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Do I Need To Use RV Water Pump When Connected To City Water?

RV City Water Connection & the RV Water Pump

Even though they are both parts of the freshwater system in an RV, the city water connection and RV water pump do not work together.

Related Product: Take the stress off your city water connection and water hose by using a Camco RV Water Hose Elbow (click to view on Amazon)

When you are dry camping, you need to run the RV water pump to pull water out of the fresh water tank.

When you are connected to water via the city water connection, your RV gets water directly from that water source.

You don’t need to use the RV water pump when connected to city water.

See Also: Best Heated Water Hoses For RV Campers, Barns & Livestock

Why You Don’t Need the RV Water Pump When Connected to Water

The water from the water source at your home, RV park, or campground is already pressurized. That water pressure is continued into your RV when you hook it up via the city water connection.

The pressurized water is nice because you don’t have to run the water pump, but it can be a bad thing if the water pressure is too high.

You’ve maybe had other campers tell you it’s important to use a water pressure regulator when using a water hookup. They’re not wrong.

High water pressure puts a lot of strain on an RV water system. It’s especially bad for the connectors and couplers all over the camper.

See Also: How To Clean/Sanitize RV Water System And Holding Tanks

Most RVs use PEX piping for the water systems. The clips that hold the PEX piping together can expand from high water pressure.

Combine that with road vibrations from traveling around and you’ve got a water leak inside your RV.

RV water pumps are made to stop once they sense 45 to 60 psi of pressure. 99% of the freshwater systems in RVs are rated to take a maximum of 60 psi.

RV parks and campgrounds usually have higher than normal water pressures because everyone is connected to the same water line.

To get good water pressure to the camper at the end of the line, there needs to be a lot of water, which means the RV at the front of the line might get some serious water pressure.

Always use an RV water pressure regulator when using the city water hookup.

See Also: What Should My RV Water Pressure Regulator Be Set At?

It will only help your RV, and even if the water pressure is low when you first hook up your camper. It might just be like that because a lot of other campers are using water at that moment.

The pressure might increase suddenly, putting lots of pressure on the RV plumbing.

rv water pump switch turned on because there is no city water connection
RV water pump on when connected to city water.

Will Using the RV Water Pump While Connected to City Water Hurt It?

We usually have the RV water pump on in our motorhome when we’re traveling to the next camping spot.

A lot of times when we pull into a place with RV hookups, we’ll get out of the motorhome and start connecting everything right away.

We usually connect to the city water and forget to turn off the water pump for a while.

One time we even ran the water pump an entire day before realizing that we could turn it off because we were hooked up to water.

Running the RV water pump while connected to city water won’t hurt it. So you don’t need to worry if you accidentally left it on.

See Also: Best RV Water Hose For Drinking Water

What leaving the RV water pump does is bypass the city water and draw water from the RV fresh water tank.

So you aren’t using the water from the campground or RV park, you are using the water from your RV.

If your freshwater tank is low on water, you will lose water in your RV and the pump will run continuously.

It’s not great for an RV water pump to run dry for a long time, but it’s made to run without water in it for a little while with no issue.

So the worst thing that can happen if you leave your RV water pump on when connected to city water is the freshwater tank might empty and you will be out of water.

To fix this issue, all you have to do is turn off the RV water pump so you start using the water hookup instead.

Will Using the RV Water Pump Increase City Water Pressure?

I’ve talked about the high water pressure issue in many RV parks and campgrounds, now it’s time to mention the low water pressure issue.

It’s also common for a water hookup to have very low water pressure.

This can happen if the place you’re staying at has a lot of campers hooked up to the same system, if you’re the one at the end of the water line, or if the water pressure is just low in that area.

You might wonder if using the RV water pump could help boost the water pressure coming from the city water connection.

Using the RV water pump will not technically increase the water pressure from a water hookup.

But it can increase the water pressure if the RV pump’s PSI output is higher than what’s coming from the water hookup.

The RV water pump is still drawing water from the fresh water tank, and not the city water connection.

But it can be beneficial to use the water from the tank and pump if the pressure from the water hookup is too low.

The best way to deal with low water pressures from the city water hookup is to combine the use of the hookup with the RV water pump.

First, make sure the fresh water tank is full of water. Then hook up your RV to water via the city water connection like normal.

Usually, low water pressure is only an issue when you need a lot of water. The shower is most affected by very low water pressures.

See Also: Best RV Shower Heads That Increase Water Pressure

You can use the city water throughout the day to run small things like the toilet and faucets.

When you need to shower, wash dishes, or run the RV washer, you can flip on the RV water pump to increase the water pressure.

When you’re done, turn it off, and you’re back to using city water.

This method works great, but it does mean you will need to keep an eye on the freshwater tank and possibly refill it a few times during your stay.

Have any more questions about the RV water pump and being connected to city water? Leave a comment below. 

by Jenni
Jenni grew up in a small town in Idaho. With a family that loves camping, she has been towing trailers since a very young age.

10 thoughts on “Do I Need To Use RV Water Pump When Connected To City Water?”

  1. When I connect to city water, it is entering my fresh water holding tank and leaking out of the fill spout. What do I do to stop this?

    • You are either getting wager straight from the hose or using the tank water. At least for me, I cannot continuously fill the holding tank. I need to turn the valve, fill it, turn the valve off.
      When it’s filling and I don’t have the pump on, the water pressure is extremely low.

      If u have very low pressure and need to turn the pump on even when hooked up to the hose, check the valve by the tank. And make sure your not filling you tank, which it sounds like that’s whats happening as it’s coming out ur drain pipe.

    • Hi Thomas,

      It sounds like the water pressure from the city connection might be really low.

      The pressure increases when you turn on the water pump because the pump is now creating more water pressure, but the water is most likely coming from the freshwater tank, not the city water connection.

  2. Finally I found a full and detailed explanation of how to use an RV water pump! So many people forget that obvious things may be obvious just for themselves! Thank you so much for your work!

    • Hi Pamela,

      It could be the faucet aerators. RV’s are usually set up to save as much water as possible. You could try changing those to see if it helps.


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