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Water You Doing? How To Avoid Camper Flooding

Rich Bain and Ray Steinmeyer share their free flowing stories of what happens when water hookups go wrong.  Hint: Dachshunds can be serious trouble.

Dachshunds Are Terrible Water Dogs

Submitted by Rich Bain, 2004 Dodge 3500, 2010 Adventurer 810WS
Wine Country RV Hook Ups

We were at a full hookup location parked next to our friend for a night. We were just passing by the area for a visit.

We got our camper connected to all the available hookups; water, electric and sewer.  Then we left to go have dinner in town with our friend.

We have five dachshunds.  Yes, five.  That is another story.

Five Dogs In A Truck Camper

Our dogs love to hang out in the camper and snuggle in the bed.  We always make sure it is warm or cool enough in the camper for them.  Sometimes we even turn the XM radio on to drown out the noise outside the camper.

Drown… a foreshadowing word for me to use.

We have steps that go up to the cabover bed.  One of our smallest dogs usually steps on the counter by the sink and then hops up onto the bed.  It has always been fine and has always worked for us.

We returned to the resort after having dinner for about 1.5-hours and saw water pouring out the back of our camper.  What the heck!

I immediately turned off the water hookup and opened the camper door.  Water was coming out of the shower pan.  The grey tank had overflowed.  We do not leave our dump valves open when hooked up.  I only open them when needed.

We cleaned everything up and scratched our heads as to what happened.  I turned the water hookup back on and the sink faucet ran wide open.  We watched our smallest dog walk by the faucet and rub against the knob for the water.  Yep, she had turned the water on by walking past the knob to get on and off the bed.

The Camper Memo

This was a lesson learned even after years of truck camping.  If we are hooked up to water, we turn it off before leaving the camper.  That is something we should have done anyway.

You can teach an old dog new tricks.  Apparently our dogs have many tricks of their own as well.

Don’t Become A Campground Water Feature

Submitted by: Ray Steinmeyer, 2007 GMC 3500, 2007 Host Yellowstone 115DS

Reading the, “Don’t Get Hosed” memo reminded me of an incident I experienced many years ago in a 8.5-foot Sunline truck camper.

Dry camping up in New Brunswick, Canada, I topped off the fresh water tank and settled into our campsite.  With the water pump on, I fired up the water heater and took my dog for a little walk.

We returned about 45-minutes later to see water pouring out like a waterfall from under the camper’s entry door.  A gathered audience was watching this new campground attraction.

“My camping neighbors were quite amused, but I was not.”

The camper was not a basement model, so the 2-inches of water inside was on the carpeted floor.  The pump was running and the fresh water tank was empty.

I found the water pump outlet hose completely off its hose barb due to the excess pressure of the expanding hot water.  As the water heated up and expanded, the excess pressure would be present throughout the entire water system.  The hose connection at the water pump outlet proved to be the weak link.

It took quite awhile to clean up that mess.  My camping neighbors were quite amused, but I was not.  My dog just jumped in the cab and went to sleep.

After that incident I added an accumulator.  The purpose of an accumulator is to act as a pressure buffer when fitted close to the water pump outlet.  It’s a small air-charged tank very similar in operation to a household water system storage tank.  With the accumulator installed, the waterfall is not going to happen again.

The Camper Memo

If your water tank is full, leave a faucet cracked open and turn the water pump off when you fire up the water heater for the first time on a trip.  I had just filled the water tank with very cold water.  When the water heater heated the water, a lot of expansion took place with no where to go.  With a faucet cracked open and the pump off, the waterfall would have been prevented.

Submit Your Teachable Moment

If you have experienced a teachable moment while truck camping (aka, a Camper Memo), please click here to share your story.

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