RV Pump Overheating and Shutting Down? Check this

A working RV pump can the difference in having a memorable experience when out dry camping.

There are always the little things that you may take for granted.

Take for instance, turning on the shower or faucet and knowing that you’ll have good water pressure for as long as you need it – thanks to your RV pump.

But just like most things in life, there’ll always be that one time when equipment fails to work as expected, for example, – the water pump shuts off as you use it.

You touch it and find it extremely hot to touch.

Does that mean that you need a new pump and the current one is on its way out?

What else might cause an RV pump to overheat and shut off?

Read on to find out what may cause your water pump to overheat, and shut off and what you may be able to do to get it working again.

Why your RV pump shuts off when hot?

The motors in the pump usually have an inbuilt safety feature – the thermal overload switch that cuts off the current flow to the motor should its temperature exceed the safe operating level.

This protects the motor from burning out.

The overload then resets allowing the pump to resume running when the temperature levels are within the safe zone again.

Why your RV pump may be overheating and How you can fix it

Your water pump should be warm to the touch when running.

If it’s hot to the touch then there is a problem and several possibilities that you can look into.

They are in two groups – likely causes for an existing pump and a new pump install.

This has been done to help you quickly pick out the ones that are likely to apply to your situation faster.

Note, some may seem obvious but you can’t imagine how many hours are usually wasted when the obvious is ignored and the focus is directed to the more complex issues.

Existing pump

#1. The pump is poorly ventilated. Check and make sure that the pump is well ventilated.

Motors generate heat as they run, and form the electrical resistance and friction from the rotation of the motor and pump bearings.

With good airflow around the motor housing, the motor/pump remains cool to the touch.

Should the pump be installed in a poorly ventilated space, the temperature can build up to an excessive level shutting off the pump.

Fix: Remove any obstructions that may be restricting good airflow around the pump.

Run it again and see if the problem is solved or not.

#2. Blocked inlet filter that slows down water flow. Inspect the inlet filter to the pump and remove any residue that may be blocking water flow into the pump.

Blockages in the pump inlet can cause the pump to run dry and overheat.

#3. The pump may be faulty. A pump on its way out can heat up more than usual.

If the wiring, connections, and water flow are checked and confirmed as working as expected yet the pump is heating up then there is a strong possibility that the motor is about to fail.

Fix. Consider replacing the pump.

#4. Loose wire connections at the motor.

Loosely fitting cable connections can spark, create a high resistance and voltage drop at the motor connections.

This lowers the voltage drop at the motor which can result in a high current draw than the motor can handle causing high temperatures.

Fix: Following the recommended safety precautions, open the motor connections box.

Tighten any loose cable connections. Confirm that the wire connections to the motor are firm and clean.

#5. Pressure switch is faulty

Is the pump pumping when the faucets are closed? A functional pressure switch turns on the faucet when a faucet or shower is turned on.

It detects a drop in water pressure when a faucet or shower is turned on and starts the pump.

If faulty, the pump may continue running even when all the faucets are turned off.

You can listen for the motor hum when the faucets are closed to confirm if this is the case.

New pump

#1. You may have loose wire connections at the motor. Loosely fitting wires can cause the motor to overheat. You can find out more here.

Replace the pumps with the recommended capacity and wattage to avoid stressing the rig’s wiring.

#2. Undersized water pump. Is the new pump capacity smaller than what is recommended for your rig?

Is the new pump able to meet the water demand requirements? An undersized pump will not be able to meet the flow requirements and can overheat.

Fix: Confirm the recommended pump specifications and if undersized, replace with one that matches the water flow requirements of the RV.

#3. Blocked water inlet into the pump. Check the pump inlet for any restrictions that may be clogging the filter screen.

Low water flow to the pump, can cause it to run dry and overheat if run for extended periods.

Fix: Inspect the pump inlet screen and remove any debris that may be blocking water flow to the pump

#4. Faulty pump. A faulty pump may also overheat on its own. Read more here.

Final Thoughts

If your RV’s water pump is overheating and shutting down, if it’s a new installation, you’d want to confirm that the cable connections to the motor, and pump sizing for the rig are what is recommended.

For existing pump installations, a good first step is to confirm that the pump is well ventilated, the inlet screen is clear, and allows good water flow.

It is also possible that the pump is failing and needs to be replaced!

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