WATER Systems
Campervan water system - Everything You Need to Know
Welcome to your guide on setting up a complete water system in your campervan! We'll cover all the important parts you need. We'll cover everything you need to know, from the essential components of the system to managing wastewater responsibly. Embarking on the journey of van life entails transforming a simple van into a home on wheels, and installing a water system is a pivotal step in achieving this transformation. Access to running water, whether it's for a basic sink or a luxurious shower, adds a sense of comfort and convenience that can make all the difference during your adventures on the road. Often taken for granted, the simple act of turning on a faucet and seeing water flow is a reassuring reminder of home, a comfort that becomes even more cherished when it's no longer readily available. By installing a water system in your camper van, you're not just adding a practical amenity but also infusing your mobile dwelling with a touch of familiarity and ease, turning it into a true home away from home.
Fresh Water Systems
What size fresh water tank do you need for your van?
When sizing your water tank for a campervan, several crucial factors come into play. Firstly, assess your anticipated water usage, considering factors such as whether you'll have a shower and how frequently it will be used. Secondly, evaluate how often you'll have access to refill your tank, especially if you plan extended periods off the grid. Budget is another significant consideration, as larger tanks tend to be more expensive. Additionally, take into account the available space within your van for mounting the tank without encroaching on living areas. Weight is also a crucial factor, particularly if your van is nearing its weight limit. Calculating your expected water consumption, including drinking, dishwashing, laundry, and personal hygiene, is essential for determining the appropriate tank size. Living in a van requires water conservation, emphasizing the importance of mindful usage to avoid wastage and ensure sustainability on the road.
  • In your campervan, the fresh water system is vital for supplying water for various essential tasks such as drinking, cooking, washing dishes, and showering.
  • As this water will be directly consumed, it's imperative that your fresh water setup prioritizes ease of cleaning, refilling, and utilizes food-safe materials.
  • Permanent tanks offer distinct advantages, particularly for full-time van dwellers, thanks to their larger capacities.
  • With ample storage, you can minimize the frequency of refills, reducing the hassle of sourcing water on the go.
Pressurizing Your Water System
How do you get water from sitting in your fresh water tank to move through your water system?
You simply use a 12 V water pump a camper to pressurize your whole system. We always recommend putting this water pump on an on/off switch and leaving your system un-pressurized when you are not using it. Optionally (but we recommend), you can use an inline accumulator to smooth out the inconsistencies in pressure. What do we mean by inconsistent pressure? We means that your water pump kicks on at one psi and off at another which means your water flow would be pretty uneven (think of a sine wave). An accumulator smoothes out this flow. Water is generally used sparingly in a van so there is no need for a high volume pump. 3 gallons per minute is plenty for nearly all conversion vans out there
Choosing the Right Sink and Faucet for Your Campervan
What is the perfect sink and faucet for your custom camper?
When outfitting your campervan, choosing the right sink and faucet setup is essential for maximizing functionality and efficiency in your water usage. Opting for a larger sink with a workspace design can provide ample room for dishwashing and food preparation without sacrificing space. A bigger sink allows for the practicality of temporarily storing dirty dishes while on the move, ensuring convenience during travel. Selecting a water-efficient faucet is equally important, as it can significantly extend the lifespan of your water tank. Look for faucets that offer not only a low flow rate but also easy flow control, such as those with pull-down sprayers and lever handles. These features make dishwashing easier and minimize countertop messes, enhancing the overall usability of your kitchen space. In a van with limited space, you'll likely only have room for one faucet to handle all your water delivery needs. Faucet options are abundant, ranging from complete RV faucet and sink combos to customizable residential options. Regardless of your choice, having a functional sink and faucet setup allows for essential tasks like handwashing, dishwashing, and food preparation inside your van. While a barebones option of pouring water from a container outside is possible, incorporating a sink into your build offers a more convenient and affordable solution for van life.
Water Filtration
What is an RV water filter?
An RV water filter serves as a crucial component in ensuring the cleanliness and safety of the water supply within your camper. These filters can be installed either inside the RV or in-line, directly connecting to the water source between the RV and the spigot. Depending on your preferences and needs, some RV water filters can be connected to all plumbing fixtures, while others are dedicated to a single faucet, such as the kitchen sink. Filters designed to service the entire vehicle are typically installed in the wet bay alongside the city water connection and water pump, while point-of-use filters are situated near the specific fixture they serve. The choice of RV water filtration system should be tailored to the quality of the water you anticipate connecting to. For instance, campgrounds utilizing private wells may pose higher contamination risks compared to city-treated water sources. Therefore, opting for more robust filtration is advisable in such cases. While municipal water is generally regulated and safe to drink, installing a water filter is a prudent measure to safeguard your RV's plumbing from potential damage. Filters can help mitigate issues caused by hard water, such as scaling from water-hardening minerals, or sediment contamination, which can lead to pipe clogging.
Campervan Water Heaters

How to heat the water in your Camper?

Selecting the appropriate water heater for your campervan depends largely on your specific requirements and preferences. If you plan to have a fully enclosed indoor shower or wish to shower outdoors, especially during colder months, a water heater becomes essential for providing hot water. Combi heaters offer a versatile solution, as they not only heat water but also warm the air, functioning similarly to household combi boilers. These heaters operate by drawing cold water from your campervan tank and heating it through a heat exchange process within the diesel/gas heater boiler, generating a tank of hot water for various purposes, including showers. Opting for an external installation saves internal space while ensuring reliability and safety when correctly fitted. Moreover, combi heaters eliminate the need for gas fittings in your campervan and can even be used while driving, offering convenience and flexibility for on-the-go living.
grey Water Systems
What size grey water tank do you need for your van?
Choosing the right gray water tank for your motorhome is essential for maintaining a comfortable and convenient travel experience. Unlike clear water tanks, which can be larger, gray water tanks collect water from sinks and potentially showers, so they don't need to be as spacious. Opt for a size 20-23 gal that can hold the water used to some days of typical usage, ensuring you're not carrying unnecessary weight. Since gray water tanks should be emptied frequently to prevent odors and excess weight buildup, prioritize accessibility for easy drainage. Consider the availability of suitable disposal sites along your travel route and choose a tank shape that fits well within your van's layout. With these considerations, you can select a gray water tank that meets your space, convenience, and functionality needs on the road.
  • In a campervan, a greywater system serves the crucial function of collecting used water from various activities such as washing dishes, cooking, tooth brushing, and hand washing, excluding human waste and chemicals.
  • Greywater systems deal exclusively with water contaminated by household activities. Typically, a network of waste pipes is integrated into the campervan's structure, leading to a holding tank mounted underneath.
  • Regular maintenance is essential to prevent the tank from overflowing, which can lead to sanitation issues and unpleasant smells.
  • Installing a permanent greywater tank offers convenience, as it eliminates the need for frequent setup upon arrival at campsites.
Water Storage & Access

What are the advantages of installing a dedicated gray water tank in a motorhome's system?

Installing a dedicated gray water tank in your motorhome's system is a favorable option. These tanks come in various sizes, typically ranging from 20 to 30 gallons, and can be relatively easy to install. They efficiently collect used water from sinks and indoor showers, providing a more comprehensive solution compared to simpler setups. While the installation process may be more involved and expensive, the benefits include extended stays in the wilderness between visits to RV dump stations. Additionally, these tanks often fit well beneath the van, attached to the chassis.It's crucial to be mindful of both space and weight considerations when incorporating a fixed gray water tank into your setup. Water, whether fresh or wastewater, weighs 8 pounds per gallon. Therefore, calculating and accommodating the space and weight of the tank is essential for maintaining the balance and functionality of your motorhome.
Maintaining Clean in Your campervan
Do you know what happens if you don’t empty your grey water tank before it’s full?
To prevent gray water from backing up into the kitchen sink or shower tray, it's crucial to regularly empty the tank, especially when it's nearing capacity. Keeping these areas clean and functional requires a few simple steps: clean food debris from plates and pots before washing them to reduce organic matter entering the system, use sink strainers to capture large particles, and opt for eco-friendly, biodegradable soap to minimize environmental impact. These practices help maintain the functionality of your grey water system and ensure a more pleasant living environment in your motorhome.
Responsible Gray Water Disposal in Your Van
So where can you dump your grey water?
While we discourage the direct drainage of gray water onto the ground from your van, some individuals opt for an alternative solution. They choose to install plumbing that leads from the gray water tank to the exterior of their vehicle, equipped with a release valve for appropriate usage areas. When washing items inside the van, especially if disposing of water outside, it is recommended to use biodegradable soap. However, a crucial precaution is to avoid dumping water in or near streams, as all soaps, including biodegradable ones, can have adverse effects on aquatic life. Embracing responsible gray water disposal practices ensures a more environmentally-friendly approach to van life, minimizing the impact on natural ecosystems.
black Water Systems
What size black water tank do you need for your van?
A black water system in a campervan comprises waste pipes and a holding tank dedicated to managing wastewater contaminated with urine and fecal matter, commonly referred to as black water. This system is specifically designed to safely handle waste produced after toilet use. Typically, installation of a black water system is necessary only if you intend to incorporate a toilet system in your campervan that requires a separate storage solution for black water. Alternatively, certain portable toilet models feature integrated blue and black water systems directly within the toilet unit, providing a convenient and self-contained waste management solution for campervan owners.
  • Blackwater tanks serve the crucial role of collecting human waste in camper vans, typically requiring the use of chemicals for sanitation purposes.
  • Due to the nature of their contents and the chemicals involved, it's essential to empty blackwater tanks at designated RV dump stations.
  • While camper van toilet options recommended typically do not necessitate blackwater tanks, it's worth noting that if you opt for a toilet system that does require one, these tanks are usually stored beneath the van and require a dedicated port for easier dumping.
  • Although blackwater tanks are rare in van builds, understanding their function and proper disposal procedures is important for maintaining cleanliness and hygiene during your travels.
Mindful Black Water Disposal in Your Van
So where can you dump your black water?
Dumping raw sewage, or black water, directly outside is not only highly improper but also illegal in many countries worldwide. Responsible waste disposal is paramount for preserving the environment and adhering to legal regulations. Fortunately, many campsites offer dedicated facilities for emptying black water tanks, providing a convenient and proper solution for disposing of waste from your van. By utilizing these facilities, travelers can ensure they are upholding environmental standards while enjoying their camping experiences responsibly.
Water tank sanitization
How to clean a fresh, grey and black water tank?
Sanitizing your water and plumbing system every 2-3 months is essential for maintaining cleanliness and preventing bacterial growth. To do this effectively, prepare a chlorine solution by mixing ¼ cup of unscented household bleach with one gallon of water. You'll need one gallon of this solution for every 15 gallons of tank capacity. Avoid pouring pure bleach directly into your water tanks; instead, dilute the solution and pour it into the tank, filling the remaining capacity with water. Turn on the water pump to allow the chlorine solution to circulate through the pipes and sit in the tank for three hours. Afterward, run the taps to transfer the bleach solution from the fresh water tank to the gray water tank, letting it sit overnight. Finally, flush the system with potable water several times to remove any remaining bleach residue. It's important to note that both gray and black water systems use similar components since they handle wastewater. Regular maintenance and sanitation ensure a clean and functional water and plumbing system in your van.
That wraps up our comprehensive guide to campervan water systems. We've covered everything you need to know, from understanding different types of tanks to maintenance tips and responsible disposal practices. We hope this guide has been informative and helpful in navigating the complexities of campervan water systems. If you found the content valuable and enjoyed your reading experience, we would be grateful for your feedback. Thank you for joining us on this journey!
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