7 Reasons why your RV Water Pump Runs but there is no Water
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If the Water Pump in your RV runs and is making noise, but no water is coming out, the problem could be as simple as just forgetting to fill up your water tank, to as complicated as electrical. The most common problem with the RV water system is a kinked hose, and all you have to do is to remove a kink (reasonably easy to do by yourself).
The water Pump is an essential component in any RV or motorhome. Its basic function is to pump water to the faucets, shower, and toilet in the RV. If you’re planning a trip on a long route (or even a shorter one), you don’t want to end up in a weird situation with no water at your service!
The water pump is usually fixed in the rear of an RV, in the storage compartment but it may vary depending on the model and the type of RV. Generally, a water pump in RV runs on 12-volt power.
Let’s get started with the basic water pump troubleshooting and here is a list of possible problems with your water pump:
- Absence of water. Low water level or NO water in the freshwater tank.
- Clogged water filter. It happens, just keep a few spare ones and change them.
- Kinked water pipe. If your water pipe is kinked, you will obviously get no water, but this issue you can easily solve by yourself.
- Leakage/ Breakage. You might have a water leak due to a broken pipe or a connection that is too loose.
- Air-locked water pump. After you winterize your pump and get all the air out so it does not freeze, upon trying to start it again, you might encounter this very problem with running water.
- Motor and wiring problems. There could be a problem with old or frayed wiring as well as a short in the motor itself.
- Old pump. Water pumps do get old and you might need a new water pump after some time.
Now, let’s go over these reasons in greater detail:
Let’s get to basics and make sure we are not rushing when it comes to checking everything we need for our next camping trip.
Reason #1. Absence of Water
In an RV it is very much possible that the water pump does not perform its task due to the absence of freshwater or low water levels in the freshwater tank. Make sure to check it before you take off if you do not wish to experience the horrors of an empty tank during camping.
Don’t forget to track the readings on the freshwater gauge to determine the water level. Running a dry water pump may cause damage to it.
People forgetting to fill up the water tank is a pretty common thing.
Reason #2. Clogged water filter
A water filter is an important component of any great camping trip, but it needs to be taken care of. You don’t want to be stuck on the road with bad water or no water, do you?
Your clogged filter could decrease the water pressure in the pipe. If you find out that to be the case, replacing the filter will solve the problem.
The water filter for your freshwater supply needs to be checked before “hit the road” and changed about every 6 months to a year. You can also keep a few spare filters in your RV just in case.
Reason #3. Kinked water pipe
Your problem could be as simple as a kinked water pipe. Here is a nice video on how to get to your pump section and fix this problem:
Reason #4. Leakage/ Breakage
Now that we know the water tank is NOT empty. Let’s get on to the next step to find out why water is not getting pumped by the water pump.
Another issue that many people come across is leakage or a breakage problem in the pipes connected to the pump. Keep an eye on any loose connections or a tear in the pipes.
It’s best to check the water line connection between the water pump and the freshwater tank. By loosening the connection from the pump side you may notice any breakage if it’s present.
If the pipe isn’t dry, it means that the water is being sucked through the pipes and pumped into the faucets and shower. A moment of relaxation when everything is in place.
Reason #5. Air-locked water pump
An airlock gets developed in two situations. Either, the water pump has been pumping water to the faucets and the water tank becomes empty during it or you have an unused water pump.
In both cases, you have to prime the water pump.
Now, you might wonder what priming is. Priming a water pump is a process, where you gradually open all the faucets and check the valves in the RV making sure that the pipeline connection is good between the water pump and the water tank.
The water pump is now switched on, and this bleeds the air out, resulting in a constant flow of water. Depending on the pump model, sometimes all you have to do is put some water in the strainer and let it run (see the video below):
Motor and wiring problems
Normally, the issue gets resolved by now, but in case, you’re still having a problem you must look into the wiring of the water pump’s motor. There could be anything from loose connections or frayed wiring involved.
Reason #6. Motor and wiring problems
I only encourage VISUAL inspection and if you encounter any electrical problem with your wiring, call a licensed electrician immediately. In this specific case, since the motor IS running and making noise (meaning energy is being supplied) if you suspect the problem with the pump itself, there is probably something not functioning correctly inside of it and it should be taken to a repair facility.
Reason #7. Old pump
The motor of the water pump could be worn out and therefore give you problems. Water pumps come and go, and if it’s too old, it is likely to run without supplying water.
If this is your case, it means that your water pump needs to be changed, especially if it was left by previous owners and you don’t really know how they took care of it.
Water Pump problems don’t occur frequently, but it’s a great habit to check the water filter and all the connections before you get going. Once you are on the road, knowing that you checked everything, will give you peace of mind.
Also, most RV owner’s manuals come with troubleshooting guides and they are your best resource on what to do in case something malfunctions. You can simply follow your RV’s manual for instructions and check these minor problems.
If you encounter a complicated technical or electrical issue with your RV’s water pump, you will need a professional inspection. I hope that by now you fixed your RV water pump problem (or made a well-deserved upgrade to your RV), and can pack up your bags for a fun-filled road trip!
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