RV Water Pressure Regulator:­ Water Pressure Problems? Read This!

Your RV’s water system is so helpful, and essential, in making your camping adventure a self-contained one. Thanks to this network of pipes in your motorhome, you’re not reliant on communal bathrooms or kitchens when you’re at a campsite — you’ve got everything you need right there in your RV.

A standard RV water pressure regulator. (Amazon)

Unfortunately, like just about any other part of your RV, the water and plumbing system can fall victim to problems from time to time. However, knowing a little bit about your RV’s water system, especially how and when to use an RV water pressure regulator, can save you a lot of hassle, and more than a few headaches when you’re out at a campsite and trying to have fun. Here’s a little bit about what this important little device does, along with some helpful information for troubleshooting some common RV water problems.

What Your RV Water Pressure Regulator Does

Campground water pressure can be really high, and sending such highly pressurized water into your RV can spell disaster for your plumbing. An RV water pressure regulator is a small, but useful, device that keeps the psi, of the water entering your RV, down to a safe level. How low should you go? Well, even though the plumbing in newer RVs can take up to 100 psi, the recommended water pressure for newer RVs is around 60 psi, and 50 psi for older ones.

Of course, some campgrounds already have the pressure regulated on their water source, and if that’s the case, you may not need to use a water pressure regulator for your RV. To see if you need one or not, a good piece of equipment to have and use is an RV water pressure gauge, to check the psi at the campground. Some regulators actually do have a gauge built in, but that’s not what you want to use in this situation, as that gauge will show you the water pressure after it passes through the regulator, not what’s actually coming out of the campground source. When there’s ever any doubt, though, you’ll want to use an RV water pressure regulator. To use it properly, attach it to the campground water supply, not to your RV, as that setup can cause the connection hose to burst if the pressure is really high.

If you stay at campgrounds with inconsistent water pressure, or if you prefer to have different water pressures for different applications, you may find that you want an adjustable RV water pressure regulator. This gives you more control over the pressure and flow of water into your RV, and it’s usually very simple to use. With most models, you just use a flat-head screwdriver to adjust the pressure and flow.

An adjustable RV water pressure regulator. (Palomar Plumbing)

Major manufacturers of water pressure regulators for RV include Valterra, Camco, and Watts. It’s generally a highly affordable item, too, with standard models going for $20 or less, and adjustable models costing closer to $50 or $60.

If Your Pressure is Too High

High water pressure can make your shower feel great, but if you want to keep your RV’s plumbing in good working order, you definitely don’t want pressure that’s too high. Otherwise, you could find yourself with burst pipes, loose connections, and leaks. Here’s where an RV water pressure regulator can help you out. You’ll want to make sure it’s working properly, as a blown-out regulator won’t do much to keep the psi at the right levels. To check your pressure, attach an RV water pressure gauge to the hose after the water has passed through the regulator. (Or, here’s where a regulator with a built-in gauge can help out tremendously.) Ultimately, though, you don’t want to ignore pressure that’s too high.

If Your Pressure is Too Low

Low water pressure is incredibly frustrating. It takes forever to wash dishes or clean your hands, and if you’ve ever taken a shower with low water pressure, you know how infuriating it can be just to get the shampoo out of your hair. If there’s low water pressure in your RV (or worse, no water pressure in your RV), there are a few things you’ll want to check.

First, check your RV water pressure regulator. If it’s old, replacing it may solve your problem. Many people also don’t realize that the regulator itself can get plugged up; if that’s the issue, a simple swap out will solve it. You’ll also want to check the hose that you’re using, to connect your RV to the campground water supply; if it’s kinked, cracked, or otherwise compromised, your RV water pressure will be significantly lower than it should be.

RV water filtration systems can also impact water pressure, especially if the filter is clogged or just old and in need of being replaced. Other things that can cause low water pressure in an RV include an old (or too small) plumbing system, as well as cheap shower heads, and faucets with small valves and openings.

An RV water filtration system can inadvertently cause low water pressure issues. (RV.net)

Two solutions to low water flow are using a high flow connector hose, and using a high flow RV water pressure regulator. The latter is especially useful, as it keeps the water pressure at around 50 psi while increasing the water flow, so you can take a more satisfying shower, or not have to wait forever for your coffee pot to fill up.

It’s the Little Things

An RV water pressure regulator is a small item, to be sure, but using it can make your camping experience a lot more enjoyable. It can also help to prevent damage to your RV’s inner workings, saving you time and money. Think of your RV water pressure regulator as an investment in the longevity of your motorhome, and the comfort of those traveling inside of it. By knowing how to use one, and how to solve some common water pressure concerns, you’ll never be caught off-guard with water troubles on your relaxing vacation.

Thanks for reading!

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