No trip is possible without a properly functioning water system in your RV. And this is why a water pump is critical, but why does it pulsate? If you’ve owned or operated an RV for any length of time, you probably understand the importance of keeping your water system in good working order. But a pulsating water pump is a concern that needs to be addressed. 

Why is my RV water pump pulsating?

An RV water pump will pulsate regularly when water is used to regulate water pressure. If your water pump pulsates when it’s not in use, this is a concern and needs to be fixed. This could be caused by a lack of pressure, low water rate, leak, or blockage. 

RV water pumps will only run when you are pulling water, whether that is from a shower or sink. When this happens, cycling occurs, and the pump will make sounds similar to a pulse, but this is just normal behavior. 

When your water use ends, continued pulses are something to diagnose and fix, and this guide explains how. 

The primary function of a water pump is to move water from one location to another. Through years of experience, the data and information provided below have fixed many pulsating RV water pumps. 

Why Does My RV Water Pump Pulsate?

If you own an RV, you know everything in that lifestyle runs on water. Your toilet uses water to flush, your shower uses water to cleanse, and even the kitchen faucet uses water to fill a pot with drinking water. 

The same is true for your RV’s water pump. This pump, like most pumps, is designed to operate at a consistent speed, although sometimes it may seem like it’s pulsating. 

When this happens, you may wonder why my RV water pump pulsates. There are a variety of reasons that water pumps may pulsate. In most cases, it’s usually because the pump is simply regulating pressure. 

However, it can happen when handling too much water flow. This means it will not operate properly if insufficient water pressure pushes the water through the system. 

It may also be due to a clogged filter or if there’s an obstruction in the pipes. Regardless of the cause, if the water pump is pulsating, it’s important to address the problem immediately. This will help to prevent the pump from being damaged.

Lack Of Pressure

When your RV water pump is pulsating, the pressure is too low to circulate water through the system. This can be attributed to many things, but you can typically solve the issue by adjusting the settings. 

The lack of pressure creates a higher demand from the pump. This throws off the cycle, causing the pump to overwork. 

Low Water Flow Rate

A low water flow rate can also cause the water pump to pulsate. This is similar to a lack of pressure, but instead, the pulses are caused by low water tank levels. 

When this happens, the water pump works harder to draw from an empty tank. This makes it seem like the pressure settings are wrong, but the tank water is empty. 

Pump Is Leaking

Leaks often occur at the base of a water pump. If the seal around the base of the pump wears out, then there’s a chance water may leak out. 

In rare cases, the pump’s shaft may also leak. If you notice a leak coming from your pump, you need to replace the pump as soon as possible. 

This is especially important if the leak comes from the pump’s shaft. This type of leak can damage the pump’s motor and cause it to burn out. 

Water Pump Is Blocked

Another reason your water pump may be pulsating is if there’s an obstruction in the water pump. This may occur if a small piece of debris finds its way into the water pump.

If this happens, you may notice that your water pump is vibrating or pulsating. You may have to open up your water pump and clean it to fix this problem. 

If you don’t have the skills or tools to open up your water pump, you may want to seek out professional help. A professional can clean out your water pump and help to prevent this problem from occurring again.

How Do You Fix A Pulsating Water Pump? 

If you’ve determined that your water pump is pulsating, you probably want to know how to fix it. There are a variety of things you can do to help fix a pulsating water pump. 

You can check the water pressure and flow rate and ensure there is no debris in the water pump. You can install a pressure regulator if the water pressure is too low. 

If the flow rate of your pump has changed over time, then you can use a water flow meter to track the flow rate. This can help you determine if there is a problem with the pump. This will help to increase the water pressure within your water system.

Try Adjusting Pressure Settings

Each water pump brand will have slightly different settings, but you can fix a pulsating water pump by adjusting the pressure settings. 

When changing the settings, the objective is to lower the cut-off pressure. This will allow the pump to cycle more accurately and eliminate unnecessary pulses. 

Use An Accumulator Tank

If you’ve checked your water pressure and it’s fine, but your pump is still pulsating, then you may want to install an accumulator tank. 

An accumulator tank works like a pressure regulator, except it collects water in an external tank. Once the pressure within the water system drops, the accumulator tank releases water into the system. 

This helps to create consistent water pressure within your RV’s water system. 

If you’ve ruled out all of the above problems and your water pump is still pulsating, you may want to replace the pump. Repairs can be costly and may not be worth the money in the long run.

Replace Your Water Pump

If you can’t figure out why your pump is pulsating, you should consider completely replacing it with a new water pump.

It could be that the pump cannot provide sufficient pressure or there is a problem with the motor. It’s a good idea to have it looked at by a professional before throwing it out. 

What Causes A Water Pump To Pulse? 

There are a variety of things that can cause a pump to pulsate. In most cases, it’s due to the pump being overworked. If you notice that your pump is pulsating, you need to address the problem as soon as possible. 

Two potential reasons why water pumps pulse is insufficient water pressure and low water tank levels. 

This will help to prevent the pump from being damaged in the long run. If your water pump is pulsating, it may be due to the system being clogged or not having enough water pressure. 

Insufficient Water Pressure

Insufficient water pressure can cause the water pump to pulse. The pump may be trying to handle too much water flow, or the amount of water being pumped may be more than the pump was designed to handle. 

You can check the water pressure by using a water pressure tester. If the pressure is low, you can install a pressure regulator to help increase the water pressure within the system. 

If the system is clogged or there’s insufficient water pressure, you can clean the pipes and the pump itself. This may be necessary if it’s an old pump that’s seen better days. In some cases, you may need to replace the pump entirely.

Low Water Tank Levels

Low water pressure can often be confused with a lack of freshwater reserves. The pulsating gives the impression that pressure is lacking, but this is only due to the pump overcompensating. 

After replenishing the water tank, you should see the pulsing stop. 

Why Does The RV Water Pump Cycle On And Off? 

A water pump will cycle on and off to regulate water pressure while limiting overuse. The pump can cycle off when no water is running and preserve water and energy. 

If your pump does not cycle and only pulses continuously even when no water is being used, this indicates there could be a problem with your water pump. 

When you use the faucet or shower, the water line loses pressure, so the water pump cycles on to reach desired pressure levels again. This allows the water to keep running while being used. 

Why Does My Shurflo Pump Pulse?

Shurflo RV water pumps are designed to be used in many settings, including camping and long trips. These pumps use pressure switches to start and stop the pump.

This pulsing occurs due to the pressure settings in most cases, so a simple adjustment can decrease or eliminate the pulsating. To stop the pump from pulsing, turn on a sink or shower. 

As the water runs, try adjusting the settings to get the proper pressure. You’ll need a wrench to turn the screws until you reach the appropriate setting. 

Avoid going too far, or the pressure will drop too low, and the shower or sink will run continuously. In general, you can expect a Shurtflo pump to cycle, and any abnormal pulsing is because of poor pressure. 

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