How To Drain An RV Fresh Water Tank (Step-By-Step)

If you’re having trouble draining the freshwater tank in your RV, we’ve got you covered. Below we have outlined the process of changing your RV’s water tank, step by step, so that you can easily figure out what you need to do.

We also have warnings about what you shouldn’t do, which is just as important when you’re toying with your vehicle! We’ve also answered several frequently asked questions that typically get brought up during the process.

How To Drain An RV Fresh Water Tank (Step-By-Step)

Draining A Water Tank

The process of draining your RV’s water tank is quite simple. We don’t blame you for needing some assistance – everybody starts somewhere and those new to RV maintenance might not even know where the water tank is!

Let’s get that out of the way first – finding the freshwater tank draining valve. Their positioning is different across vehicle types, naturally, but most of them should be right beside the water holding tank underneath your RV.

At any rate, the location of the water tank draining valve and the low point drain valve should be detailed in your RV manual.

Related: How to drain a grey water tank.

Draining The Tank – Step-By-Step

So, here are the steps you should follow to dump the water out of your RV’s freshwater tank:

  1. First, make sure the hot water heater in your RV is off.
  2. Wait, so that the water in both the freshwater system and the heater’s holding tank has cooled down.
  3. Then you should open the faucets, including an external shower if your RV has one.
  4. You may need to also set the water heater into a bypass position, so that water doesn’t spill into the heater tank during drainage.
  5. Next, open the dump valve and let the water drain from it.
  6. Then open the low-point valve for both hot and cold water lines.
  7. Flush the toilet until there’s no water left, which is when the water stops flowing.
  8. To purge any remaining water, turn the freshwater pump on to clear the freshwater lines.
  9. Remove the heater drain plug and let the water clear out.

Remember these are generalized tips for most RVs. If your RV has a specific process outlined in the manual, use the manufacturer’s tips instead.

Frequently Asked Questions

Maybe you have some questions about the tank drainage process. Fortunately, we have covered some of the most frequently asked questions that RV owners have.

Where Is The Fresh Water Tank Drain Valve?

As we said, the drain valve for the fresh water tank is typically underneath the RV. Don’t worry, it’s not too far under there and they’re designed to be reachable from the side.

They may also be attached, or attachable, to a pipe or hose but this isn’t consistent across all vehicles.

Consult your RV’s section on the plumbing system if you need to have more information. If you didn’t get one, you can order one from the manufacturer or perhaps find a copy available for free on the Internet.

Should I Leave Water In My RV Tank?

You may be wondering why you should drain your RV’s water tank in the first place.

Draining the water tank is necessary for RVs that are going into long-term storage or are about to face a harsh winter. The cold will freeze the water in your RV lines, causing damage to them. (Don’t forget about your hose too).

After a while, water stored in your RV tanks will turn bad (typically after two weeks).

It’s also a good idea to drain the tanks when you’re driving for long journeys. That water adds weight to your vehicle, so you end up using more fuel and the RV will wear quickly. Many people travel with a full tank but you can usually find water at your destination.

Related: How effective is the Geo method for holding tanks?


That’s pretty much it, you should know everything you need to know about draining your RV’s water tank. It’s not very complex and, fortunately, you have many resources to help you out!

Try the steps above and see if you can do it. If there are any problems, you should consult your RV manual for more help. Once the tank is drained, you’re good to go.

Madeline Cooper