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Water Filters and Your RV

A Trailer Owner Asks...
(What Kind of RV Water Filtration System To Use)

We bought a trailer that does not have any water filters. We would like to have running water in our trailer, so we can shower and do dishes. However, we are not sure what kind of water filtration kit we need to purchase. My husband is extremely handy and could most likely install it himself. We just don't know what to buy and where to buy it. Can you please help?

Bob, the RVing editor's husband replies:

What makes you think you need a water filter on your trailer? Filters and water conditioning systems can be expensive, complicated, maintenance intensive, time consuming, and a general pain in the butt. Just because there are filters and conditioners out there doesn’t mean you need one.

The Safe Drinking Water Act established regulations concerning the safety of the water distributed to the public. Virtually all campgrounds have water either from public water systems or private systems that are protected by this act. If on a well, most all campgrounds, either public or private, are required to do regular testing. The water testing is done by a certified water operator on a scheduled basis, to insure the water is safe.

While traveling, you will rarely be in one place long enough to need to deal with water problems specific to a certain area.

If you will be at a destination for an extended period of time, you may want to have the water tested and have a professional water expert advise you on what you may need. Don’t get your advice from the seller of a particular system. They may try to sell you more than you need.

If you feel you need a general sediment filter or taste filter, a simple setup can be
purchased from almost any hardware store. You’ll need a household type cartridge filter. There are many different brands that use the same readily available cartridge. It comes in two basic varieties. One is for sediment only. The other is a charcoal filter that is for sediment and taste. The canister is usually about four or five inches in diameter and maybe 12 inches tall.

An easy way to use this filter is to put a male hose fitting on the outlet side of the filter and female hose fitting on the inlet side. Hook your regular freshwater hose to the inlet. Hook a 10-foot hose to the outlet, and the other end of the hose to the trailer. Take a five-gallon bucket with cover, cut a round hole in the cover big enough for the body of the filter to fit through, put the cover on the bucket, now set the body of the filter in the hole in the cover. The filter is now held in an upright position by the bucket. The filter and hose can be stored in the bucket when not in use.

In between uses, these filters will be exposed to air, and inside a warm storage compartment, pathogens and other nasties will grow in the filter. The canister and filter housing need to be sanitized and the filter cartridge needs to be changed or you could be flushing these contaminants into your RV.

So all I all, my general opinion on water filters is, if there isn’t a known problem, don’t use one. I just put my pressure regulator on the spigot, hook my hose to it, flush my hose well, and hook my hose to my RV.

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