One of the most sensitive parts of your RV is the plumbing. And as you well know, leaking pipes are everyone’s nightmare, at home, and worse in an RV. And the major culprit when it comes to faulty plumbing in RVs, it’s not hard water, too much Chlorine, or other common culprits you find at home. The major culprit is… Wait for it…
Pressure. High water pressure to be exact.
HOW HIGH WATER PRESSURE AFFECTS YOUR RVS PLUMBING
Image via Water Heater Leaking Info
Many people confuse water flow and water pressure. They may be related, but they mean 2 different things. Water flow talks of how much water is passing a certain point of your plumbing in a second while water pressure refers to the force exerted on the water to get it flowing through the pipes.
RVs have freshwater systems (plumbing) that are designed to safely withstand water pressures of 50 psi. Anything greater than this will put a strain on your RVs plumbing components – seals, connections, e.t.c. It is these failing components that lead to leaks in your plumbing system. This is why you need a water pressure regulator, also called a pressure reducing valve, for your RV.
Still not getting it? Well, let me explain it further. Not every city regulates their water pressure the same. Some have low water pressure while others have high water pressure. And the tricky thing is that you won’t know which is which. The low water connections are not the problem, it’s the high-pressure ones you will need to protect your RV against, and the only protection is a water regulator.
HOW DOES A WATER PRESSURE REGULATOR WORK?
A water pressure regulator is a very simple (and cheap) piece of plumbing equipment that has an inlet that is narrower than the outlet and a diaphragm and spring inside that are regulated to the desired output pressure. That is just a basic explanation but that just about covers it. Like I said, it’s a simple device that won’t cost you much ($20 for a basic one and $60 for one with a pressure gauge) but will save you a lot in the long run.
“But My RV Consistently Has Low Water Pressure!”
We all know how frustrating low water pressure can be – especially in the shower. If your problem is low water pressure despite your hookup providing enough pressure, then there are a few things you need to look into before you hire a plumber.
Image via Ben Valle
- Check your RV water pressure regulator, the one that came with the RV. Old, worn out pressure regulators can cause the outlet pressure to reduce drastically, leading to your low-pressure woes. A simple replacement will solve the problem. And yes, it’s a DIY fix. Sometimes it may not even be damaged but simply clogged and a simple cleaning will get you back to your normal pressure.
- Another low-pressure culprit can be the hose you are using to connect your RV to the city water supply. A small crack, tear, or even a kink can mess up the water pressure in your RV’s plumbing.
- Check your RV’s water filtration system. Sometimes the filters can clog and result in low pressure.
- How good are your fittings? The plumbing itself can contribute to low water pressure, especially if the taps have small valves and openings, or the shower heads are of a cheap quality (cheap is not always cheap in the long run).
HIGH PRESSURE, LOW PRESSURE – DO I NEED MULTIPLE WATER PRESSURE REGULATORS?
The problems of high/low water pressure can be both frustrating and confusing – so much so as to put a damper on your RVing adventures. Don’t pull your hair out yet, or worse still, don’t abandon your RVing lifestyle. A simple solution can be found in purchasing a high flow water regulator. These are usually set at a slightly higher psi (5% higher to make it 55 psi) and also increase the water flow rate by approximately 15%. This is basically killing 2 birds with one stone – and at one price. A definite win-win for you and your beloved RV. The plumbing is protected from high pressure while the water flow rate is increased for that delightsome shower you always look forward to.
TIME FOR A PLUMBING UPGRADE
If you don’t have a water pressure regulator in your RV, it’s best you get to it before the leaks start. Remember, prevention is always better than cure. And while you’re at it, why not give the whole plumbing system a look a over?