RV Water Pump Troubleshooting – Clean the Screen!

Spread the love

There are two issues that can affect the performance of an RV water pump: a dirty rv water pump filter screen, and a contaminated fresh water RV system.  This RV water pump troubleshooting method will give you a starting point in helping to diagnose a problem you may be having in your RV.

The first thing you need to do is locate your RV water pump.  Some RV manufacturers locate their RV water pumps inside the RV while others will locate them in a storage bin outside the RV.  If you have never searched for your water pump before, you may have to do some real investigation to find it.

What does the RV water pump look like?

rv water pump troubleshooting

A Typical SHURflo RV Water Pump

I don’t know why, but RV manufacturers like to hide RV water pumps, even though RV owners like us need easy access to service them.  I found mine by turning on the RV water pump and tracing the distinct noise it makes when being used.  I found mine buried underneath the kitchen counter with no way to get to it.  I had to remove a cabinet panel and make a door out of it.  That also gave me future access for the maintenance I am describing here.

Okay, once you located it, the rest of your RV water pump troubleshooting process is easy!

Hopefully you will be able to access the pump well enough so that it will be fairly easy to disconnect the fresh water tank supply line and allow you to remove the RV water pump screen assembly so that you can clean it out. But before you do that, be sure to have your RV unhooked from city water, and also be sure the water pump is off. Turn on a faucet and relieve pressure in the water system.

If you have the new clear filter assembly, all you need to do is unscrew the bottom screen housing to access the screen for cleaning.

rv water pump troubleshooting

Older Style Filter Screen Assembly

If you have the semi-clear filter housing you will need to remove the fresh water supply line coming from the fresh water tank.  It will be attached to the filter screen assembly.  You may get a little residual water come out from what was left in the supply line.  Now that the supply hose is removed, unscrew the filter assembly from the RV water pump housing.  You will need to do that in order to get the screen out to clean it.

rv water pump troubleshooting

If you have the older style like the one shown above, open it by turning the threaded male end counter clockwise to allow the two parts to separate from each other. Once you have your filter assembly apart you can push the screen out from the female threaded end and clean the screen. Take it outside and rinse it with water to get all the particles out.  Once you have done that, reassemble the filter, and attach it back to the RV water pump.

This will be the first step in assuring that your RV water pump is running at its best!  The next issue that I will deal with, in another section of RV water pump troubleshooting, is sanitizing the RV fresh water system.

If you are an occasional RV-er, this should be done at the start and end of your RV season.  If you enjoy full time RV living, then a good rule of thumb is to sanitize the fresh water system every six months.

Please look for my next page on this subject!  It is very important to the health of your RV water pump!

Please leave a comment before you check out another post, or pose a question if we can be of assistance!

Blessings in your RV adventures!
Howard and Pam


Skip to comment form

    • Kristen on May 2, 2022 at 9:39 PM
    • Reply

    Thank you for your post. I’m wondering if you might be able to help. I have a brand new Apex Nano 2022 194bhs. Water works just fine when connected to city water. But the pump doesn’t seem to be pulling from the fresh water tank at all (when we disconnect city water; fresh tank is nearly full). I used the antifreeze hose to test the pull from the pump and it didn’t suck up a darn drop. The pump does come on and vibrate. I tried priming the pump by leaving the cold water taps open, and still nothing. The pump itself is pretty difficult to get to, under the bunk. I’m a bit nervous to just start unscrewing things. If it makes a difference, I can see the screen clearly, and there condensenation in it, but no water. It’s also upside down from the photo you show in your article… we also don’t have hot water. I have opened and closed all of the valves multiple times with no luck. any ideas?

    1. Hi Kristen! I would get a mobile tech to come out and take a look for you. There can be many things going on there. Check rvtaa.org to locate a tech in your area.

    • Debbie on October 31, 2021 at 10:13 AM
    • Reply

    My Shurflo was working fine yesterday, but now is making what can best be described as a machine gun sound with very low water pressure. My water tank is full as I’m boondocking, and my question is can I go ahead and remove the screen/filter to check it with a full water tank? I would expect some water to come out when removing the filter, but am not in a position to dump the entire tank at this time to work on it. Thanks!

    1. Yes, you can, just be sure the pump is off and the pressure is released in the water system.

    • Tom Byrne on July 31, 2021 at 3:14 PM
    • Reply

    My fresh water tank fills and overdoes when hooked to city water. I turned a toggle switch down at the pump to see if that helps. Now water leaks from the antifreeze fill! This problem just started. Thanks for any help!

    1. Hi Tom! Is that the Anderson fresh water tank valve?

    • Karin Brown on May 6, 2021 at 10:02 PM
    • Reply

    We have a 2018 coachman freedom express.
    Just turned on the water pump to prep for our first camping trip. The pump is pouring water from behind the pump where it’s mounted to the wall. If you turn on the water to the faucet, there is pressure and water comes out.
    Not sure why the pump is leaking. Do you think it’s a seal? Broken valve?

    1. Hi Karin!

      I would take a flashlight and inspection mirror, and with the pump on, try to see where the water may be leaking from the pump. It’s probably a small leak given the pump is working. It is not uncommon over time for small leaks to develop.

  1. I recently cleaned my fresh water tank with Bleach now my waterpump is very loud. Could I have damaged the diaphragm using too much Bleach or freed up some contaminates to cause the extra noise.

    1. Tony, how much bleach did you use and how many gallons is your freshwater tank?

    • Virgil Hatley on March 19, 2021 at 8:26 PM
    • Reply

    If I have no noise when the pump should make noise and there is power to the pump would you suspect maybe the pump is done?

    1. Hi Virgil!

      There could be many reasons for this. But, the first thing to check is if the pump is receiving 12-volt power.

    • Andrew Bowdle on March 2, 2021 at 2:33 PM
    • Reply

    Hi, what a wonderful, unexpected site to stumble upon. Bless you for your wisdom when it come to RV’s and water system issues.

    We have a New 2020 Nexus 33DS Ghost rig, from the day we purchased it we’ve had clogging issues. There’s a whitish/ greyish granular substance that’s clogging the screens at faucet points, and toilet during dry camping mode only. we were told at Motorhome Specialist repair shop the water filter was clogged, they said they clearing it. We’ve had it in for repair 3 times, out of the times we’ve been told it’s was flushed the fresh water system 2 X’s. The other attempts we think they only cleaned the screens. It’s still clogging. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Andrew!

      I would have to wonder have they really flushed the system? Can you do that yourself? With good city water pressure of 60 psi, run each faucet for a bit and see if you get any more residue to appear. Of course, remove the faucet screens before you do that. Do each faucet, one at a time, and see if you can’t clear up the problem yourself. Try using hot water too. Also, are you using a good quality water filter? Is it an internal unit or one you are attaching to your city water hose? Does this happen using the city water system and the onboard water system? In other words, is the substance coming from the freshwater tank?

    • Robin on June 21, 2020 at 5:11 AM
    • Reply

    I have a 2012 Sportsman Classic I just bought. I took it out for the first time and found water leaking I assume from the pump. It is wet all around the pump but no where else. Noticed it leaked with the water pump switch on and the pump not engaged (the pump not pumping). But when the switch is off appears no leaking. Does not seem to matter if hooked to city water or not. I cannot hear the pump go on at all when the leaking occurs. The pump goes on when the faucet is turned on as it should but I forget and leave the switch to the pump on there is water all around the pump. Thank you so much for your expertise and willingness to help

    1. Hi Robin!

      The best thing to do would be to turn the pump on and watch it for a while. It may be a very small leak at the pump head. They do fail and have to be replaced. They are not expensive and are easy to replace.

    • Randall Cramer on December 4, 2019 at 6:05 PM
    • Reply

    Hi Howard. Thank you in advance for kindly taking the time to answer so many questions. It is very kind ?

    So quickly, we live full time in a 2001 Alpenlite rig. We keep the water pump turned off with the use of just city water. A month ago I noticed the pump started coming on when only the hot water was in use. The pump switches are still turned off.
    What causes this and is it OK to just disconnect power to/at the pump directly?

    Thank you again

    1. Hi Randall!

      Thanks for stopping by our website!

      That is a unique situation! The only thing the water heater and the water pump have in common is that they both need 12 volts to operate. Is it possible that there is a short somewhere that is allowing the pump to get power when the water heater is operational? The water heater needs 12-volt power to run the control board that allows the water heater to work.

      Right off the top of my head that is the only thing I can come up with. If you want to immediately stop the pump from running just pull one of the 12-volt wires from the pump head. That will cut its power.

    • John James on November 10, 2019 at 12:16 AM
    • Reply

    Our water pump sounds like it is running but no water is coming out of ANY of the taps or shower. For a while before, it was quite loud and had lots of clunking etc. we have a new battery so the power is good. The filter is clean. I am thinking the water pump needs replacing?

    1. Hi John!

      If there is plenty of water in the fresh tank, and it is making that much noise, the pump head might be deteriorated enough that it is not developing enough pressure to move water through the plumbing system. An RV water pump is not that expensive and replacing it is an easy first shot at fixing the problem.

      Keep us posted!

    • Hal Matthews on November 8, 2019 at 10:58 PM
    • Reply

    I have a 2013 Keystone Bullet. On our last camping trip after filling fresh water tank it took several minutes for pump to shut off. This was our fourth camping trip this year but the first time this happen. Then when I went to winterize it I had put 8 gallons of rv antifreeze in the tank. After I couldn’t get water flow I decided to replace the pump with a new one. With the new pump was able to get some antifreeze to flow but couldn’t get air out of system. Does the hose from the tank to the pump go to the bottom of the tank?

    1. In my experience of visually verifying RV plumbing around the freshwater tank, yes. It only makes sense to tap it at the bottom in order to be able to use all the water in it.

    • Angie Peirce on November 8, 2019 at 10:33 AM
    • Reply

    Not screen related but need help! We connected the water hose as usual and have the valve lever set to go directly to the RV. Water is going into the RV and the fresh water tank. Is there something I can tighten to stop the flow to the tank? We turned off the water and used what was in the tank last night.

    1. Hi Angie!

      There are two possible issues here: the one-way valve for the fresh water tank has failed or the freshwater tank fill valve is allowing water to bypass the valve and fill the tank when hooked to a city water supply. If you have the plastic Andersen valve that could be a possibility. We had an RV that the water pump failed and allowed water to bypass it and fill the freshwater tank.

    • Vivian Black on October 31, 2019 at 9:37 PM
    • Reply

    I love your tip about making sure that you sanitize the pump system. My husband and I are moving to Spokane, WA and we are looking for ways to maintain our pumps in our home and our RV. We will keep these tips in mind in addition to hiring a professional to help us.

    • Mike on October 31, 2019 at 4:21 PM
    • Reply

    Hi I’m needing help I live in my 99 bounder it dropped to 10 degrees other night I’ve got water to flow but it acts like it has air I mean a lot in system. Is pump failing ?? Don’t seem to be able to fill water heater. Please help

    1. Hi Mike!

      Are you trying to run the water system on city water or strictly from the onboard water pump and freshwater tank?

    • william keldsen on October 13, 2019 at 3:16 PM
    • Reply

    Thank you for solving my problem. All I needed was the title of this article to solve my low pressure problem! Thanks!

    1. Awesome William! Thanks for stopping by! So glad we could help you with your RV water pump issue.

    • Terry Youngman on October 1, 2019 at 9:08 AM
    • Reply

    My fresh water tank is full, I turn on my pump and bleed all my lines until I get a good flow thru all. When I run water (hot or cold) thru kitchen sink, shower and toilet, pump runs good and shuts off like it should, but when I run water thru bathroom sink, pump studders, bump, bump, bump at low or wide open pressure before shutting off. My question, why does it do this only in bathroom sink. My pump is a Shurflo Model w/pump 4008-101-A65
    2019 Artic Wolf, 5th wheel.

    1. Hi Terry!

      All I can think of is that you have a clog of some kind at the faucet or in the lines leading to the faucet. Have you checked the screen at the faucet output? This is a new RV and should be under warranty.

    • Kevin Stevens on August 28, 2019 at 2:37 PM
    • Reply

    I have a 2011 Keystone Passport and the water pump runs constantly. I’ve tried everything I can think of. Doesn’t seem to be any air in the system. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Kevin!

      I am sure you have enough water in the tank, but I have to mention it anyway. Start with the simple things first. Is tank water actually reaching the pump? With the pump on does water come out of the city water connection? How about the winterizing system? Try filling the water tank to full just for grins. Also, lower the pump pressure setting to see if that gets it to cycle off.

    • Janet on July 25, 2019 at 12:25 PM
    • Reply

    I have a 2017 Outback Rv and my pump is different from this one you are showing. I can’t find the screen to the filter or if it has one we have only used this rv once before. HELP!!!

    1. Hi Janet!

      What model make and model pump do you have?

    • Paula Shingleton on July 8, 2019 at 11:36 AM
    • Reply

    The water pump in our 2018 Keystone Bullet Ultralite is off & connected to city water, but still runs after a commode oo water runs. What is wrong?

    1. Hi Paula!

      If a pump is switched on while hooked to city water and it runs when there is water usage, then it is trying to keep the pressure that the pump is set at. If it is switched off like you say it is, and it runs after flushing the toilet, to me that would mean the pump is not off and the switch may need to be checked to see if it is wired correctly or need replacement.

    • Chris on June 17, 2019 at 1:34 PM
    • Reply

    Howard, it seems that my water tank is filling when I use the city water connection and the running over into the overflow … is there a valve that I need to shut off that I am missing?

    1. Hi Chris!

      Some RV’s have a fill tank valve that is located near the city water connection. It is possible that these can go bad and allow water through to fill the fresh water tank, even when closed. The other possibility is that the one-way valve from the fresh water tank has failed and it is now allowing water to go back through it into the fresh water tank, thereby filling it, when you are connected to city water.

      I hope that helps!!

        • Kathy on September 26, 2019 at 12:28 PM
        • Reply

        We had the same problem this past weekend on our 2018 Rockwood Signature Fifth Wheel. We have a Shurflo 4008 RV Revolution By-Pass Pump. When connected to city water, our fresh water tank filled and water came out of the over-flow. When not connected to city water, we’ve noticed the pump will occasionally cycle every now and then. However, no leaks were found. I’m wondering if Chris solved his problem? Suggestions please? Thanks!

        1. Hi Kathy!

          We had this happen on our motorhome. My first thought was to replace the freshwater tank fill valve thinking it was letting water pass through to the fresh tank even when switched over to the city water bypass. That did not work.

          Looking at the interior plumbing to the water pump, it became clear to me that the water pump was possibly letting water by. So we replaced it and then the problem stopped.

            • Kathy on September 26, 2019 at 7:44 PM

            Do I understand correctly, you replaced the whole water pump? Thank you for your response.

            • Howard on September 26, 2019 at 7:46 PM

            Yes, they are not that expensive! I kept the replaced one as a backup in case of pump failure until I could get another one.

            • Kathy on September 26, 2019 at 8:42 PM

            I was thinki
            ng the same thing!! Thanks for your help!!

            • Howard on September 27, 2019 at 12:13 PM

            You are welcome, Kathy!

    • Bert G on June 14, 2019 at 9:44 PM
    • Reply

    My water pump when it first comes on after an overnight shutoff, runs for about 20 seconds and then shuts off. It will start spontaneously, about every 5 minutes, and run for about 5 seconds.
    Do you think its just a clean out? Or is it more than that?

    1. Hi Bert!

      That issue could be a pump problem or that you have a small leak in the system. The pump is trying to maintain pressure, so when it runs periodically it could be a small water leak.

      Be sure the pump is clean and properly adjusted and see if that corrects the problem. If not, start searching for evidence of water.

    • Donna on February 10, 2019 at 5:09 PM
    • Reply

    Hi. Thanks for info. I have several issues with my camper. We are newbies to this camping thing but we love it so far!
    Here are my issues….

    Water smells
    Can’t find fresh water tank
    Low water pressure
    Does water go thru fresh water tank to supply camper?

    Thank you for your help!

    1. Hi Donna!

      Thanks for stopping by! In answer to your questions:

      Water smells: is this water from the onboard water system or from the city water connection?
      Can’t find fresh water tank: depending on the RV you have, the tank is located either below the bed or below the floor in the frame assembly. Most times they are not visible or only part of the tank is visible.
      Low water pressure: Is there an inline water filter that needs changing? Are you using a water regulator? Have you checked the water pressure at the RV [ark water supply? 60 psi is usually the maximum that is recommended and the cheap water regulators put out 40 psi.
      Does water go thru fresh water tank to supply camper?: you have two sources for water, the city water connection or the fresh water tank. If you are on city water the fresh tank is eliminated from the incoming water supply.

    • Dahr-wynn on February 9, 2019 at 10:33 PM
    • Reply

    Thank you for your website information!
    I have a 2002 Itasca class C. Since I’m using it in freezing temperatures, a friend suggested I use a gallon of cheap vodka as antifreeze in my water tank. I never drink water from the tank, so I tried it. Unfortunately, the pump started making a lot of noise and the water is coming out frothy. I don’t know if they’re related. I’m going to check the pump filter. Just wanted to ask you if you know that might damage the pump somehow.

    1. Hi Dahr-wynn!

      Unfortunately listening to friends with “cheap” ways to accomplish RV tasks can wind up costing you money. I have never heard of adding cheap vodka to the fresh water tank to winterize an RV’s water system. However, that is alcohol, and to me, that seems like that would degrade the internal rubber parts of the water pump depending on how much was used. That’s all I can think of that might have happened. Fortunately, water pumps are cheap, and if it is the original replacement may be in order anyway.

    • Debbie on October 15, 2018 at 7:12 PM
    • Reply

    We have one of the old filtr screen assembly that you have shown on your website. Ours looks exactly like that. Do you have a part # for the replacement one

    1. Hi Debbie!

      If you will Google search “Shur Flo water pump parts” you will find what you are looking for. I found them on Amazon.

    • Luke on September 9, 2018 at 10:24 PM
    • Reply

    I have a new RV with a Shurflo pump. Was fine for approximately one full tank of 45 gallons. Then we hooked up to camp ground water. That went fine, too. But when we left the campground and went back to our tank water, the pump was WAY LOUDER and seems to be struggling. Sounds like a motorboat. I did everything possible to secure it down tightly, make sure nothing is touching it, and all water lines near the pump are now covered with foam insulation and secured down to remove shaking. Still, the pump labors on and makes a horrible sound. A quick visual on the filter and it looked clear. Water pressure at the faucet, toilet, sink, and shower is not bad. Outdoor shower is very poor. What to do next?

    1. Hi Luke!

      If it’s a new RV I would take it back to the dealer for warranty work.

    • Linda Blakney on August 16, 2018 at 3:16 PM
    • Reply

    My water pump is running and the filter is clean but no water is coming out of faucets. Could my pump have debris in it? Is there a way to clean it out of the pump or do I have to replace the pump? I have an Artis Products power drive series one automatic water system pump.

    1. Hi Linda!

      Thanks for stopping by our website!

      How old is the water pump? Has it had much use? Have you kept the fresh water tank sanitized?

    • Karen on August 11, 2018 at 8:23 PM
    • Reply

    Can you please tell me where I can get a replacement? The threads on mine are broken and it’s leaking so I’m trying to find another strainer for it. I’ve found nothing so far either at camping world or online. The water pump itself works fine just leaking because of strainer.

    Thanks for help!

    1. Hi Karen!

      If the pump is made by Shurflo, call them directly to see if they can send you a replacement for your pump model. I was able to find parts on Amazon.

    • Veronica on July 11, 2018 at 8:47 PM
    • Reply

    Our pump continually runs and we get zero water through the taps. We have just started to use our water pump after not using it for a few years. We discovered a really nasty smell and discovered really gross nastiness when we decided to clean/drain the holding tank. We think we may have plugged the pump..hence the continuous running of the pump. We are going to try to access the pump filter and clean it! Do you have any other suggestions or advice?

    1. Hi Veronica!

      From what you are describing, if you have enough water in the tank, but no water coming out of the faucet, it is either clogged, or it is time to replace the pump. We had to do that recently after three years of full time RV living use. THe pump ran, the screen was clean, but the pump was not developing enough suction to provide water to faucets.

    • Robert E Hamilton on June 1, 2018 at 7:30 PM
    • Reply

    where is the location of fresh water pump on a 2004 sportcoach cross country by coachman

    1. Hi Robert!

      Thanks for stopping by our website!

      I don’t know the specific location for that model, but if you are asking I am assuming it is not working. Otherwise, when I want to find them when inspecting RV’s, I turn on the pump and a faucet and listen for the sound and chase it down that way.

      Water pumps are usually located near the plumbing bay where the water comes in. It may be in one of the outside bays or they may have placed it inside under a cabinet or bed. Follow the plumbing from the plumbing bay and you will find it.

    • Lolita McCarthy on April 26, 2018 at 9:36 PM
    • Reply

    Where can I find another old school Water shurflow filter? Mine is cracked and leaks water! What is the price??

    1. Hi Lolita!

      Thanks for stopping by our website!

      Can you tell me the model number and possibly the age of the pump from the manufacturer date stamped on it?

    • Sandy Mae Wine on November 22, 2017 at 10:48 AM
    • Reply

    Have just recently had to use the water pump this year it cuts off and on and water gets cold when its on and when it cuts off hot water again. Not sure what our problem is but in need of answers for a hot shower that stays hot lol not a happy person with cold shower and then it gets hot again help us plz

    1. Hi Sandy!

      I have to say I have never heard of this one before! I would start by checking the connections to the water pump. We had a loose wire create some issues of intermittent water pump service. The hot and cold water issue may just be coincidental.

    • SpringerPop on October 26, 2016 at 7:30 PM
    • Reply


    New to us, a 2004 Terry 250RKS. Pump is under a panel at the bottom of a kitchen cabinet.

    Since it is difficult to access (well, not really, let’s say “inconvenient”) I suspected that the unit might not have been maintained regularly. Boy, was I right!

    It has the old-style screen, and after a casual look I had absolutely no idea just how MUCH crud there was inside of it! My wife almost gagged! :-))

    Thanks for such complete instructions, as it isn’t obvious at first that the screen housing simply un-threads from the pump inlet.

    It’s all better now, though I am now looking at doing a heavy bleach wash-down of the fresh water tank.

    Best regards!


    1. Thanks for stopping by our website Pop! Pam and I are glad we were able to help!! Enjoy your RV travels!

    • Betty on July 21, 2016 at 12:21 AM
    • Reply

    Instruction book says to push in and turn filter 1/4 turn counterclockwise to release clips. Tried several times, does not work. Ideas?

    1. Hi, Betty!

      If it has been awhile since the filter assembly has been removed, it may be calcified and a little stubborn. If yours is the kind that does not need the intake water line be removed, be sure the pressure on the pump is released by shutting off all water sources and open a faucet to relieve pressure in the system. Then get a good hold on the pump assembly and try again. Maybe a rubber jar opener pad will help you get a better grip on it.

      If you just can’t get it open or break it in the effort, they are easy to get replacement parts at any reputable RV supply center.

      Good luck!!

    • balmer in Charlotte Mich. on June 21, 2016 at 5:45 PM
    • Reply

    Mr Howard.,
    Dito ……worked for me too. EASY! Thanks

    1. Glad to hear that! Thanks for letting us know!!

    • Sylvia Jordan on May 29, 2016 at 3:16 PM
    • Reply

    I got the screen assembly turned out, & thought I could see the correct direction to turn the connection cover. However it would not unscrew. I am always afraid of applying too much pressure. You confirmed that it is counter clockwise, so I tried again & voila, it unscrewed. I rinsed the screen & entire inside area & used an old toothbrush to make sure it was clean. Thanks for the info & assistance. I have noted your website for future reference.
    Sylvia in Milwaukee

    1. Thanks for visiting our website Slyvia!

      I am so glad our information was able to help you out.

      Happy RV travels!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

error: Content is protected !!