The Advantages Of A Slightly Off-Level RV Site
Most of us are taught to level our RV front to rear and side to side to keep the absorption refrigerator happy and functioning properly. In fact, you will find a wealth of information in books and on the internet as to why it’s important to level your RV and how to do it. Proper leveling is not only important for the refrigerator but also can play a part in proper operation of the slide-outs, entry doors closing properly, shower and sink drains, etc.
I agree with all of the reasons for leveling your RV and most of the methods for doing so. However, RV absorption refrigerators are not as temperamental regarding level as they once were, and sometimes having your RV slightly off level one way or another can be advantageous.
What are the benefits of leaving your RV slightly off-level?
Let’s look at some examples:
- Bathtub: Being slightly off level can allow water on the perimeter edge of the tub to run back into the tub rather than onto the floor.
- Bathroom door: If your bathroom door is on hinges, being slightly off level can determine if it stays in the open or closed position when not latched. Remaining in the open position can be an advantage for those of us that get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.
- Gutter drips: Being slightly off level can determine where rainwater flows and drips from the roof, eliminating annoying dripping sounds near sleeping areas.
- Slide-outs: Being slightly off level can assist in rainwater flowing away from slide-out seals, diminishing the possibility of rainwater entering your RV.
- Potable water tank: When your potable water tank is just about empty, leaving your RV low on the pickup side of the tank will allow your water pump access to the last couple of gallons of water.
- Stovetop: Maybe your stovetop isn’t plumb with other parts of your RV. Leaving your RV slightly off level may allow for even distribution of grease in the pan when you’re frying something other than it flowing to one side.
For my RV, I leave it slightly low to the door side and slightly low in the nose. This keeps bath water from flowing off the edge of the bathtub onto the floor and causes the bathroom door to stay in the fully open position, so I don’t have to worry about it being partway open and running into it in the middle of the night while camping in the middle of the boondocks (which can be VERY dark).
Being slightly a “bubble off”, just another adventure in RVing! For more tips, check out our post on An Easy Way To Level Your RV Without Blocks.
Dave Helgeson’s many roles in the RV industry started before he even had a driver’s license. His grandparents and father owned an RV dealership before the term “RV” had been coined, and Dave played a pivotal role in nearly every position of an RV dealership. He and his wife Cheri launched their own RV dealership in the Pacific Northwest. The duo also spent 29 years overseeing regional RV shows. Dave has also served as President of a local chapter of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), worked on the board of advisors for the RV Technician Program of a local technical college, and served as a board member of the Manufactured Home and RV Association. Dave’s reputation earned him the title of “The foremost expert on boondocking,” bestowed by RV industry icon, the late Gary Bunzer (The RV Doctor). When he’s not out boondocking, you’ll find Dave in the spotlight at RV shows across the country, giving seminars about all things RVing. He and Cheri currently roam in their fifth travel trailer, with Dave doing all the service, repair and modifications to his own unit.
Verlyn D Eisert says
We set our heads higher than level so we don’t burp up acid from eating supper.
Ken Tennis says
I have parked with a slight down slope on the slide side. Never a leak. Just for safety’s sake.
Haha!! Yep, my bubble ain’t been level for years
Lyle A. Rigdon says
Your comment about the absorption refrigerator being more tolerant of off level conditions is correct. Just don’t get carried away.
David Pellegrini says
It would be wonderful to level just the refrigerator independent of the unit. Or just buy a unit with a compressor frig
Don Griffin says
Unfortunately, all of the ‘advantages’ mentioned in this article may not be located simultaneously in the direction of tilt.
These so called advantages of an off level site are a bit of a reach. Anyone desiring to be off level can easily do so on a perfectly level site by driving wheels up on a 2×8 or raising or lowering the front of the unit. If you tilt your unit to improve slide drainage you create problems with level cooking surfaces and/or water drainage from bath or shower. There is a 50% chance that any off level sites will be off level in the wrong direction.
Um, no. Always shoot for perfection, but if you can’t get there, at least be between the lines.
Jim Scelba says
Had two class c and probably leveled it twice with hand jacks. Usually pulled into a site and never had any problems. Have it made now with a class A and leveling jacks that pretty much level it’s self.
Paul Carter says
OK, sure. I never looked at things that way.
Hersh, or is it Harsh says
I’ve never been accused of being level-headed when it comes to enjoying the Great Outdoors…
I level my Class 3 then open the slide…the slight angle is in the direction of the water flow to the shower drain, as well as the outflow for the black and gray water tanks. No problems yet! Love the article that supports my reasoning!
Dave. Ey think you are a half a bubble off
I level to my stove top. Everything else doesn’t really matter much.
Umm NO!! absorption refrigerators are still temperamental as they always have been, go ahead and roll the dice so you can have your bathroom door open, there is a big chance you will get a clog and require a new cooling unit @ about $1,000.00. As a Rv Technician I can attest to this. I can’t wait for the day when these new 12vdc compressor refrigerators make these absorption ones a thing of the past.
You have a bath tub?
West Coast Canuk says
I have only owned two absorption refrigerators, and was advised continuously from the RVers’ week-end college seminars forward, of the need to be as level as possible (ideally measured for “plumb” on the boiler of the fridge).
I assume the RVs are built in a level factory, and all of the necessary “slopes” for water and waste handling would be built into the units.
Thankfully, the current RV is self-leveling, managing to stay within a tenth of a degree side to side and back to front, so the fridge should like that.
How far out of level does it have to be to create a problem for the absorption refrigerators? I thought it was 1-2 degrees. It doesn’t take that much to get water flowing or doors swinging in the direction you want.