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RVing message boards => Newcomers' Corner => Topic started by: robinsky on June 26, 2009, 12:56:09 AM

Title: How can I install an rv hookup at my house - and is this a good idea?
Post by: robinsky on June 26, 2009, 12:56:09 AM
Let me start by saying that I know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about rv'ing.

I need a guest room at my house, and I can't afford an addition.  So I was thinking about buying a travel trailer and hooking it up in my backyard.  I can fit something up to about 22 feet.  What I want to know is, can I install a hookup, and how much does that cost?  I figure I need the electric hookup, the water, and the draining of black and gray water, right?  Can I just use an big extension cord to the house for electric?  Can I hook up to my garden hose connector for water?  And I guess there's a hose of some kind that hooks to my sewer cleanout? Is this a reasonable idea, or am I overlooking something really obvious?
Title: Re: How can I install an rv hookup at my house - and is this a good idea?
Post by: Ray D on June 26, 2009, 01:19:29 AM
We use our motor home for a guest house, from time to time, and we "camp out" there, ourselves, when we just need a break.

You can connect an extension cord to your house, if all you need is lights and occasionally the microwave. If you need air conditioning, you will need a heavier duty electrical system. A 30 amp line will probably do it. I have had 50 amp electrical hookups installed here, and at our former stick house. I paid an electrician less than $200 for the job, both times. I suspect that price would vary, depending upon your location.

You can use water from your outside hose bib. You might do better to use the on-board water storage tank. You will want a dedicated white hose, for the potable water.

You can use your sewer cleanout for for waste disposal. There are several ways to do that. You will need to be more specific about your needs, for better advice from our experts.

Don't know what part of the country you live in, but if you have winter, you will have to protect your systems from freezing, and you will need propane for your furnace, for interior heating.

You may have zoning issues. I'm guessing you already checked that out.

Ray D  ;D
Title: Re: How can I install an rv hookup at my house - and is this a good idea?
Post by: davemittan on June 26, 2009, 04:31:58 AM
We have a similar setup to Ray D's.  It is SO useful.

I would add one thing:  show the electrician your shore power cord/plug so he knows what type of receptacle to put in, and which way to orient it.
Title: Re: How can I install an rv hookup at my house - and is this a good idea?
Post by: Hfx_Cdn on June 26, 2009, 06:51:50 AM
     Depending on distance, an alternative to the expensive sewer line, you can get a macerator unit for the RV.  Go into the library to see postings about its use, but I don't know how far you can go with one of these units.
     As for electric, the RV will operate quite well on a 15 Amp house plug for just about everything other than an AC.
Title: Re: How can I install an rv hookup at my house - and is this a good idea?
Post by: davemittan on June 26, 2009, 07:25:51 AM

I need a guest room at my house, and I can't afford an addition.  So I was thinking about buying a travel trailer and hooking it up in my backyard.


Some people have had problems with non-RVers who are staying in a RV as guests.  It's as if they're in their own homes or a hotel room.  They aren't aware of the limitations they might have with the power available, and some of them flush things down the toilet that can cause problems later.
Title: Re: How can I install an rv hookup at my house - and is this a good idea?
Post by: seilerbird on June 26, 2009, 07:39:51 AM
Don't waste money on an electrician if you are not planning on using the A/C. However it should be plugged into a dedicated 110 volt 15 amp circuit if you use an electrical cord. In other words you need a circuit with nothing else running off of it except your trailer. Use a 12 gauge extention cord and keep the length under 50 feet.
Title: Re: How can I install an rv hookup at my house - and is this a good idea?
Post by: joelmyer on June 26, 2009, 07:54:35 AM
I had an electrician but in 30 amp service and bring his plumber buddy along to put in a water hydrant.  I wanted to run ac.

Didn't seem cost effective to put in a sewer connector for the amount of use.  The gray water waters the lawn and the black tank waits until the next camping trip.

We have had two overnight guests in the last several years.  As Dave points out, you need to brief your guests.

Now an rv occasionally used as guest quarters is different from one dedicated to that purpose.  Hopefully the bug will bit and you will take your guest quarters to the beach, mountains,...  Otherwise you're going to have tire problems after a few years and perhaps other running gear issues.  Perhaps that's not a concern but sooner or later you will want to get rid of it.

Joel
Title: Re: How can I install an rv hookup at my house - and is this a good idea?
Post by: robinsky on June 26, 2009, 10:11:55 AM
Wow!  Thanks for all the helpful replies!  I want to use it for my mom, who may come out and stay with us for a couple of months at a time.  She may need AC, so maybe I need the dedicated circuit.

Someone wrote about a dedicated white water hose.  Would that just hook up to a standard garden water outlet?

How often would the black water tank need to be dumped, for one person living in it, and maybe only using the bathroom at night?  What if, not to put too fine a point on it, only liquid wastes were there, and the rest of the time she would come in my house?

Thanks so much for all the advice!
Title: Re: How can I install an rv hookup at my house - and is this a good idea?
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on June 26, 2009, 10:21:22 AM
Yes you can hook to a regular garden hose faucet (called a hose bib). Use a potable water hose (usually white in color) for the entire length from the metal faucet to the Rv, to avoid poisons and foul tastes that are common is regular garden hoses.

Until you know the size of the "black" water tank in the trailer, there is no way to guess how long it takes to fill. Small trailers typically have small tanks, maybe 20-30 gallons, so it is not a real long time. And indivdual toilet habits vary a great deal too. Maybe 5-7 days if used carefully?
Title: Re: How can I install an rv hookup at my house - and is this a good idea?
Post by: Gottasmilealot on June 27, 2009, 07:14:20 PM
Also, the water and sewer line hookups get more complicated if you're in an area that will have below freezing temperatures during times you expect to use the RV when it's not winterized.

...and using the RV as a second dwelling on a land parcel will create a zoning violation in some areas.
Title: Re: How can I install an rv hookup at my house - and is this a good idea?
Post by: crosscountry on July 30, 2009, 11:52:19 PM
The white hose can be purchased at Walmart or an RV dealers.  The hose eliminates the hose taste.

The macaretor can be had for $250 or less, some will grind up sewage and pump up to 300 feet.

Your county, township, etc may have a problem with the RV and guests.

Russ, WB3FQI/6
Title: Re: How can I install an rv hookup at my house - and is this a good idea?
Post by: taoshum on July 31, 2009, 08:35:31 PM
Several people have mentioned local codes and regulations...

A few years ago a "neighbor" (a few blocks away) decided to buy a trailer and rent it to his brother and dumped the sewage into his existing septic system.  It worked so well, he decided to buy two more and do the same thing... kinda building a mobile home park one MH at a time.  To make a long story short, he overloaded the septic capacity and created a big spill which contaminated a next door neighbor's well without anyone knowing.  Fiinally several people got sick and the county health department did some testing and found the problem.

I'm not saying that any of this will happen in the situation you describe but the regulations are there for a reason and if you go around them, even for the most compelling reasons, you run the risk of causing unintended consequences.  Similar examples could be found for overloaded electrical systems that cause fires and unintentional fresh water siphons that contaminate the water supply. 


I wish an easy answer were available for your question... good luck and please be careful...  Thx, G.
Title: Re: How can I install an rv hookup at my house - and is this a good idea?
Post by: tedonaldsn on August 01, 2009, 10:48:48 AM
Be sure to check local ordinances. Here in Brookings, OR, it is illegal to have a RV hooked up to any utilities outside of an RV park. City officials recently got nasty with some folks over it.

Virginia has some strict health department regulations. We got a RV pad with full hookups installed at my wife's parents' house. The state requires a separate septic system for the RV!
Title: Re: How can I install an rv hookup at my house - and is this a good idea?
Post by: seilerbird on August 01, 2009, 12:18:16 PM
Similar examples could be found for overloaded electrical systems that cause fires ...

Overloaded electrical systems rarely cause fires, it trips a circuit breaker.
Title: Re: How can I install an rv hookup at my house - and is this a good idea?
Post by: John From Detroit on August 02, 2009, 10:44:45 AM
Overloaded electrical systems rarely cause fires, it trips a circuit breaker.

Provided there are breakers of the proper size.. I can just see some One-D Ten-T type DTTTTTTTTTT, humm. 1-d-10-t, Ah, that's got it) saying "Oh this 15 amp breaker keeps tripping, I'll just pull it and drop in a 30 amp.  Hello 9-1-1, I need the fire departmemt


I wonder if a "Stealth" hook up might work (Put the connections under a man-hole cover right about under the drive shaft) in places that object to hook ups.