Now you just purchased your first RV. The dealer showed you a few of the ins and outs on how to set up when you arrive at your destination. They may have even given you some insight on the electrical, the fresh water, grey water, and the black water. Some reputable deals will include the hoses or give you a credit to purchase somethings int they store.

Where do you start?


Before attaching the electrical you will need to understand that RVs are 15, 30, or 50 amps. You need to know what your RV is and what the hook-up is on your site. You do not want to overload your RV. This will have costly results since the RV has two electrical systems.

The 12-volt system powers thing like lighting, along with the ignition for the furnace, water heater, refrigerator, and stove.

The 120-volt system powers the outlet, television, and other electrical appliances.

Each system has there separate wiring, yet they are connected thru an inverter and a converter. These are not in all RVs and are primarily used in larger RVs or installed for dry camping (boondocking).

We will only be discussing the electrical system being used while at a campground or RV resort. Depending on the location you are stating, most locations will have 15 or 20 amp on the site. These are your typical residential 3 prong plugs with a GFI. A 30amp plug also as 3 prong plug, that looks similar to the residential dryer or stove. Larger resorts will offer 50 amp hook-up for the larger RVs that will have 4 prongs configuration, each one seen below.

15 amp

15 amp


20 amp

30 amp

50 amp







Depending on which connection you have, it best practices to still protect your investment with a surge protection device. Some RV resorts require these on all electrical connection. That are designed to prevent electrical devices from power surges that are common on campground and RV resorts. A surge is an increase of voltage within the electrical system most commonly caused by lighting.

Another good practice before hooking up the electrical power is to check the polarity within the resort. Like a power surge, a change in polarity could cause significate damage to your electrical system. Checking the polarity is as simple as using an electrical test meter or a polarity tester. A good practice would be to make sure all electrical breakers and appliances are shut off.

The final few things you will need are a good heavy duty extension cord and an adaptor for 30 amp to 50 amp. We recommend getting a 30amp, 30-foot cord that is at least 10 gauge wire for larger RVs. If you have a smaller RV like a pop up you could get a 15amp, 30-foot heavy duty cord.

Once you have made the connections, start by turning on the power from the pedestal (where you connected the power). Making sure all connections are tight and safely laid out to prevent trip hazards. Then turn on the main breaker, making sure all other breaker is off. This will prevent unwanted power surges to appliances. Finally, turn on all remaining breakers.

When your trip is complete it is good practice to do everything in reverse. Only there is no need to check the polarity.

Fresh Water

Your fresh water can come from one of two locations, the fresh water holding tank or the RV resort. Here we will only be looking at the resort hook-ups. There are a few essential things you will need, we will cover each one. Keep in mind this is the fresh water and keeping any dirt off the hoses is important. If you happen to drop a connection, it should be rinsed thoroughly before connecting.

Starting at the water spigot, a wise choice is a good pressure regulator. There a many different version to choose from, this will depend on your amount of time traveling. If you travel a few times a year, think of investing in a pressure regulator with a gauge. This will at least help you regular the water flow at the spigot. For the more frequent traveler, invest in the adjustable pressure regulator. Good chances are you will also be using a wye connection at the spigot. The pressure regulator will protect the plastic connections and fittings within the RV.

The hoses a pretty much standard. Remember to keep everything clean. There are hoses on the market designed for fresh water that is lead and BPA free. These are great if you are going to be using the water within the RV for drinking. Another option for RVing in cold weather is to purchase a heated hose that is lead and BPA free. The key factor is to get a hose that is lead and BPA free while keeping it clean. A good practice is to connect both ends when, not in use and keep separate from other hoses.

Before connecting the hose to the RV you need to install an inline filter. The in-line filter or filtration system depends on your length of stay and water use. The filter is used to remove minerals within the water was covered in a previous post. The connection into the RV will be made using a short connection and a 90-degree elbow to decrease the downward pressure on the RV water connection.


Waste water is consistent of the black water and the grey water. Each has its own holding tank since the grey water can be reused as defined in a previous post. The black water will contain the obvious sludge and will need additional care in dumping.

Since both are dumped from the same discharge, they each get similar treatment. The hoses use will depend on the hookups you have.

Black Water

We will cover the black water first since it will be dumped before the grey water. The black water will contain the waste from the toilet we will call sludge. Black water is also treated within the holding tank using a chemical to deodorize and breakdown the contents.

The black water is not something we want to leak all over. Yet almost every RVer will have some type of story which we all can learn from. The hoses should have a locking 1/4 turn collar with a good gasket. It should also be long enough to reach the dumping inlet. Most of these hoses should be a minimum of 10 feet in length. A good idea is to add a holding tank rinse valve between the hose and the RV.

As stated above a good leak resistant sewer hose is your best option. Some hoses are made with metal wire to maintain the shape. These hoses in time begin to corrode and wear due to dragging along the ground. This will eventually create leaks in the hose and should be replaced.

A final good idea is to keep a pitch on the hos between the RV and the sewer system. This is a simple fix with a sewer hose support designed to extend and pitch the hose away from the RV.

Grey Water

Grey water will be handled in two manners depending on your hookups. Some campgrounds or resorts will offer grey water dumping on sites. This will require a different hose setup for a convenient reminder that its grey water only. The grey water can also be dumped from the sewer hose after the black water is dumped to flush out residual sludge.

The first configuration is with a cap that allows for a 5/8″ fitting or simple garden hose attachment. We recommend the hose attached to be of a different color than the fresh water hose to prevent any errors. There are hoses designed for grey water that is orange in color. However, the best option is to keep the fresh water hoses separate from all other hoses in a separate bin.

The second configuration is as simple as using the same hose as with the black water. Just remember that you will be using the grey water to flush the sewer line. So a good practice will be to not alway dump your grey water totally during your stay. I mention this because the grey water from the sinks will possibly fill much fast during the stay than the black water. This will require more frequent dumping while hooked up.


We covered a few of the basic hook-ups for your RV. Choosing the Right Hook-ups for Your RV from the beginning will make your RV living much more enjoyable. Remember to check with your RV deal to see if they offer a discount or some type of purchase package when you buy an RV. It saves you from the beginning. Be safe when working with the electrical hookup by installing the surge protection. While working with the wastewater by wearing a disposable glove. Treating waste and fresh water systems separate while storing or handling.

Finally, Happy Camping and Create Unforgettable Memories.

Ken Sagendorph

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