One of the most costly repairs you can get hammered with is having to replace your RV plumbing system. But for a bit more than $8, you can get a water pressure regulator that will protect your pipes.
Here's the problem: Too many campgrounds have freshwater spigots that have way too much pressure.
The result? RVers innocently hook up one end of their freshwater hoses to the spigot and then screw on the other end to the RV city water connection. Then they go nack to the spigot and turn the handle…. only to suddenly see water pouring out from beneath the RV because the RV plumbing lines ruptured.
That's what too much pressure can do.
A water pressure regulator limits that pressure, typically to under 50 pounds per square inch, well within the capacity of your RV plumbing lines. Most modern RV plumbing systems can handle up to 60 psi, though the experts say to back it down below 50 to be absolutely safe.
Campground water problems and RV plumbing systems
As RVers, we have all seen a wide variety of quality and maintenance issues with the utilities provided at campgrounds.
Many campgrounds were built during the first hey-day of camping, in the 1950s and 1960s. Often, utilities were added as RVing and camping changed over the decades.
The water pressure at your site may be totally different than a location on the other side of the campground loop.
Even the new RV resorts with modern utilities have problems. In some, it is not uncommon to encounter water pressure over 100 psi.
As you arrive at a campground and begin to set up your site, you never really know about the water pressure that you will find.
Campground water connection suggestions
The “unknown” is the first and most important reason to take your time hooking up the water.
Before you even hook up, turn the spigot open a few times. If the water really gushes out, you should be a bit suspicious of the pressure.
If it's brown or discolored or smells of sulfur, that may indicate too much iron or rusty pipes. Let it run for a while to see if the stream clears up. We always use a dual-stage water filter, even before we hook up the hose. This makes the water taste good and ensures that you have the cleanest possible water.
Always connect a water pressure regulator
A water pressure regulator goes between the spigot and the hose (or between the spigot and the water filter, if you follow our advice and use filtration).
Most experts recommend a water pressure of between 40-50 psi.
Even if you THINK the water pressure coming out of the spigot looks fine, looks can be very deceiving. Often in large campgrounds, water pressure fluctuates. It can rise dramatically as other campers disconnect from city water. So you never really know.
This inexpensive water pressure regulator reduces water pressure to a safe and consistent 40-50 pounds of pressure.
I personally like the deluxe one because I like seeing the pressure that I am dealing with and being absolutely sure that I am getting under 50 psi into our RV. There's an adjustment screw you can turn to set it to the exact pressure you want.
One more RV plumbing suggestion: A quick connect for your RV city water intake
Before ending this short article, I want to also pass along a tip about connecting your hose to the city after intake on your RV. Screwing the typical 3/4 inch hose connector on takes time, sometimes is not tight enough causing water to leak. And sometimes it gets screwed on too tightly and breaks the intake valve.
I used to be frustrated by this a lot, especially when hooking up at a campground after dark.
I got a quick-connect adapter. One end screws on the hose. The other end screws on the city water intake. When you put the two together the quick connect snaps into place for the perfect connection every time.
Curious about the gear, gadgets, accessories, and RV products Mike & Jennifer use and recommend?
On this RV Lifestyle Travel blog, our RV Podcast and our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel, we mention all sorts of RV-related products and gear that we use, So we created a special page that links to them. We update this all the time. CLICK HERE to go to it directly.