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Thursday, June 3, 2021

A Useful Comparison of Some On The Go Water Softeners

RV owners have their work cut out for them. As enjoyable as recreational vehicles can make on the road living and camping, there are so many special tools and gadgets that it’s worth your while to carry because of the unforeseen pitfalls of RV life. There’s also a lot you need to be aware of. For example, never leave your RV awning open and unattended or store it wet, and take care to cover your RV tires to protect them from long-term damage attributable to UV light exposure.

These are just two very small, very specific instances in which RV owners need to be uncommonly attentive to the details of RV living and RV care. Here’s another one, that has real consequences for RV owners - the quality of the water that you run through your pipes.

Here is an unfortunate truth about the quality of water in the United States. We may have a lot of it, and it may be freely available, but in most areas of the country, the water sources will be hard. This is something you need to be aware of as an RV owner - and something against which you need to take action, for the better of your RV.

Hard and Soft Water 

It’s been said that over 80% of the homes in the United States have hard water, which would then allow it to follow that a majority of RVs are exposed to the same. Just what is hard water, though?

Hard water is water that contains a high concentration of dissolved minerals. The two chief minerals that most hard water contains are magnesium and calcium, although water can be considered hard if it contains traces of other minerals as well.

The thing about hard water is that there is nothing categorically wrong with it. You can drink hard water, use it for cleaning and cooking, and much more. The problem arises when you use hard water for a prolonged time.

Some of these issues are specific to RV owners and others of them are general nuisances. For example, hard water can make dishes and glasses more brittle and prone to chipping and breaking over time. It can also leave white or yellowish marks or stains on dishes and silverware - but more on that in a moment.

Hard water is also a nuisance for homeowners because hard water ruins laundry over time. A few wash cycles and you won’t notice much of anything, but after repeated exposure to hard water, the colors of clothing will fade. Your clothes, towels and other textiles will fade and wear out long before their time when exposed to hard water.

Soft water, by comparison, is water that does not contain the same concentrations of dissolved minerals, chiefly magnesium and calcium. Soft water is beneficial for a bunch of reasons, namely because it does not leave marks on dishes and appliances, and is not damaging to clothing and other textiles. Soft water also increases the efficacy of soap and detergents and is better for your skin and hair.

Is My Water Hard?

If you want to know for sure whether your water is hard or soft, you can always get a test kit with test strips to know for sure. This will tell you about pH readings as well as what dissolved minerals are present in the water and in what concentrations. However, in many instances, a testing kit is not even necessary to determine if water is hard or soft. Sometimes, hard water will present itself with some of the following telltale signs.

If your water is soft, you have little to worry about and probably will not notice anything amiss. However, if your RV is chronically exposed to hard water, you may notice spotting, staining, or streaking in your dishwater, on or around your pipes, or on your appliances. Sometimes this discoloration appears white and cloudy, other times it appears yellow or even almost brown. You might also notice this type of discoloration on your dishes, glassware, or silverware.

Another telltale sign is that your clothing, towels, or other garments appear washed out, dull, or feel prematurely worn out or rough. Of course, this is not a dead giveaway - it might also mean you should be using a different detergent - but it is a sign of hard water.

Another sign that you’re experiencing hard water is if your skin and hair feel “off” after showering. This could be due to the residue left on your skin by hard water, but it could also be because hard water limits the efficiency of soap and leaves soap on your skin or hair as well.

Finally, one of the big giveaways is diminished water pressure, which can indicate that you’re not only using hard water but that it is actively causing damage to your RV’s plumbing system. If you notice diminished water pressure from your faucets or showerhead, along with unsightly stains or spotting, you’re almost certainly laboring under hard water and need to do something about it. This is because of the scale deposits left behind in your pipes by the hard water. 

What Is Scale? 

Hard water scale is, simply put, the deposits of magnesium, calcium, and other minerals that are left behind by hard water as it passes through pipes or comes into contact with a surface. The spots and stains left on dishes and glassware are a form of scale, which, though unsightly, is not necessarily a material issue.

Hard water scale can become a serious problem when it is left unchecked and allowed to accumulate within pipes and appliances. This is because, some of the time, these deposits are accumulating unbeknownst to the other of the RV and can damage your plumbing system over time.

When too much hard water scale accumulates within the pipes in an RV, or the lines of an appliance, the first thing that will happen is that it will diminish the performance of that appliance. This is where you may notice that a faucet or showerhead is providing a more sluggish flow than usual.

If this occurs, it means that the scale within the pipes has accumulated to the point that it is adversely affecting the flow of water through them. This is a problem for several reasons. For one, it will impact the use of your plumbing. For another, it places an immense strain and terrible pressure on the pipes and fittings. This can result in burst pipes, damaged appliances, and more. These are expensive to remedy in their own right, but if a pipe bursts and floods your RV, you’ll be looking at an entirely different issue altogether.

Luckily, you can remedy the issue of hard water with a simple system like an On The Go Water Softener 

How a Water Softener Can Help 

A water softener can help you preserve the life of your RV’s plumbing system as well as your appliances while providing a wide range of other useful benefits as well. Generally speaking, a water softening system will work to remove some of the dissolved minerals from your water before it makes its way through your pipes and into your appliances. This way, a water softener can help with some of the following problems:

-       No more spotting or staining on dishes, silverware, glassware, or crystal

-       No more washed out or faded laundry

-       Soap and shampoo will work better, so your skin and hair will feel much better

-       No more staining of appliances which will adversely affect their value

-       Most importantly - no more scale buildup in pipes which can damage your plumbing system and appliances

Here at RV Upgrades, we offer quite a range of solutions in water softeners, including several options in On The Go Water Softeners which will work hard to remove dissolved trace minerals from your water before you use it. 

Some Options in On The Go Water Softeners 

If you’re looking for an On The Go Water Softener to prevent some of the issues named in this article, consider some of the following: 

On The Go Portable Standard RV Water Softener (OTG4-StdSoft) 

The On The Go Portable Standard RV Water Softener is a highly practical solution for most RV owners that are plagued with hard water. It not only solves a whole host of problems caused by hard water, but it is also easy to fit, easy to use, and easy to recharge.

This portable water softener removes magnesium and calcium from your water before you use it. Its design features an easy-carry handle and a wide mouth to make it easier to recharge - it’s also lightweight and easy to hook up.

This On The Go Water Softener does not require any tools or electricity to operate and can be hooked up to your RV effortlessly. It takes nothing more than a standard hose connection between the park faucet and your RV’s inlet hose.

The unit itself contains 8,000 grains and can soften anywhere between 320 and 800 gallons before it needs to be recharged, lasting up to 20 days on a single charge. It utilized potassium chloride and can be recharged with common table salt to continue softening water.

It’s small and lightweight, which means it can be installed even in tight spaces and stored out of the way if it is not needed, both traits that are highly valuable on RVs where space comes at a premium.

This portable water softening system comes with an inlet cap, an outlet cap, a handle, an inlet hi-flow shutoff valve, inlet, and outlet hose adapters, a backflush adapter, test strips, and a high-pressure 4-foot white drinking hose.

On The Go Double Standard RV Water Softener (OTG4-DBLSOFT) 

If the capacity of the previous Portable On The Go Water Softener is not adequate for your needs, then you might be interested in the On The Go Double Standard RV Water Softener. This On The Go Water Softener can last anywhere from 10 to 32 days - that’s a month - before it needs to be regenerated.

This water softening system features 16,000 grains per unit of softening, and works great to soften your RV’s water supply, thereby reducing damage to your plumbing and your appliances.

Like the previous On The Go Water Softener, this water softening system can be easily installed. It requires no tools for installation and no electricity for operation and can be easily regenerated with normal table salt within as little as 30 minutes.

Throughout one charge, it can soften anywhere from 500 to 1,600 gallons before it will need to be regenerated, depending on the level of hardness. This portable RV water softener also offers an excellent water flow rate of around 4.5 gallons per minute. It’s a little larger, bulkier, and heavier than the former unit, but it is still compact and lightweight, perfect for taking on the road.

This water softener also comes with a 1-year manufacturer warranty, as well as storage inlet and outlet caps, along with a handle, an inlet hi-flow shutoff valve, inlet and outlet hose adapters, a backflush adapter, and a 4-foot high-pressure white drinking hose.

Questions? Contact Us! 

Whatever your questions are, the team here at RV Upgrades is here to help you. We’ll put your concerns about hard water to rest, whether you’re looking for a test kit to determine whether or not you have hard water or you need an actual water softening system to solve the issue.

Additionally, if you need some help picking out a water softening system, we are here to help. Contact us via your preferred method and let us know what you’re looking for and we’ll help you choose the right water softener. You can reach us by phone at 866-332-7881, but you can also reach us via the live chat feature that you can use right here on our website, whichever is easier for you. Soft water is within reach - you just need the right water softening system for your RV!

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