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Old 11-18-2012, 03:02 PM   #1
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Filtering water..before entering trailer..

Am again going to spend an extended time in southern Arizona, along the Colorado river. I was warned about the water quality before hand but found out they were not kidding. The water is so hard and filled with minerals including sulfur, that a 6 inch long stalactite formed on my petcock drain, that was slightly loose and dripping during our 5 week stay. All this occurred despite using a two stage filter ( 5 micron water filter and charcoal canister to remove odors). We used the water for showering and washing dishes only. I'm wondering however, what I might be doing to my water heater...Upon returning home, I flushed the system with clean water. I wonder what a diluted mixture of white vinegar and water might do, if allowed to stay in the water heater for a time? Would it help dissolve the deposits that surely exist in the tank? I believe in preventive steps and want to extend the life of my water heater as long as possible... Help!!
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Old 11-18-2012, 03:16 PM   #2
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What brand of WH have you got?

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Old 11-18-2012, 03:31 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Joebanjo View Post
Am again going to spend an extended time in southern Arizona, along the Colorado river. I was warned about the water quality before hand but found out they were not kidding. The water is so hard and filled with minerals including sulfur, that a 6 inch long stalactite formed on my petcock drain, that was slightly loose and dripping during our 5 week stay. All this occurred despite using a two stage filter ( 5 micron water filter and charcoal canister to remove odors).
I would look for a retail source of fresh water, rather than dousing my TT in water that alkaline!

Sounds too scarey for me!
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Old 11-18-2012, 06:30 PM   #4
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All the filters in the world won't prevent the hard water issues. I have heard of people having water softeners onboard so they must make them small enough. I would like to think about it one of these days.
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:31 PM   #5
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Here are some:

RV Water Filter Store: Water Softeners and Mineral Reduction

RV Water Softener

On The Go - Portable Water Softener
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:39 PM   #6
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I have a FlowPur and its great. No water goes in the tanks without going through the softener first.

Cheers, Dan
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:47 PM   #7
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We are in So Az right now, but I don't know that hard water is unique to this area.

We run our water through a "On The Go" RV water softener before it comes into the trailer. I am certain it is better for plumbing components, no spots on the sinks, cleans stuff and us better, and the wife adores it for showering with her long hair. Needs a simple recharging with a pound of table salt every 3 to 4 weeks.

A luxurious and relatively inexpensive accessory for the Airstream. Camping World puts them on a good sale price regularly.

doug k
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Old 11-19-2012, 07:44 AM   #8
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... I wonder what a diluted mixture of white vinegar and water might do, if allowed to stay in the water heater for a time? Would it help dissolve the deposits that surely exist in the tank? I believe in preventive steps and want to extend the life of my water heater as long as possible... Help!!
The manual for my Atwood says to use a 60% solution of white vinegar to water to remove scale and mineral deposits from the tank and electric element annually (4 gallons of vinegar and 2 gallons of water to top off the heater). I drain the WH, then use the antifreeze suction line and water pump to fill the WH with the pressure temperature relief valve open, then top it off with water and close the TPR valve. The manual then says to bring the WH up to operating temperature and then turn it off and let it stand for several hours (overnight) and then drain and flush with fresh water. You probably don't want to run the slurry that comes out of the water heater through your faucets, but flooding the lines with clean mix of white vinegar and water to clean up the faucets might be worthwhile if you have any buildup in them also. A vinegar odor will remain until enough water has run through the system. A little baking soda will assist in removing the vinegar odor.
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:30 AM   #9
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What about using CLR? I don't know if there is a health risk, but it sure cleaned up my disassembled faucet heads and shower head well this fall.
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:53 AM   #10
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Water softener....might be the trick

The water softener might be the ticket. I've been reluctant to make the purchase, just for the So. Arizona trip. However, I discovered that the local Culligan service outlet for the area, will come out , install and service a unit for RV use on a monthly basis. Think I will probably opt for the rental this time and see if it works... Thanks all
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:54 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Joebanjo View Post
Am again going to spend an extended time in southern Arizona, along the Colorado river. I was warned about the water quality before hand but found out they were not kidding. The water is so hard and filled with minerals including sulfur, that a 6 inch long stalactite formed on my petcock drain, that was slightly loose and dripping during our 5 week stay. All this occurred despite using a two stage filter ( 5 micron water filter and charcoal canister to remove odors). We used the water for showering and washing dishes only. I'm wondering however, what I might be doing to my water heater...Upon returning home, I flushed the system with clean water. I wonder what a diluted mixture of white vinegar and water might do, if allowed to stay in the water heater for a time? Would it help dissolve the deposits that surely exist in the tank? I believe in preventive steps and want to extend the life of my water heater as long as possible... Help!!
It is unlikely that there is enough scale buildup from a 5 week stay to shorten the life of the water heater. Water heater scale formation is affected greatly by the temperature to which the water is heated. Before the 1970s it was common for water heaters (RV and household alike) to be set to heat water to 180 degrees, which produced many times more scale than water heated to the now-customary 130 degrees.

Safe and effective chemical descaling is a fiddley process. While vinegar will remove some scale, if there is enough scale to pose a real problem you'll need barrels full of the stuff. Commercial descaling agents like San-Teen use hydrochloric acid as the active ingredient.

I typically fill the freshwater tank with soft water at home and use that if the campground water is of poor quality. As noted upthread there are several RV-sized water softeners on the market, but it's one more thing to bring along and set up so I don't use one.
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