Being a genuine RV lover, it is greatly possible that you are already fully aware of how important a fully functioning RV water pump is. The water pump installed in your RV is one of its most vital components. It offers fresh water, which is what you really need most hours of the day. But not knowing how to prime an RV water pump can be an issue.

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The problem is not using it for a while might cause it to start showing trouble. Whether the unit is just newly installed or you have stored it for quite a while, it is crucial for you to prime it prior to operating it.

Note that your RV’s water pump also has the tendency of running out of pressure and malfunctioning if you turn it off for quite a long period of time, like during the winter. Letting it function again is possible through priming. It involves flushing back into it then forcing through as a means of creating adequate pressure.

Such pressure should be enough for it to start pumping again. While the whole process of priming an RV’s water pump is actually easy, the most challenging part of it is accessing the pump. It is because it is usually installed beneath the bench seats or inside cabinets to make it really close to the water tank.

Once you access the pump, priming it will be much easier. This article will serve as your guide in the whole RV water pump priming process.

RV Water Pump and Its Main Functions

In a recreational vehicle, the water pumps that you will most likely find are macerator and freshwater pumps. Your RV’s water pump is crucial as it performs two vital functions. The first one is that it supplies pressurized water from the tank.

RVs are capable of storing water in their built-in tanks that are usually found at the motorhome’s base. In most cases, the tank of an RV is capable of storing around 50-200 gallons of fresh water. Your water pump works by drawing water from the tank then up, letting you use the water, which comes from the tank.

The second main function of your RV water pump is to supply a specific amount of water every minute. Most of these units are actually capable of supplying water to around 3.5 gals. every minute. If you have a large motorhome, though, then you may need a water pump, which can supply at least 5.3 gallons every minute.

If you are planning to invest in an RV water pump, you have to remember that it comes in two types – the 12V and the 24V. The standard pumps used for trailers and recreational vehicles are actually the 12-volt types. Typically, it is the 12-volt battery, which supplies electricity to motorhomes, trailers, campers, and RVs.

Also, take note that the higher the power of your pump, the higher energy it can provide. However, remember that bigger pumps do not instantly mean that they are better. In fact, they tend to release a lot of pressure on a plumbing system.

A 12-volt water pump is often preferable because it does not trigger instant spikes in your electricity and water bills. The 24-volt pumps, on the other hand, can supply a higher level of water pressure. However, you should only use them for large trucks and buses since these vehicles need more energy and power.

How to Prime an RV Water Pump

Now that you have an idea about what an RV water pump is, what are its different types, and what it can do for your recreational vehicle, it is time to move on to the main topic, which involves prime an RV water pump. The first thing you have to do is to figure out the exact location of the water pump.

In most cases, it is installed inside cabinets or below the bench seats close to the tank. If you fail to find it in those locations, then consider opening the cabinet below your kitchen sink. After that, trace the water line until it goes back to the water pump.

Follow these steps

After that, you can move on to the actual steps involved in priming it. These include the following:

Step 1Disconnect the line of the water outlet from the water pump. You can do that if you turn the screw found on the attaching collar. Turn it counterclockwise until you notice that it is already loose enough that you can pull the hose off effortlessly.

If you are unfamiliar about the outlet line, then note that it is actually that clear plastic line, which often comes out of the pump then goes into your RV as a means of feeding toilets, showers, and sinks.

Step 2 – Slip the collar off from the outlet line then to the end of the rubber hose. Look for the outlet that spouts on the pump. Connect the rubber hose to it. To do that, just screw down the clamp. Ensure that the hose is of similar size to the waterline.

It should also be long enough that it extends out from beneath or behind the exact location of the pump.

Step 3 – Prepare around 12-oz. of water. Use it to fill a jar. The next step is holding the hose connected to the outlet over the air. Your goal is to make it above the pump’s level. Pour the water that’s inside the jar into the connected hose.

Step 4 – Put your thumb on top of the hose then turn on the pump. Wait for around one minute for it to build its pressure up. After that time, you will most likely feel the water coming in contact with your thumb. Once done, turn off the pump.

Step 5 – Take the hose out of the pump then connect the water line again. Turn on one faucet installed in your RV. After that, you should also turn on the water pump. You will notice water coming out of the faucet after just a few seconds.

Turn off the faucet and the pump if you see the water coming out of the faucet successfully since it means that the whole priming process is a huge success.

Some Tips and Warnings to Keep in Mind

When priming the water pump of your recreational vehicle, there are some tips and warnings that you have to keep in mind to ensure that you will be doing the whole process smoothly. Make sure that before you start to prime your RV water pump, you are aware of the following tips:

Use a hose primarily designed for drinking water – That’s an important tip if you plan to hook up your RV to a unit, which can supply fresh water. Avoid using that hose for other purposes since it is important to maintain its cleanliness.

Consider the amount of water in the holding tank – This is important, especially if there is no available fresh water at your campsite. Note that water weighs around eight pounds per gallon. With that in mind, a holding tank with a 50-lb. capacity can add up to 400 pounds to your recreational vehicle.

More tips you need to know

Know how to access the pump – If you have a hard time accessing it, then the best thing you can do is tracing the water line from the specific location where it connects first to a sink. After that, you should disconnect such a line. Use it like the rubber hose mentioned in the steps involved in the priming process.

Make sure, however, that you pour around one gallon of water into the line to prevent the risk of developing an air trap in there.

Know the basics of priming the pump after storing it during the winter —  It is also important for you to be aware of that if you utilized an antifreeze in the water lines. In that case, the best thing to do is to keep your faucet open. The pump should also be kept running until you notice that the water coming out is totally clear.

It is mainly because the antifreeze left in the supply of water can actually trigger some ailments. That said, you need to make sure that the water produced is totally clear prior to turning off the faucet and the pump.

Now You Know How to Prime an RV Water Pump

As an RV owner, you have to make sure that all the basic amenities and facilities you can find at home are also present in your vehicle when you are out traveling and camping on the road. One of the most important things you need is indoor plumbing.

To make sure that you get the correct water pressure that comes out of the faucet or shower, it is advisable to look for and install the right water pump. You also have to be aware of how to properly maintain it. Learning how to prime an RV water pump can also help you make it function for as long as you want.