How to Troubleshoot Your Caravan’s Plumbing System

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caravan plumbing system

Water is indispensable for our survival. Neglecting to check your caravan’s plumbing system before going off on your journey with Galaxy off-road caravans, could prove detrimental to your survival on the road.

From mould to mildew, the results of neglecting unchecked moisture can be lethal. Veteran caravanners warn against plumbing leaks as a cause of allergies, bacterial infections, mould contamination and neurological disorders. Nevertheless, there are many easy fixes to ensure a trouble-free caravan plumbing system.

Caravan Plumbing Maintenance

A caravan’s plumbing system comprises of Sink, Bathroom, Toilet, Hose Taps, Tanks and Pump. In order to make sure your plumbing system is damage-free, a regular inspection is needed.

Galaxy Nemesis

  • Toilet tanks

Clean periodically by flushing out water through the grey and black water tanks. Start by filling the grey water tank and let it stand for a few hours. Next, inspect the underside and around the tank for water leaks. Additionally, do not use domestic toilet cleaning chemicals as these are not fit for caravans. You must use caravan-specific chemicals when cleaning, to protect and prevent leaks in a caravan toilet.

If you notice a leak, it is best to get a professional to fix it.  Clean the black water tank with white water at a dumping station or when doing your spring-cleaning. To rinse, drive around with the grey water tank partially filled with a water-cleaner mixture. Leaving the wastewater tanks open to dry also helps kill moisture-loving bacteria.

  • Pumps and heaters

There are two types of pumps for caravans: the Submersible and diaphragm types. The former is cheap and not durable while the latter, although expensive, lasts much longer. It is common for pump seals to lose their elasticity over time, and should therefore be replaced immediately.

When you switch on the hot water tap, your water heater starts, which is a simple immersion type of heater. The best way to rinse and clean water heaters is by mixing proportionate amounts of Water (5L) and White Vinegar (5L). The mixture should be heated to the maximum temperature and subsequently cooled down as well. Finally, rinse the heater with white water to keep it clean. Slow water stream is yet another fault in pumps often caused by bends. The best solution is to carry an extra pump.

  • Water tanks

There are two tanks for freshwater in a caravan, Cold (On-board) and Hot. On the other hand, for wastewater there are black and grey water tanks. It is your choice to decide on how full you want your tanks to be when moving. As treated water is safe for long-term use, the best way to maintain water tanks is by flushing them clean, periodically. To rinse, drain the tank empty by opening all the taps in your rig. Then, add the cleaning agent such as a vinegar solution and drive around a bit. The caravan’s motion will do most of the job. Finally, run the hose and drain the tanks and flush with white water.

For drinking water tanks, use sodium or calcium hypochlorite rather than stabilized chlorine to keep lethal acids, such as cyanuric acid, from contaminating your white water.

Caravan Plumbing System Tips

Ensuring that your home on wheels is not harbouring bacteria and algae is mandatory for keeping your caravan’s plumbing clean.   

Galaxy Rover

  • Moisture Meter

When enclosed units in a caravan are threatened by the presence of moisture, the damage is starting to occur. From rust to mould and mildew, there are many adversities due to trapped moisture in a caravan. A moisture meter can be inserted into ceilings and walls to take a digital reading of the amount of moisture in your caravan. While most materials like wood have a moisture reading of 25 percent, a reading of more than 50% is considered critical.

  • Ventilation

Yet another significant cause of faulty plumbing in a caravan is lack of ventilation. From covering the ventilations holes with clothes to stacking objects next to it, closed ventilations can be hazardous too. As overheating and humidity occur frequently at the ventilation slots, cleaning and vacuuming these regularly is necessary.  

  • Pump has stopped

If your caravan pump abruptly stops, there can be a range of causes that added up to it. The first place to check is your motor. If your motor is running well, check the power source with a 12V tester.

If all the above are intact, the next inspection should be on your pumps. Often air bubbles can be trapped,  causing your pump to stop working. The solution is to dislodge the air bubbles either with an air relief hole or by moving the pump.

  • Spillage

Spillages provide a breeding ground for fungus, bacteria and algae and must be cleaned up as soon as possible. All spillages except water should be cleaned with a cleaning liquid. Always keep a mop ready to clean spills within your arm’s length in the caravan, along with a caravan-specific cleaning liquid.

  • Water Leaks

Water leaks are a direct effect of trapped water with the wear and tear of your caravan.  The best way to detect water leaks in a caravan is by checking the base of the seals for any black matter. Caravan seals can deteriorate over time and rot away. The only solution is to replace them.   

  • Shower resealing


Certain plumbing problems lead to damp. If your caravan bathroom smells of damp, there are chances that water is trapped there somewhere and has become stagnant. You can check for chronic dampness by checking if the walls are spongy or outlined by black residue. When noticed, the damp shower units have no better solution than replacement.

  • Dehumidifier

Humidity is a routine problem that contributes to a caravan’s deterioration. Even if one or two spillages go unchecked, a dehumidifier can help you stop humidity from spreading. Moreover, during rainy seasons when humidity is at its peak, a dehumidifier will also keep moulds at bay.

  • Erratic Water Flow

A common troubleshooting problem of caravan plumbing, have you observed slow water stream in your tap? Chances are that the plumbing system that leads to your caravan’s tap is blocked, broken, bent or the pump battery is depleted. Installing an accumulator or surge damper will help you resolve the problem easily!


If you’re looking for a complete guide to keep your caravan’s plumbing system in great shape, all you have to do is follow the tips outlined above. All in all, regular maintenance is key. How often do you clean your rig? We recommend spring cleaning your caravan once a year!

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