Having running water on the go is one of the benefits of traveling in an RV, but washing or showering under a trickle of water after a day spent outdoors can spoil the fun. RV water pressure that is too high or low makes adventures much less enjoyable. RV water pressure problems are easy to solve if you know where to look and what to do. Here are our tips to help you find and fix your RV water pressure problems.
Why is low RV water pressure a problem?
Low water pressure in your RV becomes a nuisance when you want to fill your water bottle, wash your hands, or brush your teeth. Depending on what is causing low water pressure, water flow may continue to slow until your RV has no running water at all. When you are off the grid and need filtered water to drink, low or no water flow turns from an inconvenience to a hazard.
How to maintain safe water pressure in your RV
What is safe water pressure in an RV? 40- 50 psi.
A pressure regulator protects your plumbing system from pressure problems. Not all campgrounds monitor their water pressure, and the pressure is often inconsistent. Always check the water pressure at the campsite before setting up camp. A pressure gauge measures incoming water pressure in psi. A pressure regulator gives you control over the water's psi, so when camp water pressure surges or fluctuates, yours remains at a safe level.
Learn more: How to use a pressure gauge
5 steps to find and fix low water pressure in your RV
1. Check the campground's water pressure
Use a pressure gauge to determine the pressure. A pressure regulator keeps your pressure consistent, but it cannot supply the necessary force to boost water flow. If the water pressure is low, then you may need a booster pump to supply increased water flow through your RV.
2. Check the hose line
One bent hose could cause low water pressure. In this case, simply straighten the hose to solve your pressure problem.
3. Check the water filter
Water filters are crucial for RV living. Clean water is hard to come by in the great outdoors. However, a filter could decrease water flow since it interrupts the water's path to your faucets and fixtures. If your filter decreases water pressure, then you may need a booster pump to supply adequate pressure.
Your water filter could cause low water pressure because it is clogged and needs replacing. Changing your filter every six months to a year will guarantee clean drinking water while you are away from home. You should check your filter before you venture out in your RV to ensure it is clean. We also recommend keeping an extra water filter in your RV for emergencies.
4. Check the RV water pump
An RV water pump transports water out of your storage tank and distributes it through your RV. An RV pump will affect the flow rate, the gallon capacity of water produced per minute. Once you hook an RV pump up to the distribution system, you will likely receive a slower flow rate because the water travels through pipes, elbows, and other fittings before it gets to you.
RV pump malfunctions could also influence water pressure. Many issues could cause a faulty RV pump. In this situation, you should troubleshoot the pump for the best solution.
5. Check for leaks
Inspect your RV for a broken tube or a leaking fixture. Whatever is leaking should be tightened, temporarily patched, or replaced.
How often should an RV water filter be replaced?
An RV water filter should be replaced about every three to six months or once per season. If your filter has sat unused for an extended period, it should be replaced. When travelling, you should always keep an extra water filter on hand. If an emergency pops up away from civilization, an extra water filter can prevent disaster.
Does the type of RV water filter matter?
The type of RV water filter you choose affects the contaminants that will be filtered out. One common type of filtration used in RVs is KDF media. KDF filters, such as the Neo-Pure KW1 filter, provide cost-effective filtration for all water in your RV. It provides protection from rust, iron, water hardness, sediment, and chlorine, providing refreshing water without foul odors. These filters not only protect your water from contaminants but also prevent them from clogging the plumbing inside the RV.
Check out 5 of the best RV water filters.
Why is high RV water pressure a problem?
High water pressure is not as much of a nuisance as low water pressure since it takes less time to shower, wash dishes, and fill your glass. However, pressure that exceeds the maximum recommended level could destroy your RV's water system. Your faucets, fixtures, and water filters are likely to leak, and your plumbing pipes could burst. Repairs to an RV plumbing system are costly but can be prevented.
How to find and fix high water pressure in your RV
Ensure your pressure regulator works.
A pressure regulator is the most useful tool when water pressure is too high. An adjustable pressure regulator allows you to set the water to your desired psi. Not all pressure regulators provide this luxury; many are preset within a certain range. If the incoming water pressure is out of range, then your pressure regulator may be faulty. If you have an adjustable regulator, reset it. If you do not notice a change after adjusting your pressure regulator, it is probably faulty.
What should my RV water pressure regulator be set at?
The ideal water pressure for most RVs is between 40 and 55 PSI, but they can handle water pressure as high as 60 PSI. While the pipes in most RVs can handle north of 100 PSI, the faucet, toilets, and connectors cannot withstand more than 60 PSI. Ensure that your pressure regulator is set to the appropriate pressure to prolong the health of your RV system.
What is an RV water pump?
An RV water pump delivers water from your RV storage tank to your faucets, fixtures, showers, and toilets. RV water pumps make showering and drinking fresh water on your excursions possible. An RV booster pump increases low incoming water pressure to provide sufficient water flow in the RV.
An RV water pump is designed for motorhomes, RVs, and even boats. They are usually 12-volt pumps that wire directly into the 12-volt system of the RV. Differences in pump sizes are based on the size of your RV. The right pump for your RV is determined by the amount of water flow and pressure required. For example, if you have a large 40-foot RV, then you need a larger pump. If you have a smaller Class C RV, then you need a smaller pump. Most RV pumps come with a 3.5 gpm or a 5.0 gpm flow rate.
How does an RV water pump work?
An RV water pump senses water pressure and works to maintain it in an RV’s waterlines. When pressure drops within the system, such as when a fixture turns on, the pump will activate to maintain the desired pressure. This keeps the water flowing at a smooth flow rate, and it prevents any plumbing damage caused by fluctuations in pressure. Once the correct pressure is reached, the pump turns off until the pressure threshold is reached again.
An RV water pump only needs to be used when connected to a water source that is not already pressurized. For example, if an RV is connected to a campground’s water supply, the pump is unnecessary because the water will already be adequately pressurized. If the pump remains on when connected to outside water sources, it may cause water from your tank to be used when it is not needed.
Is an RV water pump necessary?
An RV water pump is necessary if your RV has a sink or a showerhead. Water reaches the faucets and fixtures of your RV with the help of an RV water pump. Most RVs and boats with sleeping quarters need a pump to move water from a storage tank to the point of use. However, not all RVs need a booster pump. The low range of ideal RV water pressure is 40 psi. If your RV’s water pressure is beneath 40 psi, a booster pump is a wise investment.
How much power do RV water pumps use?
Most 12V RV water pumps draw between 5 and 10 Amps of power, but high-output pumps can use as much as 15 Amps of power. Water pumps rarely cause battery drain in RVs, but they can cause a problem if the pump constantly cycles. A properly functioning RV water pump only runs for a few minutes at a time. If the sensors or the pump itself fails, the pressure in the system either will not be read correctly, or the pump will not be able to lift the pressure to the ideal level. If the pressure remains below the pump activation threshold, the pump will continue to run, and the battery will drain.
When should an RV water pump be turned off?
You should turn your RV water pump off while on the road, while connected to pressurized water supplies, or when the water tank is empty. Rough roads can cause a fixture to turn on and, as a result, power the pump on. Connecting your RV to a pressurized water supply, such as city water, negates the need for a water pump. Because the incoming water is already pressurized, the water pump is useless. In fact, this water will not run through the pump in the first place. While some RV water pumps can run dry for a lengthy amount of time, most can be damaged without water running through them. Because of this, an RV water pump should only be turned on when water is present in the tank.
How to quiet an RV water pump
The most effective ways to mitigate sounds created by an RV water pump are foam pipe insulation and water accumulator tanks. RV water pumps cause vibrations in the walls, cabinets, and piping inside an RV. These noises can be disturbing, particularly if you are trying to rest inside. If the pipes extending from your pump are close to walls or other hard surfaces, covering the pipe with foam insulation can help dull the noise when the surfaces contact each other. If foam insulation does not work, a water accumulator tank can help reduce noise by shortening the cycles of the pump. These devices help the pump pressurize the system and, as a result, shorten the time it takes for the ideal pressure to be reached.
How to prime an RV water pump
To prime an RV water pump, first disconnect it from any water source. Next, turn a faucet inside the RV on. Once the faucet is turned on, slowly pour water into the pump. The pump should begin moving the water through the lines, and some should exit the faucet. Once the pump is primed, you can reconnect it to a city water line or your fresh water tank.
How to install an RV water pump
The components of an RV pump include:
- The pump
- The fittings required to hook it up to the water system
- 12-volt electrical wires
The Remco RV pump connects with either a barb, straight, or elbow fittings. Others use a fitting called a quad port with a couple of O-rings on the bottom that plug into the pump and lock it in place. Quad ports are available in a variety of thread types. RV water pumps come with a pigtail wiring that may plug into your RV's existing system or bare wire.
An old RV may have a pump that you need to replace. The new pump sits right where the old pump was placed and hooks up to the waterline with fittings or a wire nut. To make replacing an old pump as easy as possible, choose your fittings based on what is equipped in your current system.
When does an RV water pump need to be replaced?
If your pump is turned on and water fails to flow with high pressure, the pump has likely gone bad. If the pump runs continuously, that is another sign that it may need to be replaced.
If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.