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Filling RV's hot water Heater With Water After Winterization

by Julie Stilwell
(New Jersey)


The book that came with our 99 Terry Fleetwood is not very informative. I cannot figure out what steps to take get the plumbing going after winterization. We have the inside switch to light the hot water heater and when I check the tank water levels the fresh water tank reads empty.

I am afraid to turn on the water heater if this tank should be full. The book that comes with the trailer does not explain it very well or have any diagrams, so I don't want to do the wrong thing.

Can you give me a quick run down of what to do to properly fill my tanks and light the water heater? Also, I am not sure if gray water valve should remain open or be closed. I opened it when we opened up for the season, it was closed for the winter. We have this trailer on a seasonal site, so it does not move.


ANSWER: Hi Julie thanks for submitting your question on our Ask An RV Question Page.

Let me answer your last question first. The Black Water and Grey Water valves on your trailer should always remain in the closed position. The only time that you should open these valves is when you are dumping the tanks.

Based on your statements I am going to assume that you are the one that closed up your RV for the winter. The information I list below should get you up and going.

* If your trailer is hooked to city water you do not need to fill up your fresh water tank unless you plan on moving it or plan on boondocking. You also do not use the water pump when the RV is hooked up to city water.

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* If you used RV Antifreeze in the pipes of your RV you need to run some water in the taps to clear the antifreeze out of the system. Run the faucets until the water runs clear.

* If you bypassed the water heater when you winterized it; you need to put the built in winterization valves in the normal operation position. If you used an after-market water heater bypass kit do the same thing by setting it to the normal operating position.

* Make sure that your city water is connected and on then just run some water through the hot water valve on one of the faucets in the RV for about 4 or 5 minutes and your RV water heater will refill automatically from the water pressure running through it.

Hope this helps.

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Happy RVing

RVing Al

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Hot water heater dewinterization
by: Bob Morley

I would like to add to your suggestions to lift the hot water heater high pressure relief valve handle after returning the hot water bypass valve to the non-bypass position. With the high pressure valve handle in the open position and city or water pump turned on, trapped air in the water tank will be vented. Once water is flowing freely out of the high pressure relief valve then position the high pressure relief handle to the closed position. For those hot water heaters that have electric heating elements it is very important to vent any trapped air to prevent overheating and damaging the heating elements.

After getting my RV set up I return to the hot water and lift the high pressure handle to vent any additional trapped air. Do this with caution using heavy gloves, eye protection and other protective clothing as the discharge from the high pressure relief valve could be very hot and cause serious injury. I have been doing this for the past 36 years without injury however I "dress for the occasion"!!

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