A reader asks: Are in line water filters necessary when camping in established camp grounds?
It’s a matter of personal choice. Campground water has to meet the same standards as any other public water system, so it should be safe. But you might not like the taste, or your body might be sensitive to different water than what you are accustomed to drinking at home. If so, a good filtration system is the solution.
Water treatment is a complex subject. Basic charcoal filters improve taste and remove chlorine, as well as large sediment, and they are inexpensive. From there, you can upgrade to filter out even finer sediment, bacteria, protozoa, chemicals and metals with other types of filters. You can also soften the water, de-ionize it, and even sterilize the water with a UV light.
Of course, every added element means more expense, more weight, more stuff to carry, an ongoing maintenance cost, and (in the case of external filtration systems) more setup time at the campground. So before you buy, consider carefully how far you are willing to go for extremely pure water.
Sometimes water filtration is necessary to prevent problems with the plumbing, as the next question demonstrates:
About three years ago I started having problem with the water valve in a Thetford commode. It was clogging, and holding it open, thus allowing my commode to overflow and flood my trailer. Unable to figure it out, I bought a Dometic toilet and then the water line started to clog up with what looked like calcium pellets. Since the Dometic toilet had a screen in the water valve, it would not let the pellets into the water valve, so I avoided the flooding problem.
Where are the calcium pellets coming from? I installed an inline water filter just prior to the water filter on the commode and now I can just open the water filter and clean the bowl out and everything is good for about two weeks. This problem is really noticeable after I move the trailer as I guess I am shaking trash loose as we travel. Any thoughts on how to solve this problem?
You’ve got hard water, and that’s probably the basic source of all the problems you are having. Mineral deposits from the water are accumulating and clogging the pipes, valves, water heater, and every other part of the plumbing system. Unfortunately, for those living in the southwest it’s a common issue.
The best solution is a water softener. You can buy portable units designed specifically for recreational vehicles, which work the same way as household units. When it’s time to recharge the softener, you can do it with ordinary table salt. There’s some maintenance and a little bit of setup hassle, but a softener would eliminate the mineral pellets and other problems you’ve been having. We’d also recommend a good filter to remove any sediment, installed at the outside of the Airstream.