Brand New- A few hopefully basic questions.


New Member

I figure that these questions are very basic common knowledge to those involved in the RV lifestyle, but some advice would be very helpful as I am brand new to the motorhome lifestyle.
1. I am confused about the way that water works in an RV. Is there a way to hook up water from a home that is 100 ft away? Are there water tanks or does the water need a hook up? How does waste work? I've read about grey and black water tanks. How often do they need to be emptied? Where can I empty them.

2. As far as electric goes, the woods where I plan to park and live most of the time have an electric hookup. Is this enough to run the appliances? How do I heat and cool the RV? What do I need to do in the winter?

3. Do I need a propane tank to run the stove? I am new to anything electric, and am not sure what I am getting myself into.

I really appreciate the help. If you have any suggestions on which brands of motorhomes are the best for my use- mostly parked but I would like to be able to move it occassionaly that would be amazing.

Thank you so much for your information, I am pretty overwhelmed as to where to start looking, but I would like to make an informed purchase as soon as possible.


New Member
Re: Brand New- A few hopefully basic questions.

All are good basic questions.....

1: Ya you should be able to hook up to a house make sure you use a pressure regulator on the water going into your RV and also use a RV hose due to water tast. It is best to have it hooked up for endless supply of water. Rv's have freash water holding tanks but you are limited to the amount of water. The gray and black water tanks just depend on how much you use the restroom or other items like your sink or shower. You sould be able to go to a near by rv park to empty them some times they charge a little fee..

2: As far as the electric I beleive it all depends on the length of the run. You need to make sure the breaker that you are pluged into is the correct AMP service for you RV. Also make sure you use the proper rated cord for you hook up. As far as heating and cooling your RV shoud have a propan heater.

3: Most stoves in RV's are ran off propane so yes ......

I have a Coachman Catilina 5th wheel and love it........

Goood luckkkkkkk........


Senior Member
Re: Brand New- A few hopefully basic questions.

1. You can hook up as far away as the hose you have. In fact, at this very moment I am using 1 50' hose, 2 25' hoses and a 10' hose to get water from my folk's house. Make sure you use a water pressure regulator; I didn't use one once and blew the pressure sensor on my water pump and the hose which feeds the toilet. There will be a fresh water tank, but it will be 'small'. It might last you a few days with careful use. Also, to use the internal tank, you will need to use the pump, which uses the batteries. When you are hooked to external water, make sure the pump is turned off.

There is generally 1 sewage (black water) tank for the toilet, and 1 to 2 'gray' water tanks for the sinks/showers. It is best to dump them when both are at least 1/2 full. To empty them, hook up the hose between the trailer and the dump site, open the black water valve until it is empty, flush it as needed, close the black water valve and open the gray water valve to dump it and clean out the hose. Depending on usage and size, you can go a few days to a week between dumps. You can empty them at your site if you have sewer hookup, at the dump station for the campground you stay at or other campgrounds (perhaps for a fee), at some truck stops (like Flying J) at home if you have a 'sewer cleanout' within range or have a 'macerator' pump which allows more distance or even dumping uphill.

2. Your trailer will have a 'rating', generally either 30 amps or 50 amps and a power cord to match. 30 amp trailers have 3 pins and 50 amp trailers have 4 pins. There are adapters to plugh 30 amp into 50 amp and 50 amp into 30 amp. Also adapters to plug 30 amp into 15/20 amp. If you plug in without any adapter, you ought to be able to run anything in the trailer. If you are plugged in using a reducer, you will need to be careful what you run. Generally you can run 1 AC on as little as 20 amps with nothing else major. At 30 amps, you can generally run 1 AC and perhaps another large load.

You heat the RV either with the built in propane or other furnace, a plug in (ceramic) heater, or the heat strips in some air conditioners. You cool them with AC or fans. You might be able to get a 'swamp cooler' if you are in a dry area.

Winter is a problem, the worst part of which is damage caused by freezing of the water system. You need to have all plumbing enclosed in heated compartments or 'heat tape' applied to anything which might freeze. Also, really good insulation and dual pane windows to keep the interior bearable. If you are talking about storing it during the winter, the process is known as 'winterization' and is a book unto itself.

3. Probably. All the stoves I've seen run on propane, although I've heard people talk about 'all electric' RVs. Sounds problematical to me. The refrigerator also runs on propane when electric is not available, and the furnace(s) and water heater (except perhaps on 'all electric' models). Propane allows you to camp longer without hookups for these big draws.

DL Rupper

Senior Member
Re: Brand New- A few hopefully basic questions.

Saxyrockr, welcome to the forum. Your biggest problem will be moving the RV frequently to dump the black/gray water holding tanks. They usually only hold between 35 to 70 gallons. Not much if you are living in the RV full time. You will need a large sewer hose to dump the tanks.

Go to Wal-mart and look for a beginning RV book. They usually have them in the RV/auto dept.