How To Fix A Low RV Water Pressure
One of the best parts of traveling in an RV is the access to clean, flowing water whenever you want it! However, the plumbing systems are not without their issues. Low RV water pressure is fairly common, and it can be very annoying when you need to deal with a weak trickle of water. Nobody wants to wash their hands or shower if there’s no pressure! So, why is the water pressure low, and how can you improve it?
There are several things that could lead to low water pressure in an RV. In most cases, the issue comes from a leaking or kinked water hose. However, there could also be issues with your filters, clogs in the pipes, buildup around nozzles, or just low pressure from campground water hookups.
When you’re trying to identify the problem, make sure you check every source of water in your RV. In some cases, you might only have low water pressure in one specific sink or showerhead. In this case, it’s probably a more localized problem that can be solved without delving deep into the plumbing system.
Below, we’ll discuss some common reasons for low RV water pressure and also how to fix these issues.
Causes and fixes for low RV water pressure
1. Damaged/clogged hose
One common cause of low water pressure is your freshwater hose. If this has become punctured, kinked, or otherwise compromised, it limits the flow of water into your RV. So, before you try anything else, make sure you thoroughly inspect your hose. Check the connection to the hookup and look for any leaks or unwanted bends.
Simply unbend the hose if there’s a kink, but watch out for signs of damage. If there are leaks in the hose, you can use waterproof tape like Flex Tape as a temporary fix. But in the end, you’ll probably need to invest in a new hose so you can prevent these issues from popping up again.
2. Worn-out water filter
Another potential issue for low RV water pressure is the water filter. These are useful because they catch pieces of debris and ensure that your water is clean and pure. But if they get old or clogged up, it’s much harder for water to pass through. When the flow is restricted, the water pressure goes down.
Check your water filter(s) if you’re having issues with pressure. You can either clean them or replace them, depending on the cause of the issue. If you’re constantly having issues with the filter, you might want to consider replacing the type of filter you use or installing another layer of protection so the filter doesn’t get clogged quickly.
3. Dirty Aerator
Aerators are common features in many RVs. These gadgets add some extra air into the water stream and also help to boost the RV water pressure. If they become dirty or worn out, they won’t be able to do their jobs very well. You may notice issues with the aerator in your RV kitchen, so check the sink in there. If both the hot and cold water streams have low pressure, the aerator may be the culprit.
If you have identified that the aerator is the problem, you don’t usually need to buy a replacement. Instead, this little item is fairly easy to clean and reinstall. Vinegar is a great helper when you need to clean an aerator!
4. Clogged regulator
The water pressure regulator is an essential component of your plumbing system. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a piece of equipment that regulates how much water pressure you have.
This piece is usually adjustable, and it may have loosened a bit by accident. Try to adjust the regulator manually if you’re experiencing a loss of pressure. If the piece is broken or clogged, you almost always need to get a replacement (unless there’s a blockage that can be easily removed).
5. Low water pressure from the campground
Sometimes it’s not your RV’s fault if you have low water pressure. One minute it may be working fine, but the moment you park and hook up to the campground amenities, the water slows to a trickle. In this case, it’s likely that the campground itself is the issue. Some campsites have low water pressure, and there’s no way around it.
Inform the management if you’re having a hard time with the water hookup. They may not be able to fix the problem right away, but it’s good to let them know anyway.
To solve this issue, you can fill up your freshwater tank and just rely on your RV’s built-in 12V water pump to give you the pressure you need. You may need to refill your fresh water tank a few times, but that’s usually better than dealing with annoyingly low pressure.
6. Freshwater tank is empty
Speaking of the freshwater tank, this could be another reason for the low RV water pressure. If you tend to stay in campgrounds with water hookups, maybe you sometimes forget to top off your freshwater tank before heading out. Then if you need to park or boondock for awhile, you can quickly drain your stores of water.
Once the freshwater tank starts to run dry, the water pump won’t have enough liquid to perform in its usual way. The flow will slow down and eventually stop. If you’ve experienced a complete loss of pressure, check your water tank levels. A simple top-off will solve this issue!
7. Leak in the pipes
Most RV water pressure problems can be solved pretty easily and with no major consequences. But one of the worst-case scenarios for your RV is a leak in the pipes. If your plumbing system has cracks or leaks, this could lead to severe water damage.
Don’t delay your investigation if you’ve noticed that your water pressure is diminishing because the problem could compound over time.
Search your RV for any signs of leaks. Check for unexplained water buildup, bubbles in the walls, and strange hissing or dripping sounds. If you suspect that there’s a leaking pipe, address this issue as soon as possible! You may need to take your RV to a professional who can identify the problem area and fix it. Don’t mess around with leaky pipes.
8. Buildup in the Faucets and pipes
Even clean water will sometimes leave hard water deposits behind. If this builds up in the faucets and pipes, it could eventually lead to a blockage and a loss of water pressure. This isn’t usually the case because it takes severe circumstances for hard water to build up enough to cause a problem. But it can be an issue around seams or connecting pipes, so keep it in mind as a potential culprit.
You can use a water softener if you’re worried. It also helps if you regularly clean faucets and sinks when you notice hard water stains start to appear. Drain snakes can sometimes be used to remove serious clogs.
9. Poor showerhead design
Finally, you might notice that your shower is the only place that experiences low water pressure. Most RV showerheads are fairly cheap and prone to issues. Once again, hard water could be the issue, but you could also just have a poor showerhead design.
Look around to find a model that prioritizes water pressure. There are even adjustable ones that alternate between different jet settings. Sometimes they use aerators to add air into the mix and increase the pressure. Try out a few options to find the one that works best for you!
Track your RV maintenance
Make sure you keep track of all your RV maintenance and repairs with an online tool such as RV LIFE Maintenance. Not only can you keep all of your documents in one place, but you’ll also receive timely reminders when maintenance is due to help you avoid costly repairs and potentially serious accidents.