If you have a travel trailer, you know what a luxury it can be to simply hit the road and wind up wherever the notion takes you. It’s a great way to travel unless the amenities, like water pressure, aren’t up to par. One of the main complaints about travel trailers is low to no water pressure. Want to know how to fix it? We have ideas.
What’s the reason for no water pressure in a travel trailer? The top 6 reasons behind little to no water pressure in your travel trailer are:
- Campground Has Low Water Pressure
- Water Flow Restrictors on Your Faucets and Shower Heads
- Problem with Your Water Pressure Regulator
- Clogged or Cracked Hose
- Clogged Mesh at Inlet
- Dirty Water Filter
Your first step should be to check the water pressure in the campground you’re in. It doesn’t have to be a problem with your trailer. If the campground has low pressure, you will have low pressure. However, there could be other reasons. We’ll run down what to do if you’re having these problems. Read on for a definitive guide.
Table of Contents
What is a safe water pressure for an RV?
What is a safe water pressure for an RV? want the pressure at a campground to be from 40-50 PSI, so you can now see if it’s acceptable for your needs in your travel trailer. On older trailers, keep the pressure closer to 40 PSI or even lower. On newer travel trailers, you can go almost as high as 60 PSI.
Troubleshooting Low to No Water in Travel Trailer
If you’ve been out sight-seeing all day, you will probably want to come back to your home away from home and take a nice, hot shower. When you can’t do that, it can put a damper on your relaxing trip.
RV Water Pump Troubleshooting >> Check out the video below
In the sections below, we’ll cover the top 6 reasons you might have no to low water pressure in more detail.
1. Campground Has Low Water Pressure
Campground water pressure can be tricky. Many times, the water pressure at a campground is not regulated, and travel trailer owners have to fend for themselves when it’s time to use the water. Here’s what to do:
Use a Pressure Gauge
First, determine the water pressure coming into your travel trailer. A water pressure gauge is easy to use at a campground. Simply screw the gauge onto the faucet where you’re getting your water, then open the faucet all the way. The gauge will tell you the pressure you’re receiving. It should be from 40-50 PSI (pounds per square inch).
Use a Booster Pump
If you find the water pressure in the campground is too low, you can use a booster pump to increase it. The pump will provide pressurized water from your rig tank. Most will run off your battery. For portable boosters, you will probably not need a professional installer. Most come with easy to follow instructions.
One alternative to the above is to use the water tank in your travel trailer if it offers enough pressure. However, many travelers only carry enough water in the tank to wash hands and flush toilets a few times in order to minimize weight and maximize their fuel.
Find the Right Booster Pump for Your Travel Trailer
Here are there of the best booster pumps for a travel trailer:
- SEAFLO 33-Series Industrial Water Pressure Pump
If you do not have a water pressure gauge handy, there are ways to judge the water pressure at a campground without a gauge. Follow the steps below.
Steps to Determine Your Water Pressure
|Attach the water hose to the outside water outlet
|Turn it on so that the water begins to come out of the hose
|Raise the hose up as much as possible
|Keep raising it until the water stops coming out of the hose
|Measure the elevation, in feet, between the hose end and the water faucet
|Divide this elevation by 2.31
|You now have the approximate water pressure in PSI
2. Water Flow Restrictions on Your Faucets and Shower Heads
If you find that it’s not the campground causing your low to no water flow issues, there are other things you can try. The first thing you should do is look at your water fixtures in your travel trailer.
Unscrew the showerhead of your trailer and look for a water flow restrictor. These will generally look like a brass, or metal screw-in piece fitted neatly inside the showerhead.
Flow restrictors can also be found in the screw-on faucet aerators on the bathroom and kitchen sinks. Removing the restrictors will increase the water flow to these faucets.
3. Problem with Your Water Pressure Regulator
If you don’t have a water pressure regulator for your travel trailer, we highly recommend you purchase one. Campgrounds often have too much water pressure rather than too little. Too much water pressure at one time can seriously damage or burst your water lines in your trailer. The heat on your hose can also cause higher than usual water pressure.
Installing a Water Regulator
- Locate the outside spigot you will use to attach your hose
- Screw the water pressure regulator onto the outside spigot
- Attach your hose to the water pressure regulator
- Hand tighten all fitting securely
Most water pressure regulators will have a gauge on them so you can see the PSI you’re getting from the campground faucet. Use this tool every time you connect your hose to an outside water source.
Recommended Water Pressure Regulators
Here are some good water pressure regulators you may want to check into:
- Twinkle Star Water Pressure Regulator
- Esright Brass Water Pressure Regulator
Maintaining Your Water Pressure Regulator
You will want to clean your regulator each time you leave a campground or disengage it from your hose. A clogged or dirty water pressure regulator can also be a source of low or no water pressure for your travel trailer.
Remember that, for campgrounds with very low water pressure, you may have to actually remove your water regulator in order to get the pressure you desire inside the travel trailer. Always check the gauge to see what kind of PSI you’re getting.
Do RV water pressure regulators go bad?
Do RV water pressure regulators go bad? Yes, the water pressure regulators of RVs can go bad at some point. Generally, simple RV water pressure regulators have a set pressure of 40-55 psi and cannot be changed if damaged. Water pressure regulators with pressure gauge measure and regulate the pressure on the campground.
4. Clogged or Cracked Hose
Unfortunately, if you have low or no water pressure in your travel trailer, you may have to troubleshoot your way through a few items before you find the culprit. One of the easiest things to check is your hose.
Simply follow the hose up from the outside water source, looking carefully for:
- Loose Fittings
You will need to thoroughly inspect the entire system for cracks or leaks. In travel trailers, most manufacturers use translucent non-colored PEX for all plumbing. PEX is good for both hot and cold water. So, follow the hose up into the plumbing on your trailer.
Also remember that the shorter the hose, the better the flow. If you’re using a 50-foot water hose with a campground spigot that already has rather low water pressure, that may be an issue for you.
Look for moisture coming out of the PEX lines or the fittings on the PEX lines. If you do have a problem, PEX lines are very easy to fix. You just need a PVC pipe cutter and the proper fittings to replace a faulty line. We recommend quick-connect fittings when you replace a line, as it’s easier to connect.
Your main problem with replacing a PEX line on a travel trailer will likely be the problem of getting your hands in place in a tight area.
5. Clogged Mesh at Inlet
If you haven’t had a dripping, leaky water inlet on your travel trailer yet, just wait. It’s bound to happen sooner or later. The culprit could be caused by the mesh in your water inlet. Simply inspect the mesh to determine if it needs to be replaced or cleaned.
If you continue to have leaks leading to no or low water pressure, check under the mesh. There is a little valve in there meant to prevent backflow when using your water pump. Unfortunately, that valve can get pushed in while the system is pressurized, displacing the seal on the valve.
If you find this is the problem, you will probably need to replace the inlet and the valve. They’re easy to replace but remember to seal around the new inlet to protect it from rain.
6. Dirty Water Filter
You should be in the habit of changing your water filter each year in your travel trailer. If not, you will find that dirt and debris can accumulate in your water filter, resulting in low to no water pressure for you. Here’s how to check if you have a clogged water filter:
- Turn the water off at the trailer hose bib
- Unscrew the water filter from your trailer
- Turn the water back on
- See if the pressure is about the same
If the filter is having a problem, you will see little to no water coming from the filter. If that is the case, you need to discard that water filter and install another one.
Tips for Your Travel Trailer Water System
It’s best to be proactive when it comes to the water system on your travel trailer. It will be far better to discover something that could be an issue rather than something that has turned into a large problem.
We’ve tracked down the best tips we can find for dealing with the water system on your trailer. They include:
- Maintenance is key. Keep everything clean and always check for wear and tear on your water fixtures
- Get a carbon filter. Put it on your hose before you hook it up to campground water. This will eliminate impurities right from the source.
- Insulate your hose. If you are remaining stationary for an extended time, consider insulating your hose. You can do this by using foam insulation tubes kept in place with pipe insulation tape.
- Let your tank completely drain when you leave a campground. Continuously leaving a small amount of water in your tank could lead to smelly, stale water.
You could also consider upgrading your showerhead on your trailer. Installation is easy – simply unscrew the old showerhead and put the new one on. Some showerheads will give you more pressure than others. We’ve found some of the best below:
- AquaDance 7” High-Pressure 3-Way Rainfall Combo
Know Your Travel Trailer Water System
Water is an essential part of our everyday life. If we don’t have it, our lives become very uncomfortable, very quickly. If you’re on the road with your travel trailer, you don’t want any problems with your water system, so it helps if you’re familiar with the entire system and what the individual pieces are. This allows you to troubleshoot your system if you do encounter problems.
Here are some of the more common components of a travel trailer’s water system:
- Fresh Water Tank
- Gray Water Tank
- Wastewater Tank
1. Fresh Water Tank
The fresh water tank holds potable water you can use for drinking or washing. They vary in size, according to the size of the trailer. They have a 2-inch vent with a 3-inch inlet.
These need to be cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis, especially if you drink from the tap or shower in the trailer. This tank is naturally warm and dark and is a perfect place for bacteria to form. Clean it if you haven’t used the tank in over a month or every two months if it has been used.
The best way to clean your fresh water tank involves the following:
- Completely drain the fresh water tank
- Fill the fresh water tank 3/4 of the way full with a half cup of bleach to every 15 gallons of water
- Drive a short distance with this solution in the tank, making sure to turn corners, stop, and start
- Let sit in the tank for a few hours
- Open all faucets and let tank completely drain
- Let sit another three hours
- Refill and drain tank several more times, until you can’t smell bleach anymore
You’re going to want to drain and refill several more times even after you can’t smell bleach. You do not want to shower or drink any water with bleach in it.
2. Gray Water Tank
Gray water tanks hold the dirty water from your shower or sink. You will want to empty this tank when it is about 3/4 full. Unfortunately, sometimes the only way to know this tank is full is when your shower pan is holding water.
Alternatively, you can look under your trailer with a flashlight to see if you can tell how much liquid is in the translucent gray water tank. This liquid is called your runoff water.
This is why it’s important to drain all your tanks after a trip. The last thing you want is to have a problem with your tanks when you’re just starting out on vacation.
The drain into this tank is small, so you will want to take precautions to make sure no food or other articles get into this tank, as even small articles can cause a clog.
To drain this tank, you will want a drain hose that is separate from the hose you use for your fresh water tank. This is called a sewer hose. Many people drain the wastewater tank first and use the same hose for the gray water tank. Draining the gray water tank after the wastewater tank allows the gray water to wash away any lingering solids from the wastewater tank.
3. Wastewater Tanks
Wastewater tanks, also called black water tanks, should be the smallest of the three tanks on your trailer.
Again, you will want to dump your wastewater tank before your gray water tank, so the runoff can flush out any particles left behind by the blank water.
Here’s how to dump your wastewater tank:
- Put on rubber gloves
- Connect a washout hose (NOT your fresh water hose) to the water supply at the dump station (found at a campground)
- Connect dump hose to the wastewater tank
- Dump wastewater tank
- Feed washout hose through the bathroom window and completely flush black water tank through the toilet
- Shut off flush water and close black water tank valve
- Dump gray water tank and flush it out
It’s important that you close both valves, even if you’re connected to the sewer at your campground. Leaving them open is a good way to form a clog, as the liquid will drain out, leaving the solids behind.
Some tips to help you with these tanks are:
- Shop smart. Use only 1-ply toilet paper or RV toilet paper to avoid clogging your toilet
- Keep things fresh. Use a deodorizing and cleaning chemical on your wastewater tank to help it smell fresh and break down solid waste
- Maintain your system. Sanitize after every trip or every two months
- Use good habits. Always add water to the toilet bowl before flushing
- Don’t skip the flush! Flush regularly
How do I test my RV water pump?
How do I test my RV water pump? It is easy, check out the video nelow
The Final Word
Using your travel trailer should be a pleasant experience. Once on your trip, you don’t want to experience no or low water pressure or any other problems with your water system. Use the preventive measure outlined above and make sure you check your systems carefully before starting out on your vacation. Happy travels!
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