Why Doesn't My RV Water Pump Work?

rv water pump not working

Driving RVs and 5th Wheel Trailers is a very rewarding experience that is becoming more and more popular, with many new models being released by all of the major manufacturers every year. However, it's also something that can be quite challenging to learn how to do well. You or someone you know may have just picked up your first RV or trailer, and are still getting used to everything it has to offer. Even the most experienced RV owners will find there are new things in RV technology every year.

This blog was created because one of the most confusing things about using your first motorhome can be the water pump. Water pumps are often an unknown entity since they aren't always used. Many truck owners have them on their trucks and have little issue with them, but never really use them either. But as you probably know, in an RV you rely on water pumps a lot more than you do on trucks. And if you have never used one before then it's pretty likely that when you start using your water pump it will give you some issues in one form or another at least once while you are out camping or traveling.

Hopefully this blog will help to answer some of those questions for you.

What Is An RV Water Pump & Do You Need One?

An RV water pump is a small electrical pump that pushes water throughout the plumbing system in your RV.

If you have a motorhome or camper, you probably already know what it is because you use it every day. If you're new to RVing, then you may not know how important this device is.

You need a water pump to get water to all the faucets and appliances in your RV. It pushes water through the pipes, so there is enough pressure to get to all the faucets in your rig.

The pump is essentially an electric motor that pushes water from your freshwater tank through the faucets and shower head in your rig. Without it, you wouldn't have any access to water.

Most RVs have 12-volt pumps hooked up to the battery. Some higher-end models have 110-volt pumps that are powered through an electrical outlet. This type of pump allows you to use the faucets while driving down the road since they don't need to be plugged into the battery. The 110-volt pumps can also be used when you're plugged in at an RV park or campground so that your batteries don't drain as quickly.

Here are some of the most popular rv water pumps on the market

Product Name Price
Lippert Flow Max 12V RV Water Pump, 3.0 GPM, 50 PSI, 9.5 Max Amp, Self-Priming, Screen Filter Included - 689052 $69.99
SHURFLO 4008-101-A65 New 3.0 GPM RV Water Pump Revolution, 12V $73.99
RV Water Pump Shurflo 4008-101-A65 3.0 GPM $69.99
SEAFLO Water Diaphragm Self Priming Pump 3.0 Gallons/min (11.3 Lpm) 45 PSI New Rv/Marine 12 Volt Dc / 12 V Demand Fresh $59.99
Precitrade Shurflo 2088-554-144 Fresh Water Pump, 12 Volts, 3.5 Gallons Per Minute, 45 Psi $70.00

Why Is My RV Water Pump Not Working?

Having a RV water pump that isn't working properly can be very frustrating. This is especially true when you're in the middle of a camping trip and have no access to running water! The good news is that a lot of the time it's a pretty easy fix.

We've put together this list of the top 10 reasons why your RV water pump might not be working properly. If you still can't get it fixed after going through this list, we recommend contacting us so we can help out further.

There are several reasons why your RV water pump may not be working properly and several ways to diagnose these issues.

We'll go over each one in more detail below:
  1. Low Water Pressure
  2. If the water pressure coming out of your faucet seems low or weak, start by checking the intake hose to see if it's kinked. This could prevent enough water from entering the pump and cause low pressure.

    If the hose isn't kinked, check the strainer screen at the end of where the intake hose connects to the pump. Sometimes sediment or other debris like bugs can get caught in there and restrict water flow through it. If so, simply clean it out and reinstall it into the connector.

  3. No pressure at all
  4. This means there is either no power being supplied to the pump (or wiring issue), a bad switch on/off, or water supply is turned off completely.

  5. Pump runs continuously without stopping
  6. This means there is an issue with either the check valve leaking back into tank OR foot valve leaking down into tank (on older models).

  7. Water pump is turned off
  8. There is a water pump on/off switch, or an in-line switch that controls the flow of power from the battery to the water pump. It may be in the off position preventing your RV water pump from turning on.

  9. Frozen water lines
  10. If you live where it gets very cold during the winter, you may have frozen water lines. This can occur when you leave your RV unattended for an extended period of time, such as for several months. You could have a cracked or damaged water line which would certainly prevent your RV water pump from working correctly.

  11. Blown fuse or circuit breaker
  12. The first thing to check is the fuse box to see if any fuses are blown. If they are blown, you will need to replace them with new fuses of the same amperage rating. If they keep blowing then there may be a short in one of the wires or a defective water pump that is causing this issue.

  13. Bad wiring connection
  14. There may be a bad wiring connection between your RV's 12-volt DC panel and your water pump which is preventing it from running properly. This could be at the pump itself or somewhere between your pump and rv battery.

  15. Faulty pressure switch
  16. A faulty pressure switch will not only prevent the pump from working but also shut off all electricity to the water pump. A pressure switch is a small device that sits in the water line and tells your pump when to turn on and off. The switch uses a diaphragm to sense water pressure, and once it has reached a pre-determined level, it turns the pump off. No water pressure means no electricity to the pump. If you have no power at all, check your fuses, then check your water pressure by opening up a faucet.

  17. Frozen water lines
  18. When it gets cold outside, frozen water lines can prevent your pump from working properly. In an RV, if you know you'll be parked for a long period of time in freezing temperatures, it's best to "winterize" your RV. This entails draining all of your water lines and adding antifreeze to prevent any damage from freezing temperatures. When you "winterize" your RV, this protects not only the lines but also the pumps and other parts of the system because they are dry. If you don't winterize and things get frozen, expect major problems when spring arrives: burst pipes, broken fixtures and most likely a broken water pump.

  19. Disconnected pressure switch wire.
  20. The way some RV pumps work is they will turn on and off automatically as you open your faucet to use water and close it when done using water. This happens because of a pressure switch that controls when the pump turns on and off automatically. If this pressure switch wire is disconnected, then your rv water pump will not work automatically - but if you manually turn on the switch (you'll find this switch next to your fresh tank), then your RV water pump should work just fine.

  21. Broken water pump impeller
  22. If your RV water pump does not respond to any of your troubleshooting efforts, chances are that there is a broken impeller in it somewhere. This can come about through natural wear and tear or when debris gets thrown into the impeller shaft thus breaking one or more blades on it. To fix this problem, you need to open up your water pump and check all its components to see which ones are not functioning properly then replace them as necessary.

Here are 9 ways to identify a broken water pump:

A water pump is responsible for moving the water from your fresh water tank to your faucets and showerheads. Without a working pump, you won't have running water in your RV!

  1. Look for signs of fluid leakage around the pump.
  2. Listen for whining, chirping or clicking noises when the pump is running.
  3. Feel for excessive heat on the water pump during operation.
  4. Pump does not shut off when the faucets are closed
  5. When there's no sound when you turn on the faucet
  6. When the water doesn't come out right away
  7. When the water comes out too slowly
  8. When there's air or air bubbles in the lines
  9. When you hear a strange noise.

If you ever have a pulsing rv water pump, read this article to find out all you need to know about it.


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RV water pumps are one of the most costly pieces in your RV system, with a lot of components to fail before you get to the pump itself. But if you want to find out why an RV water pump isn't working, you should start with checking the anode rod or cables. These can lead to a slow water leak and eventually cause low voltage problems with your RV system. If these are faulty, check for corroded electrical connections. If everything is corroded, replace the anode rod and cables. If this doesn't work, then it might be time to change out the whole pump assembly.

About Author:

image of Kevin Pommells

Hi, I'm Kevin Pommells, a lover of camping and the great outdoors as everyone says nowadays. I'm also a passionate soccer fan and the proud owner of CamperRules.com, a website dedicated to helping campers and outdoor enthusiasts make the most of their adventures. With years of experience exploring the wilderness and a deep love for the sport of soccer, I'm always looking for new ways to combine my two passions and share my knowledge with others. Follow me for tips, tricks, and insights on all things camping and outdoor recreation.

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