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A water pump in RV is the one that pumps water from your fresh water tank to your kitchen and bathroom. When you turn on the faucet, the pump brings in the water and same is the case with toilet flush.
But, when you are connected to a city water connection you will not need the pump. The city water connection will provide the water for kitchen faucet and the bathroom, at this time you should keep the water pump off. Some of you still use the pump along with city connection in some scenarios, that we will see later in this post.
For now lets answer the basic question that many new TT or motothome owners have. Does a battery powers the water pump in camper?
Yes, RV water pump can run off a 12V DC battery in your RV. In fact, a water pump in camper runs of shore power too through a converter. When you are connected to the shore power, converter on the RV supplies the power to the pump.
Read : How do campers get water?
Water pump in your RV will have less significant power draw. It can consume less than 60 Watts and draw less than 10 amps. The reason why it insignificant is because of the amount of time it will be in use.
With a water drawing capacity of say around 3 gallons per minute, it can hardly run for 3 to 4 minutes to empty a 20 gallons fresh water tank. So, the usage time is limited and therefore hardly any amps will be drawn, that can be less than 1 amp hour.
So, as far as power or watts consumption by pump is concerned you don’t have to bother much in comparison to other heavy usage appliances like heater, or air conditioner. Their run time is longer and hence more power consumed. Check out how many watts other appliances consume in RV.
You have to keep pump ON all the time?
There is good reason to keep it ON and keep it OFF as well. Now, when to keep it OFF and ON has the significance.
A good practice to follow with this, is to keep the pump button ON when you are camping and are inside the RV or camper. Switch OFF the water pump when you are not inside it or away.
The other time you turn it OFF is at the night time. Just switch OFF the pump when you are sleeping.
A switched ON pump will provide water whenever you turn the faucet ON. So, you don’t have to switch it ON every time you need the water.
Water pump in your RV is an on-demand pump that starts pumping water when you turn on the faucet or press the flush.
So, why yo have to keep it OFF when you are away or sleeping?
There is a simple reason behind this. In case there is a water system failure or your pipeline bursts, the pump water may flood your RV.
Consider a case of mistaken turning ON of the faucet and you are not in RV that time, the whole fresh water tank would be pumped out. The water pump will run till tit pumps the entire tank.
Unless you are unlucky this may not happen with you but you never know. It happens with many RVers and a good caution is to keep the pump OFF when not present in RV and as well as when sleeping.
Will running pump drain the battery?
Your battery will not be drained if the pump is kept ON for an entire day or even more. The battery power is utilized only when the pump is running and pumping water.
Now, there would be small light that would be ON, but it will draw very little. So, you don’t have to be worried about batteries draining due to water pump. Its not like the other parasitic loads in your RV that can discharge the battery very quickly.
Other appliances like gas detector or furnace can quickly drain the batteries but that’s not the case with pump, even when running.
Your doubts are valid when you think of keeping the pump ON for whole day or even more(ideally should keep it off at night as we already saw).
But yes, people go dry camping and keep the pump ON whole day and night till the time they are camping.
Even with that the pump wont be draining your batteries. Its a genuine concern, i understand but you should be paying more attention to other parasitic loads like refrigerator or TV antenna booster.
There are lots of other things to look at like LP gas detector that can drain the battery. Other loads can be stereo clocks or electronic circuit boards. Such appliances can drain the battery without you knowing, and then you have a dead battery in the middle of boondocking.
Keeping your batteries charged all the time is critical to keep them longer. You should not allow them to go below 50%. Managing the batteries while boodocking can be tough if you are going off grid for long period.
Generators can charge the batteries but that’s also an added cost for fuel. Plus generator noise can be irritating if you are not used to it.
Other awesome option is to go solar. Solar panels or solar kits can be used to charge the batteries. Its free apart from the initial investment. With improved efficiency you can really avoid the costs using solar panels kits that will charge the batteries and provide for power while boondocking. Check out how long your RV battery will last.
Do you need to run water pump when connected to city water ?
You don’t have to run the water pump when connected to a city water connection. Your faucets, bathroom system and shower will receive the water from the connection. But, keeping the pump ON will do no harm.
Keeping the pump ON will pump the water from fresh water tank. So, in case you want a fast shower then may be pump will be a better option.
Ideally, I wouldn’t be keeping the pump ON as the city water pressure can be okay. In case you do not get the better pressure then you can try the pump specially for water heater shower.
Some people do use the water pump as filling in the fresh water tank again isn’t a task that takes time. Its upto you whether you want the pump running or not.
Just like water pump the city water connection would be continuous and when you turn on the faucet you have the on demand water running.
How big pump is there in rv
The size of the pump for your RV will depend on how big your RV is and how many people would be camping. You can get pumps that can pump water from 1/2 a gallon to 5 gallons per minute.
If you are camping on a less budget then getting around 1 gallons per minute may be a good idea. For bigger RVs, you can go for at-least 3 gallons per minute option. Higher the flow rate higher is the cost.
Some of the popular water pups include shurflo, remco, Arterra that have good flow rate and better speed. They consume less than 10 amps and are self priming meaning can run dry as well. Most of these water pumps come with a standard warranty of 2 years.
Most modern pumps make very little noise and its mostly due to the vibrations with the surface that you have.
Keeping the pump working properly : some tips/maintenance
If you own a newer model then you will need minimum maintenance with the water pump. Popular brands like shurflo have great products that do really well with minimal maintenance. In most case you would install them and may be have a look at it during storage.
Even then once they get old you may have to do few things like below.
- Check physical condition of the pump for any damage or irregularities.
- Check for seals, bearings and valves for any malfunctioning.
- Proactively detect Water leaking in and around the water pump pipelines
- With time, pipeline system can suffer wear and will need replacement assessment.
Apart from this regular usage it also demands certain checks that you will follow. Like keeping the pump OFF when not inside the RV, doing annual inspection and winterizing the RV during winter.
The maintenance is comparatively easy here, and can help keep the water flowing in your RV. The water system with water pump is particularly important if you go dry camping often.
Common issues with pump
Water pump does not pump water :This can be due to no water in fresh water tank. If there is ample water to pump then it could be due to battery charge. It could be due to faulty wiring if the battery is charged. If none of these are true then it could be due to technical issue with the pump. Pumps can go bad after certain time. on an average they last around 10 years. Some signs that the pump is going bad include noise, water leaking and pump does not start or supplies less pressure. Check here for full troubleshooting steps.
Other problems include below,
Pump cycles on and off
Pump makes lot of noise
For, more issues and troubleshooting water pump check our previous article.
Water pump is an important appliance in your camper specially when you are dry camping or boondocking. Its always better to do regular checks on the pump but overall you will be okay with minimum maintenance.