Troubleshooting RV Water Pump (common problems)

Troubleshooting RV Water Pump (common problems)

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RV water pump just like other appliances in RV can fail when you need it the most. Water system in RV is crucial and if you are living full time then its your lifeline. You need water for kitchen, washroom and shower. RV water pump have good life but they also need regular maintenance.

There are several reasons why a RV water pump may malfunction or not work at all.

You may face 2 main type of issues with your RV pump.

  1. Pump is running but no water is pumped.
  2. Pump does not start at all.

Other than this there could be multiple other issues like pump keeps on running or the pump cycles on and off. We will see all these issue in detail but before that lets check the basic troubleshooting steps.

Follow below steps to troubleshoot an RV water pump that either does not pump water when running or if the pump does not start.

1. Check if fresh water tank has water

If the water is not being pumped by the water pump then this is the most common reason why that may happen. Its an easy to overlook thing, but be sure to check this before checking anything else. Sometimes, the water tank gauge may read wrong, so be sure to confirm that the water is present in the tank.

2. Check if supply line are blocked or clogged

It is quite possible that the lines running to water pump or the lines to the faucet are blocked with debris. If the pump gets power and sill the water isn’t flowing then this could be one of the reasons. However, this happens only when you have camped too long without much maintenance.

3. Check for leaked lines

Pipes leaking can also result in no water being pumped at the faucet. This however will come to your notice quickly as the water will spill all over.

4. Check if the pump has power

If the pump isn’t running, the first thing your should check is whether the pump is getting the power or not. This can happen if the battery does not have the charge or the wiring between the battery and pump has an issue. If the battery is charged, check for any issues with the wiring.

5. Check for mechanical issues with the pump

If the pump is receiving the power but does not start then that could be a mechanical issue with the pump. Diaphragm in the pump can accumulate debris and get punctured. To get it fixed you would need to unplug the pump and unscrew the area and then clean the debris. You need to be careful while dealing as you may end up causing more damage if you are unaware of the mechanical structures. Best thing to do in this case is to take professional help.

With basic knowledge, one can fix these minor and common issues. Lets go through some of the most common RV water pump problems and how to fix them.

1. RV Water Pump Is Noisy

Troubleshooting: If your RV water pump is making noise, that means it’s loose. As such, when working, it will cause vibrations. Here is how to fix a noisy water pump.

Start by turning off the RV water pump. In most RVs, the water pump can be under the sink, under the rig or the bed. Once you locate the RV water pump, unscrew the pump and place a piece of rubber padding under it.

Screw the water pump back on and turn it ON. If you do this right, you should experience no noise from the pump vibrations.

Apart from placing the rubber padding under the pump, you need to insulate the water pipes.

For this part, you need foam pipe insulation and duct tape. Ensure that the insulation is half an inch or more. Wrap the water pipes with the foam insulation and duct tape. Secure at each end.

how to reduce rv water pump noise

You also have the option of adjusting the flow rate. This helps to solve the problem of unwanted noise due to the pump turning ON and OFF in rapid succession. To adjust the water pump, check the owner’s manual. This will enable you to adjust the flow rate.

2. RV Water Pump Sounds like Its Working but No Water

Troubleshooting: The first step is to inspect the freshwater tank. Start by checking the tank gauge. Is the water tank empty, low or full? If the water tank is empty or low, the RV water pump will not work. Why? It needs something to pump.

Fill the water tank with freshwater and test the water pump. Is the water flowing from all fixtures? The water tank may be full but no water is flowing in your fixtures.

To correct this issue, inspect the water lines leading in and out of the water pump and the holding tank.

Are there any loose connections? Are there worn, cracked, or split water lines? If cracked, split or worn, replace them. Still, no water flowing?

Check to see if any blockage is present in the water lines. Try reconnecting the lines from the water pump and holding tank.

If water is still not flowing from your fixtures, the problem could be the pump motor. You can choose to buy a new pump or have the motor replaced.

If you want more details on this particular issue then don’t forget to check my step-step guide for same.

3. RV Water Pump Is Leaking

Troubleshooting: When you turn on your faucet, the water pump also turns on. Even when you flush the toilet or take a shower, the water pump will turn on. If after taking a shower or washing the dishes and you have shut off the faucets but the pump keeps running, you have a leak.

To be sure about this, inspect the check valve. If it’s broken or cracked, then your pump will keep running. This will cause your freshwater tank to rise. To fix this, shut off the water pump and remove the current check valve.

rv water pump leaking

This is usually on a tube hose connecting the water pump to the freshwater tank. Install a new check valve and make sure the arrow is pointing at the freshwater tank. Proceed by connecting the other end to the RV water pump.

Turn on your water pump, then turn on the kitchen faucet and turn it off. Is the water pump still running? If the water pump is still running, check all water lines.

If the water lines have cracks, they are depressurizing the water pump causing it to run. You need to replace the water lines. Check the water pump owner’s manual for directions.

4. Winterized the RV Water Pump Last Year and not working this Year

Troubleshoot: There are several things you need to check to ensure your water pump is working again. First, check to see if the shut-off valves are open. Second, check to see if you left the drain open when filling up the water tank.

Third, inspect the water lines and connections to ensure they are ok after draining the antifreeze. Fourth, check to ensure that the battery is fully charged and power is getting to the water pump.

You should also check if the water pump blew a fuse or a circuit breaker tripped. Fifth, use a multimeter to ensure that power is going to the pump. Also, ensure the pump gets grounded. Last, if everything above fails, then you need to buy a new water pump.

5. RV Water Pump Diaphragm Is Damaged

Troubleshooting: If the diaphragm gets damaged, water will not flow, which means the RV water pump is pumping nothing. This could also mean that the diaphragm has debris. To remove the debris, unscrew the three screws attaching the pump head to the casing.

After removing the screws, check the rubber diaphragm. Is it covered with debris? Then you need to clean it. Use a gentle detergent to clean the debris. After cleaning the diaphragm thoroughly, you need to flush the pump head to remove any debris.

If it’s punctured, you need to replace it. Use the repair kit provided by the manufacturer. To find the right replacement part, check with your local RV parts dealer. Have the part number when shopping for the replacement part.

You also need to ensure that the supply line is not blocked. If it’s blocked, blow compressed air through the pipe. This will help to dislodge debris in the pipe. Make sure to turn the pressure on the compressor to low. This prevents you from causing a leak in the pipe.

6. RV Pump Is Not Working

Troubleshoot: Check to see if there is power to the pump. Did you charge the RV battery? If not, then you need to plug into a 110-volt power source. Is the RV water pump working? No? then check the fuse. This can be found in the positive wire in your water pump.

fixing a rv water pump which is not starting

Is the fuse blown? If it’s blown, you need to replace it. Check the power rating on the fuse and buy a similar one from a local RV parts vendor. Fix the fuse and make sure the connections to the pump are good. Loose connections can cause a short circuit blowing off the fuse again.

When driving your RV especially on slightly rough terrain, the connections will come loose. After inspecting the connections, use a multimeter to check for power to the water pump. If there is no power, check the connections to the power converter. Repair any bad spots or replace the wiring.

The switch to the pump may fail. To eliminate this as a problem, connect your water pump directly and bypass the switch. Is the pump working normally? Then, replace the switch and everything should be ok.

7. Rv water pump keeps running

Many of us see this happening many times. A motorhome or RV pump continues to run longer and making it hot. There could be several reasons for this. It could happen when the pump valve is in the wrong position or a leak.

Try checking the pipe right from the pump till the tank. There could be air sucking in. Try to set the valve in the right position if its not.

The pump may also run continuously if there isn’t any water in the tank, so check the tank. Do not rely on sensors they may not read properly sometimes.

8. RV water pump cycles on and off

AN RV water keeps cycling on and off is another common issue that we see. This can happen when there is a leak in the water pump or pipe system. What this does is it sucks air resulting in cycling on-off. This general happens die to cracks, faulty valves, or loose connections. This can be a fairly easy one, but you need to do this step by step.

How to prime my RV water pump.

A longer duration in storage and you may have to prime your RV water pump. Here are the steps that you need to follow to prime it.

prime your rv water pump
  1. Keep your faucets fully open, fill the fresh tank with water.
  2. Turn on the cold water in your RV
  3. Later switch ON the water pump.
  4. Let the water flow for a good amount of time. Then turn off the faucets. Once the water pump turns on only when the faucets are open will mean your motorhome water pump is primed.

How to Clean and Maintain RV Water Pump

To ensure that your RV water pump functions well, you need to clean and maintain it. Some of the parts you need to clean include the filter on the intake side of the water pump. The filter keeps debris in the water tank from damaging the internal valves of the pump.

To clean the debris, use a gentle detergent. This will disinfect the water system. Not only that, It will prevent the build-up of algae.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when sanitizing the water pump. When it comes to maintenance, you need to carry out regular and annual inspection.

This allows you to detect any problems with the water lines, connections, and pump motor.

Should You Keep the RV Water Pump on in RV?

The first thing you need to know is that an RV water pump is an on-demand system. This means it cuts on when needed. When you turn the water pump, it pressurizes the water system to a preset PSI. Normally, 30 PSI is the standard but RV or travel trailer owners can adjust accordingly.

When you turn on the water pump, it will continue to pump water continuously as long as fixtures are on. If you shut off the faucets, the pump will run until the water pressure builds up in the water lines before cutting off automatically.

So, it’s important to keep the RV water pump on. Remember, it’s not bad to leave the water pump on as long as it’s not connected to the city water line.

RV Water Pump Noise and How to Reduce It

When your water pump makes noise, it’s called jackhammering. It’s caused by the pulsation of water in the water lines. The pulsation of water causes the supply lines to vibrate against the cabinets and walls.

To minimize the noise, you can connect a water pump silencer kit. This can eliminate the jackhammering noise. The reason why the kit works is that it comes with soft supply hoses. They help to dampen the vibrations.

You can also wrap the water supply lines with foam insulation and duct tape. Another solution is to add a water accumulator tank. This helps to reduce noise levels of pump cycles.

How Long Does RV Water Pumps Last

If properly taken care of, a water pump can last up to 10 years. To extend the life of your RV water pump, you need to perform regular and annual inspections. Clean the filter and eliminate debris from the water lines.

If you discover a cracked or broken water line, replace it. In case the fuse blows out, replace it with another. Once in a while, hire a professional and certified contractor to inspect the RV water pump.

In case you decide to replace your water pump, always buy products from reputable brands. A water pump from a reputable brand is quiet, dependable and lasts long.

Signs Your RV Water Pump Is Going Bad

Your RV water pump is a crucial component. As such, it is important to ensure it’s in working order, always. There are several signs you can look out for to know if your pump is going bad or in need of replacement.

1. The first sign is excessive noise.

If your water pump is making an excessive or unusual noise, then it’s going bad. This is unlike the standard noise it generates. The common cause is a pump failure. RV or travel trailer water pumps have a multi-chamber diaphragm design.

2. If the diaphragm becomes calcified or corroded, it becomes inoperable.

Another sign that your water pump is going bad and in need of replacement is water leaks. If the leak is coming from the supply lines, you can replace them. But if the water pump is leaking, you need to have it inspected.

3. If your water pump is not turning on, this is another sign there is something wrong.

Start by checking all electrical connections before moving to the pump switch and fuse. If they are working, check if the battery is fully charged. You can connect the pump to a 120-volt power source.


While this article answers the majority of RV water pump issues and troubleshooting, I recommend having a professional inspection and repair the water pump. Not only is he experienced, and certified but he/she has the right repair kits. Also, he/she can recommend which parts to buy for replacement.

G. Yoganand

A RV enthusiast who spends countless hours researching and learning various things related to RV camping. He believes in spending time doing Outdoor activities.
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