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Monday, November 23, 2020

Do You Need a Water Softener for Your RV?

Of all the things you might need for your RV, it’s a little bit too easy to lose sight of something like a water softener for your RV. To understand what they do and why you might need one, you first need to understand the difference between hard and soft water.

Water is considered ‘hard’ when it contains high levels of dissolved minerals. Specifically, the two minerals that are taken into account as indicators of water hardness are calcium and magnesium, but there are almost always other minerals dissolved alongside them.

Water is considered soft when it does not contain a high concentration of dissolved mineral ions (specifically calcium and magnesium) in its solution. Water may either be naturally soft or it can be softened with a water softener, but most water in the United States is fairly hard. 

What a Water Softener Does 

The short answer to this question is that a water softener removes the dissolved calcium and magnesium ions from the water, making it categorically ‘soft.’

There is more than one type of water softener, but many of them trap and remove the magnesium and calcium ions, replacing them with sodium, which does not have the same harmful household effects as the former.

This is the reason that many water softeners must be ‘recharged’ from time to time to ensure that they continue to function as intended. 

How to Tell if You Need a Water Softener for Your RV 

Now you need to know what signs to look out for to determine if you need to install a water softener for your RV. Here are a few of the things to look out for to determine if you need a water softener, without conducting any formal tests.

-       Your skin or hair feels off (or dry) after a shower or prolonged contact with the water - The calcium and magnesium ions in hard water will dry your skin out, and soap has a hard time removing them

-       There are stains or scale on your appliances or in your sinks or tub - Hard water causes scale to build up on your appliances and in your sink, or stains to form. These typically look like white stains on appliances and on fixtures, but the colors can vary.

-       You constantly need to replace pipes in your RV due to scale buildup - Scale can build up in your recreational vehicle’s plumbing, causing high flow rates and pressure which can damage your plumbing.

These are some of the most common ways to tell if your water is too hard and needs a softener to bring it down to reasonable levels, but the most sure fire way is to get a professional to test your water or to use test strips to determine the hardness. This can be tough with an RV, though, because they are constantly moving around the country.

When in doubt, get a water softener for your RV. They’re effective, practical, convenient, and easy to operate, and many of them are cost effective. Here’s what can happen if you don’t install a water softener. 

What If You Don’t Get One? 

If you don’t install a water softener and you subject your RV to consistently hard water levels, here are a few of the problems you might encounter, which can be unsightly at best and expensive to repair, at worst.

-       Hard water will damage your clothes or fade them - Hard water can make your laundry fade and feel itchy or brittle, damaging it over time.

-       Hard water can make your glassware more brittle - Hard water can cause stains on your glassware, but it will also make them more prone to breakage as well.

-       Hard water causes staining and scale buildup on your appliances - Scale buildup on your sinks and appliances is unsightly, looks dirty, and is expensive to fix. It also can negatively impact the value of your RV.

-       It will damage your plumbing system and stress the pipes - Hard water will also damage your pipes over time. It will build up on the inside of pipes, increasing the pressure of the water flow and causing issues that will need to be addressed with a replacement that will become costly in short order.

None of that sounds particularly enticing, and some of those problems can only be repaired at great expense to the owner of the RV. Save yourself the trouble and install a water softener system so you never have to worry about these problems in the first place.

You’re in the Right Place to Learn More! 

If you want to learn more about hard water and water softeners, read our blog where you’ll find plenty of interesting information about your RV and how to care for it. You can also get in touch with us at 866-332-7881 for more information!