Utility Hook Ups

When you are in a camp ground that has either partial hookups (usually only water and electric) or has full hookups (water, electric, and sewer), usually hooking up your utility connections is the next step after levelling your RV.

Water Connection

Now you are ready for the water connection. First attach the regulator to the water inlet of your RV. Usually hand tightening is enough to stop any leaks. If you are having trouble getting any leaks to stop, possibly the washers are old, worn, or no longer supple.

It is a good idea to be sure that there is a screen-type hose washer on the inlet side of both your water filter and your water regulator (at least that is what I do). If any large particles of stuff somehow happen to get into the water source, these screens keep the larger stuff from entering your water filter or water regulator, and eventually plugging them up. None of us enjoy the "surprise" of taking a big gulp of water and feeling something besides cool water going down our throat!

Some folks like to put the water regulator right at the RV site hose bib and then put the water filter up near the RV—this probably is the most prudent way. The idea is to first reduce the water pressure so that the hose doesn't rupture from too much pressure, but I have never had a problem putting the water pressure regulator on the RV-end of the water hose.

TIP: graphic of a light bulb If you have trouble stopping a pesky leak, even by using new hose washers, try a "donut washer." I have recently found that Home Depot and Lowes now both carry washers that look more like fat O-rings and are round instead of flat. They compress much more easily and pesky leaks easily disappear.

Now, attach your water hose to the hose bib at your RV site, and then attach the water filter to the other end (the coach end). But, slow down for a second or two, and do one more little thing before you attach the filter to your RV.

TIP: graphic of a light bulb Before you attach the filter end to your RV, first turn on the water, fill the hose, and let some water run through the filter until the water looks clean and clear. This procedure gets the air out of the hose, so your faucets aren't spitting and sputtering when you first turn on a water tap.

Then, turn off the water, attach the filter end to your RV. And, lastly, remember (as I often forget) to go turn the water back on at the hose bib. (This makes the Mrs. a lot happier.)

Electric Connection

Next, it is time to get some electricity connected to your RV. (For this scenario, I am assuming a normal 30A electrical camp site power pole—the "usual" power found at most RV sites.

The first thing to do is to use your tester to check that the power pole receptacle is wired correctly and that the voltage is at a reasonable level (somewhere between 105 volts and 125 volts). Find your adapter that plugs into a 30A RV receptacle and has a normal looking receptacle on the other end. Be sure that the 30A circuit breaker on the power pole is turned off. Now plug the tester and the adapter together, plug the adapter into the RV site power pole receptacle, and turn the circuit breaker back on. If the receptacle is wired correctly, you should see the proper sequence of lights on the tester (which has a diagram of the correct and incorrect wiring sequences). Next check the voltage to be sure that the RV park voltage is not too low. If the voltage and polarity are OK, turn off the circuit breaker and remove your tester.

Now for one more important check before we plug in. Look at the power receptacle on the power pole. If it looks black and burnt around the slots where you plug in, or if your RV plug seems to glide into the slots without any resistance—the receptacle is highly suspect, since it appears to be burnt and or very loose. Neither situation is good for your RV or your power plug. It is best to go back and ask for another site. (If you plug into a loose receptacle, your power plug will get hot from added resistance, and the voltage to your RV may be too low to safely run your air conditioner.)

If everything still seems OK, plug in the electric "shore power" cable from your RV, and then remember to turn the circuit breaker back on. Always remember to turn off the circuit breaker before you connect or disconnect your shore power cable from the RV site power pole.

It is proper RV etiquette to leave the breaker turned off after you unplug and get ready to leave the site.

Also, if the park voltage is less than 105 volts, do not use your air conditioner, microwave or furnace. Any appliance with a motor in it (especially air conditioners) can be damaged by low voltage.

Sewer Connection

If your RV site does not have a sewer connection or you are only going to be camped for a few days, don't bother to connect your sewer hose. But lets suppose you are going to be camped for two weeks and will be needing the sewer.

Then, since this is your first time out, you need to "make up" your sewer hose by installing the clear-plastic 45 degree sewer connector on one end of your new heavy duty sewer hose and the combination 3-4" threaded connector on the other end. Be sure that the sewer hose is pushed onto the fitting as far as it will go, and then tighten the large hose clamps securely—you really don't want these fittings or the hose to leak, even a tiny bit!

Now, screw in the threaded connector to the sewer fitting at the RV site. If the site sewer fitting is just an open pipe with a rock over the top, you will need to use the rubber donut between the sewer pipe and your sewer hose to have an air tight seal.

Now, remove the travel cap that covers the RV sewer drain connection on your motorhome, and twist on the clear elbow fitting to your RV's sewer connection

Now, for the most important step—do NOT open the black tank valve on your RV! If you are staying for only a few days, don't open the gray tank valve either. If you are staying for a week or so and prefer to take showers in your RV rather than using the camp ground facilities, it is OK to open the gray tank drain valve—but remember to close it the day before you are ready to leave. (I'll talk about the proper way to dump your tanks a little later on in this presentation.)

You also need to know that many RV parks do not provide a sewer connection at your site, but simply provide a dump site somewhere in the park. If this is the case, donít plan on long, hot showers of any length—since your gray water tank will be full long before you are ready to break camp.

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