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Old 06-15-2024, 01:00 PM   #1
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Throbbing water pump when not in use

Last trip someone (nameless) left the pump on and when we got home the kitchen faucet somehow got jostled open and drained the fresh tank. Iím guessing the pump ran an hour or more dry. I refilled the tank and confirmed it was still working. However weíre out on our next trip and switching on the pump it makes a pulsating sound without any water demand. Still works but we have to turn it off or itís very annoying. Do I need to replace it?
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Old 06-15-2024, 01:09 PM   #2
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Your tank may be trying to pressurize and/or fill your hot water tank.

Might open your spigot to hot and cold water and let it run a bit, also flush your toilet.

Maggie
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Old 06-15-2024, 01:21 PM   #3
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Thanks, I should add we ran all the fresh water spigots and toilet for a while and didn’t make a difference. We have a tankless hot water heater. But I’ll give it a whirl.
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Old 06-15-2024, 02:07 PM   #4
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Running your tank dry should not do any lasting harm to the pump. I once did this with my old tent trailer. Left the fishing spot and drove about 4 hours. When I got home I heard the pump running. I turned it off and never had any trouble with it every again. If you get air into your lines, or hot water system, this could be the cause.
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Old 06-15-2024, 06:02 PM   #5
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I think there is a pressure check valve that you can either clean or replace.


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Old 06-15-2024, 09:27 PM   #6
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Jeff, have you tried snugging up the water line fittings on the pump? It's possible one loosened up while the pump was running dry. Doesn't take much for the system to leak down and fire up the pump to pressurize it again.

Also, another reason to consider an IRVWPC intelligent water pump controller. It has several safety features like a dry run shutoff. I installed one last year and have enjoyed the quiet running even at a trickle.
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Old 06-16-2024, 10:35 AM   #7
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Hi

If it's running with no (obvious) demand, there are two possibilities ....

1) There actually *is* a demand ( = you have a leak ).

2) The pressure detector on the pump no longer does its job properly ( = replace the pump ). Simple (ok, not so simple) check: Cap the pump output and see if it still has issues.

Fortunately, pumps are in the "cheaper" category of parts that may need replacing ....

Bob
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Old 06-16-2024, 11:32 AM   #8
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I had a similar problem. I didn’t mess with it, took the trailer on a trip, and after it was jostled a bit the problem no longer occurred. It could easily be air in the line not shutting off the pressure switch. But as said above it could be a leak. It could be a bad pressure switch. Check the first 2. Then consider getting a different pump if it continues. Not that expensive to get and easy to replace. I have an extra pump that I bought just in case the pump goes bad.
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Old 06-16-2024, 01:18 PM   #9
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How often does it make the sound? That will help tell if it's air in some of the water lines or a slow leak.

One place that I've found a slow leak is at the drain plug and/or the overpressure valve on the hot water heater. I done you have tankless, so that won't apply to you, but it may be helpful to someone else reading this thread.
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Old 06-16-2024, 01:37 PM   #10
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Jeff,

You have a lot of good suggestions to resolve the problem with your pump. When you get the current issue resolved I would defiantly take a look at the IRVWPC controller. It may prevent similar problems in the future. Plus it makes the pump run so much quieter.
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Old 06-16-2024, 01:39 PM   #11
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I bet the pressure switch is going bad. Very easy to test. Pull it off by removing the three screws. Connect your meter and ohm it out. With the switch out it should read zero. Push in the switch and it should read open. Anything in between and the switch is bad.

Just went through this myself. Never gave the pulsing much thought until the switch completely failed.
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Old 06-16-2024, 09:49 PM   #12
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Air in the system

I did that on purpose ONCE and only ONCE as i ingested so much air into everything it was not a Happy System. I have a IRVWPC but even it was NOT a Happy Camper when I emptied the fresh water tank.


That said lesson learned I did a reset on the IRVWPC and it was calmed down about a day later. Air was in the system had to work it's way out. That Girard is also a bad boy it gets air locked easy, Takes a while to work its way out.
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Old 06-17-2024, 08:20 AM   #13
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Thanks for the suggestions! I hope to get to it later today. I have to tunnel under the refrigerator to get to it. It's not very convenient. I'll check for leaks and the pressure switch. A IRVWPC was on the upgrade list and I've been given authority to make the upgrade, so I'll mess with that while I have it apart. Or is there a variable speed pump I can replace the stock pump with?
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Old 06-19-2024, 01:23 PM   #14
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There's this one:
Quote:
Smooth flow and reduced cycling with Flow Reaction TechnologyĀô. this High-Flow Revolution pump has a modern green design for reduction of hazardous waste and power consumption. Meets CSA, CE, e-Mark and C-Tick standards. 2 year warranty. Quiet and reliable. Reduced cycling with patent-pending Flow Reaction Technologyô. 4 GPM and 55 PSI high performance. 4900 and 5900 smart sensor replacement. Automatic thermal overload protection. Runs dry without damage. Built-in check valve prevents backflow. Dry primes to 6 vertical feet. Automatic demand.
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Old 06-30-2024, 06:03 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bel73 View Post
I bet the pressure switch is going bad. Very easy to test. Pull it off by removing the three screws. Connect your meter and ohm it out. With the switch out it should read zero. Push in the switch and it should read open. Anything in between and the switch is bad.

Just went through this myself. Never gave the pulsing much thought until the switch completely failed.
Finally got around to checking it out. First in our 2023 25FBT the water pump is almost impossible to get to. It's screwed to the floor and straddles two access points. Two of the screws I had to unscrew blind and could barely reach. That said, I got it out* and tested the pressure switch and it checks out. The switch requires quite a bit of force to push the button, is that normal?

We're going on a trip this weekend so I'm just going to order another pump instead of messing with the switch. I still don't know if a fancier variable speed pump would work instead of the IRVWPC.

*Not sure how it's going back in but might involve mounting it to a board and Velcro.
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Old 06-30-2024, 07:32 PM   #16
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I tried the @UB pressure detector test and it does not shut off when I block the output. So, I ordered a pressure switch on Amazon. I'll try that first or maybe it sounds like I just need to replace the thing.
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Old 07-01-2024, 01:03 PM   #17
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Quote:
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I tried the @UB pressure detector test and it does not shut off when I block the output. So, I ordered a pressure switch on Amazon. I'll try that first or maybe it sounds like I just need to replace the thing.
Well, the new switch didn't fix the problem. It's not clear to me how it works, but there's a membrane that activates the switch that doesn't seem to be doing its job. It's not looking like a new pump can get here in time so might have to use the "always on" broken pump.
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Old 07-01-2024, 09:34 PM   #18
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I accidentally let our Breville Espresso machine run dry. Caught it right away, but the pump never sounded the same again. Sounds like it's about to explode when it first starts. Not sure if those pumps have anything in common or not but that's my experience.
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Old 07-02-2024, 12:38 PM   #19
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Hi

The stock water pumps on the typical AS are quite tolerant of running dry. As long as you are talking about minutes rather than hours or days, they should handle it pretty well.

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Old 07-02-2024, 12:51 PM   #20
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The typical water pump in an RV, including an Airstream, is a diaphragm pump. This type of pump does not use the water its pumping to cool the pump or the pump motor. The motor and its bearings are dry, and only the wet side of the diaphragm is in contact with the water being pumped. In theory running dry will have no ill effects.

When we had the leak which drained 70 gallons of fresh water onto our bathroom floor in a previous motorhome, the pump ran for another hour or so before we returned to see the problem. That pump continued to run for years after that without a problem.

The fact that the pump tries to run when no water is being called for leads me to believe that the pressure switch has failed or is clogged in some way. There are rebuild kits for these pumps and the pressure switches can be replaced, but in my experience the pumps are cheap enough to just get a new one and be done with it.
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