Investigate all potential leaks. Soon.

Rene investigates RV Plumbing LeakRené noticed one day how the carpet by the wall next to Jerry’s bed was all wet. No, it didn’t smell like pee. So we immediately started looking for a leak.

The other side of the wall, inside the storage compartment with our freshwater tank, was also wet. So we thought the worst. But it could have also been coming from the bathtub since that was right above.

We confirmed there was no plumbing leak and were stumped as to how the carpet got wet, so we went into troubleshooting mode.

Let me step back a bit for a moment … When we arrived at the farm, we were disappointed to discover seriously weak water pressure. Then Valerie asked, “You have a water pump, don’t you?” Duh, why didn’t we think of that? We filled our tank and ran off the water pump, pressure was no longer an issue.

When using the water pump it is easy to tell if you have leaky RV plumbing. If your pump cycles on regularly without any water running, you know you have a leak somewhere because the system is losing pressure. Though we had heard the pump mysteriously engage a couple times, this was not the case for us. But we checked all the plumbing connections anyway.

I wedged myself into the compartment with our water tank to feel around for dampness, but couldn’t quite reach the trouble area under the tub. After barely getting out, I had René climb in since she is much more petite than I. Thinking that maybe some connection might be leaking under pressure, I had her look and feel for water as I ran some water. This was not the case either.

It took us a few days to nail down the cause of the dampness. We dried the carpet inside and in the storage compartment with a hair dryer, and continued to feel for dampness before and after taking showers or flushing the toilet. We still couldn’t determine why it got so wet. Then we remembered something … a few days earlier, we heard Brian calling for us outside: “I think your water tank is full!” D’oh! We had left the water running to fill the tank and forgotten about it.

Apparently, water spilling out the inlet had gotten into the compartment through an opening in the fill valve. We think. It also may have been the rain. I think it was both.

When we were first looking into the leak, René called the Apache Camping Center where we bought the rig. The service guy there told us that water might be getting in through the slide-out when we described where it was damp. He explained how during manufacturing, the seam doesn’t always get caulked completely behind the small gutter that is supposed to drain off any water running down the side of the slide-out.

I added some silicone sealant in the seam he described. I also noticed an area at the base of the slide-out inside where I could see daylight so I caulked that up as well. It’s now been a few days and the carpet is no longer wet. But after a hard rain, the same area did feel cool where damp air was obviously getting through. So I think we got it.

What threw us off with this issue was too many coincidences. All at the same time:

  • We believe we had flooded our storage compartment.
  • We had a hard rain get the carpet wet inside our slide-out seam.
  • We heard our water pump engage a couple times on its own.

So this is what we did to resolve the matter:

  • We immediately looked for a leak by testing all plumbing connections inside and under the rig.
  • I cleaned the flush valve seal in the toilet bowl. (This solved the water pump issue. The seal wasn’t seating properly, causing water to drip after flushing.)
  • We discovered a common manufacturing issue specific to our rig.
  • We sealed a gap where rain was entering the slide-out.

Above all, we learned to immediately and thoroughly investigate any potential leak. Otherwise you’ll be sorry.

I learned that when we first headed out on this journey. Way back in Arizona – after just a couple weeks of owing our new Arctic Fox – I noticed a drip under the front of our rig one morning and assumed it was condensation from our Air conditioner running off the roof.

We all know what happens when we assume … in this case, my assumption made a big mess. Being an RV newbie, I didn’t even stop to think that the A/C unit is in the back of our rig. Or to look inside the water tank compartment which was getting soaked. That time we did have a leaky connection, simply solved by tightening a hose clamp.

Had we only investigated that drip sooner, we would not still have water stains under the compartment door to this day.

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7 Responses to “Investigate all potential leaks. Soon.”

  1. Very good advices, I do not own a RV myself but a good friend of mine had one for about 20 years. It seems very important to do regular maintenance checks, otherwise you may run into problems.

  2. I thought it was the water pump too, but that is why it is so important to retrace you steps to see what was causing the leak. You guys would make great plumbers. I love the pic!

  3. Funny story! but the advices are so true… thanks for the share

  4. the 2 happiest days in an rvr`s life, when u buy ur rv & when u sell it !

  5. old chinese addage says— caca pasa!!

  6. Here is a quote we have heard and found to be true:
    If you are not working on it everyday, you are falling behind.

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