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How to Prime RV Water Pump

Installing an RV Water Pump
Written by Mira

Even an entry-level RV camper knows that there are many things you can do without while camping, but water isn’t one of them. One of the worst scenarios is ending up in the middle of nowhere and no functional RV water pump to use.

No matter if you’ve just installed the RV water pump or you haven’t been using it for a while, priming the pump is fundamental for the proper function.

Why you cannot skip priming the RV water pump?

When the RV water pump isn’t turned on for a while, the pressure will lower, causing malfunctioning later on. In order to get the pressure back again, you need to flush it back and force it. It’s the briefest description of priming.

Most of the time, you will use the freshwater pump on your RV. The RV was made for collecting water in the built-in tanks. Therefore, you have to draw the water out of the tank and use it wisely.

The majority of RV tanks can store somewhere between 50 and 200 gallons of water, and you can use the pump for providing various amounts of water per minute. The amount you use is always related to the size of your RV, with values ranging from 3.5 to 5.3 GPM. The water you use impacts the rate for the water supply and the size of the tank.

What should you use when priming the RV water pump?

You should never underestimate the importance of your RV water pump, nor the priming of the pump. Here’s what you need for priming the pump:

  • Jar
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Water
  • Rubber tubing

Which steps to take when priming the RV water pump?

When it comes to appliances, it’s wise to be meticulous, and priming the water pump doesn’t make an exception. Here’s how to do it right:

priming the RV water pump

Step 1

Begin with disconnecting the water outlet line from the water pump. Look for the screw on the attaching collar for cutting off the connection. You only need to turn the screw counterclockwise, loosening it. When you’re done, you only have to pull the hose off.

Step 2

Note that the collar should be dismantled from the waterline toward the end of the rubber hose. There’s an outlet that spills on the RV water pump. You need to connect the rubber hose to the outlet.

You just screw the clampdown, without making sure that the outer water line and hose have the same size. The tube has to be quite long, extending without risk for stretching or kinging to you from the water pump.

Step 3

Make sure you have 12ounces of water within reach. The water is supposed to fill a jar, whereas the water hose should be attached to the outlet line over the air, right above the level of the water pump. The water from the jar has to be emptied in the attached hose.

Step 4

Continue with putting your thumb on the top part of the hose, with the water pump being turned on. The pressure has to rise for a minute or so. The chances are that you’re going to sense the water in the hose touching the thumb. Turn the RV water pump off when you feel the water.

Step 5

You end the priming with taking out the hose before re-attaching the outlet water line. Once it’s done, you have to turn on a faucet in your RV, making sure that the pump is back on. It only takes a couple of seconds for the water to begin running once again. Make sure that the pump and the faucet are turned off.

Some tips to remember when priming your RV water pump

In order for priming to run smoothly and efficiently, you should follow some tips. It’s better that you know the tips before beginning the priming.

  • Start by knowing where the pump is found and how to access it easily. There are multiple ways to find out where the pump it’s installed. You can always trace it straight from the sink, but it’s going to take you some time. However, it’s the most effective method. Once you see it, you have to disconnect the outlet line. More often than not, the kitchen sink is the most common primary destination of the waterline.
  • Use a hose that is specially designed for drinking water. When you need to connect a unit that provides freshwater for your RV, you should never skip this part. Should you use the hose for other purposes besides drinking, you’re not going to keep it clean anymore, harming your health and well-being.
  • Always check the amount of water in the tank of your RV. If you’ve been camping before, you know that there’s still the risk of finding yourself in a camping side with no freshwater. One gallon is around 8 pounds, and weight is the most useful way to identify the quantity of water in your RV. Don’t forget to consider the maximum weight of water that you can fit in your RV.
  • You have to lower the chance for air trapped inside the line, so pour 1 gallon of water into it. The trapped air can block pressure build-up, and it’s not a happy scenario for your water pump.

A safety reminder

You must use antifreeze materials in the water lines when priming the RV water pump at the end of the winter storage. Leave the faucet open, allowing the water pump to run until the water is crystal clear.

The antifreeze materials found in the line may harm you when consumed. Before turning the faucet and pump off, you have to check for the water to be clear. Don’t forget to clear the pump so that there aren’t any residues in it.

The conclusion

Just because you’re an RV camper doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t enjoy all the amenities and necessary facilities you have at home. Water is essential, and no camping experience is fun without freshwater in the kitchen sink.

Installing an RV water pump for having water at the proper pressure is essential. On top of everything else, installing an RV water pressure regulator is the best way to have the right water getting to the showerhead and faucet.

Last, but not least, take care of the RV water pump and never skip priming on a regular basis.