Irregular water flow, loud sputtering faucets, and vibrating pipes hint at trapped air in your RV water lines.
Luckily, bleeding air from the water lines is simple and doesn’t require mechanical experience or much time.
In this quick guide, you’ll learn how to bleed air from RV water lines, the water pump, and the water heater.
But first, let’s find out how air gets in the lines in the first place.
How Does Air Get Into RV Water Lines?
A proper water supply is necessary for everyday activities, including drinking, dishwashing, bathing, etc. Trapped air in water lines is inconvenient and disruptive, impacting the water pressure in your entire vehicle.
A few factors that may influence the air volume in your RV water lines include broken or loose valves, pump issues, and water heater problems.
Tip: It’s a good idea to identify and fix the cause of air entering your water lines before bleeding them, or you may continue to run into the same problem.
Inspect the Water Pump
Start by inspecting the connection on the inlet side of your water pump to see if it is broken or loose. Also, make sure the pump strainer isn’t loose or cracked.
If there are cracks or gaps, the pump can suck in air, thus causing air pockets in your water lines that cause that annoying, loud sputtering to come from your faucets.
Check the Water Hose
If your water pump looks fine, next, check the hose that connects that pump to the freshwater tank. Look for loose fittings, clamps, or a bad hose, as this can again draw in air as the water pump runs. You may even have a valve attached to this hose used for winterizing your camper. Make sure this valve is closed.
Check the Water Heater
The water heater in your RV might be another possible cause of trapped air within your water lines, especially if your RV water is sputtering only when hot water is used.
There could be multiple reasons that your water heater is the culprit. A loose water heater plug can make it so the pressure can’t build up properly in the tank. Or if your hot water heater tank is not full, excess air can escape through your water lines.
Keep in mind most RV water heaters do have a small air gap at the top of the tank. This is normal.
How to Bleed Air From RV Water Lines
As mentioned above, purging your water lines is a simple process and doesn’t require any special tools or mechanical experience – just a full freshwater tank.
Here’s how to remove air from RV water lines:
You can purge RV water lines of air by turning on the water pump, then turning on the farthest faucet and letting it run until a solid stream comes out. Do this for each faucet as you work your way back towards your pump.
You can also connect to city water, then turn on all of the faucets in your vehicle (don’t forget the shower and toilet) and let the pressure from the city water purge any air in the lines. You’ll still want to fill your water tank with fresh water, turn on the water pump and run water through all of your faucets after purging the lines with city water.
As long as you’ve identified and fixed the cause of the air in the lines before bleeding them, you should be good to go!
How to Bleed Air From an RV Water Heater
Air trapped in an RV water heater is a less common problem, but it can still be a problem nonetheless.
Typically, if you notice air in hot water lines only, it’s an issue with the water heater. More often than not, it’s simply a loose water heater plug, or the tank hasn’t filled up yet.
The process of bleeding an RV water heater is the same as bleeding the RV water lines. Simply turn on the farthest away hot water faucet and let it run until the water quits sputtering and it’s a solid stream. Repeat with all of the faucets, the shower, etc., in your RV.
Preventing Air From Getting in RV Water Lines
Air in RV water lines is often due to damaged or loose hoses and clamps, typically at or near the water pump and freshwater tank. Before you call in a professional technician, double-check these connections and tighten if they appear loose. Make checking these connections a regular part of your routine maintenance.
Don’t Drain the Water System Dry
Unless you don’t plan on using your RV for a while or are sanitizing the freshwater system, it’s better to leave some water in the system, so you don’t have to repeat the bleeding process when you fill it again. Check out our guide on how long to keep fresh water in your tank to help you gauge if and when you need to drain it.
A common time for air to enter your RV water lines is during the camper de-winterization process. By properly flushing the entire water system of anti-freeze, sanitizing the water system, and filling it with fresh water, your RV water system should be good to go – air free! Check out our guide on how to de-winterize a camper for step-by-step instructions.
Leave the Water Pump On (Optional)
There’s a bit of debate on whether you should leave your water pump on or not. However, preference aside, if it’s left on and any issues like leaks or damaged connections in your water system arise, you may notice your pump turn on when you’re not running any water. And as we mentioned above, leaky or damaged connections and valves can lead to air entering the water system. While this won’t prevent air from entering the water lines, it will alert you of a potential issue sooner rather than later.
Tip: If you properly bled all the air out of your RV water system but still have low water pressure issues, check out our guide on how to increase water pressure in an RV.