Friday, December 8, 2023


Safety water shut-off but still with full flow

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

We have warned before of the dangers of leaving the water to your RV turned on while absent. You can only imagine what you might find if you came back to your rig and discovered a waterline fitting had “blown” in your absence — so a suggestion was made that to wipe out this potential, one might install a simple garden hose shutoff fitting. The idea behind this is rather than having to track out to the park-provided shutoff and “twist-twist-twist” it, you’d simply do a “quarter turn” on your own shutoff and be on your way.

These little shutoffs can be obtained at your friendly neighborhood garden supply for a couple of bucks, and utilize a plastic ball valve to achieve their magic. Reader Mel Goddard liked the suggestion, so he promptly installed a similar setup on his rig, and felt pretty good about the added safety.

However, Mel’s RV developed a problem — slow water flow. On learning of Mel’s shutoff valve trick, an RV dealer blamed the shutoff valve. Mel points out, “If you take a look inside the valve, you will see that the ‘hole’ [the flow-through section of the ball valve] is 5/16″ in diameter. With a 1/2″ or 5/8″ hose, you can see the water flow through a 5/16″ hole would be severely restricted.”

Point well taken. So, Mel set out to create his own quick shutoff safety device. From the hardware store he procured a male-to-female hose coupling, and a 1/2″ brass shutoff valve. A quarter turn turns off the flow, but the ball valve in this bad boy is a great deal larger than those in the el-cheapo plastic model. Mel says he had to do a slight modification to the threads in order to mate up with the couplings; and to overcome any possibility of leakage from his surgical procedures he put them together with epoxy.

Yes, Mel no longer suffers from slow-flow. Much of that can be attributed to his new project — but some of it, it turns out, really was a fault with his RV, which was a factory defect, and has since been cured by the dealer.

Thanks, Mel!

Photo: Mel Goddard


Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.



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Steve S. (@guest_65514)
3 years ago

Good for him.
He perceived a problem and created a solution that works for him.
I too find joy in solving problems.
Sometimes the solution is overly complicated, but that’s part of the fun.
As long as he’s happy.

JR Thornton (@guest_65078)
3 years ago

I think someone is looking for something to do. Twist, twist: maybe 3-4 times and the water is off. I find it hard to believe algae in the hose in one day. If you are going to be gone for a week, by all means disconnect and drain the hose.

Alvin (@guest_65069)
3 years ago

We’ve never had a problem going the few steps to the hydrant and turning it a few turns to off, before we leave, but if that’s a problem for some people the above is the fix.
This summer past while staying In the nice campground at McMinnville, next door to Evergreen Aviation museum. We locked up the rig, then went over to the hydrant and shut off the system.
I could hear a hissing noise. I looked at the next door guy who had left earlier, and water was pouring out of the rear hatch of his class A. I immediately shut the system down and went over to the office to report it. What a mess this fellow came home to later that day.
We’d never leave our permanent residence or our Motor home without shutting down the water. The rule at home is if we’re going to be overnight, we shut the main valve off. Many years ago a toilet valve failed in a friends basement bathroom, they came home to a basement half full of water. We’ve been sensitive to this ever since.

Wolfe (@guest_65067)
3 years ago

I use just the sort of 50 cent ball valve mentioned here, and never had a low flow problem. My 12V pump is slower to deliver water than hose even at 30psi (weak for most campgrounds). The only time you’re likely to be starved for water is if several sinks are all on full-blast at once… which is then an issue for your grey tank filling too quick. Even with full hookups I don’t run more water than needed.

There ARE “full-gate” ball valves with hose threads… I just never bothered when cheapie worked.

Gray (@guest_65063)
3 years ago

We always run water from our internal tank/pump system but if we were inclined to use the city water connection, a visit to the garden/hardware store will find “quick disconnect” hose fittings that fill the bill. Disconnect both ends, drain, coil & store the clean water hose out of harm’s way.

Thomas R Sloan/ Alice M Sloan (@guest_65062)
3 years ago

Agree, can be a few extra steps to shut off the water.
However, here are a few good reasons to do so. Leak in RV system while you are gone is one. Another is leak in outside hose, you might come back to find water spouting like a fountain. Maintenance in parks sometimes run over hoses which cause leaks, or damage that may not be found until you return. This is what motivates me to turn it off and drain my hose. Water sitting in the hose, unused can quickly grow bacteria, nothing pleasant about turning on a faucet and green, sometimes green slimy water, comes out! We are on the Texas coast, with mostly warm weather where water hoses heat up quickly in the sun. I have not personally experienced this, but I know several who have! Takes more work and time to purge the lines, clean and/or replace the hose, or have repairs fixed, than it does to turn it off, drain and store until you return.

rich (@guest_65041)
3 years ago

is it THAT difficult to simply turn the supply valve off when leaving for the day??? twist..twist…twist takes what, 5-extra seconds?

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