A running water supply is a favorable commodity on long trips, even if you do not plan on going off-grid. These water pumps are not that expensive, but replacing them every once in a while, can get tiresome quickly. Hence, it is crucial to pick a decent one from the get-go.
You need to consider quite a few variables before buying a water pump for your RV. Things like GPM, PSI, flow type are crucial aspects of RV water pumps that directly relate to the overall performance.
Getting a water pump based on specs alone won’t do you any good. You must consider the noise level, the pump size, and energy consumption to get the most value out of it. Maintenance tasks are essential to keep the thing in top condition.
What To Consider When Buying an RV Water Pump
Water pumps are one of those things that almost everyone has but doesn’t have too much knowledge on. Most people go to their dealers and have them choose and install one for them. That is why it can get a bit hard to find useful information about them.
There are crucial aspects that you shouldn’t miss while shopping for a pump. I have made a list of those for your convenience:
1. GPM Rating
All water pumps have a gallon per minute rating listed somewhere on the manual. It is a significant part of a water pump, and you need to choose carefully depending on your water usage. A GPM rating higher than your needs will waste a lot of power.
There aren’t any specific ways of determining the correct GPM rating, but you can get a fairly close estimation by calculating your water usage. An average RV sink needs about 1.5 gallons per minute to operate properly, while a shower needs around 2 gallons.
An RV with only those two water appliances will need a pump with at least a 3 GMP rating. You can find the detailed water requirement for most appliances from the user’s manual or manufacturers website. I would also like to point out that on-demand water heaters are not quite compatible with variable speed pumps.
Get a high-capacity pump if you plan on using all the water outlets at the same time. But pay attention to the energy consumption of the pumps. Higher capacity RV water pumps have a higher draw on the power source/battery. If the pump GPM rating is too high, you may have to overdraw your battery from time to time.
2. Water Flow Type
Flow type is one of the most crucial points of an RV water pump. They are divided into three separate flow types. One is the constant speed flow- where the pump keeps running indefinitely to create constant water pressure. The other is the variable speed flow- where the pressure accumulates when you need it. The last one is the high-volume pumps.
Constant speed pumps work at a set speed throughout the running cycle. They try to keep the same pressure level, but the pressure can fluctuate depending on the water level of your tank. It eats more energy on average compared to a variable pump.
The variable speed pump does not run at a set speed. It can change the pumping speed depending on the pressure level of your tank. That means it runs slowly when your tank is full and has the desired water pressure, and runs faster when the natural water pressure drops.
Lastly, the high-volume water pumps offer a higher flow rate compared to standard 12V pumps. The flow rate is higher than most RV water pumps, but they consume an astronomically high level of energy. You are likely to find these only on 50-amp rigs or larger units.
3. PSI Rating
PSI or pound per square inch is the pressure rating of an RV water pump. RV pumps have a lower PSI rating compared to standard pumps. Most of them have pumps with a PSI rating between 60 to 75. You could consider that as a safe range.
But there are many RV units with outdated water systems. Those cannot handle the standard safe PSI range. Older RV’s, in particular, need water pumps that operate on lower PSI levels. The reason behind this discrimination is the plumbing material.
Old RV models use Polybutylene piping, and these pipes cannot handle as much pressure. The newer ones use Polyethylene piping, which are stronger and more durable compared to Polybutylene. You can potentially end up harming your Polybutylene pipes by using pumps with a higher PSI range than 60.
4. Amps Rating
The energy consumption of the RV water pumps is measured in amps. Smaller amps mean less power consumption and battery usage. Most RV water pumps are efficient at handling energy. They usually stay within an amp range of 7 to 15.
High volume RV water pumps tend to be the ones with a 15 amps range. That puts a huge draw on the battery and is not recommended; unless you own a monstrously huge RV unit.
5. Compatibility with The Electrical System
RV water pumps rely on the RV’s internal battery for power, like every other electrical appliance in an RV. That means they need to be compatible with the electrical structure of the said RV if they want to function. In rare cases, you may end up losing a lot of money by buying a pump with the correct GMP that does not fit your RV’s electrical structure.
That is why you need to check the compatibility before buying a new pump. All pumps have a slight variation in energy consumption when outputting maximum pressure. Running an incompatible pump on a higher GMP range will excessively increase energy consumption.
You may need to do a complete overhaul of the electrical panel because of fuse requirements. Some RV’s have 12 fuse panels, while some pumps need a 15-amp fuse. You’re looking at some costly remodeling if you end up in this scenario.
6. Physical Size Compatibility
The internal aspects are not the only things you need to worry about when buying an RV water pump. Unlike regular pumps, you don’t have infinite space in the RV; the pump’s physical dimension matters.
12V water pumps come in many shapes and sizes. It depends entirely on the manufacturer and their designing teams. So, check the place you want to install the pump and take some accurate measurements before buying one. Try to leave some space around the installation site, because you will need that for the installation process.
7. Noise Level
Noise level is a crucial aspect for some people, while others may not care about it at all. It generally depends on your preference; some people are better at dealing with machine noise than other folks.
12V pumps usually have 4-5 champers. Four chambered pumps are louder than the five chambered ones in general. But manufacturers have been trying to solve this issue for quite some time now. Variable speed pumps make less noise compared to constant speed and high-volume pumps.
Top 5 RV Water Pumps on The Market
The market is saturated with a lot of pumps but it can be hard finding a top-tier one. I compiled a list of some of the best pumps currently on the market.
1. Seaflo 33 Series RV Pump
Seaflo is a well-known manufacturer of diaphragm water pumps. The 33 series comes with an automatic restart motor. It has decent thermal protection to prevent overheating, and 3 GMP allows it to stand among the best RV pumps in terms of flow rate.
Seaflo 33 makes very little noise. It always amazed me how I could not hear anything unless I was at least within 6 feet range of the pump. I managed to tone it down further with a silencing kit to ensure much-needed quiet in my RV.
This pump has a PSI rating of 45, which is decent enough for most RVs. It fits well with older campers that have fragile plumbing. Modern RVs would not need more than this PSI range unless they have an absurdly high number of faucets.
Seaflo 33 is a manageable-sized water pump with moderate water pressure and flow. That is a perfect choice for any standard RV; be it camping or residential purposes, you can rely on it all the time. The only problem I can think of is that it does not come with a free pump filter. Also, the flow rate is average, so it is not fit for a large RV.
- Powerful Motor
- Good Performance
- Noise reduction
- Low flow rate
2. Flojet Triplex Diaphragm Water Pump
Flojet Triplex is a self-priming diaphragm water pump for RVs and boats. It has three chambers and a permanent magnet motor. The motor surface and bearings are all enclosed behind protective casings. It can handle running without a water supply without taking any damage.
I loved the anti-noise technology they introduced with this pump. It is so quiet even your dog won’t wake up when you run this. The draw rate is a bit on the slow side, but that doesn’t cause me any inconvenience.
It is suitable for campers, RVs and boats. There’s instruction for sanitization inspection, and the winterizing process. You can use non-toxic antifreeze to protect it from the snow, but I wouldn’t recommend doing that if you plan on using it for drinking. Winterizing is fine if you only use it for showers though.
It has a GMP rating of 2.9 and a PSI rating of 50. It has a higher-pressure level compared to Surfflo. Flojet’s flow rate lets it stand above average in regards to the pressure level and flow rate. The draw rate is a bit high, so it does end up eating more energy.
- High flow rate
- Can Dry Run
- High energy consumption
3. SHURFLO 3.0 Revolution Water Pump
Shurflo 3.0 Revolution is a water pump for travel trailers and RVs. It has an above-average flow rate with a combination of GMP rating 3 and a PSI rating of 55. Its unique one-piece diaphragm design allows it to perform exceptionally well for a long time without any complications.
I felt that this little pump was a monster in disguise. It can deliver water to multiple sinks, faucets and showerheads all by itself with 3 gallons per minute water flow. Shurflo 3.0 has dry run protection, so I’m not scared to let it run until the entire tank drains out. This pump is surprisingly silent for a pump of its caliber.
Shurflo 3.0 is a masterpiece among modern RV water pumps. Its unique design allows it to perform better without consuming as much energy as its peers. It has a power draw of a mere 7.5 Amps, and it runs fine with an onboard 12V DC source. The open design makes it perfect for any position, and it has thermal protection to avoid overheating.
Shurflo is an RV-oriented water pump. It was designed to fit into anything from a fifth wheeler to a camper. The biodegradable material composition makes it entirely nature-friendly. The water pressure fluctuates during use because it is an on-demand pump.
- Top-quality Material
- Low Power usage
- Pressure fluctuation
4. Lippert Components 12V Flow Max Water Pump
Lippert Flow Max is one of the strongest pumps on this list. With a monstrous GMP of 3.3 and a PSI rating of 50, it boasts one of the highest specs on this list. It has a heavy-duty motor with rust-resistant properties. Self-priming operation is one of its basic features.
I liked the flow rate of this one. It works fast and works without causing too much noise. It has a Moderate level of PSI rating but an exceedingly high cap on the GMP. The PSI rating is around 45 on average with independent testing, and the GMP never goes below 3 gallons.
It is made with single-chamber throttle technology that helps it perform without overdrawing the power source. It comes with a free screen filter and two additional connectors. The corrosion-resistant motor is a particularly eye-catching component because it can stand the test of time.
It is an RV oriented water pump, so it fits well on any rig. It also has a conditional feature of powerful spray pressure. The only issue is that it is not suitable for older RVs with fragile plumbing.
- Powerful flow
- Noise Reduction
- Too Strong for Older Rigs
5. Shurflo 4048-153-E75
Shurflo 4048 is one of the most powerful RV water pumps on the market. With a GMP rating of 4 and a PSI rating of 55, it stands at the top in terms of strength and output.
I used it for a few years on my camper, and it worked like a charm. Unfortunately, my rig is rather old, and this thing has too much power, so I had to switch to a downgraded model for the sake of my plumbing. Still, I use it in my cabin from time to time, and It worked fine even after I left it laying around for years.
It has the same one-piece technology as the Shurflo 33 series, but its specs are higher. A little too high for most RVs, but it has a great synergy with newer RV models. It also has the drawback of eating too much energy because of its high output.
- High pressure
- High flow rate
- Not suitable for Older systems
More good ones:
Kolerflo diaphram pump
Aimela self priming pump
ECCCPP fresh water pump
DC House 42-series upgradable pump
Lippert components flow max
Bayite 12v fresh water pump
Progear rv replacement pump
USA Adventure Gear water pump
RV Water Pump Maintenance Tips
You cannot expect a decent result without maintaining it properly. There are a few specific ways of keeping a pump at its peak performance.
1. Pipeline Inspection
Water pipe inspection is a straightforward visual inspection. You are looking for unusual cracks, stains, leaks on the pipe during this process. The mounting brackets might come loose over time, so check those as well.
A high-power flashlight is a good way of finding kinks and cracks. First, do it without turning on the water, you will notice even the smallest of cracks on the pipes under the radiance. Do another one with the water turned on, and identify any wet spots that are only visible in a pressurized state.
2. Filter Inspection
The filters are a crucial part of an RV water pump. It is one of the first things you need to inspect annually to ensure proper functionality. These filters keep the unwanted debris present in the freshwater tank from going into the pipelines.
The placement of this filter is between the pipeline and the water tank. If this thing stops working, there’s a high chance of your pipes getting damaged from the debris. This debris can heavily damage your water pump, so be sure to clean them regularly.
This thing needs annual cleaning or more frequent cleaning, based on the condition of your water supply. First, gently twist the filter off from the intake side of the pump. That will allow you to access all the accumulated debris inside. You can clean those off with a brush before putting the lid back on.
3. Annual Sanitization
Sanitizing an RV’s fresh-water system can play a decent role in keeping the water pump in top condition. RV water tanks accumulate algae with time, and they can disrupt the water pump after long-term exposure.
Keeping the tank free of these things will help your pump perform better. The algae can build up in the water pump and damage the valves inside. That will drastically lower the life expectancy of your pump.
Essential Accessories for RV Water Pump
You should consider buying some essential accessories if you want to go that extra mile to take care of your water pump. There are water system accessories that help monitor the water pump’s performance and help it function better.
Your system can work without these, but the efficiency will not be as high. These things are must-haves for experienced campers but are neglected by most beginners.
1. Tank Monitoring System
The fastest way of harming an RV water pump is by letting it run with a dry tank. Letting a pump run dry for more than 40 seconds can cause serious damage to it. It will also invite more problems in the future.
Potential damage aside, running out of water is a serious inconvenience on its own. The best way to avoid these issues is by installing a water tank monitor on your RV. The tank monitor will sense the water level of your tank, and notify you when it’s nearly empty.
2. RV Water Pressure Regulator
Your pump will automatically regulate the water pressure when drawing from the fresh-water tank. But that isn’t the case when you are filling the tank itself. When drawing from the city water supply, you will often get excessive water pressure. It damages the tank and the pump to some extent.
The delicate plumbing system of an RV cannot handle excessive pressure. That leads to various plumbing issues. You may not face any problem right away, but the damage will come back to bite you in the backside.
The water pressure regulator is a straightforward device that regulates the pressure when you are filling your tank. It is easy to install and doesn’t cost nearly as much as you would think. This inexpensive little regulator could save you a huge amount of plumbing costs in the future by protecting your piping and pump.
3. Accumulator Tank
Most RVs use constant speed pumps for their plumbing system. That is partly because they have been on the market longer and have accumulated more trust and dependence. But one problem these people face is the pump cycle.
The pump can sense when the water level of the tank. It will end the ongoing cycle when it’s nearly empty. The gap between the on and off-cycle causes undesirable water pressure fluctuations.
The existing method of ignoring this cycling process is installing a water accumulator tank. It is a small tank that acts as a substitute for the main tank. It acts as a buffer for the pump because the pump will use this tank before moving to the main one. The small tank will almost always stay full, and the pump won’t stop the cycle until this tank empties.
However, you can ignore this point if you own a variable speed pump. Never install an accumulator tank with a variable speed pump because it will mess with the variable’s operation.
4. Water Pump Filter
Cleanliness is the best way of keeping a water pump safe. RV water tanks have a lot of debris that the tank strainer cannot catch. This debris will eventually make its way into the pump and cause all sorts of havoc. The water pump filter is an extra measure against that threat.
RV pump filters will help maintain the water flow, and keep the pump clear of any debris. Some RV pumps come with a free pump filter. If your pump came with a filter, then great! But for those who didn’t get one, I suggest you buy them yourselves.
5. RV Water Pump Silencer
Do you hate the grating noise of an RV water pump? You can find salvation by purchasing an RV water pump silencing kit.
A constant speed pump will make a lot of noise unless you place it somewhere far away from the cabin section. The silencing kit may have different components depending on the manufacturer, but they generally consist of flexible hoses. The flexible hose will fit between the plumbing line and the pump to reduce noise.
These flexible pipes are vibration-proof. They act as a buffer between the pump and the plumbing to reduce the vibration spread. This reduces the overall noise level of any RV water pump.
I believe you now have a better understanding of the RV water pumps on the market. The key to getting the perfect pump lies in knowing the limitation of your rig. Don’t get a pump too strong nor too weak for the RV and it will serve you well.