Friday, June 2, 2023


5 things to NEVER do in an RV

By Cheri Sicard
That RV Tech is back with another informative video. In it, he shares 5 things you should never do in your RV.

Veteran RVers might think some of this is common sense. But you don’t know what you don’t know, so new RVers take note. Even veterans might learn a thing or two in the video below.

While all of the items will apply to towables like travel trailers and 5th wheels, most will also apply to motorhomes as well.

The Tech also stresses these are NOT necessarily in order of importance.

5 things to never do in your RV

#1 Drinking water: A lot of you will disagree with this one, but I certainly don’t. I, too, do not drink from my RV’s freshwater system. Now, the tech says you can if it has been meticulously maintained and sanitized multiple times a year. I don’t have that much faith in my abilities or in the water in many places I have filled my tanks. Several campgrounds where I stayed on my Long Long RV Trip had signs posted not to drink the water. And several campground hosts ignored these signs, drank the water, and advised others to do the same. No thank you. I will carry drinking water. I spend a lot of time in Mexico, so not drinking tap water is now second nature.

#2 Traveling with the fridge on: This is another point not everyone will agree on, but I do. My fridge goes off while traveling. There is no issue maintaining temperature for the time I am moving, and I see nothing to gain by taking unnecessary safety chances. Not to mention, running a fridge off-level causes damage, and when you drive you are going to be off-level some of the time. The off-level danger applies to ALL types of refrigerators, not just propane.

#3 Replacing the water heater anode rod with a plastic plug: I don’t know much about this one, but this professional RV tech says he sees people do this all the time. Instead of properly replacing their water heater’s anode rod, they take a shortcut with a plastic plug. This makes the inside of your tank susceptible to corrosion.

#4 Leaving the black tank valve open when connected to sewer: A lot of newbies get into trouble with this one and, before they know it, they have a huge poop pyramid in their tank.

#5 Off-roading: I have been guilty of this myself, but the tech’s advice is no doubt sound. Most RVs are not meant for off-roading. Especially some of the newer models that the tech says “are barely made for the highway, let alone off-roading.” This practice causes a lot of the issues people seek repairs for.

What else would you add to the list of things to NEVER do in your RV?

Drop them in the comments below.



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William Maceri
10 days ago

Regarding dos and don’ts while RVing. I agree with most of the points made above. However there are a few I will disagree with.
1. Traveling with the refrigerator off. I have been RVing since I was a kid in the 60s. Back then we started with a 1961 16 foot Aljo trailer. We loved it. It’s where I cut my teeth about well, everything I was 10 in 1965. I knew all the names and highlights of every trailer on the market, campers too. I always heard light the refer the night before you leave, and back then, I do mean light. The Aljo had a small gas box that required lighting a wick attached to a long rod, and finding the pilot underneath the bottom of the box. Surprisingly, it would light right away, then never turn it off until the trip was over. That meant traveling with it on, and it never blew out on the road. If it would blow out, I would say the pilot needed to be protected from the wind on the road. All the ones I saw all had a little metal shield that covered the back and sides.

Mark Weiner
30 days ago

I completely agree with not drinking the water. It probably won’t kill you, but, it’s not going to be the best tasting water. Remember that the stomach isn’t sterile.

As far as the refrigerator is concerned, yes, the absorption refrigerator needs to be level, but, a 12 volt compressor refrigerator with a Secop Danfoss compressor can be up to 30 degrees off level…. these are marine refrigerators and designed to be used on boats. They are not residential refrigerators.

There’s so much equipment under the chassis I can’t even imagine someone “off roading” in an RV even if it’s a 4 wheel drive vehicle. There’s just too much vibration and the possibility of rocks flying up and damaging any one of the plumbing or tanks.

Yeah, you should always replace the equipment that was standard on your rig, who would put a plastic rod in a hot water heater….geez…..

Finally , read your owner’s manual and get acquainted with all the equipment and how it operates.

William Maceri
10 days ago
Reply to  Mark Weiner

Yes the refers need to be level, especially if you’re trying to make ice. However while moving, the gas in the lines will keep flowing and the pilot should be protected from the wind from the road. That will override the level requerment. I have never had one blow out on the road. I have been RVing since the 60s and I can tell you the technology has only gotten better. I say run the refer on the road. How else will you have cold food and drinks when you arrive if you don’t.

1 month ago

Never leave your seat while driving the motor home on Cruise control,, to make a sandwich

1 month ago

Letting your grey water drain on the ground

Neal Davis
1 month ago

Both of our RVs have been all-electric DPs so some of this pertains little to none to our situation. We have and do drink from our fresh water tank. Our “recklessness” is due to the number of water filters between the fresh water tank (or city water) and our faucets. We also sanitize our water tank. Perhaps we are courting disaster, but we’ve had no issues in 7 years of RVing. As to the off-roading admonition, we don’t do that AND we are compiling a list of highways to avoid because of the condition of the surfaces. Additionally I am lowering my average travel speed downward to lessen the force of driving through potholes and to enhance my ability to safely avoid them.

Gary Ray
1 month ago

I would like to see some documentation on why a 12v fridge shouldn’t be on while driving. Mine doesn’t have a way to turn it off, without pulling a fuse, btw. This is a Furrion 10 cubic foot model. The manual doesn’t mention driving or being level, other than on installation.

BTW, I have a 12v compressor fridge I used driving through Mexico and Central America. I tipped over the Jeep in Nevada one afternoon and I remember it being deathly quiet, except for the whir of that Dometic 12v fridge, strapped in, but on its side.

I’m right there with you with drinking water and that other stuff. Heading to Mexico for three months in a few weeks.

1 month ago
Reply to  Gary Ray

Gary, they are talking about propane refrigerators. Some people worry that a fire may start.

1 month ago
Reply to  Duane

They mentioned any fridge.

1 month ago
Reply to  Duane

Common sense. Lol

1 month ago
Reply to  Duane

the only way it will catch on fire. is if you crash. I’ve been traveling with my fridge on for 30 years and NEVER an issue. except it blew out once.

Chris Reed
1 month ago

Agree to the off road recommendation. I sold my lance camper and am buying a Four Wheel Camper – designed for this purpose.

1 month ago

We drink the water. We have a compressor fridge, and it stays on while driving. #3 is really dumb– I replace the anode with an anode. #4, never any #2 so that’s not an issue. #5 We take our Sprinter off-road every once in a while, but nothing extreme.

Bill N
1 month ago

People who write stuff like this should never own an RV let alone preach to those who do.

1 month ago

1 and 2 are practically idiotic. Unless you have no idea what you are doing, sanitizing a water system is a 15 minute operation. And driving with the fridge on is just fine unless you are driving off road or maybe the lunar surface. What roads are so unlevel and that you would be on them long enough to damage the unit? To each their own but these are right up there with hearing folks saying they never cook in their trailer, run the AC, nor shower in it thereby turning it into a $20k tent.

1 month ago
Reply to  Major

Idk how long it would take to damage the unit, but if you’re driving up a mountain, you’re definitely not on a level road

1 month ago
Reply to  Major

Have you ever driven on I95 through SC. The road is somewhat like the lunar surface.

1 month ago

I hope people don’t believe every statement in the article. The last 2 of the 5 are credible. There is plenty of documentation that traveling with the fridge on is ok. Also, we have been RVING for 35 years and do use campground water when in one, and tank water when traveling in this country. Never a problem. Wouldn’t trust Mexico water either. Husband always samples water in cg before use.

1 month ago

Running the fridge during driving doesn’t damage it, in fact they tell you to take it for a drive with it if it stops cooling due to being in an uneven state for a prolonged periods, as it will shake the ammonia vapour lock free. Also the fridge heats up really fast if it’s off. You’re worried about water microbes in your water but spoiled food is ok? nope. The fridge can raise its temperature to dangerous levels in just over an hour, I know because we camped at a spot that had no electricity and they wouldn’t let us run the generator, our batteries died on us faster than expected, so we had no choice but to move to a less attractive site that had power. If you travel with the fridge off you should be packing it with ice, furthermore the only argument I’ve heard about traveling with the fridge off is that you need the gas taps open and some people don’t like that.

Linda Gunn
1 month ago

#4 and 5 I agree with. We travel with our fridge on. When it reaches 115 degrees in Arizona, I’m not taking a chance on food spoilage. We sanitize our water tank, have a drinking water filter attached to a drinking water dispenser/faucet on the kitchen sink. Plus we have a water softener that all water goes through before getting into our lines. We have the 10 gallon aluminum water heater that doesn’t come with an anode. We flush our water heater annually. We boondock, go to campgrounds and RV resorts. Read your appliance operation/maintenance manuals and your rv manufacturers manuals. Do your annual maintenance religiously or more often depending on your particular camping adventures. Have fun and safe travels.

TJ Miller
1 month ago

Definitely agree with the off-roading prohibition… I used to do nothing but boondocking, and I’ve lost count of the number of fellow RV owners who got stuck, damaged their undercarriage, or in one case, slid partway down a hillside when the ground underneath them gave way. A specialty tow vehicle capable of freeing an RV, plus the cost of getting it all the way out to where you got stuck? Bad, bad mojo.

My little NoBo 19.2 has truck sized A/T tires and an off-road friendly torsion axle, but even in my case, unless I personally know the trail or terrain, I won’t go anywhere I wouldn’t go in, say, a Kia Soul.

1 month ago

Normally do not agree with a lot of suggestions, but this one I actually do, especially the part of today’s rvs are not designed to travel today’s road. If I were to question anything it would be traveling with the fridge on. I have been doing so for 30 Years and will continue to do so. I have worked in the RV industry for over 18 years

John B
1 month ago

We drink from tanks and hookups but run drinking water thru our Travel Berkey & keep a cold pitcher in the frig.

Barylski Don
1 month ago

Maybe a #6 = don’t use the stabilizers as levelling jacks!

Gary Bate
1 month ago
Reply to  Barylski Don

See this one a lot !!! Can’t understand what people don’t get about stabilizers are not meant to support the weight of an RV? If you see that and “The van starts rocking don’t bother knocking” takes on new meaning !!!🤣

Robert Schoop
1 month ago

I leave my fridge when onthe road.
Have a 990 arctic fox truckcamper and have a monitor in the fridge also.
I’m sure you would have a different opinion if you monitored your fridge off while driving on a hot day.

Sandra Ross
1 month ago

Totally agree with all 5. As far as travelling with propane on, a fridge and freezer will stay cold for at least 6 hours of travelling time, even with opening it to make your lunch mid way.

Ron Cravey
1 month ago
Reply to  Sandra Ross

Not in Texas when it is over 100 degrees going down the hot pavement. We travel with it on and it barely keeps things cool. And yes, it is properly maintained and works great when stopped.

James B
1 month ago

This may go without saying, but I would add not speeding to the list. Other than the obvious safety hazards, just slow down and enjoy the trip.

Charlie Sullivan
1 month ago
Reply to  James B

Life is not a race through the forest! Do not be in a rush to donate your organs.

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