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Ultimate Guide to Troubleshooting Water Pumps in RVs


Ultimate Guide to Troubleshooting Water Pumps in RVs

Water pumps play a crucial role in the operation of RVs, ensuring a continuous water supply for various daily tasks. However, malfunctions can occur, compromising your comfort. This comprehensive guide helps you diagnose and resolve common RV water pump problems.

How RV Water Pumps Work

RV water pumps create the necessary pressure to circulate water from the freshwater tank to faucets, sanitary appliances, and the water heater. Pump capacities typically range between 3.5 and 5 gallons per minute (GPM), depending on the size of your RV. For the pump to function correctly, the freshwater tank must be filled, and the bypass valves must be properly positioned.

Common Problems and Solutions

The Pump Does Not Turn On

Check the Pump Switch :

  • If no water flows when the faucets are opened, ensure the pump is turned on. Listen for the pump’s sound to confirm its operation.

Check the Switch Light :

  • If the pump switch is backlit, it should light up when activated. If it doesn’t and you don’t hear the pump, check the DC distribution panel for a blown fuse. Replace it if necessary.

The Pump Is Not Receiving Power

Check the Battery :

  • If you’re camping without electrical hookups, the battery might be too discharged to activate the pump. A battery showing 10.5 volts DC or less is considered dead. Recharge the battery using a portable generator or by connecting to shore power.

Water Does Not Reach the Pump

Check the Bypass Valves :

  • Ensure all bypass valves are properly positioned to allow water to flow from the tank to the pump. This is especially important after a period of winterization.

Close the Low Point Drains :

  • The low point drains must be closed for the pump to create the necessary pressure. If they are open, water will flow out through these drains instead of reaching the faucets.

The Pump Does Not Provide Adequate Water Pressure

Check the Connections :

  • If the pump runs but water pressure is low, check the pump’s inlet and outlet connections. Loose connections can result in insufficient water pressure.

Inspect the Water Lines :

  • Disconnect the line between the tank and the pump to check for water flow. If no water flows out, inspect the line for damage or obstructions.

The Pump Runs Continuously

Check for Leaks :

  • If the pump keeps running even when all faucets are closed, it may indicate a leak in the system. Inspect all connections and lines for potential leaks.

Replacing the Water Pump

If your water pump needs replacement, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare the Tools :
    • Drill or screwdriver
    • Wire cutters
    • Wire stripper/crimper
    • Fork connectors
    • Bowl or bucket (to catch water)
    • Towels or sponges (for cleanup)
  2. Replacement Procedure :
    • Disconnect the city water supply and turn off the pump.
    • Close the valve on the suction line between the tank and the pump.
    • Open a faucet to release pressure from the lines.
    • Remove the pump’s inlet and outlet lines and the screws holding it in place.
    • Clean the inlet filter and reinstall it on the new pump.
    • Connect the wires and water lines to the new pump.
    • Replace the pump’s fuse and turn on the control switch.
    • Open the faucets to check for proper operation and inspect connections for leaks.


Ensuring your RV’s water pump functions correctly is essential for a comfortable stay. By following these troubleshooting tips and knowing when to consult a professional, you can ensure your water system operates optimally. For more tips and articles on RV maintenance, stay connected to our blog.