What type of water treatment do I need for an RV?

What type of water treatment do I need for an RV?
By Mark Timmons
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John L. asked the following: "We have a RV and we will be living in the full-time and traveling all over the US. Not knowing what kind of water we will be getting into, what would you suggest?" First, I have to say that as you travel from campsite-to-campsite, the water will vary dramatically, usually from bad to extremely bad.  YIKES! Here are a few things you will need to be concerned with when treating water from diverse supplies across the USA:
  • Hard Water - Most of the water in the US has high levels of hardness and any good treatment regimen should include softening because not only does it remove the scale-causing minerals from the water, it also reduces or removes iron, manganese and other contaminants.
  • Iron, Manganese & Sulfur - These are typically found on well water.  Sulfur stinks, while iron and manganese create brown, red or black stains.  A softener helps with the iron and manganese, but the sulfur is an animal of it's own.
  • Chlorine, Chemicals, Tastes and Odors - Typically, this occurs on city water, but some of these contaminants can also be present on well water.
  • Sediment, Sand and Silt -  The first step to treating your water involves proper pre-filtration ahead of any water treatment device.
  • Disinfection - Pathogens, bacteria and viruses can be found in many water supplies.   This should also be dealt with.
  • Drinking Water - Life support water needs to be of even higher quality than water you wash with.
OK, we have to keep all that in mind and then remember that there isn't a lot of room in an RV.  I also have to tell you that there are certain situations where installing a water treatment system in an RV is problematic.   With that said, if you really want good water, it can be figured out how to achieve that. Is treating your water in an RV really worth it?  Let me tell you a story - A few years ago, a man drove his million dollar motor home to our warehouse and asked that we design and install a water treatment system for him.  It seems that he was taking his family on a year-long tour of the USA.  So we did, and about a year later I received a call from him asking that we come and install the same-type system in his home, because "the kids won't shower in the house water - they have to go to the RV because the water is better!"  Once, you have really good water, you won't want to give it up! So, you are wondering, what should I do?  OK, here's how I approach every job:  IF THIS WERE MY MOTOR HOME, WHAT WOULD I WANT TO DO? Here's what I would do if it were my RV:
  1. 20 Micron Filter
  2. Water Softener (small one, like on at the right)flex_high-performance_metered_compact_water_softener_100-flex-20_1
  3. Iron, Manganese Filter
  4. GAC w/KDF-85 Filter
  5. Radial Flow Carbon Filter
  6. 1 Micron Filter
  7. Ultraviolet Purifier
  8. Reverse Osmosis for Drinking Water
If possible, you should use 4.5" x 20" filters, but 4.5" x 10" will be acceptable. We have a lot of fun in retrofitting RV's with clean water systems - frequently people drive across the country and have US Water make the water in their RV the best water this side of heaven      
January 22, 2014
Lonney Sennett
March 8, 2018 at 11:40 PM
I'm looking for an efficient RV water softener. How is this hooked up, how is is vented, where does the regeneration discharge hook up, and what does it cost?
Mark Timmons
March 20, 2018 at 5:53 PM
Sorry for the delay - we just released the new model and here it is: https://www.uswatersystems.com/us-water-ultimate-rv-filter-system.html
Tyler Nelson
January 10, 2019 at 12:25 PM
If I want to get all of those filters on your list, where would I find them all?
Mark Timmons
January 10, 2019 at 3:43 PM
Of you go to www.uswatersystems.com you can find them or a water specialist can help you at 800-608-8792.
January 28, 2019 at 4:12 PM
My wife and I are mooving into an RV full time and would like to have the same high quality water all the time no matter where we are, so teh sourcue water will vary widel as we drive around the US and Canada. My question is should we instal an eight part system like you describe above or if we have room, which I think we do, install a whole house RO system as the RV already has a 105 gallon fresh water holding tank? I would probally purchase one of your Comerical RO systems and remove the parts from the frame to install it in our RV.