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Ask Dave: Is my RV’s water pressure low because the regulator is plugged up?

Answers to questions about RV Repair and Maintenance from RV expert Dave Solberg, author of the “RV Handbook” and the managing editor of the RV Repair Club. This column appears Monday through Saturday in the RV Travel and RV Daily Tips newsletters. (Sign up for an email reminder for each new issue if you do not already receive one.) Today Dave discusses water pressure regulators.

Dear Dave,
I’ve used my brass adjustable water pressure regulator for several years to ensure <55 psi through the water lines in our ‘07 Tiffin Allegro coach. Lately, even after I disconnect the water source, the gauge on the meter has been sticking at whatever pressure it had been registering – but by the time I hook up again, it’s fallen back to 0. We volunteer for national and state parks around the West, frequently for 3-6 months at a time. As you can imagine, water quality varies considerably. The last two places I’ve hooked up, the water flow inside the coach seems to be lower than the gauge reading would indicate. Do water pressure gauges clog up with lime, calcium, etc? If so, can it be cleaned? Or is buying a new one ($50+/-) the only option? —Tim

Dear Tim,
The water at most RV campgrounds comes from an underground well that must be certified once a year and post a Safety Data Sheet. However, this is not the same as treating and conditioning like most municipal water systems.

Over the years I have experienced some horrible water conditions with calcium buildup, lime, and rust. In some locations such as Oklahoma and Texas there were even sand particles that clogged the filter in less than a week. It was so packed with sand that we had no water pressure!

Use a water pressure regulator and an inline filter for best results

To counter this, we not only use a water pressure regulator but also an inline filter. It is also a good idea to test the water prior to connecting just to see what you might run into. I use the Home Safe product from the home improvement stores. Plus, we put the filter directly on the campground faucet first and then the regulator. This filters most of the sediment in the filter prior to the regulator so it doesn’t get plugged as fast. This is also why we use a residential-style filter such as the OMNIFilter brand found at most home improvement stores and on Amazon. Then we can change the cartridge inside for only a couple of dollars and not the entire filter.

We can also get a filter specific to the type of water condition such as for sediment for those hard water locations, or just charcoal for taste when in Colorado, as most of that water is fairly soft right out of the mountains.

If your regulator is sticking at a certain psi and you are getting low pressure at times, I would believe your regulator is getting clogged. You should be able to give it a thorough cleaning by either soaking it in vinegar overnight. For really clogged situations use CLR (Calcium, Lime, Rust), that is available at most home improvement stores, hardware stores, and even grocery stores, as well as on Amazon. Then try putting the filter on before the regulator.

Read more from Dave here

Dave Solberg worked at Winnebago for 15 years developing the dealer training program, as marketing manager, and conducting shows. As the owner of Passport Media Creations, Dave has developed several RV dealer training programs, the RV Safety Training program for The Recreation Vehicle Safety and Education Foundation, and the accredited RV Driving Safety program being conducted at rallies and shows around the country. Dave is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club.

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Thomas B
21 days ago

Is there a screen in your regulator it may be plugged
is there a need for a regulator
I have a pressure meter that I hook up right at the faucet. In most cases I find no regulator is necessary and actually reduces the flow
modern pex is good for 125psi
there is a label on my inlet saying 60# max. the weak link is in the fittings and poor installation. Like I said check pressure and see if you really need a regulator and don’t forget a filter drop around 5# new and goes downhill from there

Crowman
21 days ago

A problem with the regulators that I see at some full hookup sites is the parks underground water system is too undersized to deliver full volume to each site. I have a regulator that is set at 45 pounds and when the parks water pressure goes below 45 psi because everyones using water it will surge high/low every 5 seconds using the water in your rig. You would think the regulator is clogged but its not. What happens is when you open your faucet it lowers the pressure in your rig and allows the park water to flow in your supply hose. Once the pressure equals the regulator psi it shuts off the flow till you open a faucet again causing the high/low pressure surging. This is especially annoying taking a shower.

Irv
21 days ago

Also, the filter may lower the water pressure–so another reason to filter first and then regulate.

Donald N Wright
21 days ago

water pressure regulator ? Any suggestions?

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