Do RV Water Tanks Have Baffles?

Recreational Vehicles (RVs) come equipped with everything you need to make life on the road as comfortable as possible, including water tanks.

But the question is, do these water tanks come with baffles?

Most RV water freshwater tanks have baffles in them. The grey/black water tanks may or may not have baffles depending on the tank’s design and the RV size. The baffles play an important role in reducing sway when the RV is in motion with a half-full tank.

In the rest of the article, we’ll look at baffles and why they are important in RVs.

You’ll also learn more about the different types of RV water tanks, their roles, and more.

What Is an RV Water Tank?

An RV water tank does what it says on the tin: providing water for your cooking, drinking, showers, using the toilet, and more. It can also hold the used water until it’s ready to be discarded.

The tank that holds the clean water for the uses mentioned above is known as a freshwater tank, while the ones that hold the used water from the kitchen and bathroom sinks and showers and the toilet are known as the grey and black water tanks respectively.

In some RVs, you may find only the freshwater tank and the black water tank, which means that the water from the sinks and the shower end up in the same place.

However, the entire water system is made of more than just empty tanks in many cases.

Most of the tanks come equipped with a water pump to make it easy to draw water out of the faucets and showerheads. 

You may also find a water pressure regulator, especially if the tank was designed to get hooked up to external water sources like the park or city water supply.

Water filtration systems and water heaters may also be constructed into the setup to make the water safe for drinking and make it easy for you to enjoy warm showers.

A water level meter may also be included, so you won’t be caught off guard when the water runs out.

However, the focus of this article is on baffles, which are far less conspicuous in the RV water tank system, but also very important.

What Are Baffles?

Baffles are devices added to tanks to reduce the impact of slosh dynamics.

They are long, flat, inward-protruding plates attached to the insides of the tank to keep the liquids from swirling around.

Baffles also prevent the vortex effect by ensuring the tank’s water only moves from top to bottom. The baffles are attached to the tanks with bolts or molded on in plastic tanks.

Why Are Baffles Important in an RV Water Tank?

In a moving RV, the water in tanks without baffles will move around too much. This can lead to the following scenarios:

  • The water sloshing to one end of the tank may make it harder for your RV to stop, requiring brake pressure that is stronger than necessary.
  • When navigating a turn, the water’s excessive movement will increase the RV sway and increase the chances of the vehicle tipping over accidentally.

Are Baffles Always Included in All RV Water Tanks?

Most water tanks made for RVs in the market today have baffles built-in. This is the case for tanks preloaded in the van and those sold as external units for RV owners to install.

In some older RV models, however, you may find baffles only in the freshwater tank.

The reasoning behind this is that black water tanks often contain a lot of solid wastes, making the water in the tank less turbulent.

Also, the design of older RVs may have also made the impact of the swaying water tanks less noticeable.

Is It Compulsory to Use RV Water Tanks With Baffles?

While there are clear downsides to having RV water tanks without baffles (as we’ve seen above), it is possible to use options that don’t have them.

The core purpose of baffles is to keep the water movement in the tank to the barest minimum or top to bottom at most.

Therefore, you can get by with RV water tanks that don’t have baffles if the vehicle is rarely out on the road.

Many RV owners leave their vehicles in parks or campsites, so the impact of slosh dynamics will be seen on the rare occasions when the RV has to be moved back home, for example, or during relocation to another campsite.

How to Drive an RV Without Baffles in the Water Tanks

If your RV water tanks don’t come with baffles and you notice that the vehicles sways around a little too much or is harder to brake to a stop when out driving with water in the tank, there are two basic things you can do:

  • You can drive at lower speeds when moving the van from one place to another. This will limit the sway’s impact significantly and reduce the risk of the van tipping over. It also ensures you won’t find steering around corners or braking more difficult. This option is, however, subject to the speed limits on the roads you have to navigate.
  • Keep the tank filled to the brim before you go on a drive. The movement of the water in the tanks will be limited if it is full. 

However, water is heavy, so a full tank on some RVs may be harder to drive with.

While it’s easy to keep the freshwater tank filled, the black or gray water tank is a different proposition.

You can’t waste water just to fill them, so what’s the best solution?

Keep the tanks empty. This is the third option to take when you have to move the RV.

Keep all the tanks empty when you need to go on the road, and you won’t have to worry about the sway that happens as a result of water movement in the tanks.

However, you need to be sure of a water source in the next destination to avoid getting stranded.

You can refill the tank when you’ve arrived at a popular park or campsite, but if you drive to a boondocking location without any source of water, you can’t go with an empty tank.

How to Fill an RV Fresh Water Tank

To fill the freshwater tank, all you need to do is connect a clean freshwater hose to the freshwater intake valve (may be labeled as “city water” depending on the van), with the other end of the hose attached to the water spigot.

Turn on the water source to fill the tank.

You should be sure to use a clean hose dedicated to fresh water use for the process.

Also, pay attention to the tank indicator inside the vehicle.

They are not always 100% accurate but should give you a rough estimate of the water levels.

You should use it to know when to turn off the hose.

What Are the Most Popular Brands of RV Water Tanks With Baffles?

Ronco Plastics and Dura-Cast are the two of the most popular makers of RV water tanks with baffles.

They use polyethylene that is rotationally molded, BPA-free, and FDA-approved.

The products are known for their durability, and prices are as low as $35 for a one-gallon option.

Conclusion

RV water tanks have baffles to make driving an RV vehicle less stressful and prevent excessive water movement while in transit.  

Most RV owners that are on the road will benefit frequently from having baffles in their tanks.

Are your RV water tanks without baffles?

You can buy new tanks and have them fixed in minutes.

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