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Old 01-07-2016, 05:55 PM   #1
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Water filtration/softening...

OK, Almost afraid to start this topic as it appears to be highly debated.
I live in the Northwest where water softeners are not used. Water filtration is even very, very rare.

In preparation to full-time in a few years, I have started to outfit our coach with all of the systems I feel necessary. I already installed 2 10"x2.5" water filters in our wet bay (though I think I will change one out to include a clear sediment bowl).

I just picked up a Travelsoft RV1200 to install as well.

1 - Do I install the pre-filters (already there) before or after the softener? I feel that BEFORE is the proper way...but?

I have read differing accounts of using the softened water to drink and make ice cubes (or not). At my Dad's house they drank the softened all of the time. I see a wide variety of opinions of this.

2 - If you don't use it to drink; how do you plumb a dedicated system for the kitchen faucet and the ice maker? I am inclined to just use the softened water for ALL.

I just read about installing a bypass for the softener (so when it is not needed, you can simply bypass it) which I think I will do.

Don't really want to go into RO, at least at this time.

Already have a nice adjustable Watts regulator.

Added: I also saw a few threads about regenerating the softener and adding a rust inhibitor. Not sure what it is, if you can, or not...?

OK...thoughts?
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Old 01-07-2016, 06:25 PM   #2
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Put the water filters upstream from the water softener. I wouldn't bother with a softener myself.

If you use a softener, ONLY soften the cold water where it enters the water heater. Only the hot water is softened, not the cold. 2 reasons, softened water costs money and there is no need to soften the cold, AND, softened water has a higher sodium level so it's bad on your body.

Hard water calcium deposits inside your water heater and hot water lines, causing loss of function, and premature failure. This is the only reason you soften water.

You may need to install one way check valves on your hot water lines, wherever hot and cold water lines come together and mix. EXAMPLE: showers, sinks. This is to prevent cold, unsoftened water from bleeding into hot, softened water. Cold water goes directly to the faucet, so it has more pressure than hot water, which has been through a softener and a heater. Whoever the 2 lines meet, cold water, having more pressure, pushes the hot water all the way back to the water heater. This means you have to run the faucet longer to get hot water, and you water heater is working harder.

Definately put a bypass valve in for the softener. Cheap insurance.

My personal recommendation is to forgo the softener, and instead use a cartridge filter that adds food grade phosphate to the water. This will prevent calcium buildup. If drinking phosphate bothers you, install an under sink drinking water filter.
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Old 01-07-2016, 06:48 PM   #3
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As someone who also had no experience with water softeners, I am now a committed user. It is incorrect to say that calcium buildup only occurs in the hot water system. Two years ago we had an enormous amount of calcium crud removed from our gray tank. Most people are unaware of such buildup until it causes problems, but it's probably there in most tanks after several years of use.

Some parts of the US have extremely hard water, south Texas, where we spend the winters, being one of the worst. A good softener for your RV costs ~$200 and the "cost" of the softened water for me is the cost of two pounds of table salt added every month or so depending on how hard the incoming water is and how much water we use. The last time I bought salt, a 4 pound box cost <$3! IMO not an expensive preventative maintenance solution.
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Old 01-07-2016, 07:18 PM   #4
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We traveled Full Time for 7 yrs.
Used an On-The-GO 8000 grain water softener when ever we were in Very Hard & Extremely Hard Areas of the US.............which is a lot of places!!!!



Ours was portable so it was easy to use or not.
It was AFTER all filters.
It supplied ALL the 5vrs water system (Cold & Hot)........Water heater didn't scale up nor did the faucets and toilet water valve didn't get clogged. Shower stayed spot free also.

Drank the water, bathed in the water, used it to cook with, wash dishes etc.
Only thing it wasn't used for was my coffee.....bottled water for that because the non-dairy creamer wouldn't dissolve it would just clump up. No other reason!!!!

Permanent install vs portable........definitely install a BYPASS so that softener is placed in service ONLY when needed and/or when regenerating or it needs repairs.
Install AFTER filters
And install so that it is easy to access for doing proper regens on it...remove top/pour in salt etc.
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Old 01-07-2016, 11:21 PM   #5
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Softener

Adding a phosphate dispensing filter to your incoming water will prohibit the calcium and magnesium from coating the inside of your water heater, and elements. Once the calcium has built up thick enough, the elements will over heat, split, and fail. The calcium cannot be cost effectively removed, and the water heater will need to be replaced.

Using a water softener accomplishes the same goal, but at a much higher cost.

Cleaning calcium buildup from a grey tank is matter of filling the tank with a descaler and water, and waiting a few hours.

Water softeners are the way to go where cost is not an object, and you are full timing it. If you decide on a softener, get a good one professionally installed. The lightweight ones I see in RV stores I wouldn't use. Buy a good home styles with 2 resin tanks, that regenerates by water used, instead of a timer. It's going to cost more, but it's a better value.

Importantly, if you install a softener, make SURE there are check valves on the softener head, so that warm, or hot water, from any source, cannot enter the softener. If ANY PART of the media, or resin, inside the softener ever gets hot water above 120 F, it's ruined, forever, permanently.

Also, investigate what happens when an upper screen in a softener gets a hole in it! Hint, plumbers rejoice!

In the end, it's all up to how comfortable one wants to be, and how much money they have to spend!
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Old 01-08-2016, 01:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeRoi2 View Post
Adding a phosphate dispensing filter to your incoming water will prohibit the calcium and magnesium from coating the inside of your water heater, and elements. Once the calcium has built up thick enough, the elements will over heat, split, and fail. The calcium cannot be cost effectively removed, and the water heater will need to be replaced.

Using a water softener accomplishes the same goal, but at a much higher cost.

Cleaning calcium buildup from a grey tank is matter of filling the tank with a descaler and water, and waiting a few hours.

Water softeners are the way to go where cost is not an object, and you are full timing it. If you decide on a softener, get a good one professionally installed. The lightweight ones I see in RV stores I wouldn't use. Buy a good home styles with 2 resin tanks, that regenerates by water used, instead of a timer. It's going to cost more, but it's a better value.

Importantly, if you install a softener, make SURE there are check valves on the softener head, so that warm, or hot water, from any source, cannot enter the softener. If ANY PART of the media, or resin, inside the softener ever gets hot water above 120 F, it's ruined, forever, permanently.

Also, investigate what happens when an upper screen in a softener gets a hole in it! Hint, plumbers rejoice!

In the end, it's all up to how comfortable one wants to be, and how much money they have to spend!

Obvious you haven't used one of the portable softeners used by RVs.
Same concept as those big home units, Same resin as those big home unit, same softening as those big home units.
Except they are just smaller, easily transported, easily regenerated based on gallons of water treated.

IF.....IF the screen on the portable units should get damaged some resin beads could get into the hose but would just plug up the inlet screen and check valve on the city water connection on the RV. Very little chance (very little) that any resin beads could get thru so that is a non-worry.

Hot water.....portable units for rv are connected to incoming water supply (cold water source) so that is also a non-worry.
Besides the hot water in an RV can not reach high enough temps to harm the resin (250*F Plus)

Cost for an RV portable water softener.........$225
Cost to regen.......20 mins and a box of table salt

Really a no brainer
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Old 01-08-2016, 05:39 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Captjake1 View Post
...I also saw a few threads about regenerating the softener and adding a rust inhibitor. Not sure what it is, if you can, or not...?
A sample of Super Iron Out came with our On The Go water softener. The instructions say to use it in areas where there is high iron content in the water to remove iron residue from the softener when recharging.

Both the place where we spend a lot of time in summer and the place where we stay in winter have high iron content. Every second or third time I recharge the softener, I follow the instructions for periodic cleaning, which say to use 1 cup of Super Iron Out for every 40 lbs of salt. Our softener takes 2 lbs of salt, so that works out to a little less than 1 teaspoons of Super Iron Out.
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