Water is life, and its importance can never be underestimated. As an RV camper, you need this most sought after commodity for so many reasons. You might find yourself in the middle of the woods and honestly speaking, having a faulty RV water pump in such an area could be the worst thing to ever happen in your life.
Whether you have newly installed your RV water pump or the pump has been stored for long without being used, priming your pump is very necessary before being called to action. This is why you ought to know how to prime an RV water pump. It is a simple activity that any camper should be able to do on their own.
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Importance of Priming an RV Water Pump
Pressure is often lost when the RV water pump is turned off for a long duration. This is what causes malfunctioning that you may experience. To create sufficient pressure again, it must be flushed back and forced through; this is what priming is.
Where is the pump located? What are the steps involved in priming? Are there any risks involved in priming? These are just but a few of the many questions that we seek to answer in this guide.
Location of the RV water pump
The most difficult part of priming an RV water pump is accessing where the pump is actually located. This is because it is normally installed underneath the bench seats or at times inside cabinets. These are the closest points where it can be near the RV water storage tank.
You can as well refer to the manual if you have one. If you still can’t find it, you can trace the line right from the cabinet that is underneath the kitchen sink to its origin, which is the pump. Once you do this successfully, the rest will just be a breeze.
But in any case you are not sure of anything; please make sure you consult professionals. A slight problem like this if not properly resolved can lead to bigger ones that might cost you a lot.
Why is it necessary to prime the RV water pump?
In most cases, the water pumps that are often used in these recreational vehicles are the freshwater pumps. The RV has been designed to store water in the built-in tanks, and therefore it is necessary that the water is drawn from the tank for use in the various places within your “new home.”
The RV tanks are capable of storing between 50 and 200 gallons of water. Additionally, the RV water pump can be used to supply different quantities of water per minute. The quantity dispensed is always proportional to the size of the RV. Most supplies are always made in the range of 3.5 to 5.3 gallons in a minute.
Your water consumption is what will determine the rate at which you need the water supplied as well as the size of the holding tank.
How to prime an RV water pump
Having known how important the water pump is when you are RV camping, it is, therefore, a matter of great importance to look at how to troubleshoot it in case it is malfunctioning. Besides, you are now aware of where the pump is.
The items that will be very instrumental during priming are:
Flat head screwdriver
Start by disconnecting the water outlet line with its origin from the water pump. The screw on the pump’s attaching collar is turned to make the disconnection. Just turn the screw counterclockwise till you realize it is loose.
After that is done, just pull off the hose effortlessly. Have you noticed that there is a big difference between the freshwater hose and the RV sewer hose? If you can’t recognize the outlet water line, it is actually that clear plastic pipe which originates from the pump.
From the pump, it goes straight to the RV from where it feeds the RV shower head, toilets and sinks. These are the most important places that you need the water most.
Secondly, the collar is slipped off the outlet water line towards the rubber hose’s end. At this point, you should have seen the outlet that is spouting on the RV water pump. Have the rubber hose connected to this outlet.
You could be asking yourself how that it is done. Well, you simply do that by screwing the clamp down. Make sure that the hose and the outlet water line are of the same sizes. This hose should be sufficiently long to extend without kinking or stretching to you from the water pump.
Thirdly, have approximately 12 ounces of water ready. Make sure the water fills a jar, then hold the water hose already connected to the outlet line over the air so that it is above the level of the water pump. The water that is in the jar should now be emptied in the connected hose.
The next step should be placing your thumb on the hose’s top part before turning the water pump on. Allow the pressure to build up for about one minute. You will feel the water in the hose making some contact with your thumb. Once you are able to feel the water, turn the RV water pump off.
The last step is to take out the hose before reconnecting the outlet water line. After that is done, turn on one of the installed faucets in the RV and switch the pump on. Just in a matter of seconds, the water will be running and you will be done with priming. The last thing should now be just turning of the pump and the faucet.
Tips you need when priming RV water pump
There are some important tips that you need to arm yourself with to ensure that you do the priming smoothly. You should know these tips before starting to prime your RV water pump instead of referring to them when you are already stuck.
Here are some of them:
You need to use a hose that is primarily designed to handle drinking water. If you need to hook up a unit that will supply freshwater to your RV, then this is something that you must strongly consider. Using the hose for other purposes makes it lose its cleanliness. The result will be illnesses now and then.
Know where your water pump is and how easily you can access it. There are numerous ways you can trace where it is in case you can’t notice it from a glance. Tracing it right from the sink as explained above can be time consuming, but it is the best approach you can take. The outlet line should then be disconnected just like explained in the priming steps above. Note that in almost all RVs, the first destination of water lines is always the kitchen sink.
To minimize the risk of having air trapped in the line, pour about 1 gallon of water into it. The trapped air often limits pressure build up. That is the last thing that should ever happen to your RV water pump.
Take note of the amount of water in the RV’s holding tank. There are instances where you might find yourself in campsites with no fresh water. One gallon weighs about 8 pounds. The weight is, therefore, the best way you can get to know the quantity of water in your motorhome. And you should also be aware of the maximum weight of water that it can comfortably accommodate.
A word of caution
If by any chance you want to prime your RV water pump after winter storage, and you might have utilized antifreeze materials in the water lines, you need to leave the faucet open. After that, let the pump run up to the moment when the water will be absolutely clear.
The antifreeze materials that might still be left out in the line can cause some ailments if consumed. Before the pump and faucet are turned off, make sure that the water is totally clear. Clear the pump to make sure that there aren’t any foreign bodies left.
What type of water pump is best suited for an RV?
If you intend to buy a new RV water pump altogether, you need to know that they are available in either 24 volts or 12 volts types. But for RVs, the 12-volt types are the standard ones. Remember, this matches the electric supply from the 12V battery.
Water pumps with higher powers, however, provide higher energy. Do not confuse the power of the pump with the size. Bigger water pumps don’t necessarily mean that they are in any way better than the smaller ones. Technological advancements have seen the production of smaller but more powerful RV water pumps.
One good thing about 12V RV water pumps is that they do not cause instant spikes on water and electricity bills. 24-volt pumps supply water at relatively high pressure, but they can only be used in buses and large trucks as they need more power and energy.
There you have it on how to prime an RV water pump. As an RV camper, almost all the important facilities and amenities you enjoy at home should be present as you camp or travel. One of those important ones is water. Without freshwater flowing from your RV’s kitchen sink, you will regret the kind of camping experience you’ll experience.
To prevent such unfortunate happenings, you need to install the best RV water pump that provides you with water at the right pressure or better still; you can use an RV water pressure regulator to make sure that the water that gets to the shower head and faucet is the most appropriate one.
Proper maintenance should also follow to ensure that you extend the life of the pump besides ensuring that it offers services according to your expectations. Priming is one of those important maintenance practices that should be regularly done on RV water pumps.