Is it Bad to Leave Water Pump On in RV? Water Pump Guide

RV Lifestyle


Ask any RV owner if they worry about maintenance, and they will all say yes. But what they won’t all agree on is the answer to this question: Is it bad to leave the water pump on in your RV?

This is a disagreement that hasn’t quite reached Pepsi vs. Coke conflict levels, but it’s getting there. The problem is that there isn’t a single clear answer to the question. Can I leave my RV water pump on? Sure, you can, but whether you should depends on the circumstances.

In this post, we explore those circumstances. Read on to learn when you should turn off your RV water pump and when it’s OK to leave it on.

Can I Leave My RV Water Pump On?

“Can I leave the water pump on in my RV?” is not a yes or no question. That’s because the answer is always: “It depends.” Below, we examine all the scenarios when you may want to turn the water pump off or leave it on.

During Normal Use

If you’re camping in rural Oregon or parked at an RV park while you scuba dive in the Florida Keys, it’s probably OK to leave your water pump on.

Why? Because the fresh water pump in your RV is an on-demand pump. That means it only operates when you ask it to by turning on a faucet, starting the shower, or flushing the toilet.

During Rough Travel

The debate about RV water pumps starts to get heated when you start talking about leaving the water pump on while you’re moving. That’s because plenty of RV owners share horror stories about leaving their water pumps on when changing campsites and finding a flooded RV or full grey water tank when they arrive at their new destination.

This issue is usually the result of vibrations. When you’re traveling a rough road, your faucet can rumble into the on position. The on-demand fresh water pump has no idea you’re in transit, and you have no idea the water is running. This is an example of when it’s probably best to turn your water pump off.

When Connected to City Water

If you’re in a spot with a city water connection, it’s not necessarily bad to leave your water pump on, but doing so might be wasteful. You can hook up to the city water, but if your fresh water pump is left on, it will most likely continue to pump out of your fresh water tank when you use the sink, shower, or toilet.

The only problem that is likely to cause is an empty fresh water tank, but still, it can be frustrating.

When Leaving Your RV for an Extended Amount of Time

Is it bad to leave the water pump on in an RV when you’re going to leave for an extended period of time? Not necessarily, but it’s a little bit like tempting fate. Nothing is definitely going to go wrong with your water pump if you leave it on, but leaving it on allows for the possibility of problems like leaks, floods, and drained batteries.

Should You Turn Off Your RV Water Pump? Other Considerations

Those are the main scenarios that come to most RV owners’ minds when they’re wondering whether to turn off their RV water pumps, but there are a few other considerations to keep in mind.

Sleep Problems

Depending on the make and model, some RV water pumps are loud — so loud, in fact, that they can disturb people’s sleep. If you’re a light sleeper, you may want to consider turning off your water pump at night even if you’re not worried about it causing a mechanical problem.

Possible Leaks and Malfunctions

Many RV water pumps are reliable, but there’s always the possibility that there’s something wrong with your water pump and you don’t know it. It could, for example, be throwing a small onboard leak that you won’t see until it has become a huge problem.

It’s this type of better-safe-than-sorry thinking that causes many RV owners to turn off their water pumps whenever they’re not actively using them.

Preventing Freezing

In extremely cold temperatures, many homeowners leave their faucets dripping overnight to prevent frozen pipes. The same logic applies to your RV’s water hose. Leave the faucet dripping, and a freeze is much less likely. But to do that, you’ll have to leave your water pump on.

Want To Ride in Style Without Worrying About the Water Pump?

Pepsi or Coke, Mac or PC, RV water pump on or off — that’s about where we are with this debate. It’s fun to weigh in with your opinion, but do you know what’s even more fun? Not having to worry about it at all.

That’s what you get if you get an RV rental from Cruise America. Is it bad to leave the water pump on in your RV? The answer won’t matter to you because our RVs come with user-friendly instructions and a 110-point inspection before every trip.

Ready to rent an RV? Call Cruise America at 1-800-671-8042 or contact us online today.