Everything you need to know about RV water pump

What is an RV Water Pump? Everything You Need to Know

During an RV trip in the scorching summer sun, we may need more water. A reliable and efficient water supply system is the heart of a comfortable RV experience. Whether it's drinking, cleaning, or showering, you need a device to deliver clean fresh water from the freshwater tank to other water fixtures. And this important device is the RV water pump. It serves as a bridge in the water system, better connecting your RV's water system.

While most RVs come with a water pump, the performance of an RV water pump often goes unnoticed when running in the background, only becoming apparent when it malfunctions. These mechanical devices are subject to wear and tear, and like all mechanical devices, they can become noisy or even fail to operate as expected. For those who enhance or modify their RVs, deciding which type of water pump to install and how to control the noise is crucial.

With so many options, selecting the perfect RV water pump that suits your rig and outdoor lifestyle can be daunting. But fear not, in this comprehensive guide, we delve into the intricacies of RV water pumps – what they are, how they work, and the essentials of troubleshooting and maintenance. Armed with this knowledge, you'll find the perfect water pump for your RV and camping preferences.

What is an RV Water Pump?

An RV water pump is an essential component of your recreational vehicle's water system. It serves the critical function of delivering water from your RV's fresh water tank to the faucets, shower, toilet, and any other water fixtures within the vehicle. This device ensures that you have a steady and reliable supply of water when you're on the road or camping off the grid. They typically consist of several key components that work together to draw water from the freshwater tank and distribute it at a regulated pressure ensuring that all your water-based appliances function optimally, enhancing your overall RV experience. These components include:

  1. Motor: The electric motor serves as the power source for the pump, converting electrical energy (usually 12 volts DC) into mechanical energy to drive the pumping action. It's the heart of the system, providing the necessary force to move water.
  2. Piston or Diaphragm: Depending on the design, RV water pumps utilize either a piston or a diaphragm as the primary mechanism for drawing and pushing water. In piston pumps, a reciprocating motion compresses and decompresses the water chamber. Diaphragm pumps, on the other hand, use a flexible membrane that alternately expands and contracts to create suction and pressure.
  3. Pressure Switch: Many RV water pumps feature a built-in pressure switch that automatically turns the pump on when the water pressure drops below a set threshold and off once the pressure reaches a sufficient level. This mechanism helps conserve energy and prolongs the pump's life by avoid dry running.
  4. Check Values: These one-way valves are strategically placed within the pump to ensure water flows in a single direction. Typically, there are at least two check valves—one allowing water into the pump from the freshwater tank and another directing water out of the pump towards the faucets and appliances. They prevent backflow and ensure continuous flow when the pump is activated.
  5. Housing: The outer casing or housing holds all the internal components together, protecting them from dust, moisture, and physical damage. It is usually made of durable materials resistant to corrosion and wear.
  6. Inlet and Outlet Ports: These are connection points where hoses attach to carry water into and out of the pump. They enable the integration of the pump with the RV's plumbing system.
  7. Electrical Connector: This component allows the pump to be wired into the RV's electrical system, typically plugging into a standard 12V outlet or being hardwired directly.
  8. Filter Screens: Some pumps incorporate small filter or strainer screens at the inlet to prevent debris from entering and potentially damaging the pump's internal mechanisms.

RV water pump inner structure

Why Your RV Needs an RV Water Pump?

Unlike a traditional home plumbing system, which relies on municipal water pressure, RVs are self-contained units that require an onboard water pump to pressurize the water lines and deliver water to various fixtures and appliances.

Without a water pump, your RV's water supply would need to rely solely on pressure from the freshwater tank alone and move water from the freshwater tank to the faucets and showers, resulting in a significantly reduced water flow and pressure.

This is where the RV water pump comes into play, providing the necessary force to distribute steady and reliable water throughout the RV's plumbing system.

When to Use Water Pump in RV?

RVs typically have two water supply modes: the city water system and the on-board water system.

  • City Water System: The city water system is used when you are connected to an external water source such as a campground or RV park. When using the city water system, allows you to connect your RV directly to a water supply. The water pressure is provided by the external source, and the RV water pump is not needed.
  • On-Board Water System: However, when you are boondocking (camping without hookups) or traveling, you will need to rely on the on-board water system. This system relies on the water stored in the RV's freshwater tank. The RV water pump is activated to draw water from this tank and supply it to the various fixtures within the RV. This system is particularly useful when camping in remote locations without access to a direct water supply.

    How Does an RV Water Pump Work?

    Your RV is like a little house on wheels, and it needs water just like any home. Two important jobs are keeping the pressure just right and making sure the water flows smoothly. Here's how it works:

    • Pressure Control

      Your RV has a smart gadget called a pressure switch that's like a helper for the water system. It keeps an eye on the water pressure.

      When you turn on a tap, the water pressure goes down, and this helper tells the water pump to start working. Once there's enough pressure, usually around 40-60 pounds for every square inch, the pump stops. This way, you always have the right amount of pressure without the pump working too much.

      Sometimes, you might want to adjust the pressure even more. That's where a pressure regulator valve comes in. It's like a special knob you can turn to make the water pressure just right for your RV.

    • Flow Control

      Your RV water pump is like a helpful friend, turning on only when you need water.

      When you open more faucets or use a shower, the pump works harder to keep the water flowing. But unlike a faucet, you can't adjust the flow rate itself (that's how the pump is built).

      The size of the pipes in your RV also matters. Bigger pipes let more water flow, while smaller ones slow it down.

      Making sure your pipes are the right size helps you get the water flow you want without the pump working too hard.

      You can also control the water flow by adjusting valves. It's like turning a knob to let less water out of a faucet without changing the pressure everywhere else. And there are these cool things called flow restrictors.

      They go in your showerhead or faucet and they limit how much water comes out, which is great for saving water without making the water feel weak.

    So, keeping your RV's water pressure and flow happy involves a team effort: the pump's controls, the size of the pipes, and sometimes extra helpers like knobs and restrictors. Keeping things clean and leak-free with regular maintenance helps this water teamwork at its best!

    Types of RV Water Pumps

    When it comes to selecting the right water pump for your RV, understanding the different types and voltage options is crucial. Here's a breakdown to help you make an informed decision:

    Different function:

    • Diaphragm pumps:

      Diaphragm pumps are the most common type of RV water pump. They use a flexible diaphragm to draw water in and push it out of the pump.

      Diaphragm pumps are positive displacement pumps, which means that they deliver a consistent flow of water regardless of the pressure in the system.

      They are also self-priming, which means that they can start working even if there is no water in the pump housing.

      12V diaphragm pump RV water pump

    • Centrifugal pumps:

      Centrifugal pumps use an impeller to create a centrifugal force that draws water into the pump and pushes it out.

      Centrifugal pumps are not positive displacement pumps, which means that the flow of water can vary depending on the pressure in the system.

      They are not self-priming, so they must be filled with water before they can start working. Centrifugal pumps are generally less expensive than diaphragm pumps, but they are also louder and more likely to cycle on and off frequently.

      RV water pump centrifugal pump

    Feature Diaphragm pumps Centrifugal pumps
    Operation Expanding/contracting diaphragm Spinning impeller
    Type Positive displacement Non-positive displacement
    Flow rate Consistent Varies depending on pressure
    Pressure Consistent Can fluctuate
    Self-priming Yes No
    Noise level Lower Higher
    Application Most RVs, pressure-sensitive appliance High-volume water transfer, bilge pumps
    Cost Higher Lower

    For smaller RVs with simple water needs, a diaphragm pump works well. If you have a big RV and need to fill up fast, a centrifugal pump could do the job, unless quietness is crucial. If you want less noise, go for a diaphragm pump for a quieter trip. If you use appliances that need steady water pressure, like a shower, a diaphragm pump is best. If cost is your main concern, a centrifugal pump might save you money, but remember it could be louder and have uneven water flow. So, pick based on what's important for your RV life.

    RV Water Pump Voltage:

    • 12V RV Water Pump: Operates directly off the standard 12-volt DC power supply commonly found in recreational vehicles. Most RVs come equipped with a 12V electrical system, making these pumps highly compatible and easy to install without requiring additional voltage converters.
    • 24V RV Water Pump: Requires a 24-volt DC power supply. This voltage is less common in RVs, which typically use 12V systems. If your RV is equipped with a 24V system or if you have made modifications to support 24V, then this type of pump would be compatible. Otherwise, you'd need a voltage converter to step up the voltage from 12V to 24V.

    In summary, the choice between a 12V and 24V RV water pump depends largely on your RV's existing electrical configuration and your specific needs regarding power efficiency, installation complexity, and budget. For most RV owners, a 12V pump will be the more straightforward and compatible option, whereas a 24V pump might be considered for specialized setups or where higher efficiency over longer cable runs is a priority.

    How to Prime an RV Water Pump?

    Priming is an essential step in preparing your RV water pump for use, especially after it has been idle for an extended period or if the fresh water tank has been completely drained. preparing the pump for operation by removing any air from the system and ensuring water fills the pump and associated lines.

    Here's a typical priming process for an RV water pump:

    1. Turn Off Power: Ensure the power supply to the water pump is turned off to avoid damage during priming. This can usually be done at the electrical panel or by unplugging the pump directly.
    2. Open Faucets: Turn on all the cold water faucets in your RV, starting with those farthest from the water pump. This helps air to escape from the lines as water starts to flow.
    3. Bleed Air: Some water pumps have an air bleeder valve specifically designed to help remove air from the system. If your pump has one, open it to let any trapped air escape. If not, opening the faucets will serve this purpose.
    4. Fill Water Tank: Make sure your RV's fresh water tank is full. A full tank ensures there's enough water to prime the system and reach all faucets.
    5. Turn On the Pump: Once the faucets are open and the tank is full, turn the power back on to the water pump. You should hear the pump start to cycle as it pushes water through the lines.
    6. Check for Flow: As the pump runs, watch for water to begin flowing from each faucet. Start with the faucets furthest from the pump; once water flows steadily, close them one by one, moving closer to the pump.
    7. Monitor the Pump: Listen to the sound of the pump. It should change from rapid cycling (indicating air being pushed out) to a more consistent hum as water fully primes the system.
    8. Close Faucets: Once all faucets are dispensing water without any spurts or sputtering, you can close them. The priming process is complete.
    9. Check for Leaks: After priming, inspect all connections for leaks. Tighten any loose fittings if necessary.
    10. Power Off: If you're not going to use water immediately, turn off the pump to conserve energy and reduce wear.

    Bonus Tips:

    Pay attention to noise: If the pump continues to run without a steady water flow or makes unusual noises, stop the water pump and consult your RV water pump manufacturer or a professional for troubleshooting.

    Winterize your RV properly: If you're priming your pump after winterizing your RV, ensure you've flushed out all antifreeze from the system before using fresh water.

    Remember, patience is key during priming, as it may take a few minutes for the entire system to fill with water and for the air to be expelled completely. If you continue to experience difficulty priming the pump, there may be a more significant issue such as a blockage or faulty component, which might require further troubleshooting or professional assistance.

    How to Maintain an RV Water Pump?

    Proper maintenance is essential to ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your RV water pump. Here are some tips for maintaining your RV water pump:

    1. Regular inspection: Periodically inspect the water pump for any signs of wear, leaks, or damage. Check the pump housing, connections, and mounting hardware for any irregularities.
    2. Replace worn or damaged parts: If you notice any worn or damaged parts, such as the diaphragm, valves, or seals, replace them promptly to prevent further damage and ensure efficient operation.
    3. Winterize the water system: If you plan to store your RV during the winter months, it's crucial to winterize the water system. This process involves draining the fresh water tank, removing any remaining water from the pump and lines, and adding antifreeze to prevent freezing and potential damage to the water pump and other plumbing components.
    4. Use a water pump strainer: Most RV water pumps have an inline pump strainer that can help prevent sediment, debris, and contaminants from entering the water pump, reducing wear and tear and extending its lifespan. Replace this strainer regularly, following the manufacturer's recommendations.
    5. Avoid running the pump dry: Never operate the water pump without water, as this can cause severe damage and potentially burn out the motor.
    6. Check the electrical connections: Ensure that all electrical connections to the water pump are secure and free from corrosion or damage.

    By following these maintenance tips, you can extend the lifespan of your RV water pump and minimize the risk of costly repairs or replacements.

    How to Choose the Right RV Water Pump?

    When it's time to replace and update your RV water pump, selecting the right pump for your needs is crucial. Here are some factors to consider:

    • Pump Type: Determine whether you need a 12V or 24V pump based on your RV's electrical system and water demand.
    • Flow Rate: Selecting the appropriate voltage and flow rate water pump is crucial for efficient and economical water usage in your RV. Consider the flow rate (measured in gallons per minute or GPM) required for your RV's plumbing system. A higher flow rate is necessary for larger RVs or those with multiple outlets.
    • Pressure Rating: Choose your water pump's flow rate and pressure based on the size of your vehicle's fresh and waste water tanks. If your vehicle has a lot of water-using appliances, like a kitchen sink, washing machine, dishwasher, water heater, shower, and toilet, opt for a pump with a higher flow rate to meet the demand. For instance, Kohree's best water pump operates on 12V power, delivers a flow rate of 7.0 GPM (gallons per minute), provides a pressure range of 70 PSI (pounds per square inch), draws a maximum current of 7 amps, and has a self-priming height of 10 feet, with a horizontal self-priming capability of 155 feet. These specifications cater to the high water demands of most RV enthusiasts, ensuring a comfortable and hassle-free RV water experience.
    • Mounting Requirements: To Ensure the new pump will properly fit in the designated space and can be properly mounted and secured, please take measurements in advance and consider the pump's size when purchasing.
    • Power Consumption: Consider the pump's power consumption and choose an energy-efficient model to minimize the load on your RV's electrical system.
    • Brand and Warranty: Research reputable RV water pump brands and choose one that offers a reliable warranty for added peace of mind. Kohree 12V water pump can provide high flow water (55-70PSI optional) with low noise for 45dB (Almost like people whisper). Kohree is an experienced RV water pump brand and our 12v water pump is certified to CE. We can offer you a one-year warranty and fast after-sale to let you enjoy the best water pump and RV life.

    By considering these factors, you can select an RV water pump that meets your specific needs and ensures a reliable and efficient water supply for years to come.

    Find Best RV Water Pump From Kohree

    Kohree offers a variety of high-quality RV fresh water pumps designed to meet different needs. Known for their durability and performance, Kohree pumps provide reliable water pressure and flow, ensuring a comfortable RV experience. Explore their range to find the perfect pump for your motorhome.

    Kohree 12V 3.5 GPM 55 PSI Water Pump

    This 12V 3.5 GPM RV fresh water pump is suitable for most entry-level RV travel enthusiasts. Our 12V Water Pump boasts a practical water flow rate of 3.5 gallons per minute, ensuring swift operation for all your needs. With a pressure switch calibrated at 55 PSI and drawing just 7.0 amps, this pump is ideally suited for RV plumbing, marine, yacht, caravan installations, and extended pumping, irrigation, or cleaning tasks in courtyard settings. Engineered for resilience, our RV fresh water pump can momentarily operate without water to safeguard against motor damage. It also incorporates a thermal overload protection system, enhancing safety and prolonging the pump's lifespan.

    Kohree 12V 3.5 GPM 55 PSI water pump features

    Kohree 12V 5.5 GPM 55 PSI Water Pump

    This 12V 5.5 GPM RV water pump is suitable for RV travel enthusiasts who want greater water flow and more frequent use of water. Base on 3.5 GPM, the pressure structure of the pump has been improved to make it more powerful.

    Our premium 12V water pump boasts an impressive flow rate of 5.5 gallons per minute, coupled with a pressure switch setting of 55 PSI to ensure steady water pressure, all while drawing a modest 8.0 amps. Engineered for longevity, this 12V RV fresh water pump is designed to withstand brief dry running periods, significantly minimizing motor burnout risks. Integrated thermal overload protection adds an extra layer of safety, allowing for prolonged, worry-free use. We have improved the overall workmanship of the pump and made it worked with 45dB low noise, which will not disturb your rest, even allowing your pet to sleep peacefully beside it.

    Backed by CE certification, our 12V water pump is a versatile solution for a range of applications, including irrigation, vessel cleaning, RV, camper, yacht maintenance, and general yard upkeep, making it an indispensable tool for various environments.

    Kohree 12V 5.5 GPM 55 PSI water pump features

    Kohree 12V 7.0 GPM 70 PSI Water Pump

    Our 12V 7.0 GPM RV fresh water pump is the ultimate water system core for all RV users. Can meet your stable and large flow water needs in every condition, allowing you to experience the most comfortable outdoor water experience. Our advanced 12V water pump delivers an enhanced flow rate of 7 gallons per minute, accompanied by a robust pressure switch set at 70 PSI for superior pressure control, all powered efficiently at 7.0 amps.

    This 12V Self-Priming RV water Pump is engineered to safely operate during brief dry spells, effectively combatting motor burnout. Its integrated thermal overload protection mechanism reinforces safety standards, promising a longer service life. Boastinag a remarkable self-priming capability, this pump can effortlessly draw water from vertical depths up to 10 feet and horizontally through distances up to 155 feet. Its smart automatic on/off function guarantees a continuous and reliable water supply, optimizing your time.

    Certified by CE, this 12V water pump is a certified solution ideal for a multitude of tasks such as water transfer, irrigation systems, vessel cleansing, and maintenance of RVs, campers, yachts, or garden spaces, affirming its adaptability across diverse scenarios.

    Kohree 12V 7.0 GPM 70 PSI water pump features

    12V 3.5 GPM 55 PSI Water Pump

    12V 5.5 GPM 55 PSI Water Pump

    12V 7.0 GPM 70 PSI Water Pump

    Product 12V 3.5 GPM 55 PSI Water Pump 12V 5.5 GPM 55 PSI Water Pump 12V 7.0 GPM 70 PSI Water Pump
    Voltage 12V DC
    Amp 4A/8A(Max) 8A/16A(Max) 7A/19A(Max)
    Flow Capacity 3.5 GPM 5.5 GPM 7.0 GPM
    PSI Cutoff 55 PSI 70 PSI
    Inlet / Outlet 1/2 inch Threaded MNPT
    Shell Material Nylon / Polypropylene
    Sealing Material EPDM / VITON
    Diaphragm Material Santoprene
    Motor Copper Motor
    Wires Double Core Wire
    Pump Bracket Anti-Vibration Rubber
    Special Features Adjustable Pressure Switch
    Accessories Strainer, Hose Adapter, Teflon Tape

    Conclusion

    By understanding the different types, operation, and maintenance requirements of RV water pumps, you can make sure your RV water system is running smoothly. Remember to stay proactive in maintaining your water pump, addressing any issues promptly, and choosing a high-quality replacement when necessary. With the right RV water pump and proper care, you can enjoy a steady flow of water for all your on-the-road needs, whether you're cooking, cleaning, or refreshing after a long day of adventure.

    Whether you are looking to replace an old pump or upgrade to a more efficient model, don't forget to check out the Kohree top-quality RV water pumps that offer exceptional performance, durability, and customer satisfaction warranty. Happy RVing!

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