Airstream Plumbing and Holding Tank Maintenance
Traveling in an Airstream should be a fun and relaxing experience. However, things can go wrong to make that relaxing trip a stressful one. One of the problems that can spring up is a failure of the holding tank or water lines in the Airstream. But with some routine inspections and maintenance, many problems can be avoided.
When the plumbing and holding tanks are working well, little maintenance is needed. A little water softener and fabric softener in the holding tank will prevent the buildup of mineral and sludge deposits. Antifreeze solutions based on polypropylene glycol should be added to the system in cold weather to prevent freezing which can bust water lines and cause system failures. Water pumps and pressure regulators should be inspected and maintained according to manufacturer recommendations.
Older Airstream trailers used a galvanized metal water holding tank. Over the years, these tanks developed corrosion that can cause the tanks to leak and cause particles of rusted metal to enter the plumbing and clog lines and faucets. These tanks can be repaired, but in most cases replacement is a better option. Modern tanks made from sturdy plastics are an easy to install replacement that will provide years of maintenance free service. Plastic tanks can also be added along the frame of the Airstream to provide for more drinking water or waste water storage.
Water and drain lines in an Airstream need inspected at least annually or more often if the trailer is used frequently. This is due to the lines having to flex while the trailer is being transported. This movement puts a lot of force on the lines and can cause the lines to pull loose from fixtures or to otherwise develop leaks. By keeping an eye on the lines, future problems can be avoided. When repairing or replacing the lines in an Airstream, the lines should not be run tightly. By leaving the lines a little loose, they can flex while exerting only a minimal amount of force on faucets and other connections.
Over time, rubber gaskets and seals lose their elasticity and become brittle. This means that they will stop working properly and cause faucets to drip and joints to leak. As Airstreams are generally not used on a daily basis, the gaskets and seals are not constantly in use and will fail more frequently than gaskets and seals in a home. For this reason, it is a good idea to check the gaskets frequently to make certain that they are working. It is also a good idea to also test the shutoff valves when inspecting faucets. Checking things out at home will help Airstream owners to avoid having problems along the road.