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? The answer is yes. You should have a water pressure regulator on your water supply into your RV. The regulator acts as insurance for your RV because you can’t know what the water pressure is at any given campground. If you hook up to the campground water supply and the pressure is too high, you risk severe damage to your camper. 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?
Every expert I have come across during my research has suggested that newer RVs should not have a water pressure of more than 60 psi. If you have an older rig, the pressure recommendation is no more than 45-50 psi. A lot of the newer rigs advertise that they can hold a load of 100 psi through the plumbing system, but experts warn that this is an unnecessary risk and to keep your psi at 60 or less.
Why is a regulator necessary?
A water pressure regulator is necessary because, without one, you run the risk of damage to your RVs plumbing system, which means that the pipes could leak at the fitting joints or even cause the pipes to burst.
The reason this happens is that one of the only unknowns at a campground is how high the psi of the water flow is through the city hookups used by the facility. Assuredly, owners of the campground can’t tell you how the water pressure is in their park.
Campground managers can’t know the answer to this question because the pressure of the water running through the system is different at different times of day, so there is no way to pinpoint what the pressure is throughout the day.
Why gambling with a gauge only system 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, is the adjustable regulators.
Choosing a Water regulator
The choice is easy since it is typically below $50. The one that I use is the Renator M11-0660R Water pressure Regulator. 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.
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.