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How to Build a Hard Pipe RV Sewer Line

A hard pipe RV sewer line is a more permanent or long-term solution for handling the wastewater from your camper. A rigid plastic ABS or PVC pipe replaces a flexible plastic hose when using this method. The pipe connects to the dump outlet on the RV and drains into a septic tank or residential plumbing system.

Because the pipes aren’t compact, they’re typically only possible for people who are stationary for extended periods. However, this can be a fantastic option to consider when it’s possible.

Pro Tip: Emptying your RV black tank can require a lot of gear. Check out these 7 Best Ideas for Clean and Tidy RV Sewer Hose Storage.

ABS RV sewer connection
We once had to hard pipe our RV for a longer-term stay at a campground

Why Would You Need a Hard Pipe RV Sewer?

A hard pipe sewer line is substantially more durable than the flexible tubing options most RVers use. The sun and other weather conditions can severely degrade the materials on standard hoses. A PVC plumbing setup can last for years without any issues. However, there may be reasons other than durability.

Sometimes, campgrounds require a hard piped connection for a longer-term stay. We once had to install hard piping to stay at a campground longer than a month. This was actually do to local city regulations.

How To Build A Hard Pipe RV Sewer Connection

Before starting, check with your local health department for special rules or regulations. They may require permits. You might have to use specific materials for handling your wastewater. Unfortunately, these regulations vary considerably from one location to the next. If your city, county, or state has any specific rules, you’ll want to know about them.

Determine the Layout

Once you’ve confirmed that you can legally install a hard pipe RV sewer line, you’ll want to start planning your layout. During this process, you must consider the slope of the pipe. Having the correct amount of pitch can help ensure that the solids and liquids flow down the line efficiently. Typically, you don’t want more than one-fourth inch of slope per foot. 

Depending on the location of your sewer connections and your RV, you may need to use elbows and other connectors. Factor these into your planning when determining your layout so you find the correct pieces at the store. 

Close up of RV sewer hard pipe
If you’re going to be stationary for a while in your rig, consider installing an RV sewer hard pipe.

Gather Tools and Supplies

One of the most crucial things you will need is a 3-inch PVC pipe long enough to run from your RV to the sewer connection. However, you’ll also need some connectors to help attach the pipe to the sewer connection. The QwikCamp RV Plumbing Waste System is a fantastic option with everything you need to make the connections to the RV.

Fernco QwikCamp RV and Camper Sewer Waste Plumbing…
  • PROFESSIONAL PLUMBING SYSTEM: Fernco’s QwikCamp RV kit provides…
  • LEAK-PROOF PIPE CONNECTION: Powered by Fernco’s global leading…
  • STRONG & LONG-LASTING: QwikCamp is a rigid plumbing system that…

Most people use pipe clamps to tighten the connection and keep everything in place. An impact socket drill and socket that fits the clamp make it easy to secure everything. You’ll want it tight, but not so tight that it cracks.

Another tool you’ll need is a handsaw to cut the pipe. Ensure it’s rated for cutting PVC pipe to make it as manageable as possible. You’ll also likely need a razor blade to trim sharp burs inside the piping.

How to Install a QwikCamp RV Plumbing Waste System by Fernco | DIY RV Sewer Hookup

Measure and Cut Pipes

Once you have the layout, parts, and tools, it’s time to start measuring and cutting. It’s best to measure twice and cut once. Rushing through the measuring stage could lead to a costly mistake.

A straight line for your RV sewer pipe is the shortest and most efficient route to your sewer drain. You want to minimize the number of corners to ensure everything flows smoothly. Measure straight out and then at a 90-degree angle to your sewer connection in the ground. Mark the pipe and start cutting.

Install Fittings

Once you’ve cut all of the pipes to size, it’s time to start installing the fittings. These will go on each tube and secure using the pipe clamps. Start at the connection on your RV and work your way backward toward the sewer outlet.

Remember, you want the fittings to be snug on the pipes but not so snug that you damage the plastic. These clamps can generate tremendous force, especially if you tighten them with an impact drill. You could end up doing more harm than good.

Support the Pipes

Remember to consider supports for the RV sewer pipes. They may not weigh much now, but their weight will drastically increase once you send gallons of liquid through them. If you do not support them, this can cause pressure on the materials and something will break eventually.

Some RVers use cinder blocks. Others create wooden supports. Either can be an option, depending on your unique setup. If you have a very long run, you may need multiple supports.

Test Connections

Now that you’ve installed everything, you’ll want to test the connections and watch for leaks. Trust us, you’ll want to start with your gray tank. If there is a leak, you don’t want it to be anything from your black tank.

Open the gray tank slowly and watch for any signs of leaks or failures. If you see anything dripping, close the tank and investigate the problem. You may need to retighten a segment or use a sealant to secure the connection.

PVC RV connection
Test your new system with your grey tank NOT your black tank first to check for leaks!

Maintain Pipes

Once you’ve confirmed everything is operating correctly, you’ll want to maintain your pipes. Keep an eye on them and ensure no cracks or other damages appear. During the winter, you’ll also want to remember that PVC doesn’t work the best in cold weather. It can become very brittle and crack easily. If you notice any damage, replace it immediately to avoid a messy situation.

Pro Tip: If you are using a traditional sewer hose, check out these 5 Top-Rated RV Sewer Hose Supports for Hassle-Free Dumping.

Bye Bye Black Tank! - Installing an Airhead Composting Toilet and removing our RV's black Tank

Should You Build a Hard Pipe RV Sewer Line?

Building a hard pipe RV sewer line is an excellent option for those who are stationary. Some individuals will go through multiple plastic sewer hoses in a year. The cost of installing a hard pipe RV sewer line is almost the same as replacing a sewer hose. However, the hard pipe versions will last substantially longer.

Are you planning on staying in one place for long? Would you consider running an RV sewer line? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

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About Tom and Caitlin Morton

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of “Go North” on Amazon Prime Video, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for Hwy.co and an Arizona travel guide.

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