain water out.

Draining the Freshwater Tank on Your RV

As an RV owner, you should know that it’s necessary to drain the freshwater tank on your RV from time to time. As mentioned, you shouldn’t leave water in the tank for more than 2 weeks at a time or it starts getting stale.

This process is a fairly simple one, but there are some things that must be done properly, which will be explained below. The first thing you must do is to find the freshwater tank drain valve and the low point valves. If you’re not sure where they are, check your owner’s manual- you’ll find this information there.

Steps for Dumping Freshwater Tank and Lines

Following is the step-by-step process for dumping your freshwater tank and lines.

  1. Turn off the hot water heater and allow for the water to cool. This may take up to 24 hours. You don’t want to burn yourself when you’re trying to drain your tank and lines.
  2. Once the water has cooled down, open all faucets- including those that are outside of the RV.
  3. Set your RV water heater to “bypass” if applicable. This will keep water from going through the water heater tank.
  4. Locate and open the dump valve on the freshwater tank, allowing the water to drain out.
  5. Open the low-point valve/plug. There should be two of them- one for hot and one for cold.
  6. Flush the toilet until there’s no more water flowing.
  7. Turn on the freshwater pump if needed. This will remove any water that is remaining in the lines.
  8. Remove drain plug from water heater tank, allowing water to drain out.

Keep in mind that these steps are just the basics for draining the freshwater tank and lines on your RV. There may be specific steps for your particular RV. You should check your owner’s manual to verify this.

Frequently Asked Questions

Any time there’s anything to be done on an RV, there are some questions that arise. Here are a few of the frequently asked questions relating to draining the freshwater tank and lines on an RV.

Where is the drain plug located?

In most cases, you’ll find the drain plug located on the bottom of your RV, right under the freshwater tank. Usually, you’ll find it attached to a pipe/hose- but this does vary depending on the manufacturer. Check the owner’s manual for more specific information.

Can I leave water in my freshwater tank?

If your plans are to winterize or store your RV for some time, the freshwater tank should be drained. This is because eventually, after sitting for a while, the water will become contaminated, which means it will not be suitable for drinking or cooking with.

Even when you are traveling, it’s a good idea to drain the freshwater and wastewater tanks- or keeping them almost empty. This is because full tanks increase the weight of your RV, which causes wear and tear and increases fuel consumption.

Tanks can be filled when you get to where you’re going.

How long can water be left in the freshwater tank?

As a general rule, water should only be left in the freshwater tank for approximately 2 weeks. However, there are several factors that determine how long the water will remain fresh.


Every now and then, you’re going to need to drain the freshwater tank on your RV. Like most of the general maintenance activities, it’s a fairly easy process, it just takes some time to do it. Ideally, water should be drained every 2 weeks and should definitely be drained when you’re putting your RV away for an extended period.

Follow these steps and you should have no issues. Of course, you may want to check the owner’s manual to see if there are any additional or special processes required for your particular RV.

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