Water Quality

Shortly after purchasing our coach we discovered the OEM water filtration setup, which consisted of two small filter elements (sediment/carbon) had been removed at some point.  We hypothesize the reason was due to the OEM AquaHot system being upgraded where the entire water bay in the coach was reconfigured.  While we were very happy learning we have the Aqua Hot 600D system we weren’t so happy knowing we didn’t have any water filtration, at all.

Since the wife and I are both Oregon natives and grew up with pristine water we soon discovered water elsewhere, even in other Oregon cities varied dramatically in terms of hardness, while still having a very low TDS (Total Dissolved Solids).

It wasn’t until a month or so after we went full-timing, living in an RV park in Silverton, Oregon we discovered what hard water meant.  The first time I washed the coach I let it air-dry like I had always done growing up near Lyons, Oregon.  Mistake!  The entire coach was covered with white water spots.  🙁  That’s when I realized we had hard water although the TDS reading was relatively low (< 200).

Shortly thereafter I spent 2-3 hours researching RV water quality.  The conclusion was we needed a way to soften water, of which was the primary focus at the time.  We ended up purchasing a large 16K unit water softener off of Amazon which has proven to be the cat’s meow regarding achieving soft water.  Armed with water softness test strips we were relieved knowing we had a solution for hard water conditions.  No more spotting glass, shower, fixtures, build-up in plumbing, etc.

water softener

It wasn’t until we ventured south to Lake Havasu, AZ that we discovered another issue related to water quality … TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) which is basically how much *stuff* (metals, etc.) that are suspended in water.

Here is a quote explaining TDS:

“United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) as a secondary contaminant. It is measured in milligrams per unit volume of water (mg/L) and also referred to as parts per million (ppm). For drinking water, the maximum concentration level set by EPA is 500 mg/L.”

Our take-away was we shouldn’t be drinking water with a TDS reading of > 500 mg/L.  Using our TDS digital meter revealed our water source here in Lake Havasu was ~ 760 mg/L (not drinkable), aside from being hard (based on our hardness test strips).  While the water softener provided the solution to the hardness issue the water quality was less than EPA standards therefore it was undrinkable.

On the internet again we learned there really isn’t a good solution to reducing the TDS level in water other than reverse-osmosis systems ($$$).  Then we realized the site where we are staying has a reverse-osmosis vending station at the clubhouse where 1 gallon water jugs can be filled for $0.25/gallon.  Using our TDS meter on water obtained from the vending station revealed a TDS level of 0 mg/L …which is exactly what distilled water is … all metals, etc. have been entirely removed from the water.  As a result our drinkable water solution for where we are currently staying is to use the distilled water @ $0.25/gallon which is fine.

What about water filtration/taste going into the future?  Knowing we will eventually end up somewhere where TDS isn’t an issue but overall water quality is still lacking (dirty water, taste, etc.) we opted to purchase a separate, portable,  dual-filtration setup that provides sediment and carbon filtration that provides drinkable water.

After a lot of research it was obvious we needed to tap the knowledge of the RV Water Filter Store to ensure we ended up with a quality filtration solution that met our needs/goals.

After consulting with David (owner) we purchased a Jumbo dual-cannister setup with sediment and carbon filters.  This afternoon I installed the canisters in an 18-gallon plastic tote with quick-disconnects.  The setup should work nicely in terms of it’s portable, easy to setup and provides a very robust solution to clean water coupled with the 16K water softener.

Note, there is a blue, cheap carbon filter directly off the hose bib I plan to remove in the future.  It was our temporary solution to a carbon filter before obtaining the dual Jumbo filter solution.