You turn on your water pump, and all of a sudden there’s water on the floor. One of your water lines has burst, or cracked.
After a long cold winter, it is not rare to find leaks in your water lines. A thorough search will usually take you directly to the problem. Look in cabinets, storage compartments, in the shower, or even under the RV.
- RV copper line, these are usually found in older model vehicles.
- RV plastic line, which is the material of choice for modern vehicles.
RV water lines can freeze, which causes them to split. This results in a cut in the line, and these cuts are what leak water.
The water line in your RV was installed with some slack, so if you have a split line, you can simply cut out the part with the slit, then rejoin the two ends with a water-line fitting.
If you need to repair a larger section, simply buy a water line that is the same length (as that you intend to cut), and the appropriate RV water line fittings.
Plastic water lines can be easily cut using a knife. Copper lines can be cut using a tubing cutter. This is the best way to ensure that you do not deform the tube.
Only cut out the damaged part, and ensure that you have a similar-sized replacement.
RV Water Line Fittings
If you aren’t sure what fittings to buy, take the piece of damaged line that you cut, to the hardware store.
A compression union fitting is the best to use, when re-attaching two ends. You will need a wrench to tighten the fitting and secure it properly.
Elbow water line fittings trap water, which may freeze and defrost, creating cracks. Elbow fittings may either be pipe thread, or compression style.
Pipe-threaded fittings should be wrapped in Teflon, before being screwed into place. This will prevent leakage.
RV Plastic Water Lines
Modern RVs use PEX pipe or PEX tubing. It is cheaper and easier to install than metal tubing. PEX tubing comes in all colors, but red tubes are normally used for hot water, and blue ones for cold water. Manufacturers, looking to cut costs, usually use a white tube for both hot and cold water.
Plastic or metal water line fittings are used to join the PEX tubing to fixtures. These fittings are connected by what is known as a crimp ring. The crimp ring is set in place using a crimping tool. The type of crimp ring used will determine the type of crimping tool you need.
PEX cutters are also available for the tubing, but a sharp knife will do the job just as well.
Even the best winterization efforts can leave water in the system, which can then freeze during winter.
A leak in your RV water line isn’t the end of the world. Find it and repair it immediately, before it becomes an issue and causes thousands of dollars in damage.
Thanks for reading!