Saturday, September 30, 2023


Water pressure regulators keep geysers out of your RV

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 got there 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.

Plumbing safety device

A water pressure regulator is a simple device that acts as an RV plumbing safety device. Every time you hook up your RV to a “city water” outlet, you run some risk. Water pressure is measured in PSI, or pounds per square inch. While manufacturers of many newer RVs claim their plumbing can handle up to 100 PSI, prevailing thought is for safety: Never exceed 60 PSI. Owners of older rigs should probably keep the pressure down to 45 to 50 PSI.

But pulling into an RV park, you can’t be sure just what kind of water pressure you’ll encounter. Water pressure in a park system doesn’t always stay the same—demands can lower or raise the pressure in moments. That’s why using a pressure regulator can help keep your RV safe.

Choosing the right regulator

pressure regulatorThere are two basic types of RV water pressure regulators. The less expensive, around $10, are non-adjustable regulators. Most claim to hold water pressure down to 40 to 50 PSI. There are basically two different “flavors” of this type: brass or plastic. We’ve used both types, and they seem to work the same. However, if you decide to buy a brass regulator, look for one that is “lead-free.” For a few extra bucks, some of the brass regulators include a dial gauge showing the water pressure. But the advertisements are hard to decipher—it’s not clear whether the gauge shows the “regulated” pressure or that which is coming from the park supply.

Our experience with non-adjustable pressure regulators seems to tally up with what many others have said. They hold the pressure down, but they also seem to reduce the available flow of water—at times making it impossible to get a good shower. Our last water pressure regulator purchase went to the other type—adjustable.

pressure regulatorAdjustable pressure regulators are just that. Turn on the park water supply, and adjust the pressure delivered to your RV. A gauge shows the delivered PSI, and most allow you to set it anywhere from zero on up to as high as the park pressure. These regulators are brass. Again, you can search for lead-free brass. Prices range from around $20 to $30. The unit we bought was a giant step up from our earlier non-adjustable units. The flow-through seems to be much better, and showers are typically, well, like a shower should be.

Hook it up

Using a water pressure regulator is fairly straightforward. There are threads on each end of the regulator. It’s best to put the regulator on the park water outlet, then hook your water hose to the regulator. That way the hose is also protected from high-pressure situations.

If you’re using an adjustable pressure regulator, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on setting the desired pressure. Typically this means turning on the park water, then using a screwdriver to turn a screw to set the pressure. When it’s time to move on, be sure to empty water out of the regulator before storing it.

You’ll find a wide range of water pressure regulators on Amazon.

Other stories by Russ and Tiña De Maris.


Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.


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Bob Walter
10 days ago

Ì just use the house pump…

Neal Davis
10 days ago

I used a water pressure gauge to test the water pressure at our site and if it was sufficiently low, did not use a pressure regulator. However, an RV Travel article alerted me to the possibility of the pressure fluctuating. Since then, I always use a pressure regulator. Many times we also have observed better pressure through our pump than from the campground.

Additionally, our DP has a water-saving feature that recirculates water into the fresh water tank until the water gets hot. This reduces the gray water created. So, when we shower at a campground, we typically switch to the pump to increase water pressure AND to avoid creating excess gray water.

11 days ago

Another topic to light up the social media experts. We all have seen (assumption) the placement of the water pressure regulator at the well head, after the filter, connected to the water inlet of the Rv or not at all. My routine, like others I am guessing, is the regulator at well head, filter then water hose to freshwater inlet. I use an elbow connection at the water inlet to reduce strain and wear. Guess whatever works for you Rver in how one does the placement.

Al Bartos
11 days ago

We had a low pressure problem that was caused by the water filter being too efficient! Or maybe it was just clogged with junk. Anyway, I put in a new filter and all was well.

11 days ago

We switched from a non-adjustable regulator to an adjustable one last year. It was interesting.
We tried to get it adjusted to the 50# or so we wanted (trying to imitate the pressure from our pump). We thought we had it adjusted OK, so off I went to the first campsite using it. Turned out it was displaying something like 100 psi – needless to say, I adjusted that down quickly.
I was at an event, and the gal next to me had a brand new Airstream, hose hooked directly from spigot to trailer. Water was spraying from the connection (not great in the desert either). She didn’t seem concerned when I told her about the psi I’d found.
SInce then, we’ve figured out that our house water pressure is fine, but not as high as we assumed.

Howard Burger
11 days ago

Don’t let your brass adjustable regulator freeze; we did, once. It’s replacement lives in our heated garage in the winter ( Wasilla, AK).

5 days ago
Reply to  Howard Burger

Haha, yeah, the first time I winterized I forgot about the pressure regulator. When I went to use it the next season I saw that the Bourdon had straightened out permanently. So about 60 PSI was being displayed instead of 0. And I’m way south of Alaska. But the needle still moved.

Mickey T.
11 days ago

When we experience low water pressure we just turn on our water pump during our shower. The water pump always delivers a good shower. If we exhaust the water in tank, we can just fill it back up. At all other times we just use the shore water.

Tommy Molnar
1 year ago

We pretty much do the same thing, G. Our water pump supplies more pressure (great for showers!) than most hookups.

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