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Open Roads Forum  >  Travel Trailers  >  Modifications and Accessories

 > Really Hard Water with a Lot of Iron

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Todd and Carrie

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Posted: 08/04/14 12:30pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi All!

We're just hoping someone here has found something we haven't been able to find... a full RV water softener that removes a ridiculous amount of iron for $500 or less. The only ones we can find use $60 filters that would have to be changed very, very often. Any others range from $1000 to $3500.

If you have one you like we'd love to hear about it! We're in Elkhart, IN if you're wondering where we're getting this horrendous well water. All campgrounds for miles and miles around have the same and we want to stay in the area for three more months but our entire plumbing system will be ruined way before then if we don't find something.

Thank you for reading! Have a great day! [emoticon]

Carrie

westend

Shorewood, MN

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Posted: 08/04/14 12:54pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

One of my residential wells has a ridiculous amount of suspended mineral in the water, including a lot of iron. What we do is use a whole-house filter before the softener. I've gone to using the cheapest paper filters instead of the carbon ones because replacement cost of filters is almost 200% more.

Occasionally, I will shock treat the well and all the plumbing with a couple of gallons of bleach. The bleach must remain in the pipes for 12 hrs. to be effective. I then run out the dirty water from the system through an exterior faucet. Each faucet has the aireator removed and those supply lines are flushed, too.

The filter we use is similar to this one. I use the $9.98 paper filters.


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2oldman

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Posted: 08/04/14 01:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would be tempted to use 2 On-the-go softeners in series. After a bit of research, I find it may not work at all.

* This post was edited 08/04/14 02:01pm by 2oldman *

Todd and Carrie

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Posted: 08/04/14 02:18pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi westend and 2oldman!

Thank you for your replies! We use two regular RV water filters (always) and we tried a portable water softener that uses salt. It was $305 and did a pretty good job for one whole day. We can't remember the brand name. Todd spoke to the salesperson who recommended doubling the salt so he did. For two days we had salt water then right back to iron water so it went back.

westend, I hear ya with the bleach. We've put vinegar in the fresh tank and are leaving it in the pipes overnight to try and flush out some of the crud. I've read regular softeners really don't work on iron or sulfur, they're two different beasts. The paper filters are a great idea but this water is so bad I'm afraid we'd go through one per day!

2oldman, thank you for researching too!

westend

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Posted: 08/04/14 02:43pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

westend, I hear ya with the bleach. We've put vinegar in the fresh tank and are leaving it in the pipes overnight to try and flush out some of the crud. I've read regular softeners really don't work on iron or sulfur, they're two different beasts. The paper filters are a great idea but this water is so bad I'm afraid we'd go through one per day!

My experience is that standard resin bead softeners will remove iron. I can see that a problem with standard RV softeners is that there isn't much surface area because of the size of the bead tank. Sulfur is probably an odor thing caused by break down of organic or mineral causing sulfur dioxide, a most odoriferous chemical and difficult to remove. A small micron carbon filter will probably do a fair job of it.

Has the campground water ever been tested where you are? From the description, it sounds like it must be very bad, almost non-potable. I'm guessing you may have to weigh your options of installing a large sediment filter before it enters the RV system or delivering clean water into the RV. It may be more cost effective to invest in a water barrel and pump setup, using a good source of water, and delivering that to the RV in weekly amounts than trying to fight, through filtration, the bad campground water.

dadmomh

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Posted: 08/04/14 03:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When we lived in NW OH we had THE worst water we've ever had....both iron and sulphur. We had a service - think it was Culligan - that handled the water softener and also a reverse osmosis for under the sink in the kitchen. We were on a well and also had to shock it with bleach...usually did it Friday afternoon before we went to the boat for the weekend and then rinsed, rinsed, rinsed on Sunday evening. PITA. You might try calling one of the service companies and see if they have something reasonable to purchase and to manage with an RV. Or possibly they could let you rent something just for the time you're there. Surely if the water is as bad as you say, there must be someone out there that knows the solution. Good luck...it's nasty stuff. BTW, we had so much iron in the water that when we watered the lawn and shrubbery, we had to keep it from getting on the siding because it left a nasty orange color, so if you wash your trailer, be sure to dry it thoroughly.


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myredracer

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Posted: 08/04/14 05:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You could use a 10" whole house filter cartridge like this Pentek iron reduction cartridge for under $100. You'd also need a sediment pre-filter with it. Due to the low volume of water used in an RV compared to a house, it would last quite a while. Life would depend on the ppm iron content in the water and at 3 ppm for example, would provide 26,000 gallons of use. This filter will also remove manganese.

If this doesn't provide enough filtration, for a mere $1573, you could this one which filters up to 30 ppm: whole house iron reduction

Waterfilters.net is a good resource for filter info. and you could contact tehm for detailed info.


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Todd and Carrie

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Posted: 08/04/14 07:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

westend, yep, that makes sense to me - not enough surface space. We asked about the campground water when we first got here, saying "there is something terribly wrong here". The owner told us it is safe to drink (I certainly don't believe that) and people who live here have water softeners. So we figured it'd be OK to take showers and wash dishes. Almost non-potable indeed! I like the idea of a water barrel! That never occurred to me. Thank you [emoticon].

dadmomh, this is the worst water we've ever seen too! Todd looked into a water service like that, was really expensive. I think these companies are taking advantage of people because we all need water and they can. Thank you for the good luck (we sure need it) and suggestion! It really is nasty stuff! All our water features in the camper are that brown-orange color now. the bathroom faucet tip is clogged and sitting on the booth table though we soaked it recently in CLR, about to do it again. The dishes all have that filthy color... even my hair was about 50% white, not anymore, I could go on.

Todd went back to the water store today. The sales person does seem to be trying to help us out. He had a recommendation that is usually used for a house and is trying to find fittings so we can use it with a hose. He told Todd to come back tomorrow. Todd can't remember what it's called but I'll let ya'll know tomorrow. We know it's less than $300.

There are nice temporary jobs for travelers here. It's a shame there is this awful problem. The campground is nice, the people are nice. Not worth it if we can't figure this out. I'm with dadmomh, "there must be someone out there that knows the solution".

We sure do appreciate you all!

I tried to post this earlier but lost internet connection and copied and pasted onto notepad. Now that we're back on I told Todd about myredracer's links - the first is what we're getting, hopefully tomorrow! Oh my gosh, exactly what you said! Fingers crossed!

PAThwacker

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Posted: 08/04/14 09:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My well water is a PITA> I blow through GE whole house filters sometimes every 6 days. I dump gallons of bleach into the well to kill the manganese bacteria. Life gets good for a week or so, and back to bleaching, red water, clogged filters etc. Did I say PITA?


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Todd and Carrie

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Posted: 08/05/14 03:39pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi PAThwacker. Sorry to hear that. I really never knew this country had so many areas with this dirty water. PITA for sure!

We got the iron reduction filter and housing myredracer posted above (first link). I'll let ya'll know if it's still working after a week.

I think we should put bleach in the fresh tank and run it through but Todd disagrees, hmmm. Maybe I can convince him to flip a coin, ha!

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