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Old 11-15-2007, 12:05 PM   #1
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Has anybody used one of the portable water softeners that retails at Camping World for $269?.

I have an interest in one for my winter in Palm Springs and am curious as to how well they worked. For a number of reasons, a Vagabond system won't work for me.
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Old 11-15-2007, 12:05 PM   #2
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Has anybody used one of the portable water softeners that retails at Camping World for $269?.

I have an interest in one for my winter in Palm Springs and am curious as to how well they worked. For a number of reasons, a Vagabond system won't work for me.
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Old 11-15-2007, 02:59 PM   #3
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OldForester,

If you can't use the Vagabond system and all you want is to soften the water, then it should work fine. After having a RO system in my new coach I am spoiled. Living in Las Vegas a water softening system is mandatory. With the regular softener at home I find I still get lots of water spots from the salt in the water. What do you want the softener to accomplish? In my 2002 coach I just squeegeed the shower, wiped the water off of the counters and lived with it when I was in a hard water area.

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Old 11-15-2007, 07:42 PM   #4
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We use the portable water softener. We purchased ours from RV Upgrades. A sponsor of this site. I takes out the minerals (not all I'm sure) but Patty can tell the difference in the silkiness of the water and soap bubbles. I still take my shower last and wipe it down like a good husband

I talked with Vagabond (Frank) about the RO water, but I could not get by the amount of waste water produced to get a gallon of water. We live in the desert here in Fresno, and just couldn't waste it here, or other locations we might be when we would have access to municipal water in the USA. I also have a friend who is in the hardware business tell me that RO water is corrosive to copper....probably only in our faucets in the MH. Don't know if that is true, Frank can probably extrapolate on the topic.
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Old 11-15-2007, 07:58 PM   #5
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Dgerstel,

What I want the water softener to accomplish is remove a lot of the hard calcium-type deposits from the water so that I don't have to always wipe everything dry behind the water spots, and to prevent about a 3/8 inch of scale from forming in the bottom of my water heater, in 4 months' use. I have to clean and blow all this stuff out of the water heater. Also, when I wash the coach, I would like to not have to dry it so intensively and so quickly, especially on the windows where it produces an ugly film quickly. I'm trying to see if this softener will help both those issues.

We always squeege and dry the shower with a microfiber towel right away, so we keep the spots down on it. But our teapot and coffeepot get scaled up quickly, along with the water heater as mentioned above.

Tom and Patty, I have some of the same issues with RO -- I can't effectively dispose of the by-pass water when I fill up at home, which I always do before trips, and I can't take that much time to fill it at home, since I store the coach in another location. It takes me close to an hour to fill the tank as it is, with my one and five micron filters in line.

So, that's what I want to use the softener for and was curious how effective it was, and how well the regeneration with a pound of table salt once a week worked.

O
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Old 11-15-2007, 08:05 PM   #6
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OF,

I regenerate the softener once every 300-400 gallons. For us weekenders that is about every two months. I purchased the unit from RV Upgrades, (I think CW is the same) because we could use regular table salt. We didn't want to carry rock salt or pellets.

I haven't tried washing the coach with the soft water. I have used the Mr. Clean in the summer when it is 100 plus here and I just can't dry it fast enough. It, Mr. Clean, works well.
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Old 11-16-2007, 08:23 AM   #7
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OldForester,

The water softener should do most of what you want. With our softener, at home, we still find the need to squeegee the shower and the water is only slightly better for washing the coach. It is much better in the dish washer, pipes and teapot etc. I forgot to mention my other problem with a salt based softener is that most doctors recommend against drinking soft water due to the amount of salt in it. Before our RO system, I had always treated my water with bleach and then filtered for drinking. I did this so that I didn't have to carry drinking water separately.

The RO system Does present some challenges when filling with water. I installed a 2 membrane system to speed up the fill time, this also reduces the amount of reject water used. I also added a selector valve to allow the reject water to be directed to the holding tank output pipe or a hose bib. When I am at a place without a sewer connection, I put a hose on the hose bib and use the reject to water some plants nearby.

I am not pushing the system, I totally understand why most owners don't want to spent that much money and don't want to deal with the added requirements for water filling. I am just willing to deal with these issues to get the benefits.


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Old 11-17-2007, 08:31 AM   #8
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Thanks for the responses on the water softener. I think we will buy one for use in Palm Springs during our winter 4 months (begins in December). That's where we have had most of the issues with water deposits.

I had not heard about the issues drinking softened water due to the amount of salt. We will just make a routine run to Costco for bottled drinking water and not drink the water from the tank.

In terms of washing the coach, I use Griot's Garage car care products exclusively on my cars and the coach, and their car wash product does a good job, when I dry it relatively quickly, but the calcium-like film in the water in our Palm Springs site is pretty thick, especially on the windows. That's why I would use the softened water to wash the coach.

The reason I can't use the Vagabond system at home is that my front "lawn" is asphalt, and my small yard and plants are uphill behind my house. I would have to find a way to pump the waste water uphill from my coach to my back yard. Additionally, I can only leave my coach in the street in front of my house for a few hours, and then I have to move it. So I just don't have the time at home to fill it.

Thanks again for the response.
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Old 11-17-2007, 05:28 PM   #9
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Has anyone used the deionized water units such as the one offered on crspotless.com? I was thinking or ordering one but I would like to hear from someone who has had experience with deionized units before I fork over $450.00.
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Old 11-17-2007, 07:41 PM   #10
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Jerry/everyone,
I haven't tried them yet, (getting ready to ), but you might want to check out wwww.watersticks.com and see what they offer. (Price seems to be alot better)

Best,
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Old 11-17-2007, 09:36 PM   #11
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OF-
1) Only addicts use Griot's products (oops, don't ever ask how I know that )
2) I thought we'd have the same issues w/whole house RO as you outline. However, after living w/it for 2 years I found that:
..a) consideration of the status of water fill becomes second nature, and
..b) I could fill overnight essentially anywhere there is a hose bib >25psi, and
..c) where time and/or excess waste water are a significant enough issue, I can bypass the RO and fill w/city water as usual. At Havasu & in Baja I water the landscape, which desperately needs it. In Auburn the excess isn't an issue. At short-stay parks it goes to landscape, down the sewer, or we time the tank till we get to a better fill station.

I'm going to be test driving a new RO config before the end of the month. Vag-man had a surplus 110V pressure pump I bought and will plumb in line just ahead of the RO membrane. Frank said it would run the pressure up to 100+ psi. RO is more efficient at higher pressure (better TDS removal; should be around 97-98% removal vs. 90% around 25psi). The high pressure should lower fill time usefully. And where runoff is an issue, I should be able to use the TDS comparator (pre & post-RO TDS readings) & the variable waste water meter valve to dial down the % reject water to minimize waste. I'll post how this goes.
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Old 11-18-2007, 11:15 AM   #12
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Wow, lots of issues here.

<UL TYPE=SQUARE><LI>Water softeners remove + (cations) only - in exchange for an equivalent amount of sodium ions. Negative ions, such as silica, are not removed by this process. I wouldn't worry about ingesting the sodium unless your doctor has you on a specific sodium restricted diet. Most people ingest more sodium in their food than they ever will in drinking water.

<LI>RO water can be corrosive to metal plumbing - depending on a lot of variables starting with the raw water. If there is a sizeable amount of dissolved ozygen in the water, it will be corrosive anyway and removing minerals makes it worse. This isn't an issue in the Alpine Coaches because the plumbing is non-metalic.

<LI>Water softeners are not the solution for washing rigs because they only remove the + ions. The negative ions are still there to create spots. Notice the car wash guys in CA ususlly have DI tanks to fill their water tanks.

<LI>Deionized water - DI - comes in two varieties. A mixed bed has both + & - exghange resins and makes the best quality water. The + resin is regenerated with muriatic acid and is in a hydrogen state (H+). The - resin is regenerated with caustioc soda and is in a (OH-) state. When you feed the tank with raw water, the + & - ions are removed and replaced with H+ and OH- which equals H2O. The regeneration of the tank/resin is costly and no individual could realisticaly accomplish it. Ten years ago, DI water cost about $.07 per gallon. I'm not familiar with the units discussed here, but they must be very small vessels where you replace the resin instead of regenerating it. A very costly adventure. Alternatively, there is what we call a "duo bed" which consists of two tanks; a cation followed by an anion. This combination is the cheapest way to go but doesn't give the same quality as the mixed bed and requires two tanks instead of one.

<LI>None of the alternative methods mentioned here purify the water as a reverse osmosis unit does.

<LI>I have a water softener that I bought at Camping World; it's available for free to the first one who wants it. I found the quality of the water lacking - it wasn't really 0-soft (still had about 1/2 grain of hardness passing thru) and regenerating it is a real nuisance. If you don't like the waste water from a RO system, how will you explain running salt water out on the ground? The salt used to regenerate can be ANY kind - table salt, rock salt, or pellets. It's a matter of convenience to you. And remember, there is no convenient way to know when to regenerate a manual softener. Most people foreget until they feel the hard water in the shower.

<LI>As E-Mike pointed out, with two membranes you will normally run the system with a product/waste ratio of 1:1. You can cut the waste water way down, providing you open the waste valve periodically and flush the membrane. Please be aware that I have no idea where or what kind of water you might use, so I'm being conservative in picking the waste ratio in order to prevent fouled membranes. Even so, I have had some customers who ruined their membrane by not changing the filters and thereby plugging the membrane.

<LI>A double membrane unit usually makes about 10 to 14 gallons per hour. If you have decent pressure, it will be closer to 20 gph.

<LI>Old Forester- you should consider renting a "portable exchange" tank from culligan while you're in Palm Springs. It will sit outside the rig; you can connect hoses to it like you would an external filter and Culligan will exchange it for a fresh one on a schedule you choose. 'Lots cheaper than buying one.
[/list]
I hope this will help you all when making your decisions on water treatment.
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Old 11-19-2007, 09:08 PM   #13
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Frank/Vagabondman and EMike-

Thanks for your replies. EM, I will be anxious to see how your new setup works. Frank, thanks for the dialog on the disposal of the salt. Also, thanks for the tip on renting the portable exchange tank from Culligan. I have seen those at our RV park, but didn't know who to rent them from, and believe that's probably my best bet for this winter. I'll give it a try this winter, calling Culligan tomorrow since I'm getting ready to move to Palm Springs next week.

I didn't know that water softeners wouldn't help with washing rigs, so that is a good piece of info.

EM, you're right, Griot's Garage is for addicts, and I'm a vehicle care addict; always have been and haven't figure out how to cure it.
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