What to Do If an RV Water Pump Isn’t Pumping Water

Isn't your RV water pump pumping water? And are you having a hard time troubleshooting it? Here's what you have to do to make your water pump work again.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if RVs never had any issues and always performed perfectly? Virtually every RV owner on the face of the planet can attest to the fact that, unfortunately, that’s certainly not the case.

An RV is a complicated beast, and issues can arise from time to time. Specifically, have you ever run into the issue of your RV water pump not pumping water? Considering how important an RV water pump is (especially if you want to use running water off the grid), it’s probably best to ensure that any problem it’s having be fixed pronto.

But why? Why is the water pump in your RV not pumping any water? Well, the issue could be caused by a plethora of different factors. And before you go out and call your local RV repair shop to fix the problem, do some troubleshooting yourself as you could end up saving yourself a lot of money.

Troubleshooting an RV water pump not pumping water

Okay, so as just mentioned, there could be a wide range of reasons as to why your RV water pump’s having issues. As such, it can be somewhat of a process to determine and pinpoint the exact problem that’s happening. Let’s start with something that can be a common problem.

Perhaps your water pump simply won’t turn on after winterizing. If that’s the case, there are a number of questions that you can answer that can possibly lead to the reason why:

  • Did you make sure to open all the shut-off valves?
  • Did you make sure that there’s actually electricity going to the pump? You can use a voltmeter to find out for sure, and you’re looking for a full 12 volts.
  • Was everything connected correctly after RV antifreeze was pumped through the water lines?
  • Is the pump grounded as it does need to be?

An RV water pump not pumping water…but it’s working

Now, let’s say that your RV water pump is turning on and functioning just fine, but no water is flowing to your faucets. If this is the case, it becomes a process of checking off certain factors that aren’t the problem. Here’s a rundown of some of the potential errors, if you will, that could be persisting.

As stupid as it may sound, one of the first things to check is if there’s actually water in your freshwater tank. Check the tank gauge to see how much water is in the tank. If the tank is either empty or very low, the water pump won’t have much of anything to pump.

Check the water lines to ensure everything looks fine. Look for cracks or splits in the lines, or even loose connections as any of these factors could be causing a problem.

Check to see if there’s actually water flowing to the pump by carefully loosening the water line to it. If there’s water in the line that means that water is traveling to the pump itself. If there’s no water, the problem is in the water line.

Even after checking all of those off, if there still isn’t any water, the problem may indeed be with the pump itself. With the help of someone who can turn the pump on and off when you need them to, disconnect the water line from the pump’s pressure side. Have the person helping you turn the pump on and if water is barely dripping out, it may be time for a new water pump.

How do you prime an RV water pump?

Why is your RV water pump not pumping water? We guess the best-case scenario to this question would be the fact that you need to prime your water pump. This is probably the easiest solution, and the hope is that all your pump needs is a little priming. Even better news is the process of priming is not that difficult at all, and here’s what you need to do.

  1. To begin, fill up your freshwater tank with water.
  2. Making sure all the faucets are open, turn on the cold water in your RV.
  3. Switch on the water pump.
  4. Let the water flow for a while as this process is going to prime the pump. Turn off the faucets after several minutes.

What happens if you have to replace your RV water pump?

Worst comes to worst, your RV water pump not pumping water may be due to a faulty water pump that needs to be replaced. While this process can be done with the right tools, knowledge, and patience, most RV owners may not want to go through the hassle of doing so.

RV repair shops can be expensive but getting the job right the first time can save a lot of headaches down the road. However, if you feel you’d like to give it a shot to replace your own water pump, this video is a nice reference to use.

YouTube video

Again, though, you’re going to want to have the right tools as they can make a world of difference.

Final thoughts

The reality is if you have an RV water pump not pumping water, it could be due to a variety of reasons. From something simple as there being no water in the tank or needing to prime the pump to something much more complex as needing a brand-new water pump altogether, the problem’s not going to be the same for every RV owner out there.

However, if you go through the troubleshooting tips listed above, you may be lucky enough to find that the solution isn’t buying and installing a new water pump into your RV. No matter, we hope this post provided some good insight into solving the problem.

Shifting to another topic, how familiar are you with RV sewer hose fittings? That’s a complicated topic in and of itself and if you would like to learn a bit more about them, we encourage you to check out our beginner’s guide to RV sewer hose fittings. If you enjoyed this read, we think you’ll enjoy that one too.

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Tyler Jones

Tyler is much like a swiss knife. Even though he has a degree in Computer Science, he knows almost everything there is to know about camping. He has been writing for HeadlessNomad since 2021 and has contributed with over 100 articles. If you have an outdoor-related question, then Tyler much likely knows the answer.