When it comes time to replace or upgrade a 12-volt DC demand water pump, the market is flooded with good choices
Water is the lifeblood of any RV. Owners rely on water to take showers, flush the toilet and wash dishes, just to name the obvious. When hooked up in an RV park, water flows freely to all the fixtures, but on the road or in a primitive environment, the onboard demand water pump is called into service to pressurize the system and distribute the wet stuff throughout the RV.
Keep the Water Flowing
For a refresher course on how to inspect and maintain demand water pumps, visit MotorHome Magazine website.
Quintessential water pumps have evolved over the years, but the basic design remains: a diaphragm-driven pump provides approximately 45 to 50 psi of water pressure throughout the system on demand, and a pressure switch idles the pump until water flow is desired.
Water stored in a nonpressurized storage tank mounted under or inside the RV is pulled through the inlet side of the pump and pushed out the outlet through the system of pipes routed to the faucets and appliances. All RVs with a water system are fitted with a demand pump as part of the standard-equipment package, and switches can be found typically in
the galley, bathroom and/or outside utility compartment.
Most factory-installed pumps are rated to flow between 2 and 3 gallons per minute (gpm), which is usually enough to produce a decent flow through the faucets and showerhead. Pumps with higher flow rates (4 to 5 gpm) can be employed in RVs with longer runs of pipe and are generally available as an aftermarket option.
Pumps with adequate filters and that have been exercised regularly will usually last a long time. Fortunately, a number of demand pumps are available through RV retailers that are perfect replacements, and the good news is that swapping out a water pump is an easy process, as long as there is proper access.
The following is a roundup of the latest demand water-pump offerings, should a replacement become necessary or an upgrade be desired.
Shurflo, under the Pentair corporate banner, is a major supplier to the RV industry, and its demand water pumps have been installed in all classes of RVs since 1968. After discontinuing the Classic and Extreme series product lines, Shurflo has realigned its water-pump offerings and now markets them under the Revolution and High Flow nameplates.
The new pumps have a one-piece diaphragm and an internal bypass, and are designed to offer low-noise operation without rapid cycling. The pumps are protected thermally to prevent damage if they run dry. They can be mounted in any position and have a relatively low amp draw.
The 4008 Revolution is the company’s most popular pump, and it is rated to flow 3 gpm. This pump is commonly used by RV builders and has a strong reputation for reliability and durability. It’s relatively compact, and the pipe connections are easy to make.
For those who desire a stronger flow, the 4048 High Flow pump will fit the bill. This pump is rated to flow 4 gpm, and the physical size is just 2 inches larger than the Revolution. The High Flow pump is the logical replacement for the old Smart Sensor series models.
Shurflo/Pentair | 800-854-3218 | www.shurflo.com/rv-products/rv-pumps
Another well-known name in the RV water-pump arena is Flojet, a division of Xylem. Flojet offers a variety of models for factory and aftermarket applications. All Flojet pumps have an integrated pulsation dampener to reduce noise and cycling, and are fitted with quick-connect ports for easy installation and servicing.
Triplex series pumps are designed to handle two, three or four fixtures, respectively, and offer flow rates from 2 to 3.5 gpm. These pumps have all the bells and whistles but are primarily designed for smaller RVs. Quad series pumps can handle up to five fixtures and are commonly found in new RVs.
Next up the ladder is the 4325 Series Heavy Duty that operates at a higher pressure serving up to five fixtures. While this pump can handle larger water systems, the High Capacity RV pump operates at a much higher pressure and is available in models that flow at 4, 5 or 6 gpm. According to Flojet, High Capacity RV pumps have larger-motor brushes and a patented diaphragm that provides 50 percent longer service life than its Quad series pumps.
For more precise water flow, Flojet’s V-Flo 5.0 employs a variable-speed drive that regulates flow. Rather than a constant flow provided by standard-type pumps, this unit monitors water flow and power consumption, and automatically makes adjustments based on the position of the valve. As the faucet handle is opened, the flow of water is proportional, allowing from just a trickle to full flow, based on desire. This allows the system to operate at peak efficiency, especially when self-containment is utilized in primitive locations. Another benefit is quiet operation sans annoying hammering.
The V-Flo monitors operation status to prevent failures from dry running or electrical inconsistencies. It does require proper-gauge wiring, which may have to be upgraded if the pump is being swapped for a stock counterpart.
Flojet/Xylem | 978-281-0440
Artis Products offers three Power Drive water pumps earmarked for RVs. The top of the line, Power Drive Series 5, is a higher-flow model that works up to 70 psi, providing a strong flow of water, especially for larger systems. Like most of the other brands on the market, it uses EPDM valves, and for this model, five of them to provide upgraded efficiency and flow.
Power Drive Series 1 and 3 pumps have four valves and a 3-gpm flow rate; the Series 5 pump is rated at 5 gpm.
Giving the company bragging rights are the pumps’ low-noise and vibration operation and corrosion-resistant housing. Power Drive pumps have the same footprint as most original-equipment units, making replacement simple. Series 3 and 5 models use proprietary flow-control technology, which provides a steady flow of water at a consistent rate.
Artis Products/Arterra Distribution
574-294-8997 | www.artisproducts.com
Marketed under the PowerRV nameplate, Remco Industries offers three models of demand pumps, all with specific purposes.
Owners needing a direct-replacement pump can look to the 3200 Series for a simple retrofit. This pump has a three-chamber (valve) design and a heavy-duty motor that allows a 3-gpm flow rate. All PowerRV pumps use EPDM valves and a Santoprene diaphragm, which are commonly used throughout the industry.
The next-level pump in the Remco line is the Rebel, which is made in the USA and comes in three models with 3-, 4- and 5.3-gpm flow rates, respectively. The most popular is the 4-gpm flow rate.
All models are designed for rigorous use and duty cycles. Quick-attachment ports make water-line hookup simple.
At the top of the company’s product line is the AquaJet, which has a 20-year reputation in the field. AquaJet is a variable-speed pump that has five chambers and provides the kind of pressure demanded of high-end fifth-wheels and motorhomes. Earmarked for large systems with long runs, AquaJet models are available with 3.4- or 5.3-gpm flow rates and a maximum pressure of 65 psi.
All of the company’s pumps undergo demanding field and factory testing for performance.
Remco Industries | 800-228-2481 | www.remcoindustries.com/pump-products
Lippert Components, a giant supplier to RV manufacturers, offers a Flow Max demand pump that is tested to flow at a constant 3 gpm and at 50 psi. The company touts the Flow Max as quiet and capable of servicing larger RV water systems with multiple fixtures. Inside is a heavy-duty corrosion-resistant motor and three chambers.
The pump has been freeze/thaw tested through five two-hour cycles to ensure reliability in adverse conditions. Provided with the pump is a screen filter and the necessary connection barbs. Flow Max pumps are protected by a two-year warranty.
Flow Max/Lippert Components | 574-537-8900 | www.lci1.com/flow-max
A relative newcomer to the demand-pump scene, Seaflo markets a line
of models imported from China.
These value-priced water pumps are heavily marketed to the marine and agriculture industries, and a couple of the models in the company’s long list of offerings are directly earmarked for RVs.
The 42-Series pump is the most popular for RV installations, and for the money, carries the desired features, including a 3-gpm flow rate and suitability for up to five fixtures. The bypass technology provides a variable-flow rate, which adjusts water delivery based on demand. A Santoprene diaphragm and four chambers drive the pump to 55 psi, and a four-year warranty is designed to build consumer confidence.
For those owners needing a steadier and stronger flow for larger systems, the 51-Series pump is rated up 5.5 gpm. Considered a heavy-duty counterpart, this pump has five chambers and a higher-pressure shutoff point.
In the near future, Seaflo will be introducing a 54-Series pump with a variable-flow rate.
Seaflo Marine and RV
844-473-2356 | www.seaflousa.com
An RV/MH Hall of Fame inductee and publisher emeritus of Trailer Life and MotorHome, Bob Livingston has written countless RV technical and lifestyle articles and books, and created and appeared on the weekly television show RVtoday. A lifelong RV enthusiast, Bob now travels and lives full time with his wife, Lynne, in their fifth-wheel trailer. He continues to be a regular contributor to Trailer Life.