Roadtrek

Roadtrek

Thursday, July 23, 2020

CITY WATER CONNECTION AND THE INFAMOUS CITY WATER FILL VALVE

One of the most asked questions that comes up with Roadtreks is, "I have no water running in the sink, showers, or toilet. My fresh tanks are full, and no water is coming out! Why?" Just about 95% of the time the answer is the City Water Valve is set in the wrong direction. After reading this article you will understand all about the city water valve and the city water connection.


The city water valve and the city water connection is located on the driver's side of the van in the small compartment under the flip up door. Unlock that door and you will find it. In the photo below - here it is open on my 190.


This is what you will see when you look in -


BUT WHAT IS CITY WATER?  -  City water is water connected by a hose to a water spigot that is attached to a city water system's water (or a country well).  It is fresh drinking water that you will use in your Roadtrek to drink, wash your hands, shower with, or wash dishes.  It is just one of those terms in "RV Speak". 

On the left is the CITY WATER CONNECTION. This is where you connect a fresh water hose (white hose rated for drinking or "potable"water) with the other end of the hose connected to a fresh water spigot - either at a campground or at home.  We will talk about the city water connection first.

Before connecting a hose to the city water connection you MUST put a WATER PRESSURE REGULATOR on the hose. A water pressure regulator limits the pressure of the water that will flow into the pipes in the Roadtrek (or any RV).  There are different types of water pressure regulators and some have a pressure gauge on them, some have a valve to change the water pressure flowing through it, some have both a valve and a gauge, and some are preset at the factory and cannot be changed.  Below is one made by Camco and is easily found - many Walmart stores sell this in their RV section in the auto parts aisles.  This one is preset to  40 pounds which is a safe pressure for water in the Roadtrek and it sells for about only $10. Camco makes another version of this same one that is all plastic - blue plastic. I do not recommend the plastic one. Get the brass one if you are getting the Camco.


Because of the low clearance to the ground in the Roadtrek I find that this cannot be attached right on the hose connection on the Roadtrek. I attach it to the other end of the hose at the spigot. If I am using more than one hose I put it between the two hoses.

Let's look closer at the water connection on the Roadtrek.


There it is circled in red above. My city water connection came from Roadtrek with a quick hose connector. Both sides are seen in this photo - top and bottom. If you do not have one, Camco also sells these made for fresh water connections for RVs. To attach a hose with one of these you move the middle black ring and the bottom section will pull out. You screw that piece to the end of the hose. Then you push the connector and the end of the hose up into the bottom of the top half of the connector and the middle ring should pop into place and lock the two together with a "watertight" connection. (I put watertight in italics because this is not always water tight and can leak slightly. ) This makes it easier than getting down on the ground and screwing the end of the hose straight up into the base of the connector without the quick connect.  You do not have to use a quick connect. At the bottom of the connector in my photo you see a white ring. That ring is the side of a cap what we bought in Home Depot that fits the hose end of the connector and we keep that on when we do not have a hose attached to the Roadtrek. This keeps bugs from crawling into the connector and up into the pipe.

Once you have your hose connected, turn on the spigot outside at the other end of your hose to start water running to your Roadtrek.

NEXT - the more important part of this whole thing-

THE CITY WATER VALVE


In the photo above, circled in red is the CITY WATER FILL VALVE.   Over the years Roadtrek has played with this valve for some reason from years to years -  I have seen this valve handle in red color. I have seen this valve handle  in yellow color. You can see in my 2011 Roadtrek the valve handle is black. What is worse is that Roadtrek has changed the direction this valve must be turned in to select one of its TWO functions.

FUNCTION ONE - 

TO FILL THE FRESH TANK(S) WITH WATER FROM THE CITY WATER HOSE CONNECTED TO THE CITY WATER CONNECTION.  This is a second way to fill your fresh tanks. The other way is to use the city water fill holes in the driver's door frame and for the rear interior tank - if you have a 190 or 210 - the fill hole in the passenger side cargo door in the back's door frame.  I will share that I have found that using the door fill holes is much better than using the city water connection.  If you are in Summer Mode with a 190 or 210 - which generally is the best way to set your two fresh tanks (SUMMER MODE/WINTER MODE) - when filling the two fresh tanks with the city water connection the back tank will be filled first - and then once full it will start sending water to the front tank through the small pipes inside the Roadtrek (much smaller than a fresh hose) and this can take forever - if the front tank fills at all. If the water from the hose is running faster than the interior tank can move water out the interior tank will start to push water out of its water overflow valve which will pour water outside the van (thank goodness!) onto the ground just behind the passenger side rear tire. It is so much easier to fill each tank using the door water fill openings.  IN MY ROADTREK - AND MAYBE OR MAYBE NOT YOURS - as Roadtrek has played with the direction this must be turned - THE VALVE HANDLE IS TURNED TO THE RIGHT TO BE IN RIGHT WITH THE PIPE THAT GOES TO THE WATER TANKS. MORE IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THIS IS TO COME! 

 FUNCTION 2 -

TO RUN WATER FROM THE CITY WATER HOSE AND FROM THE WATER PUMP INTO THE PLUMBING  OF THE ROADTREK TO GO INTO THE SINK, SHOWERS, TOILET, AND HOT WATER HEATER TANK! Yes the city water system through this valve is connected in a way to allow WATER IN THE TANKS to run  into the water pump!  THE SETTING OF THE VALVE HANDLE FOR THIS FUNCTION IS (IN MY ROADTREK - AND MAYBE OR MAYBE NOT YOURS - IS STRAIGHT UP.  In this close up photo below you see the CITY WATER VALVE SET TO RUN WATER FROM THE HOSE AND YOUR TANK WATER INTO THE WATER PUMP! In the photo above you will see my city water valve is set to RUNNING WATER IN THE PIPES.

So why is the city water valve infamous? Well if you put the city water valve into the fill position and you try to use water from the city water hose OR the water pump to get water from your fresh tank(s) - NO WATER COMES OUT of your plumbing into the sink or showers or toilet or hot water heater. And you will - like many, including me, go into a panic that there is something terribly wrong - and you might (I didn't  (and this happened to us the first night ever that we were in the Roadtrek), but I know some who have) go to an RV service center and pay them to fix the problem and they will charge you for walking over to the city water valve and turning it the other way and say - see it is fixed! This valve is too easy to leave in the wrong position! Between this and that it is just easier to use the door fills for the fresh tanks, I never touch this valve.

 Now - as I have said here - the way to turn this valve to get each of the functions can be different between year Roadtreks - and you may have a red handle or a yellow handle or like mine a black handle. BUT IF YOU HAVE NOT WATER RUNNING INSIDE THE ROADTREK THE FIRST THING YOU DO IS GO TO THE OUTSIDE TO THE CITY WATER VALVE AND TURN IT THE OTHER WAY. SINCE THE OUTSIDE SHOWER IS RIGHT BELOW IT - TURN ON THE COLD HANDLE AND YOU SHOULD GET WATER POURING DOWN ON YOUR FEET.  AND IN THIS CASE THAT IS A GOOD THING BECAUSE YOU NOW HAVE WATER RUNNING IN YOUR ROADTREK. AND THIS IS WORTH REPEATING AGAIN - EVEN IF THERE IS NO WATER COMING AND YOU HAVE NO HOSE CONNECTED AND ARE USING WATER FROM YOUR TANKS - THIS VALVE HAS TO BE SET THE SAME WAY FOR RUNNING WATER - SO DO THE SAME AND GO TO CHANGE THE VALVE TO THE OTHER POSITION! 

You know it is just another one of those Roadtrek things that does not make sense. But now you know about it! 

 

8 comments:

  1. Thanks again for another great article!

    Questions: do you'trust' city water? Are there any precautions you take to sanitize the spigot? Can they be sanitized?

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  2. Yes, we have used city water. It really depends on the source of the water and you can tell right away turning on the spigot at a campground. If the water has a bad odor then I would not use it. We have only found one place like that in 9 years of traveling. And yes, we do sanitize the spigot. The usual way to sanitize the spigot is to mix beach (Clorox) and water in a spray bottle and spray the spigot all around the outside and also up into the inside. Then let it sit several minutes and then turn on the water and flush the bleach mixture out. We did this for awhile - but we found out (from Clorox when we contacted them) that after about four hours that mixture in the spray bottle turns to water with a bleach odor and little sanitizing properties. It is fine when you first mix it and use it but if you let the mix sit in the bottle it does nothing if you use it again. So we then started mixing small amounts and this became wasteful and a pain to do each time. We contacted Lysol and spoke to them about using for the same purpose right out of the can of Lysol Disinfectant Spray - especially with a water spigot that would supply drinking water. They said it can be used and is safe as long as after you spray it you wait ten minutes and then flush it out with running water - and then connect your fresh hose. And that is what we do. We carry a can of Lysol Disinfectant spray and before we connect a hose to the city water spigot, we give the inside and outside of the spigot a good spray with Lysol. No mixing and all it takes is getting out the can, using it, and putting the can away. A lot easier than measuring bleach and water.

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  3. Really dumb newbie question. When hooked to city water and city water fill vale is perpendicular (so it doesn't keep filling the water tank), do you need to use the 12-volt water pump, or does the <40 lb of city water pressure push the water out the various spigots? Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Leave the water pump off if you are going to use city water. The valve stays in the same position for water flow to the plumbing. If you don't have a hose connected and running the valve still stays in that same position and you turn on the water pump to use the water from your fresh tanks. There are no dumb questions!

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  4. Good stuff as usual. Been reading your blog for several years Finally got a 2016 190 popular have done A lot of your mods and Use your write up for winterizing and summarizing.

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  5. Good Day,
    I am one of those people who cannot get the water to run inside through the faucets nor through the external shower. I have filled the fresh water holding tank through the driver side step valve. I changed the direction of the 'red' city valve. I then turned on the water pump. I hear the water pump working, although no water flows.

    Would you please provide additional insights?

    Thank you so much for having this site!
    Rose

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  6. Hello Rose - There are things we have to be able to go back and forth with to determine what is happening. There is a link on the right side of this page that says "EMAIL US" - click on that and send me an email - mention your question AND the year and model Roadtrek that you have. I will have some questions for you and things to do to get your water running! Thanks!

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