The fresh water system on our motorhome as it came from the factory was ok, but we wanted some improvements. The first issue was water volume in the nice, spacious garden tub/shower. Our approach to improving the water flow was two-pronged, focusing on the water pump and the water pressure regulator.
The OEM water pump was a Shurflo pump with rated capacity of 2.8 gpm (gallons per minute). We replaced the little pump with a Shurflo Extreme Series variable speed pump rated at 5.7 gpm -- just over twice the capacity. Fitting the 5.7 pump in the water pump compartment was tight, but workable. It would be better if we could avoid elbow connections immediately on the "in" and "out" sides of the pump, but there simply is not room. To help reduce pump vibration noise, the pump was installed with large flexible loops on each side of the pump.
Here on the left you see the little original 2.8 gpm pump beside the new 5.7 gpm Extreme Series pump -- quit a difference in size! And on the right you see the large pump crammed into the water pump compartment. Note the large "Extreme Series" screen filter on the inlet side of the pump also. The pump upgrade made a significant difference in water flow. When we are in a location with low water pressure (below 50), we normally turn on the water pump when taking a shower so it can serve to "boost" the low city pressure.
The 5.7 gpm Shurflo pump has worked well, and Shurflo customer service has worked even better! The pump comes with a 3 yr warranty. Normally, the mfg date on the pump body is the only proof required as to how old it is. The first pump began to leak around a body seam when it was about 18 months old. Shurflo replaced it at no cost. The replacement pump worked great for 2 1/2 years, when it sometimes would not completely shut down. Again, Shurflo replaced the pump at no cost except for return shipping to the factory. That replacement lasted about 30 days before it would not turn on -- again, replaced at no charge. Needless to say, we would recommend you keep a small pump as a backup just in case you need it!
After getting the water pump up to par, we went after the water pressure regulator. Some RVs come with a built in regulator, but even if your RV doesn't have a built in regulator, you need to use one. We have been in more than one RV park with water pressure over 100psi! If you connect to water pressure that high, you will no doubt have water leaks, and could have serious water damage in your RV. The little "pressure regulators" RV dealers and parts places sell for around $10 or so are really nothing more than a water flow reducer. They effectively reduce the pressure by causing the incoming water to force it's way through a small opening. In our experience, these cheap pressure regulators normally begin to plug up in a year or less, sometimes letting almost no water through at all! We bought a better regulator from an RV parts place for $40 and it didn't last long either. To solve the problem of these cheap (cheaply made) regulators, we bought a 3/4" "full flow" "whole house" Watts N45BU water pressure regulator, and bought adapters so it would screw into the water hose. The cost was about $35. We have been using our Watts regulator continually since 2005 and it still works great. The Watts regulator pictured here has a gauge attached. We have a separate gauge as we have found the gauge will freeze very easily. Also, when (not if) the gauge is broken, our regulator will not be disabled along with the broken gauge! One other thing you can do to increase water flow is to use a 3/4" drinking water hose rather than a 1/2" or 5/8" hose.
While our motorhome came with a drinking water filter under the galley sink, filtering drinking water and ice maker water, there was no whole house filter. Many times we would find fine sand in the tub after showering, and a few times had to clean the screen washers in the faucets, so decided we needed to stop the sand and crud before it entered our home. We had already put screen washers in the ends of the water hose, the water pressure regulator, and the water pressure gauge. Now we added a whole house sediment filter, using an RV-SED1 (filtering particles down to 1 micron in size) filter element. We change the drinking water filter annually, and the sediment filter every three months. Normally the sediment filter is simply rust colored when replaced, but occasionally it will be pretty slimy or muddy on the outside. Many RVers use a charcoal filter on the shore water hose in addition to the sediment filter (and some use two sediment filters). We do not use a filter on the incoming water as charcoal filters remove chlorine, and we prefer to have chlorinated water in our fresh water tank. When using a water filter outside, it is good to keep it shaded if possible. We can normally do that by lying it under the motorhome out of the sun.
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