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How to Drain Fresh Water Tank on RV in 5 Simple Steps

Written by Stephen Ryan / Fact checked by William Turner

how to drain fresh water tank on rv

Aside from the electrical system, water containers are important components that every RVer should pay attention to if they want their RV to be well-functioning. Hence, a dirty fresh water tank is probably the worst nightmare of every RVer, as their water resource will be contaminated and unusable.

However, your RV fresh water tank won’t drain by itself. Therefore, it is the owner’s mission to empty fresh water tank on RVs as frequently as possible. Don’t just simply think that using all the water in the rig will do the work, since draining fresh water tank on RV is not that easy.

So, how to drain fresh water tank on RV? One of the tasks is to identify the RV fresh water tank drain valve location and release the drain plug. To help you clean the fresh water tank effectively, we will provide a step-by-step tutorial, along with other essential tips within this article.

But first, let’s have a look at what you need to prepare to drain the fresh water tank on an RV!

Table of Contents

Essential Tools for Draining an RV’s Fresh Water Tank


There are certain essential tools you need to prepare for the draining process:

  • Ratchet
  • Screwer
  • Sewer, portable tank, or bucket
  • Extension
  • Size socket
  • Rubber gloves
  • Water pump (optional)

What to Do Before Draining the RV’s Fresh Water Tank?

As the freshwater tank affects the function of many other RV’s water supply components, it is necessary for some of them to be inspected before and during the procedure. To ensure your safety and the effectiveness of the draining process, you should practice the following actions before emptying the fresh water tank.

First, you must remember to turn off the RV’s water heater and water pump. If you just used the heater, wait a few minutes for the water to cool down. Having a hand scalded by boiling water is the last thing you want.

Next, RVers must locate the position of their RV water tank drain valve. This will also answer the question: “Where is the fresh water tank drain?” Since a motorhome’s water tank is located beneath itself and connected by a hose, the valve is attached directly to the tank, along with a drain cap.

In addition, don’t forget to identify the low point valves, which are usually installed next to the drain valve. There are two low point valves, and they are in charge of emptying hot and cold water in the lines. Releasing the drain valve at the same time as the low point valves is critical for draining excessive fluid from your containers and pipelines.

How to Drain the Fresh Water Tank on an RV? A Step-by-Step Tutorial


Now that you have enough equipment and your RV’s fresh water tank is prepared, let’s start the draining process. Follow these steps to properly empty your fresh water tank:

Step 1: Turn on the faucets

Once the water stored in the RV’s water heater and other containers cools down to at least room temperature, open all the RV’s faucets, including the outside shower.

Step 2: Check the RV’s heater

While all the faucets are open, check and install the RV’s heater in the bypass position to avoid water leaking back into the heater container.

Also, flush all the water in the toilet until it stops flowing to empty the toilet’s tank.

Step 3: Release the drain valves

Firstly, locate the drain valve’s position. As we have mentioned, it is installed underneath the RV, usually close to the rear.

Then, open the valve to let all the water out of the tank. Remember to release the valve slowly to avoid splashing water.

Step 4: Open the low point drain plug

Now, search for the low point drain beneath your RV. The low point pipes are red and blue, and they come along with valves or little plastic plugs to keep them sealed.

Use a screwer to unscrew the plug and release the valve to allow any remaining fresh water to escape from the RV.

Step 5: Drain water lines

Restart the RV’s water pump and switch on all of the taps. This allows any excess water in the pipelines to flow into the gray water storage tank.

Finally, unplug the drain cap of the water heater to enable any residual liquid to drain.

So basically, these are the steps you need to perform to drain an RV’s fresh water tank effectively and appropriately. However, if you want to empty all of your motorhome’s hydraulic systems for winterizing or maintenance, it’s a must to drain the water heater and gray water tank as well. Hence, we will provide ways to do this task in the section below!

Ways to Drain an RV’s Water Heater and Gray Water Tank


A water heater is also an essential component of the hydraulic system on an RV, a 5th wheel, or a travel trailer. While some said it isn’t necessary to empty the hot water tank, cleaning and draining it frequently will help you extend the service life of this equipment.

Now, let’s get into the detailed steps to drain an RV’s water heater:

  • Step 1: Find and activate the water heater connection on the control panel outside the motorhome. To eliminate excess heat and air pressure, release the lever on the heater’s pressure relief valve.
  • Step 2: Using a screwdriver, unscrew the water heater’s plug. Then, flip up the pressure release valve with one of your hands while detaching the plug with the other. Let the hot water tank drain completely.
  • Step 3: Insert the plug when the heater has been completely drained. Cover the plug with a plumber’s adhesive tape, then reinstall it and secure it using a screwdriver.
  • Step 4: Lastly, turn down the pressure relief valve’s lever and close the access to the water heater.

When it comes to draining the gray water tank, it is much simpler. Just remove the gray water tank and empty it into a dump station, since the gray water tank contains a lot of toxic chemicals and dirty sewage. Remember to clean the tank after draining it and use rubber gloves during the process!


Keeping your fresh water tank clean is extremely important for a remote road trip with your RV. While emptying the RV’s gray water tank is a daily task, it is advisable for RVers to also frequently drain their fresh water tank. In this way, not only will the water stay fresh and not be contaminated, but the water tank will also last longer.

We hope that this post on how to drain fresh water tank on RV was helpful! Did you enjoy the article? Do you want to add anything else? Please let us know and leave a comment below.

Furthermore, if you are looking for water tank cleaning solutions, please take a look at the guide to cleaning rv holding tank sensors and how much bleach is required to clean an RV water tank.

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