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RV Water Pump Guide

 RV driving on mountain road
 RV driving on mountain road
Need to replace your RV water pump? For most RVs, we recommend the Shurflo 5030 because its popularity speaks for itself. It has a maximum flow of 3 GPM and 1/2” ports. To pump more gallons of water per minute, the Shurflo 4300 is a great choice. If you’re traveling “in the boondocks” with little to no water pressure, the Shurflo 2088 won’t be damaged if you accidentally run it dry.

What Does an RV Water Pump Do?

RV camper parked beside tree and lake

RV water pumps provide pressurized water from your RV or motorhome's tank to the source it is need at, be it the water faucet, bathroom sink, toilet, or other dispensing point.

Recreational vehicles store water in built-in tanks located in the base of the motorhome. On average, an RV tank can store from 50 to 200 gallons of fresh water. The camper water pump draws water up from the tank and allows you to consume the water from the tank.

Most RV pumps produce 3.5 gallons of water per minute. Larger motorhomes may need 5.3 or greater gallons per minute. The best way to understand the power of your pump is to see how many gallons of water it can pump in a minute. A simple way to test this yourself is to place a 1 gallon jug under the faucet, open the faucet, and watch the clock to see how long it takes to fill. The RV water pump has a switch that shuts it off once it reaches the set pressure. So, if it was a 40 PSI pump, it would shut off at 40 PSI.

Where do I find my RV water pump?

The short answer is that it can be in many different places in an RV. Common locations we’ve seen include under sinks, under the bed, and in the kitchen. Here is an example of a water pump located underneath shelves in the kitchen:

RV Water Pump In Use

If you are unsure where to locate your RV, locate your master control switch. It will look something like this:

RV Master Switch

This switch has a label for Water Pump. Turn it on and you can hear it hum. Listen to where the sound is coming from. Sometimes it is easy to trace back to the water pump location. You may find some fresh water pumps in RVs concealed behind a bolted-on section of a wall or cabinet. Simply use a screwdriver to remove, and you’ll be able to access the pump. There is a pump concealed beneath this stove, so you would need to remove the screws on either side of the rectangular panel for access:

RV Pump Under Stove

What Pump Do I Need For My RV?

We recommend a pump with these characteristics:
  • 12 volt
  • 3 or 3.5 GPM
  • Even flow of water

Two common types are 12V and 24V. 12 volt water pumps are standard for RV and trailer use. Normally, a 12V battery supplies electricity to RVs, campers, motorhomes, and trailers. 24 volt RV water pumps have a much greater RV water pressure. They should only be used in large busses and trucks since they need more power and energy than 12 volt water pumps. The more power the pump has, the more energy it has, but the bigger pumps are not necessarily better. They can release too much pressure on your plumbing system. Since 24 volt pumps have so much power, they may cause spikes in your water or electricity bills.

Look for RV fresh water pumps that pump 3 or 3.5 gallons per minute for good power. Also consider the RV water pump noise and energy, as these factors relate to the pump’s power.

An important characteristic of an RV water pump is an even flow of water. A jerky flow of water indicates a lack of water pressure. If you have water pressure issues your sinks and shower will not operate at peak performance.

The Shurflo water pump and Flojet water pump are Kleen-Rite’s top-selling brands. See our Recommended RV Water Pumps section for some of our top picks for the best RV water pump. Here are our top-selling models:
  • Shurflo 5030
  • Flojet 4300 Series
  • Surflo 2088
Now that you know our recommendations, how do you protect your pump and keep it running in tip-top shape for years to come?
RV Pump Under Stove
RV camper parked beside mountain

RV Water Pump Troubleshooting:

The most important thing when it comes to troubleshooting is to winterize your water system at the end of the season. This means you need to remove all the water from your water lines. Storing your RV pump for long periods of time in hot summer weather may also shorten its life span. We’ve asked RV owners and local RV shops for troubleshooting tips for some the most frequently asked questions.

  • Question: How do I winterize my RV water pump?

  • Answer: Brian from Wagners Outdoor Express RV said that the biggest problem with RV fresh water pumps is winterizing. There are two main ways to winterize a pump: either blowing air or pouring antifreeze through the water lines. Brian recommends using the antifreeze. He has known people who bypass the antifreeze, but the air doesn’t always reach all the water droplets still inside. Any remaining water will freeze up and cause pump problems over the winter. If you run an antifreeze through, it will wash the remaining water droplets away.

  • Question: My RV water pump keeps running.

  • Answer: You may have a water pressure issue stemming from a worn or outdated pump diaphragm assembly. Consult the pump’s manual to find the right model number needed for the pump diaphragm replacement. You’ll also want to make sure there is water in the fresh water tank. If the water runs out the pump won’t shut off. Is the water level low? Your RV’s water pump may be sucking in air from the fresh water tank rather than water due to the low water level. Fill the tank and open a faucet to let air out and prime the pump.

  • Question: My RV water pump won’t turn on.

  • Answer: You may have an issue with the pump’s battery and may need to replace the pump. Double check that your water pump switches are switched on, and check your RV fuse panel to see that your breakers are switched on.

  • Question: My RV water pump runs but no water comes out.

  • Answer: Look at the water lines leading in and out of the pump. Look for clogged lines, kinks, or any signs of leaks. Gather up some towels and place around the pump so you do not create a mess. Check if water is flowing to the pump: If you carefully loosen the water hose and the line is dry, then the issue is the water line from the tank. Try refilling the water line with water and see if the faucets open. If you still don’t see water, then you may have a problem with the pump. Turn the pump on and see if water is coming out. If you notice water only dripping out of the pump, look into replacing the pump.

How Do I Replace and Install My RV Water Pump?

Watch our video to see Kleen-Rite Senior Technician Tom Allen rebuild a Flojet water pump. 
That being said, we definitely understand why many RV owners will opt for buying a whole new water pump rather than repairing or replacing parts. After all, entire new pumps are not very expensive, and replacing certain parts takes time and knowledge. When it’s time to replace the pump, follow these instructions:
  1. Turn off all water pump switches in your RV.
  2. Turn off your water supply.
  3. Let the faucet run to clear out the drain and drain out as much water as possible.
  4. Disconnect the electrical wires. There will be 2 lines – Red for power and Black for ground. The wires reach into the electrical pressure switch.
  5. Remove the screws holding the pump in place.
  6. Unscrew the remaining lines. You might still see some final water leakage here so have towels on hand.
  7. Remove the pump from the area.
Next, install the new pump:
  1. Remount the pump and reconnect the water lines. Position it right where the old pump was and secure it in place using a screwdriver.
  2. Read the instructions from the new pump manual. Each pump has its own set of installation instructions.
  3. Turn a water faucet on. It may take several moments for the water to come out since the RV is still filling the lines with water before it reaches the faucet.
  4. Fill the water tank with water, turn on the pump, and make sure there are no leaks coming out of the water lines.

RV Water Pump Parts:

Now that your RV water pump is setup and running, some common parts and accessories include:
  1. Check valve replacement
    • Keeps water flowing in one direction.
    • Prevents the water pump’s water pressure from kicking on and off.
    • Improves water flow and prevents water from leaking back into the pump.
  2. Strainer
    • Having a good RV water pump strainer keeps debris out of the pump.
    • The inline strainer is an upgrade that can be installed on the pump.
    • If you don’t use one the pump can still run, but you risk debris in the pump that could lead to clogging or malfunctioning.
  3. Accumulator tank
    • A water pump accumulator tank reduces pressure spikes.
    • Keeps the pump from cycling on and off as often.
    • It is a separate piece, about the same size as the pump and is mounted next to the pump.
    • Helps reduce vibrations and noise.
For more information about 12v RV water pumps, visit Kleen-Rite’s online pump catalog: We sell many different ShurFlo electric pumps: and Flojet 12 volt pumps: