When you are traveling in your RV, your water quality can change dramatically depending on which part of the country you are in and what the local water source is. Hard water, for example, occurs when there are high levels of certain minerals in the water that end up leaving deposits once it has evaporated. Drinking hard water does not harm you, but it does have an effect on your RV's plumbing and appliances that use water. Scale grows in the pipes and water lines, and collects on surfaces in high-moisture areas. Hard water is tough on clothes when you wash them and keeps soap from lathering up properly. Luckily, there are portable RV water softeners which can remove these substances from your water.
Keep in mind that RV water softeners are different from water filters. Water filters get rid of sediment in the water, but the minerals that cause hard water are often already dissolved in the water. In America, the states that receive a lot of sun often have very hard water, particularly in the Southwest and in Florida. Softer water is found in New England and the Northwest United States. States in the Great Lakes region often have harder water as well.
What an RV water softener does is use an ion exchange process to remove minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and manganese that create hard water. The hard water goes through a resin tank which replaces those substances with salt or potassium chloride. The resin does need to go through a regeneration cycle every so often to get rid of the calcium and magnesium that are left in the tank. Regeneration also works to re-introduce the sodium ions back into the resin. Potassium chloride is used when higher sodium content in the water is a concern. The salt and resin will also need to be replaced periodically.
Flow Pur portable RV water softener has a flow rate of four gallons per minute and has a water hardness grain capacity of 10,000 before needing regeneration. It needs two pounds of salt for each regeneration, which takes only 20 minutes. RV water softeners from On The Go come in both single or double size, with standard fittings or brass fittings. The single size water softeners work with 300-700 gallons with an 8000 grain capacity before needing regeneration. The double size can handle 500-1600 gallons with a 16,000 grain capacity. Regeneration time is 15 minutes for single size and 30 minutes for the double size. Both brands can work with potassium chloride or regular table salt.
Accessories for the portable RV water softeners are also available, including replacement resin and refill kits. The refill kits are made for the On The Go softeners and include the resin, a funnel, and distributor cap. Test strips can check the hardness level of your water and measure a range of 0-25 GPG. They give results in under a minute and can also give you an indication of how well your water softener is working.
Why You Should Have an RV Water Softener