Wednesday, November 29, 2023


RV and dump station design dilemma


Dear RV Shrink:
rvshrinkWe just looked at a travel trailer with a floor plan that satisfies my wife and myself. My hangup with it is the dump and freshwater filling arrangements. The way the thing is designed would make it necessary for me to dump on one side and fill water on the other. This doesn’t seem to bother my wife, but it is a deal breaker for me. She says we can deal with it, but I say we are going to have years of headaches every time we need to visit the dump station. Am I being overly concerned with this issue? We can’t seem to come to a compromise on this one aspect of RV design. —Dump Detail in Denver

Dear Detail:
I have noticed this a couple of times while waiting in line to dump. It made me scratch my head. I have to wonder if the engineer has ever been to a dump station. It is stressful enough spending time in the queue at the dump loo. When you combine the many poorly engineered dump stations with a poorly plumbed rig it spells nothing but frustration to me. I personally would not even consider a rig that wasn’t plumbed conveniently.

So many dump facilities are developed using backward thinking. It is common for the dump and fresh water to be so close together that one rig will block the whole operation until both chores are finished.

It takes so much more time to fill a freshwater tank, compared to dumping waste water. It seems like common sense to separate the two so that both operations could be available to more people at the same time. What most parks need are fewer rangers and more re-arrangers.

I am sure with a bit more shopping you can find a suitable floor plan with the plumbing in the right spot. —Keep Smilin’, Richard E. Mallery a.k.a Dr. R.V. Shrink

Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his new eBook: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask.





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Ellen (@guest_2717)
7 years ago

DD in Denver has said the design of the rig’s fresh water holding tank access is a bone of contention between his wife and him and wonders if he’s being too adamant about placement of the intake. I didn’t really see the RV Shrink actually answer this question…

Our RV design is like others have mentioned — fresh water tank access on the passenger side rather than driver’s side with other connections. We’ve made it work with a little practice and coordination. Takes a longer hose, but we carry them anyway for longer hookups (we’ve been in RV parks where the water hookup was at the back end of a long RV site with quite a reach to the other utilities, for example).

If having all the connections in one spot on the trailer is a “must have” for DD in Denver, what else is on the “must have” list? And if they find a trailer with that “must have” what will they have to give up to get it? That’s the rub. But it could also be the point of negotiation they’re missing right now.

Seann (@guest_2621)
7 years ago

MULTITASKING… Once the tank has started draining I attach my FW hose to the FW outlet and start filling my tank . I have enough various lengths of hose that I can always reach..

Tommy Molnar (@guest_2572)
7 years ago

Since we seldom go to RV parks, there is generally no water hookup situation. However, our new trailer has the fresh water fill on the right side, but the shore water hookup on the left side (where it should be). This has on occasion caused us some extra work hauling out a longer hose to reach under the trailer to fill the on-board filler. Not enough to complain about.

Wolfe Rose (@guest_2661)
7 years ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

My trailer it’s likewise fresh-right and shore-left, and I PREFER it! This makes it much easier to fill the tank leisurely at any water spigot along the campsite road (less stress, and hopefully no one used that spigot for their septic washer!), and easier curbside at home too.

I NEVER in a decade or so of RVing fill up at the dump site “potable” faucet… Way too many times I’ve seen people doing exactly what I just mentioned, freely using the potable tap to run tank rinsers or even actually rinsing the ‘stinky slinky’… Even with a backflow valve (?) they are handling the fresh tap and septic hoses at the same time. I’ll drive out of the campground for water before using that tap!

If I designed campgrounds, I’d never put the potable fill closer than 200 feet from the dump… There’s just too many dangerous people.

Dave (@guest_2487)
7 years ago

What would be the problem to fill your freshwater at your campsite BEFORE you get to the dump station? Seems like a no brainer to me. My biggest complaint is the design of the “service center” (aka:dump valves and hose hookup area), I swear the “engineers” that designed that area have never owned an RV. There is NO reason the valve handles can’t be accessible while standing next to the rig and that the hose connection can’t come straight out of the compartment without requiring you to get on your hands and knees and practically crawl under your RV to connect. Come on RV designers, listen up, we’re not all youngsters, make it easy for us!!!

Russ and Tiña De Maris
7 years ago
Reply to  Dave


Can’t see a single issue with doing the fresh-water fill before the dump. We do that when we can, as our water fill is on the curb side of the trailer, and of course, the dump port is on the street side. With the design of many dump stations, this means two lengths of fresh water hose to fill the tank — and that’s a pain in the neck to start with, and if you’ve got folks waiting in line at the dump station behind you, a definite faux pas, in terms of tying up other folks’ time.

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