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Goodbye Water Bottles

As a gate guard, I live in my RV out in the boonies on other people’s ranches far away from RV parks and the usual amenities such as full hookups. My guard company provides a support trailer with a huge (and rather noisy) electric generator on it to provide me with power and a 500 gallon water tank that provides non-potable water via an RV water pump inline with it. The water comes from a local well. It is labeled non-potable both because of the sediment in it and because the equipment and tanks used to haul it are not monitored or certified. In the summertime, the large black tank may also contain algae due to the unbearable Texas heat. All guards use water filters to at least clean the sediment out to use the water for showers and doing dishes. For drinking and cooking water, most use bottled water. Personally, I have gotten a little fed up with worrying about having enough water on board since I work alone with no one to run into town for more water for me. I also have some concerns about the actual quality of the bottled water I have been getting. How do we really know the water coming out of machines found at gas stations and grocery stores is clean? Are we sure those machines get regularly serviced and filters changed? One information source tells me that 40 percent of bottled water is actually just unfiltered municipal tap water we have been conned into buying. I have noticed the taste of my bottled water lately has not been very good. It has an after-taste. I could try using a different machine but I decided to give the bottles the boot and filter my own drinking water.

To start my new water filtration system, I first had to stop using the blue inline Camco cartridges which clog quickly, are rather expensive, and don’t filter as well as home filters. They work fine for weekend warriors and did make life tolerable in Ocala, Florida where the water is loaded with sulfur that stinks so bad that you don’t even want to think about washing your hands or showering with it until you get some sort of water filter installed on the line coming in. However, for less cost, I can do better.

Camco Inline Water Filter

I finally purchased a two-stage house filtering system with a 5 micron sediment filter in the first housing and a charcoal block in the second housing. The charcoal filters out chemicals and improves the taste. These housings are very easy to use and more can be strung together if you want to add a third or fourth stage such as perhaps an extra 1 micron sediment filter or a water softener. Some people sit them in a bucket or on the ground. I’m using a plastic crate to hold mine upright off the ground and provide storage for the 4 foot hose attached between it and the RV. I also made a jacket for mine out of aluminum surfaced bubble wrap used for insulating RVs. That keeps the sun and cold winds off them. Speaking of sun, both of my canisters are blue not clear. The clear ones seem nice to be able to easily see how dirty your filters are but they allow the sun in which promotes algae and bacteria growth. The clear canisters should only be used in closed environments like under the sink. To open the canisters easier when it comes time to change the filters, I also bought a wrench made just for them.

Whole House Water FiltersWater Filter Cover and Crate

With the new system installed, I have noticed an improvement in water pressure. It’s small but noticeable. It should also be filtering better. That got me better quality water in the shower, for doing dishes, and for doing my laundry. But, that still wasn’t good enough for drinking. After a lot of investigation and research, my choices for the next step came down to two choices which each are good but each have a downside. Remember, this is for an RV, not a house with lots of space and water pressure. The first and cleanest choice would by a reverse osmosis system with a UV light. That system would filter out everything including bacteria, cysts, and viruses. It’s the ultimate in filtering! Unfortunately, it tends to be very large and requires electricity. If the power goes out or I boondock, it is no better than my second choice, a ceramic filter system. Ceramics are often used to bring drinkable water to areas in third world countries and they are used by hikers to drink from lakes and streams. Ceramic filters can handle everything except viruses. Debating my choices, I decided the odds of having a virus in my water are fairly slim but the odds of having no power are pretty good. A good UV system can cost $400-$500. A ceramic filter system was less than $100. With ceramics being used so readily by hikers and in foreign lands, I decided that was the best choice for me at this time.

I would have liked to use a ceramic to filter the whole RV but ceramics as well as RO (reverse osmosis) systems tend to really lower your water pressure since they filter down to less than 1 micron. With my only pressure coming from a small RV water pump 50 feet away from my trailer, it just isn’t practical. Instead, I chose a countertop water filter housing which connects to the kitchen sink faucet with a bypass switch and has it’s own faucet. It doesn’t take up much space and the water pressure is bearable for filling a cup to drink or a pan to cook. When I do laundry which also hooks up to the kitchen faucet or do dishes, I don’t need that extra filtering so I can push the switch to bypass the filter and get more pressure. It is also nice to know I can easily move ALL my filters over to a new RV at any time.

Counter Top Ceramic FilterCounter Top Filter Faucet Hookup

With the new system installed, my water is tasting great! It definitely tastes better than the bottled water I was getting and it is safe. I am very pleased with the end results. If I choose to spend a lot of time in Mexico someday, I may reconsider the UV light system addition then. For now, this works!

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