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Topic: Power Water Systems

Presenter: James Tomlinson (Product vendor)

[Note: This class was done at a Country Coach Rally, but much of the information is of general interest to owners of all brands of RVs]

Water pressure varies greatly among parks. Also water quality.

Pressure: Most coaches have white tubes that are rated at 150 PSI cold, or 110 PSI for hot water. Most CCs have a high flow industrial regulator, usually set at 40-45 PSI. At home your shower is closer to 60 PSI. Adding a filter screen on water intake will protect the valve and internal system.

Hoses: There are all types on the market. Many you can "taste". The coach will have 1/2 inch pipes, so you'll need at least 1/2 inch hose. NSF rating is the ultimate stamp of approval. Over 300 mfgrs make hoses, and they are of variable quality. Most connectors have rounded ends. The male end is usually rounded, not flat. Best to use rubber washers, not vinyl. They can last up to 10 times longer than synthetic washers.

The CCs have one built in filter. Often difficult to access. Can get slimey, silty, etc. It must be changed to be effective. If you're not planning on changing it, you'd be better off to simply take it out -- and avoid the buildup of slime and sludge that it will accummulate. Carbon filters support (not encourage) bacteria growth. Polypropolyn will retard the growth of bacteria. Filter types vary. Sediment is the most important thing to treat if you only want to treat one thing. 20 microns would be the norm for pleated filters, though they go down to as small as 5 micron filters. Spun poly filters will often offer the finest filtration. When to change filter? If water flow is reduced, it's likely your filter. To test it, take out the filter, run the water, and if the pressure is restored, it's time to change the filter.

Carbon filters chemicals, pesticides, carcinogens, cholorine, etc. Activated carbon absorbs much bad stuff, and its efficiency at doing so increases with the amount of time it is exposed to the water going through it. Thus a "high volume" carbon filter is much less effective, in terms of filtration, than a lower flow filter.

One combination filter is carbon/sediment filter.

A "carbon block" filter has much more carbonized passages, which filters out impurities that impact taste. They're all rated in how many gallons can be treated between changes. You can use these ratings, but really only for the purpose of comparing filters. Also the weight is a helpful compartive factor. Change the carbon filter when coffee doesn't taste as good as it used to, or you can sense the odor of chlorine, etc., in the water.

Viruses are so small they can go through vitually anything. They cause intestinal flu. Not usually a problem in US. Only way to control them is treating them with UV so they can't reproduce in your body. Ghiarida & ecoli (coliform) also uncommon in the US.

Ceramic filters will filter out 99.9% of the worst things. It can be cleaned by just taking it out and washing it off. If you have enough pressure, it's okay on the cold water faucet. Better to use it through a new outlet, dedicated just to that fixture -- because it will significantly reduce the water flow. The case for installing a new, dedicated faucet just for drinking water is that you can use the much more effective, lower flow, filters just on that one faucet, leaving good pressure in the rest of your water system.

Need to be VERY cautious in reading the labels on filters. Slow rate of flow through a carbon filter will be much better than one that will provide fast flow. So read the fine print.

Water softeners are available for RVs, and give you soft water. Most are recharged by salt. That can be harmful in terms of blood pressure. Potassiam is another ingredient to use in a water softener. It's more difficult to use, and requires recharging twice as often. But it is likely a much healthier option.

Reverse osmosis sytems are also available for RVs, but don't try to buy one at Home Depot and try to adapt it for your RV.

Hard water deposits. You can use magnets on your hose to polarize particles so that they don't build up and scale. Sounds like snake oil. Doesn't take hardness out of water -- they just won't cause scale build-up.

Water in the tank: How long does it stay there? How long is it in your rig? Probably can easily go a week on 100 gallons. That's not enough time to build up algae. The tank is not exposed to the sunlight, which is what encourages algae growth. Algae won't hurt you, but it will jam your filters and taste awful. The key is to use the water from the tank (rather than routinely plugging into a city water supply) so that it recycles frequently.