Upgrades for RV Showers
Bathing in a motorhome may not be quite as enjoyable as at home, but these products can make getting clean much more satisfying
Motorhome showers are designed and built not only to accommodate basic hygiene needs, but also to fit into a compact space and conserve water. This could make some motorhome showers less than satisfying. There are a few things you can do to make your shower more enjoyable, and there is a good selection of upgraded components on the market.
Shower valves tend to be simple affairs. Some higher-end motorhomes will have a more residential-style cartridge-type single-handle valve, and some carry common brand names like Moen, Delta or Grohe. These types of residential valves will often have replaceable parts, and are about as high-quality as you can get. Similarly, these will have in-wall piping that provides water to the fixed showerhead fitting further up on the shower stall wall. The best upgrades for these types of systems are showerheads, and one option is to choose from any of the residential-style systems available at your local home center.
Most production motorhomes use plastic RV/marine-style fixtures. There are three basic types. The first is a shower-only wall-mount valve assembly. Most of these have two handles, although single-handle versions are available. Most of them have a standard 4-inch pipe separation, utilizing ½-inch connections. The valve will have a top- or bottom-mounted vacuum breaker or D-Spud for the showerhead hose connection.
These valves occasionally have replaceable cartridges and seals, but not always. They are usually completely made of plastic, and in northern climates, replacing them due to cracking is frequent, but they tend to be inexpensive and easy to replace. Like most faucets, they have two pipe connections and two large nuts to secure the valve either to the wall or an external mounting box. If the valve is mounted to a box on the shower wall, there will be four screws for attachment, and probably some butyl sealant, which you will need to replace when reinstalling the unit. Make sure the pipe fittings are hand-tight and test them under pressure before reattaching the box to the wall.
A different type of faucet is used for those who have tubs in their motorhomes. This type features a tub faucet with a pull-up shower diverter. The attachment is the same as the shower valve, and the showerhead hose connection is positioned on the top, which also features a vacuum breaker or D-Spud.
Lastly, for owners whose motorhomes feature a wet bath (such as those found in Class B models), a sink valve with a pull-up shower diverter will be provided.
Showerhead hoses are, for the most part, made of vinyl; however, aftermarket metallic replacements are available in usually three finishes (chrome, nickel and bronze), in the standard 60-inch length with ½-inch fittings. While the inner diameter (I.D.) is standard across the board, the metallic hoses are not only more attractive, but are kink-free, more flexible and tend to last longer than the original vinyl hoses.
There are several aftermarket showerheads available for RV use, and upgrading your current model will offer an immediate performance upgrade you can feel. Keeping water usage to a minimum is a common concept in RVs because of limited water supplies and holding-tank size. Some of these new faucets, however, can provide a residential-like shower feel while still keeping water conservation in mind.
Available in three finishes, Camco’s ergonomic and adjustable RV/marine showerhead offers the user the option of four distinct shower patterns ranging “from a drenching rain to a gentle shower,” according to the company. The shower wand also features a thumb-activated shut-off valve on the handle, and is designed to flow 2.5 gallons per minute (GPM) at 40 psi.
Available through most RV parts retailers, the wand has an MSRP of $22.99.
Camco | 800-334-2004 | www.camco.net
Dura Faucet, based in Camas, Washington, specializes in RV faucets, and offers the largest selection in the industry, according to the company. The company provides an eight-page catalog on its website, which provides numerous types and styles of RV faucets and showers for every need.
Dura Faucet offers several single-function and a five-function shower wand in a number of finishes, plus new pressure-assist hand-held shower-wand kits. Dura Faucet also offers an RV shower slide bar, which is available in six finishes and incorporates a soap dish for a fully adjustable, luxurious shower. MSRP starts at $46.09
The pressure-assist shower-wand kits, available in five finishes, feature an MSRP starting at $49.48. MSRP for Dura Faucet shower wands begins at $22.60. The company offers a limited lifetime warranty on all components.
Dura Faucet | 888-242-5932 | www.durafaucet.com
With operations in London, Abu Dhabi and stateside in Minnesota, Ecocamel offers a variety of replacement showerheads suitable for use in an RV. One highlight of the company’s product line is the premium British-made Ecocamel Orbit hand-held showerhead. This showerhead is an open-loop halo-shaped design with 40 overlapping jets made of wipe-clean rubber nodules that spray in a bicycle-spoke pattern, providing a powerful, even spray, according to the company. The spray and pressure patterns are aided by internal rifling, which helps propel water through the head while minimizing friction loss. The Orbit also features an air intake, which the company calls AirCore technology, that is designed to improve shower performance. The Orbit has an MSRP of $69.95.
Also available from Ecocamel is the Jetstorm hand-held showerhead, which creates a “spalike shower” while being a little easier on the pocketbook, according to the company. The Jetstorm has an MSRP of $39.95 on the Ecocamel website, which offers free shipping. A fixed-mount showerhead is also available.
Ecocamel | 800-419-7000 | www.ecocamel.com
This Cleveland, Ohio-based company offers a large variety of products aimed at the RV market, from economy models up to durable brass faucets, available in a variety of finishes, including camouflage.
In addition to the faucets, the company offers four basic shower-wand kits for RVs, in white, off-white, chrome and brass. For those looking to amp up their shower experience, the company also offers LED lighted and musical shower wands. The SH40BT Bluetooth hand-held chrome music showerhead connects to your smart device or to the motorhome’s Bluetooth-enabled stereo to provide tunes while you enjoy the shower. It has an MSRP of $99.99. The LED lighted shower wand is available in chrome and features a digital temperature gauge in the handle that informs the user of water temperature. Available through most RV parts stores, this head has an MSRP of $69.29.
Empire Brass | 216-431-6567 | www.rvfaucets.com
The Oxygenics BodySpa has what the company calls a “patented engine,” which simplifies water pressure, turning weak showers into pleasant, powerful ones, according to the company. It does so by creating an aerated shower experience rather than a solid-flow pattern.
The design of the head is futuristic and, other than the pause button on the bottom of the handle, has no moving parts. It is built using nonstick materials, so lime and crud shouldn’t be an issue. In fact, the company offers a “never-clog” guarantee as part of its lifetime warranty against component failure. With a maximum flow rate of 2.0 GPM, the BodySpa is available in chrome, brushed nickel and white, and comes with a hose and wall bracket. The Oxygenics BodySpa is available at RV and marine centers and has an MSRP starting at $42.99.
Another offering from Oxygenics is the Fury, which is a more traditional, non-aeration hand-held showerhead. This product gives the user a selection of five spray functions, features an extra-long 72-inch hose for better reach and has an adjustable flow control up to 2.0 GPM. Also available in chrome, brushed nickel and white, the Fury has a starting MSRP of $43.95
Oxygenics | 800-344-3242 | www.oxygenics.com
One of the most well-known names in RV and marine plumbing products is Phoenix Faucets, a division of Valterra Products, and a manufacturer of many of the faucets, showers and fittings seen in RVs since 1977. The company has several replacement and upgraded shower offerings that are available through almost every RV parts and accessories retailer.
Phoenix offers everything from the most basic single-function hand-held showerheads, to its Airfusion single-function unit with separate flow controller to the three-function head with flow control, spray, massage and spray/massage combination positions. The Airfusion design uses a vacuum valve built into the bottom of the showerhead. The valve creates compressed air bubbles that quickly expand as they’re forced through the head. This results in the water creating a high-pressure spray that feels like a home shower, and the Airfusion uses 20-30 percent less water than conventional showerheads. The complete kit has an MSRP of $50.06, according to the company.
All of Phoenix’s hand-held showerheads have some type of flow control or shut-off, and are available in a variety of finishes to match the faucet and shower décor. The company also features full parts diagrams, parts breakdowns and repair and replacement instructions for all its products on the website. Phoenix showerheads have an MSRP starting at $10.50 and feature a lifetime warranty.
Relaqua, a division of Averen Inc., a California company, offers a few RV shower faucets and shower wands, including the compact, Euro-styled AS-500W. With a spring-loaded handle-grip valve, the stylish AS-500W has a good, pressure-boosted shower flow, according to the company. The valve is designed to remain in the “off” position until the handle is grabbed, optimizing water savings — especially for outside showers. The AS-500W has an MSRP of $29, and is available through most RV parts stores.
Relaqua | 626-336-2870 | www.avereninc.com