No doubt so our RV manufacturer could save money by using lighter duty suspension components, our RV only has a 45 gallon fresh water tank, which is on the small side for an RV of this size. Most RVs used by fulltimers have at least 100 gallons of fresh water on board. In turns out to not be that big of a deal for us, as we can last about 5 days on 45 gallons of water, and we tend to go out on trips or to do errands frequently enough that we fill up our 45 gallon water bag in the bed of our pickup and bring the water back to the RV. A few times, though, we’ve run out of water and have been forced to make a special trip just to get more water.
Water in the RV is pumped from the fresh water tank into the plumbing to create water pressure at the sink and shower. Cold water is also pumped into the 12 gallon water heater. The pressure on the cold side pushes the heated water out of the water heater into the hot water lines. When there’s no more water in the fresh water tank, hot water no longer gets pushed out of the water heater, so it just sits there.
I realized we could use this 12 gallons of water heater water if we could access it. I removed the anode rod from the tank and added a T fitting which allowed me to screw the anode rod back into the T fitting and install a garden hose attachment on the side:
I then attached the other end of the hose to the fresh water fill attachment on the RV, and set the fill mode to “winterize”, which uses the onboard pump to draw from the fill attachment, not from the fresh water tank. This is normally used to draw anti-freeze into the RV’s plumbing for winter storage, but in this case I’m sucking water out of the water heater and making it available for use! We now have 12 gallons of water we can use in a pinch if we empty our fresh water tank.
For this to work, I have to open the pressure valve at the top of the water heater so that air can enter the tank to replace the water removed. I installed a screen over the valve to prevent bugs from crawling into the water heater through the vent. I also installed a screen between the hose and the RV pump so that any scale or other particles from the water heater aren’t ingested by the pump.
Just for fun, we lived on water heater water for the whole day!
This afternoon, B and I went for a ride “around the block”. Much of the Forest Service road was quite rough, and we passed a dead rattlesnake on the road! At one point, there were cows all over the road, which made B nervous, so I rode ahead and encouraged them to move along.