Most people understand that when they purchase an RV, they must purchase certain things to go along with the rig and make it fully usable. A sewer hose, for instance, is a must-have. A freshwater hose is important as well and nobody would even consider going camping without these things.
However, there is one item that many people don’t realize they need to have on board before hitting the road on their first adventure: an RV water pressure regulator. RV water pressure regulators may be tiny but they are incredibly useful pieces of camping equipment.
If you connect your RV to a city water connection that has a very high water pressure, you are gambling on the possibility of bursting the fresh water pipes in your RV. Bursting water pipes can cause significant damage to your RV if the leak is not caught quickly.
When you arrive at an RV park, you do not know what water pressure they are running in their city water system. It is not unheard of for some campgrounds to have water pressures exceeding 150 psi. A water pressure regulator is an insurance policy for your RV’s freshwater plumbing system.
In this article, I will discuss what a water pressure regulator is, why you need one, how to use it, what to look for when purchasing a pressure regulator, and how to know if it is faulty.
What is an RV water pressure regulator?
An RV water pressure regulator is exactly what you might expect: a tool to reduce the water pressure of the water entering your rig. It’s a small piece of equipment and is usually made using brass. Some are adjustable or have gauges while others have no special features whatsoever. However, each and every one has the important job of protecting your RV water system.
Do I need a water pressure regulator?
Wondering if you actually need to invest in a water pressure regulator? The answer is a resounding yes, you definitely do. The water lines in RVs are not made to withstand a lot of force. Water pressure that is too high can cause serious damage to these lines, resulting in leaks.
Obviously this is an issue, and to top it all off, these leaks are often difficult or even impossible to reach and repair. A water pressure regulator will ensure the pressure never gets too high, preventing this problem altogether.
How to use a water pressure regulator
All RV pressure regulators are installed using twist-in threads. The water pressure regulator should be connected directly to the RV park’s city water connection. Any in-line water filter and your drinking water hose should then be connected to the water pressure regulator—this will prevent them from being damaged.
If you find that your regulator tends to leak once screwed into place, try using a washer in the regulator or tighten the regulator with a pair of pliers.
What to look for when buying a water pressure regulator?
There are numerous water pressure regulators on the market and even the ones with all the bells and whistles don’t cost too much.
Here’s what I recommend looking for while shopping for an RV water pressure regulator:
- Material: Stick with the brass options as these are very durable and safe for drinking water.
- PSI: You will want to make sure the regulator you purchase provides the correct water pressure to your RV. Most recently manufactured RVs have a water pressure limit of 60 psi. Meanwhile, older rigs can only withstand around 50 psi. Keep this in mind while shopping.
- Adjustability: An adjustable water pressure regulator allows you to adjust the water pressure to suit your needs while remaining within the safety threshold for your RV.
- Gauge: Some RV water pressure regulators come equipped with a gauge. Gauges are nice because they allow you to see exactly where you stand in terms of water pressure ensuring you always remain well within the safe zone.
How to tell if a pressure regulator has gone bad
Occasionally, an RV water pressure regulator will go bad or get clogged. If you notice a dramatic decrease in the water pressure inside of your rig, a bad or clogged pressure regulator might be to blame. In this case, the best thing to do is to replace the faulty part with a new one.
Of course, low water pressure can be caused by a number of issues. Be sure to check these things as well as the regulator if you experience a problem with your RV water pressure:
- Clogged water filter
- Clogged mesh at the water inlet
- Kinked, cracked, or clogged freshwater hose
- Low campground water pressure
A water pressure regulator is an important addition to your RV tool kit. Be sure to use it each and every time you connect your RV to a water source in order to protect your rig and keep your water system in tip-top shape.
Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon.
—Charlie Brown, from Peanuts