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Ask Dave: What water pressure should I have at the campground?

Dear Dave,
When at a campground, what is the suggested psi setting for an adjustable water pressure regulator? —Tony, 2003 Holiday Rambler Vacationer

Dear Tony,
Thanks for the question. It is a very popular one at my seminars.

The best pressure depends on the plumbing system or, more specifically, the lines and fittings that you have and what they can stand. My folks bought a used unit a long time ago and went to visit my brother in AR. They hooked up to the outside faucet and later that day they came back to the rig and the entire floor was soaked!

Their outside pressure was probably 60 psi and nothing inside the rig actually burst; however, the fittings could not hold the pressure and it just leaked out. Older units used the 3/8” gray lines with either copper elbows or plastic and metal crimps. These cannot withstand much more than 40 psi.

Several companies have gone to PEX or other plastic 1/2” lines; however, some still use copper elbows and metal crimps. Others have gone to plastic compression fittings such as PEX, Flair-It™, SeaLand®, SharkBite® and others which can withstand up to 60 psi or more.

Get a pressure regulator to determine water pressure at the campground

Most residential pressures will be in the 40 psi range. I would suggest getting a water pressure regulator and a filter that will ensure it stays at 40 psi as most campgrounds do not have municipal water systems but rather run on well water and a pump. The closer to the pump, the higher the pressure.

This will provide good pressure as well as flow which is important for the amount of water. You can have 60 psi but if you are not getting 3.0 gallons per minute, it will not feel like the right amount of pressure. A good idea is to get a pressure regulator that is adjustable and dial it up higher and test to see if your system will hold it. However, if you have the copper elbows and metal clamps, I would stay at 40 psi.


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Avoid a geyser in your RV with a pressure regulator

By Russ and Tiña De Maris
As many as 2,000 people are on hand each time Yellowstone’s Old Faithful geyser pops off. You can bet a lot of them arrived in their RVs. Geysers are fascinating—a lot of water under pressure, looking for an out. But one place a geyser isn’t welcome is inside your RV. But water under pressure is always seeking an “out.” If there’s too much pressure, your RV plumbing could be that out. Using a water pressure regulator can hold down the stress, and keep your RV plumbing dry. Learn all about water pressure regulators here.


Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and the author of the “RV Handbook.”

Read more from Dave here

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Bob Weinfurt
1 month ago

My MH is 45 years old and the plumbing looks like it’s all original. There are no leaks and everything still works. To play it safe, I just put water in my potable tank and use the onboard pump.

Impavid
1 month ago

Running my adjustable pressure regulator at 60 psi (413 kpa) gives me sufficient water flow for a good shower. AND, whenever I leave the trailer to shop or sightsee I always turn the water off at the campground hookup.

Jay
1 month ago

I measure the pressure with a gauge before hooking up. Most campgrounds I’ve been in were 40-60 psi out of the hose bib but one place was 110 psi!

Eric Devolin
1 month ago

Dave, I have followed your articles for your time @ RV Travel and some times your proof reading does not clearly explain the subject. Most residential plumbing systems run at 85 to 90 psi to make everyone’s water systems perform as expected. Most inexpensive in line pressure regulators reduce the output to average of 40 psi for protection of RV plumbing systems. The adjustable pressure regulators that are currently available leave this downstream pressure to the owners wish! Of all our RV’s I have used an adjustable regulator, as I’m a retired plumber l originally assembled an adjustable reg many years before ever seeing the open market of the adjustable pressure regulators. My observations put ,most new to this past time, do not understand most of the products that are currently available.

Gary
1 month ago
Reply to  Eric Devolin

85-90 psi? That seems high. My house on city water measures about 55 psi.

Jesse Crouse
1 month ago

From a Plumber. The gray pipe Dave mentioned is gray Poly Bute and was the subject of a nationwide law suit. If you see it replace it. A total mess waiting to happen. I will not work on it and only replace with quality Pex.

Ed Fairchild
1 month ago

I have one for Dave. We tested the water system in our 2022 travel trailer before our first trip and everything worked as it should. After a disastrous first day I really wanted a shower. I turned the shower valves on and water shot out of the top of the bathroom sink faucet, not the spout, out the top around the single handle. I immediately shut off the shower valves which stopped the water, and stared at the faucet in disbelief. How was this even possible? After thinking about it for a few seconds my brain confirmed that it was not possible so I tried it again and sure enough we had Old Faithful right there in our bathroom. No shower that night. The next day not being able to find a faucet that fit, I disconnected the faucet and plugged the lines so that the shower was usable. First rainy day I installed a new faucet and later replaced the kitchen faucet as well. Dave, can you explain how this was even possible?

Crowman
1 month ago
Reply to  Ed Fairchild

I can as a plumbing contractor. The faucets they use in most low to medium priced trailers are junk. They cost around $10.00 and made in China with all plastic parts. I installed the same type of faucets you would see in a house like Delta brand.

Gary
1 month ago
Reply to  Crowman

Except he turned on his shower faucets and water came out of his bathroom sink faucet handle. Two different faucets.

Rock & Tina
1 month ago

I believe Dave’s numbers are a little low. You will find most non-adjustable RV water pressure regulators are preset to 50 to 55 psi. Also a quote from one of RVTravels previous articles states, “Generally speaking, the max recommended water pressure in an RV is 50 PSI for older rigs and 60 PSI for the newer trailers and motorhomes out there. Stick to these limits and you should avoid any damage caused by high water pressure.”

Bob p
1 month ago
Reply to  Rock & Tina

I bought an adjustable regulator and it came from the manufacturer preset at 45 PSI. Reading my owners manual I found the recommended PSI not to exceed 60 PSI so I set it at 55. I do like water pressure when taking a shower.

Crowman
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob p

Remember all warnings on products come from a lawyer to protect the company from lawsuits not what is practical use. Trailers today can run 65 pounds with no problems.

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