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Water Filtration

from a message thread in the RV Forum

How do you ensure a healthy water supply? There are several filter systems on the market. Which work best? Is there an advantage to filtering ALL the incoming water rather than just drinking water?

Eric B. DeWitt
I may be doing a little bit of overkill but. I run all of the water that comes into my trailer though a small water softener from Camping world. then I put it through a carbon filter. What is left goes through the entire trailer. I have installed a small Sears reverse osmosis unit under the sink and I use it for all of my drinking and cooking water. I installed everything after staying in Casa Grande AZ with its bad water.

Ralph Peters
I don't want to complicate your solution, but you might want to check the literature or with Sears about your ROS System membrane requirements. We have ROS installed in our house due to the high salinity of our local water and I found there are different membranes depending on whether or not the water is chlorinated. I suspect that many places where you will camp do not have chlorinated systems and that may or may not impact the efficacy and efficiency of your RO system.

According to the literature with my ROS there are two different types of membranes...Cellulose Triacetate (CTA) and Thin Film Composite (TFC). While CTA is suitable for both chlorinated and non-chlorinated water supplies, TFC is extremely chlorine sensitive. The literature states that withh TFC you MUSt have a carbon filter before the ROS.

Steve Pally
Based on the advice I received here on the Forum, I will be using double filtering in my new MH.

I bought a filter housing from Sears (I liked their robust build) designed for "whole house" use. I installed hose adapters to the inlet and outlet, so that every drop of water will be filtered before it gets into my RV. In that Sears housing, I installed a Rainfresh CF2 filter ( 20 microns with charcoal filter) At 20 microns I'm told I will keep out sediment, and rust and the charcoal core will take out chlorine odor and taste.

Next I will use filtration at the sink for drinking water, and this is where I've installed the Rainfresh (1M) Ceramic filter which according to the manufacturer, will disinfect all drinking water. The units for the sink application vary in style depending on your situation. I got the countertop model that attaches to the faucet.

Quoting from their literature:
The Rainfresh Ceramic Filter traps and kills disease causing bacteria and harmful organisms: coliforms, faecal coliforms, typhoid, dysentry, and cholera. Traps cysts: Cryptosporidium, Giardia lamblia (beaver fever). Activated carbon core reduces unpleasant tastes and odors. Filters particles to sub-micron level.

It's recommended to change the filter when the flow rate is unaceptable. Since these filters are made for home use and they talk about six month lifespan, in an RV it may last longer depending on use and quality of water.

Apparantly Rainfresh Filters are not too well known in the US. Since it is a Canadian Company trying to break into the international market I've supplied their address:

Contact information for the company that produces Rainfresh Filters:
Envirogard Products Limited
446 Major Mackenzie Dr. East, Unit 6
Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada. L4C 4X9
Fax: (905) 884-3532
Info (800) 667-8072

Jack Stein
Are you sure this is what you want to do. The unit I have looked at for disinfecting water says it MUST be from a chlorinated system. If you are removing the chlorine before water reaches the trailer you could be defeating your purpose. I may be wrong but it would be worth checking out. One other thing, it's not a good idea to leave unchlorinated water in the fresh water tank for too long a period of will go bad, it has happened to me.

Steve Pally
Your point is well taken and I will inquire at the first opportunity. I'm leaving tonight on my new MH's maiden voyage and I wouldn't want something as basic as this to spoil the trip.

I'll telephone Rainfresh and clarify your very good question.

Ed Juge
Okay... tell us how you handle the water filtration issue in your RV. We have one of those cartridge filters under the sink that feeds a drinking water tap and our ice-maker. I've seen people hooking up external filters, but don't know much about them.

The ideal system would be a reverse osmosis system, but I doubt anyone builds one that's suitable for RV use. Can anyone correct me on this? We have one in our home, and it's great. Makes perfect drinking/cooking/dishwashing water from our very hard but softened (we have a softener, too) local water supply.

Jack Stein
This is the easiest problem I've been able to solve. I purchased a filter housing from Sears which holds a 9 1/2 (I think the measurement is correct) filter and also purchased connectors so I can install this unit in-line on my RV supply hose. Total cost of this was about $38 because I used solid brass fittings. The housing cost more than $20 but I have found comparable units at Builders Supply, Wal Mart, etc. for less than $9.

The filter I use is a 5 micron unit from Sears. This gets most of the sediment out and leaves the chlorine which I feel helps keep the water system sanitary. For water used in cooking, drinking etc., I have a built-in carbon filter (which removes the chlorine and other bad tasting materials) and goes only to the cold water side of the kitchen sink. This is about a $79 add-on unit and replacement filters are somewhat expensive as well.

You can avoid this with a system I installed at home, a Pollenex Faucet Water Filter (Wal Mart, $12 on sale). This unit attaches easily to the spigot in the kitchen or anywhere else there is a threaded connection on a spigot. It allows an easy bypass of the filter for water used in washing dishes, etc., something my trailer's built-in unit does not offer. A simple flip of the lever gives me instant cholorine free, good tasting water as it goes through the carbon filter.

I had thought about one of those additonal drinking/cooking only spigots but the cost is just too high. The Pollenex (others have them as well) is much cheaper and the replacement cartridges are inexpensive as well compared to other units.

We use a still! But don't tell the Revenuers.

But seriously, we have a distiller from Sears, price around $100. It can do a gallon at a time which means we can make about 3 gallons a day. Since its only two people and one golden retreiver that's more than we'll ever use. It has the benefit of providing some heat when you need it or it can run outside the MH when its warm.

The distiller has a carbon filter on the output nozzle so the water is about as pure and good tasting as you can get. You should see (and smell) the stuff left behind, yuk!

The heat kills any microbes and drives off any volatile chemicals. You never know what can be in somebody's well.