How To Choose The Right Size RV Water Pump

rv water pump

So what size water pump do I need for my RV? Great question. It's a complicated answer, since the size of your water pump depends on multiple factors. But It's not as complicated as you think. You probably already know how important it is to have a reliable RV water pump. That’s why you read blogs like this one before you make any kind of investment in pumps. However, something that you probably don’t know is just how important choosing the right size pump is. I can tell you from my own experience that getting a pump that’s too powerful can end up being a waste of money, while getting one that isn’t powerful enough will leave you with a lot of problems down the line.

I'll walk you through the process to find the best water pump for your needs, and save some money in the process!

How does a water pump work?

RV water pumps are one of those essential parts of your RV that you don't think about until it stops working. Those without experience with an RV water system may have no idea what a water pump is or how it works, which is totally understandable! But if you want to know the basics, look no further!

It's important to know how your RV works so that you can better take care of it. When something breaks, you'll be able to troubleshoot, or at least describe what's going on to the repair shop.

RV water pumps aren't super complicated and knowing how they work will help you understand why they're so important. Let's get started!

An RV water pump works by pushing the liquid through your RV's plumbing system. Water from your fresh tank is pulled into the water pump, which then pushes it through the system and out to your faucets or shower head.

RV water pumps are designed to mimic pumping action of a human being. Pumps can create different pressures depending on the design and power source.

Types of rv water pumps

There are several types of RV pumps available on the market today. You can buy a 12 volt DC pump or a 120-volt AC pump. 12 volt DC pumps are less expensive and use less power but require more maintenance. 120-volt AC pumps are more expensive, but they use less electricity and require little maintenance.

When choosing a pump for your RV, it is important to know what kind of water system it has. If you have a gravity fill freshwater tank, then you will need a pump that can provide consistent pressure throughout the entire tank. It is also important to find out if there is any sediment in your water supply before purchasing a pump. Sediment can clog up the filter on your RV and cause your water system to malfunction.

If you don’t have an existing freshwater system in place or if you want to upgrade your RV’s existing water system with something better, then a new pump may be just what you need.

Here are two types of RV water pumps:
  1. Demand Water Pumps
  2. These are usually smaller, lighter and quieter than the traditional water pumps. Since they are demand water pumps, they will only pump water when it is needed. This means that you can actually turn on a faucet in your RV and it will supply you with water without having to turn on the pump. You can also avoid turning on the pump when you are using pressurized city water. Once the water in your RV has been shut off, the pump turns itself off as well, which is great for conserving power.

    If you opt for this type of pump, prepare to spend around $100 - $200 on the initial purchase price, but then you will save money later on because they use less electricity and maintenance costs are lower as well.

  3. Traditional Water Pumps
  4. As we mentioned above, these pumps are louder than demand pumps and do not automatically turn themselves off after each use; instead they run constantly during your travels from location to location. They typically cost between $20-$75 but require more maintenance than demand pumps and use more electricity so if you’re trying to save money for gas for your travels, this may not be the best option for you.

    The larger an rv water pump is usually means the more noisy it will be. A small rv water pump is usually a quiet rv water pump.

    How Many Gallons Per Minute (GPM) do You Need?

    The most important thing to know before selecting a new water pump is its flow rate. That's measured in gallons per minute (GPM), which tells you how much water will be pushed through the lines each minute. You need to know this so that you don't buy a pump that pushes more water than your rig can handle (or not enough).

    The amount of gallons per minute you will need will usually depend on the size of your rig and the size of your family. A small rv with a small family will not need as much as a large rv with a large family.

    The main reason why the size of your rv and family will decide the amount of gallons per minute you need is based on the fact that a larger rv will allow more people to use the faucet or bathroom at the same time. Whereas a smaller rv will usually only be able to handle the demand of the bathroom or faucets one at a time.

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What about pressure?

Since we're talking about water pumps, it's important to talk about water pressure in general. Water pressure is what makes your water flow from the source (faucet or shower head) to where you want it to go.

There are two different types of "pressure" when we talk about RV water systems. These are:

  1. Static Pressure
  2. Static pressure is the amount of pressure in your lines when no faucets are opened and no one is using any water in the RV. This is typically about 40 PSI for most RVs.

  3. Operational Pressure
  4. Operational pressure is the amount of pressure that you will get when a faucet or shower head is open and you are using water. This will usually drop around 10-15 PSI depending on your RV system.

How hard are they to install?

So, how hard are rv water pumps to install? RV water pumps are not difficult to install if you have basic skills and tools. A good quality RV water pump is much quieter than the original pump that came with your unit.

Installing a new Shurflo water pump might take you 20 minutes or so, but should be done by an experienced person. You can always call a mobile RV repair service if you want it done quickly and professionally.

If you want to do it yourself, follow the steps below

It's as simple as hooking up a garden hose. The pump is mounted under the sink in the same place other water pumps are. You don't have to be a mechanic or an electrician to do it, but you do need some plumbing skills and mechanical ability.

  • First, you turn off the water, then remove the old pump. Follow that with taking out the old fittings (which might require cutting them off). Then you put in the new fittings onto the water lines and attach them to the new pump.
  • You'll also run a ground wire from a good ground to the pump and connect it.
  • Then you add a fuse holder on the positive cable coming from the battery and connect both ends of that cable to two terminals on the back of your new pump. You can connect it directly by using battery clips or use quick-disconnect terminals if you want a little more flexibility, but if you decide on that last option, make sure your fuse holder is rated for at least 30 amps.
  • You'll need to drill another hole for your 12-volt power supply line and one for your ground wire too. Once you have those holes drilled, run your wires through them and hook everything up again.

The power consumption to run the pump

There are many variables that can affect the power consumption of your rv water pump.

  • The Hardness Of The Water
  • If you have hard water, your rv water pump will need more power to draw the water through.

  • The Length Of The Water Pipes
  • Longer runs mean more power needed to push the water through. Make sure you get a pump that is powerful enough to get the job done without hurting itself in the process.

  • The Size Of The Water Pipes
  • Smaller pipes mean more effort to push the water through them. You can always upgrade your pipes but make sure you get a pump that fits your needs from the beginning.

  • How Are You Using It?
  • If you are using it for just washing dishes and hands, then a smaller pump might be fine for you. If you want to take showers, run hoses, and use it for other things, then a larger pump will be needed for all those uses.

RV Water Pump Maintenance and Filter Cleaning

When spring is near, many campers take out their RVs from storage and start preparing for the summer trips. But, before you do that, it’s important to service your RV plumbing system.

Water pumps come in different sizes, shapes, and power levels. Some are used in boats and ships while others are used in cars and trucks. Water pumps are also used in homes, offices, hospitals, factories, etc. However, most people do not know how to maintain their water pumps properly or even know what maintenance needs doing at all!

  • Check if there is any leaks around the pump housing (where it connects to the faucet). If you see one then tighten up all of the nuts on both sides of it with an adjustable wrench until they are very tight again.
  • Remove any debris from the filter by using a small brush or cloth dipped into hot water first so that it's warm enough not to burn your hands but still able to remove dirt particles without damaging them too much when scrubbing!
  • Once cleaned out properly shake off excess moisture before placing back into position with their screws or bolts re-attached securely fixing securely again if necessary.
  • A good way to keep your RV water system clean is by installing a quality water filtration system and regularly changing out filters as needed.
  • Replace the screen if it has become clogged or if there is a blockage in one of the screens on your rv water pump.
  • Remove any debris from around and inside the system, including around the foot valve, which is located at the end of the suction hose where it attaches to the suction line inside the pump housing.*

Frequently Asked Questions

Larger type rvs like class a motorhomes will usually require water pumps that push around 5.3 gallons per minute. Smaller rvs like campervans or class c rvs will usually only need a water pump that is able to push around 3.5 gallons per minute.

You can put a bigger water pump in your rv if your system needs the upgrade. Depending on the size of your rv and family, you might not need to upgrade to a larger pump. However, if your rv's water lines are not getting emough pressure, a bigger pump might be needed.

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Your camper should have a PSI level of about 40 - 70. Too low below 40 PSI and your faucet might not function properly. Too much over 70 PSI and your system might start to leak.

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Conclusion

There are a lot of rv water pump size options that can be pretty confusing for people who don’t buy them very often. They basically have the choice between 3 different sizes typically, this is because most of the time it depends on which type of rv they have. Choosing the right size can make installation much easier as well as keep you out of hot water so to speak since it will put out enough pressure to run all the necessary appliances in your rig. So if you want to save yourself some money and get the right part, follow the tips you learned in this article and you should be set.

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