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The Real Reason You Need to Care About Your RV Shower Faucet

The Real Reason You Need to Care About Your RV Shower Faucet

There’s nothing quite like a hot shower at the end of a day full of adventures. However, the shower faucet you choose can make or break your ability to enjoy your shower. Most RV manufacturers put the cheapest shower heads they can find in their rigs. If you want to enjoy your shower, there’s a good chance you’re going to need to do an upgrade.

Today, we’re sharing why you should care about your RV shower faucet. Let’s dive in!

Can You Use a Regular Shower Faucet in an RV?

Years ago, manufacturers realized they could slap “RV” in front of anything and charge a premium price. While there are RV-specific shower heads, a regular residential shower head will do the job and be of higher quality. However, a standard shower faucet typically uses more water than most RV-specific models and some may not actually fit the space. Choosing an efficient shower faucet can be very important, depending on how and where you use your RV.

Lets take a look at things to consider with shower faucets and shower heads in your RV.

How to Replace an RV Shower Faucet

Why Do You Need the Right RV Shower Faucet?

The biggest reason you need the right RV shower faucet is to help manage water consumption. If you spend most of your time in RV parks or at a full hookup site, you won’t have to worry nearly as much about your water usage. In these camping situations, you’ll connect your water hose to the water source at the campsite and have a seemingly endless amount of water.

Some RVers enjoy boondocking or dry camping, where they must make their fresh water tank last as long as possible. Having the right RV shower faucet can allow them to stay clean during their adventures and extend the time between needing to fill up their fresh water tank. Accessing water can be extremely inconvenient at some campsites.

Another reason you need the right RV shower faucet is water pressure. Campgrounds are notorious for having very low and inconsistent water pressure. You may be able to take a hot shower, but a lack of water pressure will leave you disappointed or not mix water sources properly. In this case we usually end up just filling our fresh tank and showering with our pump instead.

Close up of RV shower faucet with a water saving system option
Some faucets will come with a water-saving system to help manage water consumption.

What to Consider When Selecting an RV Faucet and Shower Head

It’s not just the faucet but also the shower head that you need to consider when putting together a comfortable efficient shower. We have had 4 RV showers over the years and have made upgrades to every one of them. Let’s take a look at some of the considerations you should take into account when looking at these then we will recommend our favorite products.

Water Flow GPM

A shower faucet’s water flow GPM is the gallons per minute. This lets you know the efficiency of the shower head and how much water it will use. While there are some tricks RVers use to conserve water while showering, you want to find a shower head with a low water flow GPM. However, you still need one that delivers the water pressure you desire.

Some RV’s use a single handle mixing faucet. With this type of faucet its critical to use a shutoff or water control valve on the shower head to be able to slow the flow of water. This type of faucet does not have any control of the flow or pressure at the faucet and will usually flow at its max.

single handle faucet in RV
This is our single-handle faucet in our RV. These work well but cannot adjust the flow. Its critical to use an adjustable shutoff valve with this type of faucet.

Adjustable Spray

There’s no one-size-fits-all preference regarding how the water sprays while showering. If multiple people use your shower, there’s a good chance they’ll all have different preferences. If this is your situation, we recommend ensuring your shower faucet has several spray options. Then, whoever is showering can easily adjust the spray. 

Adjustable spray can also sometimes conserve water while providing a better showering experience. Our favorite shower head can adjust to compensate for the shower experience with lower water use.

Close up of an installed RV faucet
Replacing your RV shower faucet can improve water pressure, which will make your showers shorter in the long run.

Shutoff Valve

As we stated earlier, conserving water while in an RV can be essential in many situations. Many RV shower faucets will have a shutoff valve. This is typically a button on the handle that allows the user to quickly turn on and off the water without losing the water temperature they’ve set. RVers will use the shutoff valve to shut off the water while they lather up, which helps conserve water and makes their fresh water tank last as long as possible.

A variable shutoff valve is our favorite type. These are not just on-off but can adjust the flow to your needs. This allows you to set the desired temperature with the faucet and not mess with it. Messing with knobs to prevent freezing and scalding while adjusting the flow will end up wasting a lot of water.

Water control valve on RV shower
A bit beat up from years of use and travel, but this is the water control valve on our RV shower head.

There are RV-specific shutoff valves, but personally, we recommend sticking with a residential metal build valve. These tend to work much better and are much higher quality.

Tenfe Water Flow Control Valve for Shower Head,...
  • 【RELIABLE & LEAKPROOF】Tenfe shower flow restrictor with...
  • 【CHROME FINISH】rust-resistant, resists scratches and...
  • 【WATER FLOW CONTROLLER】can be used as shut-off valve or water...

Water Pressure

Having enough water pressure can help you shower quickly and thoroughly without wasting water. A lack of water pressure will result in you needing longer showers to rinse the soap from your hair and off your body. You’ll end up using more water to accomplish the same result.

Water pressure usually cannot be adjusted at the shower so if you have low pressure, consider using your water pump to boost pressure and use water from your tank in addition to shore water.

Length of Hose

Having a shower faucet with a long hose can help you get clean faster. If you have a long enough hose, you may even find yourself rinsing items off in your bathroom sink with the shower faucet. Having plenty of shower hose length is never a bad thing.

Material

You want to consider the type of material used to construct the shower head. Cheap RV shower faucets may do the job for a season or two. However, they’re not built to last for very long before breaking. The type of material used could also impact the color of the shower faucet. If you’re going for a certain look, choose a shower faucet made from the right materials.

Pro Tip: Use this guide on How to Upgrade Your RV Shower Head to ensure you get the perfect RV shower faucet for you!

Hand holding RV shower faucet with running water.
This is our favorite shower head! It’s not RV specific, but we have found it to be a great choice for many reasons.

PRO TIP: Our Favorite Shower Head Our personal favorite showerhead we use in our RV is not an RV unit but a simple handheld shower head that still works with our RV wall holders. It has 6 great spray functions that can either conserve water or give us a luxurious amount of water.

Newentor® Handheld High Pressure Shower Head, 6...
  • CUSTOM DESIGNED FOR A COMFORTABLE BATHING - Newentor hand showers...
  • MULTIFUNCTIONAL SPRAY MODES/SETTINGS - Newentor High Pressure...
  • PREMIUM ECO-FRIENDLY MATERIALS - Newentor Removable Shower Heads...

Tips for Conserving Water While Showering

There are some things you can do to conserve water while showering. Let’s look at a few tips we’ve picked up along the way. 

Save The Cold Water At Runup

When you first turn on the shower, there is usually a runup period where you must purge the cold water from the lines. If you are not in the shower, you are wasting this water down the drain. Most of us don’t want to get into the cold water, but there is another option. Run this shower water into a jug that you can use for other things. Many people choose to use this water to flush the toilet.

This is a super simple thing to do, but it saves water and wastes twice. Once in the shower and once in the toilet. It may not seem like much, but it could mean another day off-grid.

Replace the Shower Head

Unless you’re spending a pretty penny on a high-quality RV, you’ll likely want to replace the shower faucet in your RV. You can drastically improve your ability to conserve water and have a great shower experience. Plus, it will only cost you $30 to $60 and a couple of minutes of your time for installation. If you’re unhappy with your shower faucet and want to get the most out of your RV shower, do yourself a favor and replace it with a more efficient and higher-quality shower head as soon as possible. 

Take an Army Shower

While you may enjoy taking 10- or 20-minute showers at home, you’re not going to have that luxury while RVing. You’ll constantly need to fill and dump your RV’s tanks if you do. Showering in an RV will require you to take an “Army” shower. This simply means being extremely quick and efficient while taking a shower.

RVers will jump in the shower and rinse their body from head to toe. They’ll shut off the water and start lathering their body and hair with soap and whatever hair care products they use. Once done, they’ll turn the water back on, rinse the soap off, and finish their shower. When done right, an entire shower can take a couple of minutes and use only a gallon or two of water. It may not be relaxing or luxurious, but it allows you to stay clean and fresh while RVing.

RV shower and tub set up with faucet installed
Ensure you are always sweet smelling on the road by having the perfect RV shower faucet installed.

Use Body Wipes to Extend the Time Between Showers

Another useful and somewhat extreme method for making your fresh water last as long as possible is to use body wipes. These are like massive baby wipes that allow you to wipe down your entire body to help you stay clean. You’ll want to target your armpits and any sensitive areas that could benefit from getting wiped clean after a day or two of adventures.

These won’t entirely replace showering, but they can buy you some time between showers. Using them can help you limit water consumption when you can’t dump or fill your water tanks easily. Those who regularly boondock find these wipes extremely useful since they allow them to stay out in some epic spots for longer.

Pro Tip: Not sure if body wipes are for you? We took a closer look at why body wipes are less ew and more awesome!

Truma AquaGo On-Demand RV Water Heater - Overview and Thoughts
Along the lines of showering, we had the opportunity to be some of the first to test out the trauma Aquago. Take a look at our thoughts on it.

Choose the Right RV Shower Faucet and Head and Stay Clean

It may not seem like a major decision, but choosing the right RV shower faucet for your RV is important. You may not be able to take the long, hot shower you normally would, but you can make the most out of every drop of water while you are showering. Getting an efficient shower head that helps you stay clean while RVing is essential to making your fresh water tank last as long as possible. If you’re unhappy with the stock RV shower head that came with your rig, upgrade it so you can start enjoying showers in your RV.

Have you replaced your RV shower faucet? What product did you install? Tell us in the comments!

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