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Key Takeaways

  • Your RV water pump may not be working due to an empty freshwater tank, loose or clogged lines, a damaged motor, a water leak, or forgetting to winterize.
  • RV water pumps are usually designed to last upwards of 10 years with proper maintenance and upkeep.
  • Replacing an RV can cost anywhere from $250 to $550 - depending on whether you DIY or go to a professional.

Before going on a road trip, you want to make sure that your RV and all of its components are functioning, but what do you do when the water pump isn’t working?

Your RV water pump may not be working due to an empty freshwater tank, loose or clogged lines, a damaged motor, or a water leak. Alternatively, the water pump may not be working because of winterization procedures that need to be re-adjusted or forgetting to winterize altogether.

After extensively researching RV troubleshooting forums, I have been able to gather enough information to determine what causes a camper’s water pump to stop working. My research has indicated that you should run careful diagnostics when evaluating your malfunctioning water pump so that you can isolate the issue and target the specific part of the pump that needs replacing or adjusting.



RV Water Pump Common Problems

Your RV’s water pump is responsible for circulating water throughout your entire camper. By supplying pressure, the water pump is able to direct flow from your water tank to reach your RV’s shower, faucets, and toilet.

Although most RV water pumps are built to last, a lot of vehicle owners experience troubleshooting issues with their pumps from time to time. The most important thing that you can do is hop on the issue as soon as you notice it so that it doesn’t get worse. Let’s dive into the most common RV water pump troubleshooting problems.

RV Water Pump Turned On With No Water Flowing

One of the most common issues that a lot of RV owners run into with their water pumps is that the unit is turned on without any water flowing out of the taps. Depending on what is causing the problem, it can be very easy to fix - or it may require replacing essential components of the water pump.

Empty Freshwater Tank

While this may be a no-brainer for some, it can be quite easy to overlook the easiest solution to this problem - no water in the freshwater tank.

Before you start taking apart your RV’s water pump completely, make sure that you have crossed the easiest thing off of the list first by double-checking that your freshwater tank is not empty.

Loose Connections & Clogs

The issue may not be with your actual water pump but with the lines that are connected to it. You will need to turn off the pump after testing it to confirm if the lines are getting any water.

Disconnect the lines to see if they are dry or wet. If you notice that the lines are dry, it means that your water pump is working fine and that the issue is with a loose connection or a clog in the line. Check the lines carefully and fix any loose connections or clogs to resolve this problem.

Damaged Motor

The worst-case scenario here is that the actual water pump’s motor is damaged. There are a number of factors that could have caused the motor to break, but this is ultimately a fix that most RV owners will not be able to take care of without professional help.

You may be able to run diagnostics on the motor and replace an internal component with the help of a mechanic. However, a damaged motor often requires a replacement of the motor itself or the entire water pump.

RV Water Pump Cycles On/Off When Not in Use

Your RV’s water pump should normally engage whenever you use your camper’s sink, shower, or toilet. If you notice that your water pump is cycling on and off when you are not using anything connected to the freshwater tank, there is a good chance that there may be a leak in your camper.

In most cases, you should be able to spot a leak without the water pump indicating it - especially if it’s a big leak in a visible location. However, some leaks can be more challenging to spot and you will need to carefully inspect your camper to find the source.

Start by checking all of your RV’s primary fixtures. Take a look at your sink, shower, and toilet to see if you can spot any water that has built up or any indication of drips. If you didn’t see any sign of a leak, you will need to go through all of your RV’s water lines that are connected to the pump. Keep an eye out for any cracks or punctures that could be causing the leak, as well as any wet areas.

If your pump works but the water that comes out of the taps is sputtering and flowing inconsistently, there is a good chance that there is a small crack that is letting air into the lines causing the issue.

RV Water Pump Not Turning On

If your RV water pump is not turning on, you should first check to see if the vehicle is receiving any electricity. It can be easy to overlook something as simple as forgetting to connect power or doing so improperly when testing your RV’s components.

Alternatively, your RV water could fail to turn on if one of its components short-circuits. This usually happens when the water pump overheats, which can damage the wiring or other internal components. You can use a multimeter to check the voltage of the water pump to see if it is receiving power.

However, you should also check to see if your RV’s battery is simply low or if you have blown a fuse. Naturally, changing the battery or replacing the fuse should solve the issue.

RV Water Pump Not Working After Winterization

A lot of RVers run into issues with their water pumps when testing for the first time after winterization.

When you winterize your camper, you disconnect a lot of the essential components that allow your water pump to function. Check the following areas of your RV to see if you can get your water pump to work after winterization:

  • Open all shut-off valves
  • Confirm that the RV is receiving power
  • Reconnect and open all water lines after anti-freeze
  • Check that the freshwater drain valve is sealed

RV winterization is essential for keeping your vehicle protected during the coldest times of the year. However, preparing for winterization can also result in some minor setbacks when you try to use your RV for the first time when the camping season starts.

RV Water Pump Froze During Winter

Any RVer will tell you that winterizing your camper is a fundamental aspect of owning an RV. If you live in a region with a colder climate - winterization is not just a recommendation, it is a necessity.

Freezing temperatures can cause a bulk load of things to go wrong with your RV, particularly the plumbing and the water pump. If you are testing your water pump for the first time after the winter without winterizing the vehicle, odds are that freezing temperatures permanently damaged the unit.

RV Water Pump is Not Primed

For your RV water pump to function, you need to prime it first so that water is actually reaching the pump.

This is a common troubleshooting issue that a lot of new RV owners experience and the good news is that there is nothing wrong with your pump. To prime your RV’s water pump follow these steps:

  1. Make sure the fresh water tank is filled
  2. Open all faucets in the RV
  3. Turn on the water pump
  4. Purge air from all faucets
  5. Wait for the water to flow

To fully prime the water pump, make sure that you did this for all faucets and water connections in your RV.

How Long Does Can an RV Water Pump Last?

In general, you should be able to get upwards of 10 years out of your RV’s water pump. If you take good care of your water pump and RV, there is no reason that you can’t get a decade of use out of a single unit (or even more)

However, mishandling the water pump and procrastinating routine maintenance can easily result in the unit breaking early. This is particularly common with lower-end pumps that are built with poor-quality components.

How Much Does it Cost to Replace an RV Water Pump?

If you’ve run diagnostics on your RV water pump and have already tried going through the common troubleshooting techniques, it may be time to start looking for a new water pump. At the end of the day, these pumps are designed to last for years - not a lifetime.

Whether your RV’s water pump has taken some abuse, or it’s simply past its expiration date, replacing this component is something that most people have to do at least once or twice over the years. With that said, RV water pump replacements can vary in cost.

You can choose to either have your water pump replaced professionally by going to an RV mechanic - or - you can take the DIY route with your water pump replacement, which will save you money on your final costs.

Professional RV Water Pump Replacement

You can expect to pay roughly $550 to replace your RV water pump professionally. However, costs may vary depending on your RV class, the type of water pump that needs to be installed, and the shop that you go to.

The pump itself should cost around $250 - whereas the labor may be upwards of $300.

DIY Water Pump Replacement

If you want to save yourself money on your RV water pump replacement, the best way to do so is to roll up your sleeves and take care of the work yourself. By doing, you can significantly lower your costs as you will only have to pay for the unit.

While the price of a water pump can vary - most cost around $250 for standard models. So long as you are competent with tools and are comfortable dealing with your RV’s parts and components, installing a new water pump is not a very difficult repair. Just make sure that you follow the installation instructions carefully so that you do not cause additional damage while replacing the unit.