How would you react when you take your morning shower after an entire night of driving your RV and the first thing that came out of the showerhead is a loud sputtering noise, a splash of water, and even more sputtering combined with a violent shaking of the pipes?
These scenarios indicate that there is air trapped inside the pipes of your RV. How it got there might be from a couple of different reasons but nonetheless, you must know how to bleed air from RV water lines should it happen again.
If you find that there are air bubbles trapped within your RV’s waterline, it is only a simple task of bleeding out the air. The good news is that it is quite easy to do even if you do not know much about plumbing works. You will only need a couple of simple tools and a few hours of your free time.
After bleeding all of the air out of your plumbing, the water pressure will be back to normal and the stream of water will be continuous.
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The Simplest Method of Bleeding Air from RV Lines
One of the simplest ways to bleed the air out of the water lines of your RV does not require any tools at all. However, you can and should only do this when you are at home since you will need a lot of water.
The first thing you should do is to fill your RV’s freshwater tank to capacity. Once the tank is plenty full of water, turn on the water pump to circulate the water through the pipes. Open the farthest faucet from the tank.
The water will still sputter and blow water and sometimes, all you will get is water. Just let the water run for a couple of minutes. After a while, the water will and should be flowing out of the faucet as it normally would. This will only take a couple of minutes before you can get all the air out of the pipes.
A Better Method for Bleeding RV Water Lines
Another more efficient way to bleed the air out of your RV’s water lines is to connect the waterline of the RV to a source that is already pressurized, like a faucet in your home. This is better than using the onboard water pump as the municipal water line can pump water stronger.
To make the process finish up faster, you should open all the water outputs in the RV. These include the kitchen faucet, the shower, and the outside faucet. In a minute or so, the sputtering air should stop and you will only get a continuous stream of water.
Once all the air is out of the pipes, disconnect the public water source and start the water pump. Because of the amount of water already in the tubes, the water pump should prime properly and start working properly. Once the water pressure has normalized, turn off all the opened water faucets.
How to Bleed RV Water Pump?
If there is air trapped inside the water pump itself, don’t worry. This is a simple fix as well. You just turn on the water pump, let the water circulate a bit and then turn on the faucet that is furthest away from the water pump.
Once the water stops sputtering and you are getting a steady stream then all the air is out of the pump already. Another way to go about this, which is a more effective method, is to prime your water pump. Here is how to do it:
Step 1 – Find out where your water pump is installed and then disconnect the water output pipe.
Step 2 – In its place, attach a rubber hose and ensure that it is long enough that the hose will not kick.
Step 3 – Fill a 12-oz or so container with clean water.
Step 4 – Hold the free end of the hose higher than the water pump and then pour the water into it.
Step 5 – Cover the end of the hose with your thumb and then turn on the water pump. After a minute or so, you should feel the water hit your thumb. Once you feel this, turn off the pump.
Step 6 – Remove the hose and reconnect the outgoing water pipe.
There should be no more air bubbles inside the water pump, so the water pressure in your RV should be back to normal.
Bleeding your RV Hot Water
There is also a chance that the air bubbles are in the water heater. It does not happen that often but you do need to do this occasionally as a maintenance procedure for the water heater. The process itself is quite simple. However, it might take a bit of time to finish.
Step 1 – Turn off the heater.
Step 2 – Let the water inside cool down. This might take around 30 to 40 minutes. The water would have cooled down enough if you can touch the sides of the water heater and not feel any heat.
Step 3 – Turn off the main water supply and then open a faucet to relieve the pressure.
Step 4 – Turn off the pressure release valves and wait for all the water to disappear.
Step 5 – Once all the water is gone, close the valves and the faucet.
Step 6 – Turn on the main water line.
Step 7 – When the water heater’s tank is full, switch it back on again.
You have just successfully purged any air bubbles that might have been in your water heater.
How to Clean the RV Water Heater Tank?
While you are in the middle of bleeding the air out of your water heater, this should be the perfect time to give it a good cleaning. This will prevent air from getting inside it in the future.
Step 1 – Empty the water tank and then check the anode rod. If it is in a bad condition, like if it is heavily corroded or has clear signs of deterioration, then you need to replace it first before you continue with the next steps.
Step 2 – If the anode rod is still in good condition, use a rinsing rod to flush out any dirt from inside the water tank.
Step 3 – If you live in an area with hard water, the inside of the hot water tank might have gotten clogged up with all sorts of mineral deposits. To get rid of these mineral deposits, add a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar into a gallon of water and then pump it into the water heater tank.
Step 4 – Another way to go about this is to open the pressure release valve and pour the water and vinegar solution through the top poof of the heater using a funnel. Wait a couple of minutes and then drain the water tank completely.
Other Ways to Prevent Air in Water Lines
Turn your RV’s water pump on or off just once every weekend – The light of the pump switch does not draw too much power from the batteries so you should keep the pump on to keep the water pressure constant inside the water lines even if you are not using the water pump.
Check the plumbing – Air could have gotten into the water lines due to loose connections or a crack in the hoses. Thoroughly check the plumbing and make sure that there are no loose connections nor leaks. If you cannot get a plumber to replace the plumbing, use a flexible plumbing tape to patch up any holes that you might find.
Install a water pressure regulator – This is important if you want to protect the overall water system. This device has a gauge so you can monitor just how much pressure is going through the pipes. If the pressure gets too high, you can reduce it a bit until it returns to normal. You can find this product here!
Drain water from your freshwater tank – If you want to save on weight, you can drain the water from your freshwater tank. However, do not empty it completely. Leave the rest of the RV’s water system filled with water to keep it pressurized. This way, you will not have to bleed the water lines every time you turn on the water pump.
Check the water filter – Do this while you are checking for leaks in the plumbing. A dirty water filter can allow air to get into the water pipes. If the filter is cracked and damaged, even a higher amount of air can get into the water lines. If you planning to buy a new water filter, you can find the new one here!
The air in the water lines might not seem like much of a problem. Some consider it as more like a minor nuisance. However, if you leave it unchecked, it can severely damage the entire water system of your RV. It is, therefore, important that you know how to bleed air from RV water lines.
With proper care and maintenance, you will no longer have to deal with sputtering water and air blowing out of the shower and faucets. With this little bit of maintenance work, you can ensure that your RV’s water supply will always work as intended.
Hi, I am Dane Heldt, a full-time RVer since 2016. I am always passionate about building and joining an RV community where people share their love for RV lives. This blog is a dream of mine, as I can finally share my experiences to help people who want to start living differently. So, feel free to reach out to me!