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Why Does My RV Water Pump Pulsate?

    Updated December 11, 2022

    Have you recently observed that even when it isn’t being used, your RV’s water pump is making pulsating noises? Many other camper owners have encountered same problem. Although there are a lot of various potential causes, your water pump is most likely pulsing because of a steady pressure loss. This leak may originate from the pump itself, your toilet, or faucets with partially open valves. It is crucial to find the leak and have it fixed if you have one. Your camper can be quickly destroyed if a leak goes undiscovered.

    Your RV’s water pump is a marvel! No matter where you are, the plumbing on your rig can still function. Even if you’re camping in the middle of the desert, the woods, or on the beach, your RV will have all the water-related creature pleasures of home thanks to this. However, if your RV’s water pump is pulsing, it may not only prevent you from taking a relaxing hot shower but also indicate that there is an issue with the plumbing in your vehicle. And that issue, with the pump cycling causing the water flow to pulse up and down, may make for a really uncomfortable experience, especially in the shower. The water temperature can fluctuate, sometimes rather drastically, due to that lull and rush.

    Why Does My RV Water Pump Pulse?

    Let’s first clarify the differences between our RV’s water system’s “cycling” and “pulsing.” It’s typical for the water pump to “cycle” on and off as it works. The pump turns on and off as it creates a flow of water, unless we’re running water at an extremely high flow rate (in which case the pump will operate continuously).

    If you stop and think about it, that on-off cycling is actually rather typical. This is due to the fact that we only use the water pump when boondocking, as using municipal water at a campsite eliminates the need for the pump entirely. But we typically don’t run water at a high flow rate when we’re boondocking.

    As a result, hearing the water pump run constantly is rather unusual; instead, you usually hear the pump turning on and off. That is because that is what happens by definition at the lower flow rates for which the pump is most frequently utilized. However, even while the pump is operating at low to moderate flow rates, the water flow should remain largely constant. We’ll be talking about this today if there is a perceptible, up-and-down “pulsing” of water flow that is unnatural and symptomatic of a problem.

    When the system is in use, the water pump in your RV will cycle on and off as it attempts to control the water pressure. The flow of water when you use a plumbing system part causes the pressure in the system to decrease. Your rig’s water pump is in charge of regulating the system’s water pressure by turning on and off.

    Additionally, the water pump in your RV is made to only operate while the plumbing is in use. This implies that the only time you should hear your water pump in your RV is when the water is actually running. in a sink, a shower, whether indoor or outdoor, a toilet, an ice machine, etc.

    Your water pump is the sole device that can provide water to your faucets when you are not connected to a pressurized source of “city” water. But once more, it only functions while that delivery is being made. You should no longer be able to hear your water pump working once you have shut off all faucets. This is crucial to keep in mind since, should a problem arise with your plumbing system, such as a leak, it will be easier for you to identify and fix it.

    You will therefore hear the water pump turn on when you run the water someplace in your RV. In essence, it is making up for the system’s pressure loss. The pump will cycle more quickly the faster you flow the water. Once more, if you turn on the water to its full capacity, the pump will operate nonstop.

    If the pump starts to work even if there is no water running, there may be a leak in the system. Remember, the only time your water pump should be activated is if you are calling out for water someplace inside the RV.
    The RV water pump may be pulsing as a result of a photo showing an RV plumbing leak.

    It can also be a sign that a component inside the water pump is broken. For instance, components in the water pump may shatter if an RV hasn’t been adequately winterized before cold weather. When you are not calling for water, you might hear your water pump cycling or even running continuously if it is faulty.

    In fact, failing to winterize your RV properly or at all can lead to a variety of plumbing issues in the spring. Valves, pipes themselves, and water pump components can all crack or break in addition to cracks in water pump components.

    An improperly set pressure switch is another potential cause of the pulsing sound coming from your RV water pump. A pressure switch is used to start and stop the water pump in your RV. Pulsing may happen if the switch isn’t properly configured. It’s possible that you can change the pressure setting. Water pumps can’t all be adjusted across all brands and models, either.

    What Causes A RV Water Pump To Pulse?

    If you are new to the world of RVing, you might not know what to do if you hear the water pump pulsing in your camper. You might not be aware, but a pulsing water pump is normal! However, something is wrong if you hear your pump pulsing continuously for a long period of time or nonstop.

    But why does the water pump in an RV pulse? The pump will pulse while it is attempting to control the water pressure, which is the answer to this query. The system is merely oscillating between high and low pressure when it is said to be pulsing. Therefore, it is a clear issue when your pump pulses when it is not in use as there should be nothing to regulate!

    The purpose of an RV water pump is to keep your pipes’ water pressure constant. In order to ensure that water is transported to that location when you run the kitchen sink, your pump must be operating. The pump is made to only operate while water is being run because of this. When you run the water in your RV, you should hear the water pump activate in order to restore the system’s lost pressure. The pump will run continuously if the faucet is being used at full speed because maintaining high pressure is required more frequently.

    The pulsating can be annoying to live with even though it is a generally innocuous yet common problem. Fortunately, there is a fix for this issue. The pressure in the water system of your RV can be managed with the use of an accumulator tank, which can also make the pump work more quietly and smoothly.

    How Do You Fix a Pulsing RV Water Pump?

    Adjust Your RV Water Pump’s Pressure Setting

    Find your water pump, make a note of the name and model, and then adjust the pressure settings according to the instructions that apply to your particular brand of pump. In essence, what we’re doing here is modifying the pump’s cut-off point. Any pump model will require you to remove the pressure switch’s cover plate. A Phillips head (cross-head) screw should be there, sandwiched between two electrical connectors. Depending on your goals, you’ll either turn that screw clockwise or counterclockwise.

    To lower the pump’s cutoff pressure Just a little unscrew will do to achieve the desired outcome. (You should rotate the pump counterclockwise to reduce the cut-off pressure and clockwise to raise the cut-off pressure to cease cycling.) It’s crucial to remember that the flow rate is unaffected by the screw in this situation. It merely modifies cut-off pressure. Typically, each system has a sweet spot. Additionally, as the pump ages, the spring tension can occasionally fluctuate, and a minor adjustment can mean the difference between a water pump that pulses and one that doesn’t.

    Here, you want to move the screw until the pump produces a consistent flow, turn off the water, and watch to make sure the pump shuts off in around 10 seconds. You’ve discovered your pump’s sweet spot if you’ve accomplished this objective.

    Install an Accumulator Tank

    An accumulator tank’s function is to control the pressure in your RV’s plumbing system so that your water pump may operate more efficiently. A pressurized bladder is housed in a plastic reservoir known as an accumulator tank. The bladder enables the accumulator tank to control and absorb pressure swings throughout the system.

    The pressure inside the bladder will change when your water pump operates in an effort to keep the system’s pressure level consistent. This should lessen the highs and lows that could cause the water flow in your RV to pulse as the pump cycles. As a result, your pump won’t have to work as hard. An accumulator tank can help lessen the amount of cycling from your pump and absorb pressure decreases from running the tap. Your water pump’s lifespan may be extended as a result.

    An intriguing point: An accumulator tank only uses the pressurized bladder to function, and the bladder requires no power supply—especially for those of us who live off the grid. An accumulator tank can lower the amount of power needed by your plumbing system by decreasing the amount of time your water pump runs.

    Small and flexible, an accumulator tank can be positioned anywhere on the pressurized side of your plumbing system (as opposed to upstream of the water pump).