You should never just hook up your motorhome’s or camper’s water hose to any water spigot without first, attaching an RV water pressure regulator. If you don’t install a regulator, you could essentially over-pressurize your RV’s water system and burst its’ pex lines or water pipes causing thousands of dollars in damage to your motorhome or camper!
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Why an RV Water Pressure Regulator is a MUST for ALL Campers
Why you need a water pressure regulator for your RV?
When hooking up your motorhome or camper to an external water source, you typically screw on your water hose to a water spigot. However, depending on the water pressure at any given water spigot, you could be sacked with thousands of dollars worth of damage to your RV if you don’t take precautions.
We’ve been to several campgrounds where the water pressure was so great that we actually sprung a leak inside our fifth wheel’s basement cargo compartment. After diagnosing where the leak came from, we learned the high water pressure split one of our pex lines and clamp. Luckily, we found the damage immediately and Dan was able to repair it.
It didn’t take us but that one bad experience to research what we’d need to do to never have it happen again. And, the answer was simple actually. We needed an RV water pressure regulator.
How to install a water pressure gauge properly
First, we screw on our 2-way Y water hose splitter that allows us to hook up fresh water hose and a second hose for other things. The Y-hose splitter we have also has valves so we can close each connection as needed.
We, then, attach our RV water pressure gauge to one side of the Y splitter. Then screw on our RV water hose (white or blue) to the water pressure regulator that controls the water flow into our RV. We attach the other end of the hose to our water filter connected to a flexible hose connector that leads into our RV water port.
Now, no more worries of water pressure unsuspectingly bursting our RV water pex lines or damaging our the water pump. Of course, when we traded our fifth wheel to our Winnebago View Class C motorhome, our water pressure regulator came with us.
How are water pressure gauges designed?
Our preferred water pressure regulator is designed with standard 3/4 inch garden hose threads and NH threads. They are universal and compatible with all American water sources and supply.
There are three parts make up makings of an RV’s water system when connected to a faucet. Those three parts include a water pressure regulator, a Y valve, and vacuum breaker.
The water pressure can be clearly seen on the gauge. So, no more guessing at how much comes into your RV water system. A good quality pressure gauge should be tested to contain less than 0.13% lead, well under the NSF lead-free requirements of 0.25% A good water pressure regulator gauge should include a dual-layer inlet screen filter to help to filter particles to prevent impurity blocking and valve body damage.
The built in oil design in the gauge itself can dampen vibrations of internal parts or sudden pressure changes and to prolong the lifespan of gauge.
What exactly does a water pressure regulator do?
A water pressure regulator or pressure gauge protects an RV from water sources with exuberant water pressure.
Our regulator came configured for 45 PSI. We prefer this particular model since it has a visual gauge and it’s adjustable so we can set the PSI.
The vacuum breaker restricts the back flow of water from the non-fresh water hose. You don’t want the natural vacuum of the hose to draw water backwards into the fresh water. After these three pieces are our water filters and hose. What do you use to hook up your RV to a faucet?
Can I adjust my RV water pressure regulator?
Most water pressure gauge’s factory setting is usually 40-45 PSI. PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) is a unit of pressure expressed in pounds of force per square inch of area. But, you can adjust your water pressure from 14 PSI to 160 PSI. Just adjust the brass screw (at the top of regulator) to change the pressure – or +. Some may come with an installation guide for a specific manufacturer.
But, most regulators simply allow you to adjust the pressure valve by inserting a screw driver to adjust the water pressure from 0-160 psi easily. Slowly turn clockwise to increase pressure. And, slowly turn counterclockwise to decrease pressure. The idea is to protect your pipeline system from being damaged due to high pressure.
What are the different types of RV water pressure regulators?
There a few different water pressure regulators on the market.
Inline Water Pressure Reducer
There’s an inline water pressure reducer that may do the job. However, this type of regulator is non adjustable and it does not have the visual pressure gauge so you can read how much pressure is going into your RV water system. They are also typically set at 40-50PSI. Again, you can’t vary the pressure. Hence, why it’s much cheaper.
Plastic Water Pressure Regulator
If you’re just a weekend camper and don’t want to be bothered with monitoring your water pressure, you could always go with the most economical water pressure regulator made of durable ABS plastic construction. It allegedly stops damage to the RV water hose, pump or internal lines from inconsistent water pressure in campgrounds by reducing water pressure to a safe and consistent 40-50 lbs of pressure.
And it too, is compliant with all federal and state level low lead laws. CSA Low Lead Content Certified to NSF/ANSI 372. However, this is one of those ‘you get what you pay for’ RV accessories. We’ve read reviews of it not being ideal as it may leak at connection points.
Brass Hi-Flow Water Regulator
This high quality brass water pressure regulator is resistant to high pressure, safety and bursting your RV water lines and water system. You can adjust the pressure of the holes or RV plumbing and keep water pressure of 40 to 50 PSI. Easy to install and use and is suitable with all 3/4″ hose threads.
The stainless steel filter screen protects the valve. The durable lead-free structure ensures the safety of drinking water. Like all water regulators, it has a CSA low lead content certification. But, like the others listed above, it still doesn’t have the visual gauge to read the exact pressure of water going into your RV’s water system.
MAX Flow RV Water Pressure Regulator
The Max Flow RV regulator provides up to 18 gallons per minute of unrestricted water flow. Although other RV regulators effectively reduce pressure to a safe PSI, they often drastically reduce flow.
For example, 10 GPM (Gallons Per Minute) input at the source could be reduced to as little as 4 GPM at the output of a typical RV regulator. With the Max Flow Regulator 10 GPM is maintained at the output. The Max Flow Regulator consistently maintains ideal safe water pressure without the need for adjustment or monitoring of gauges. But, based on our experience, we prefer the visual gauge so we can ensure the proper water pressure going into our RV.
Camco Brass Water Pressure Regulator with Gauge
The Camco Brass Water Pressure Regulator with Gauge helps protect your RV plumbing and hoses from damage caused by high-pressure city water. It features an easy-to-read gauge. Green color on the gauge indicates that the regulated pressure is between 40-50 psi. This pressure regulator attaches easily with convenient 0.75″ garden hose treads.
The pressure is factory preset at 40-50lbs per square inch. Maximum incoming pressure is 125 PSI. On a good note though, it does have a pressure gauge visual reading display. However, the one thing we don’t like about this particular regulator is it doesn’t display the exact pressure according to number; just low (yellow), green (which I assume is perfect pressure) and high pressure (red).
Valterra RV Water Pressure Regulator
Our clear winner in all of the RV water pressure regulators is the Valterra RV Water Regulator. Because we’ve been Valterra customers even before RVing, we trust their brand to provide a quality water pressure regulator.
Compared to other similar models, Valterra’s adjustable regulator stands alone. While yes, it’s on the high end of MSRPs, we know that our RV water system is protected. Like the others of this model type, this versatile water regulator is compatible with standard campers, RV’s, trailers, boats, and even home. It regulates water pressure to your preferred PSI with pressure gauge. Valterra’s RV water regulator is made of lead-free brass, is rust-resistant and durable for years of quality use.
And speaking of lead-free, its’ construction conforms with federal and state laws for drinking water fixtures for your family’s safetyIt attaches to the campground water spigot and reduces the water pressure that feeds through the water hose into the RV. (NOTE: We are/were not compensated to give this review in any way.)
When should I replace my RV’s old water pressure regulator?
Generally speaking, most regulator valves have a life span of about 5 years. However, if you’re in regions of the country with high concentrations of lime and harsh chemical additives in the water source, you may have to replace it sooner. Also, it depends how often you use it. Our’s lasted about 5 years before having to buy another RV water pressure regulator.
If you have recently noticed any abrupt changes in the water pressure in your home, an internal component in your pressure regulator may have failed.
Other tell-tale signs that your RV water pressure regulator may be failing:
- Low or Fluctuating Water Pressure
- No Water Pressure
- Hammering or vibrating noises in your water system
- High water pressure even after adjusting the screw valve
Sometimes dirt, debris and lime scale buildup from hard water can cause the pressure relief valve (PRV) to jam or close. Water pressure regulator valves are fairly easy to clean. You also can clean and replace the removable valve spool.
In my opinion, you really don’t want to be poking and prodding inside the valve or you may damage the spring mechanism that allows it to close.
However, there may come a time that you may prefer replacing your RV water pressure regular; especially if you’re a full-time RVer who uses it more frequently. But basically, the operation of each is about the same.
While you can inspect the valve to see if it needs to be cleaned out, it may be more feasible to just replace the regulator all together.
Taking care of your water pressure regulator
It’s important to take good care of your water regulator. First, since this water component touches the very water that you or your family may drink, keep it clean and sanitized.
If your water pressure regulator has the oil filled visual gauge, take precautions not to drop or ding it. Also, since brass is a soft metal, be careful not to knick or chip the screw threads. It’s always a good idea to keep spare regulator and hose washers or washers with filters in your RV tool kit to replace as needed. And store your water pressure regulator inside a sanitary bag where no bugs, dirt or debris can get inside the valve housing.
And lastly, after disconnecting your water hose(s) from the spigot, make certain you disconnect your water pressure gauge and store it before leaving your campsite. Otherwise, you’ve just gifted the next camper your prized regulator. (Trust me, this has happened to us TWICE! Merry Christmas to them!).
Final thoughts on RV water pressure regulators
Here’s your takeaway on RV water pressure regulators. You get what you pay for. If you really aren’t too concerned about the water pressure coming into your RV, then perhaps going for a less expensive regulator is the answer.
However, if you relocate your motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer to many different RV parks or campgrounds that have varying water pressures, then spend the money to get a high quality regulator. It’s one of those ‘pay now or pay later’ scenarios. If you cheap out now, you may end up paying a much heftier price later with repairs to your RV’s water system, burst hoses, labor and supplies.
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