RV freshwater systems can be tricky. You have a water holding tank, but at campgrounds, RVs are often hooked up to a water supply. However, the systems have a lot of components and it doesn’t always work as well as it should. So, how do you fix low water pressure in an RV?
Low water pressure in an RV can be fixed by:
- Making sure the pressure regulator filter screen is not clogged if connected to campground water.
- Ensuring the water filter gets replaced at least once per year.
- Making sure the pump switch is on if not connected to a campground water supply.
- Check the flow coming out of the hose that is connected to the campground’s hose spigot. If the flow is low, use it to fill the freshwater tank in the RV, then disconnect it and turn on the pump.
- If the RV was recently winterized, ensure all valves are turned back to the on position.
But those are just a few of the tips and tricks to review.
So in this article, we’ll explore if a pressure regulator helps or hurts, how they can get clogged and how to clean them if they do. But also how the pump works and when to use it, and when not to. And lastly, we’ll go into greater detail on water filters, how often to change them and how they can impact the flow.
Let’s get into it!
Inspector Gadget of the week is a water pressure gauge. Water pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI) and residential water pressure tends to range between 45 and 80 psi. Anything below 40 is considered low and abov 80 high. pic.twitter.com/iBzORdfCNC
— Mirowski Inspections (@MirowskiInspect) March 1, 2018
What is the correct water pressure for an RV?
The correct water pressure for an RV is between 40 and 50 psi. But anything up to 60 is acceptable. Anything over that poses a potential risk to an RV’s water systems, which is why a pressure regulator is recommended.
After all, campgrounds can have dozens, if not hundreds, of campsites for RVs.
And they have to supply water to all of them. And if every spot is full, guess what? It can lower the water pressure for everyone. Because of that, many campgrounds crank up the water pressure to compensate for that demand.
But if you connect and the pressure is over 100 psi, it can burst your pipes!
PSI is a measure of pressure. It’s short for pound-force per square inch. A measure of the pressure when one pound-force is applied to an area that’s one square inch. It’s used for gases and liquids.
Now you can get a water pressure meter if you really want to get scientific. But most RV’ers just use a pressure regulator like this one on Amazon that I bought. That way you can skip the science class and just enjoy the RV lifestyle knowing your RV is protected.
What I like about this one is that it actually has a pressure meter built-in, but it’s still dirt cheap. And it has a pressure adjustment knob that allows you to crank up the water pressure up to the maximum safe level.
Over 1,600 near-perfect ratings on Amazon can’t be wrong! CLICK HERE to check the current price on Amazon.
RV Lifestyle Tip #65
A Water Regulator will slow down the intake of the water since some campgrounds have unregulated water pressure.
— TheOilyTravelers (@OilyTravelers) June 20, 2018
Does a water pressure regulator reduce flow in an RV?
A water pressure regulator can reduce the pressure in an RV if the incoming water pressure is too high. But it will not lower the pressure below an acceptable level. Its purpose is to keep the pressure at an even, steady level to avoid possible damage to the RV.
Expensive water regulators can accommodate greater flows than inexpensive ones.
By the way, water pressure is different from water flow. Pressure relates to how hard the water comes out, while flow is about how much.
Pressure regulators are designed to control the latter. But the way they work means they also restrict flow. How? Inside it, a regulator has a spring-loaded diaphragm that opens or constricts as a function of the amount of water pressure entering the valve.
When water enters the regulator at high pressure, its inner mechanism constricts the diaphragm, and the water flow and the water pressure are reduced.
But if the campground water pressure is normal, a pressure regulator won’t cause the water flow to be too low inside your RV.
What if you were in a place where you can’t even hook up? Say you’re boondocking, how long can you do that in a Class A RV.
A recent article of mine is all about this theme.
In it, I checked out whether you can even boondock in a Class A RV. Then I went on to look at whether you can park the rig overnight at Walmart. I also spoke to whether RVs can stay overnight at truck stops. I even shared a quick reference guide on states that allow overnight parking in your RV at rest stops.
Just click the link to read it on my site.
RV Tip #9
Always use an RV Water Regulator. You never know what type of water pressure you are hooking up too.
— Texas RV Guys (@TexasRVGuys1) June 27, 2020
Do RV water pressure regulators get clogged?
RV water pressure regulators may get clogged. Over time, the high mineral content of city water may leave deposits that block the filter and reduce flow. But well water may also have contaminants that can clog the small wire mesh filter inside the regulator.
Either way, it’s a good idea to check the screen every time you hook up to a campground.
Water pressure regulators work similarly to the outdoor hose faucet. There’s a screw that you can tighten or loosen to control (regulate) the water flow, which consequently restricts the pressure.
In time, debris and mineral deposits may clog the regulator such that the flow is much lower than what you’d like.
Most of the time, campground water is just as clean as it is at home. But there was one campground I stayed at in my RV that left a lot of debris on the screen of my regulator.
I just disconnected it and cleaned it out with my finger.
In the long run, it’s probably smart to learn how to fix some of the issues yourself. Stuff breaking or needing maintenance is one of the cons of RV living.
That reminds me of a recent article of mine where I shared 25 pros and cons of living full-time in an RV.
Is living in a rig cheaper than a home? What about the maintenance costs? How can you earn an income on the road? These are some of the issues I spoke about.
Just click the link to read it on my site.
Easiest Way to Repair RV Water Pump pic.twitter.com/apaPUSSVNP
— LiveWorkDream (@LiveWorkDream) October 21, 2020
Do I need the pump on in my RV when using the freshwater tank?
An RV’s water pump should be on when using the freshwater tank. It is designed to pump water when you’re not connected to a campground’s water supply. But to have the pump on, there must be water in the freshwater tank.
But it won’t break anything if you forget to turn it off after you connect at a campground. You’ll just notice the water pulses out instead of a steady stream.
If that happens, just flip the pump switch off. There is usually a switch by each sink and one by the freshwater tank on the outside of the RV too.
What exactly do pumps do? Pumps move water from an area of lower pressure to one with higher pressure. In this case, it pumps water from the freshwater tank to your faucets.
Instead of turning it on and off, is it okay to simply leave it on?
I mentioned above that it was not a big deal. But is it a big deal to leave the pump on indefinitely while connected at a campsite?
You’re in luck because that’s what a recent article of mine is about. In it, I explored whether it’s okay to leave the RV water pump on. I also looked at whether you can run the water pump while connected to city water. I also spoke about how long the pump can be on without water and why it pulsates.
Just click that link to read it on my site.
Make normally yucky-tasting campground water taste good and run clear by using an RV water filter system that fits inline, right between the water spigot and tour RV’s after intake connection. https://t.co/QuXzNWo75h #rvtravel #rvlifestyle pic.twitter.com/lxM9qB0uCm
— RVlifestyleMike (@rvlifestylemike) June 13, 2021
Do RV water filters reduce water pressure?
RV water filters can reduce water pressure if they become clogged or build up high levels of calcium deposits. But a relatively new and clean filter will not cause extraordinarily low water pressure.
The size of the filter is a key factor. The bigger the filter, the larger the surface area, and the better the flow. And the opposite is also true.
There’s a need to clean and replace the filter regularly as it may get clogged. Ideally, you want to replace it at least once a year. But if it has been unused for 6 months or more, it is probably a good idea to replace it the next time you use it too.
Apart from everything we’ve talked about check for kinked hoses underneath sinks and in the outer compartments near the water tank. That’s less likely but could happen if you are storing things in and around those areas.
And, if your rig’s been winterized recently, it could be that a water flow valve has been turned back on or it’s not been turned on fully.
In the article, we looked at how to fix water pressure problems. We looked at what is the correct water pressure for an RV. We considered whether a water pressure regulator reduces flow.
Then, we checked out whether water pressure regulators get clogged.
We looked at whether it’s okay to leave the pump on when you use freshwater. And we wrapped things up by finding out whether water filters reduce flow.