Setting up primary services when you pull up to a campground, is essential to a great stay. You have your power hooked up, and you are about to hook up your water supply. Do I really need a water pressure regulator for my RV? Yes, it’s highly recommended as the hoses in your RV can typically handle a PSI that is between 40 to 60 psi. (though newer RV’s can handle up to 100 psi, refer to your RV guide for specifics) The Water pressure for campgrounds and municipal water is typically 50 to 90 psi but can be as high as 200 psi. Not having a water pressure regulator, would result in damaging RV water lines and connectors. Let’s dig into this question a bit more, so I can show you the need for a water pressure regulator and what the best-reviewed regulators are.
What Is A Water Pressure Regulator?
A water pressure regulator is a piece of equipment that regulates the pressure of the water coming into your camper’s pipes. If the pressure is too high, you could risk severe damage to your rig. Most experts recommend that you install the regulator directly to the campground water source before hooking up the water supply to your intake system. The reason for this is to tamp down the water pressure levels if they are too high.
What is the proper water pressure for my RV?
The typical RV water pressure is 40 to 60 psi or pressure. If at all in doubt refer to your RV owners manual for the actual psi of your water system. Older RV, without a manual, then stick with the 40 to 60 rule for psi and you will be safe from having any problems with your water system. A lot of the newer rigs advertise that they can hold a load of 100 psi through the plumbing system, but this is an unnecessary risk and it’s safer to keep your psi at 60 or less.
Why is a Water Pressure Regulator Necessary?
A water pressure regulator is necessary because, without one, you run the risk of damaging your RVs plumbing system, which means that the pipes could leak at the fitting joints or even cause the pipes to burst.
One of the unknowns at campgrounds or municipal water systems is the pressure. If the pressure is too high and there is a sudden surge in pressure in your RV’s water supply system, then your pipes and joints could burst.
Having a water pressure regulator is really cheap insurance against those kinds of mishaps.
Some campgrounds run on municipal water systems, and some draw the water from a nearby water source. The campgrounds water systems are set to have a reasonable flow of water at any given time. If the campground is full, there might be less pressure, but if it’s fairly empty the pressure could be much higher than normal.
Either way, the campground would not be responsible for the replacement of your RV damage, if you did not have a water regulator. It’s best to look out for yourself and make sure you are using a water regular to have a fun and relaxing week of camping.
Why gambling with a gauge only system Water Regulator is a bad idea!
The inability to predict water pressure through the campground hookups is the reason why you can’t rely on a pressure gauge alone.
When you check the pressure in the morning when most of the campground is awake and getting their day started by taking showers, doing dishes, or making coffee, the pressure is going to be lower because there is more demand at that time of day.
Now, on the flip side, if you check the pressure at night when everyone has finished their day and are just sitting around relaxing or even sleeping, the pressure is higher because there is almost no demand for water at that time.
So, if you want to use a gauge only system, the only way to get accurate pressure readings is to be out there reading your meter all day and night. It would be easier and more efficient to hook up a water pressure regulator.
Adjustable regulator or fixed regulator, which is right for you?
With adjustable regulators, you can adjust the water pressure whenever it needs to be adjusted.
For example, if your water pressure is running low, you can adjust the regulator to increase the psi for a short time until you need to lower the pressure. The adjustable regulators are the most recommended for water pressure regulation because they are convenient.
The fixed water pressure regulators keep the pressure steady, but they keep the pressure at a solid 40-50 psi, and you may want more or less pressure depending on your rig. For example, if you need a 60 psi for your rig, you can’t adjust the pressure up to hit the 60-psi mark, nor can you lower it if you need a 45-50 psi mark.
These fixed regulators do the job. Don’t get me wrong, they do work and work well, but in the opinion of most RV enthusiasts I know, the adjustable regulators are the way to go.
Choosing a Water regulator
The choice is easy since it is typically below $50. The one that I use is the Valterra Adjustable Water Regualtor. It's adjustable, and gives you the best control over the water pressure no matter where you plug into. If you don’t want to spend the extra if you are in a pinch, the Camco 40052 water pressure regulator will suffice. The cost is usually below $20. Either way having a water Regulator is cheap insurance for a week of camping or not having one is a whole day or two of frustration and possibly the end of a camping trip in your RV. All over a $20 to $50 water regulator.
Now, you can see how leaving your water pressure regulation to fate can cause costly repairs to your camper, so for peace of mind, purchasing and using a water pressure regulator makes sense.
There are many choices available, so do your research and choose the regulator that makes the most sense for your coach and your budget. If you need specialized help, consider speaking to a reputable parts dealer to find answers to your more comprehensive questions.