In this article I’ll be discussing an RV water softener system, and why you might need one.
First of all, let’s get into the subject of what a water softener actually does. Because it seems like an odd name. After all, how do you soften water?
Disclosure: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means – at no additional cost to you – I earn a commission if you make a purchase using our affiliate links. I only link to products and companies I use and feel comfortable recommending. The income goes toward supporting the free content on this website
How Does An RV Water Softener System Work?
Well, the way a water softener works is that the water from the faucet goes in one side of the water softener.
And then in the body of the softener there’s resin particles that attract the hard water minerals out of the water.
In other words, they grab these minerals away from the water as it flows through the water softener.
Then the water flows right on up and out the other side of the softener and into your RV.
Now without a water softener there’s hard minerals in the water like calcium, magnesium, iron and so on.
And these minerals just keep building up in your RV water system. They build up in your RV pipes, in your faucets, in your appliances, and so on.
This buildup of mineral deposits just goes on for quite some time. And eventually it creates problems!
What Happens Without An RV Water Softener System?
Now there are several bad results that can come out of hard water. And number one is bad taste.
Bad tasting water is certainly something you can tell right away. But hard water also causes odors and rust stains.
Yes, if there’s iron in the water you’ll start to notice rust stains in your sinks and on your kitchen appliances.
Also, believe it or not you can actually have dry skin from hard water too.
So all of this building up in your appliances and your faucets is not good. It will shorten the life of your appliances and you just keep having problems over and over with them.
So it’s something that really does need attention. It’s not an imaginary problem at all!
And interestingly, nearly 85% of homes in the US are dealing with hard water.
So again, it’s not a a problem that happens every now and then. Or is an issue in only a few places here and there. It’s a very prevalent problem!
Do You Need An RV Water Softener System?
So what I recommend is to find out if it’s something you need to address in your RV travels.
To do that, you could get a test kit for your RV water and then see what it tells you about your water hardness.
I think that most likely you’ll be surprised. That’s because usually you’re going to find that you’re dealing with some hard water issues in many RV parks and campgrounds.
You know, campground water to begin with has all sorts of issues. And we have found that it can be very suspect as you travel from park to park.
You just never know what you’re going to get for water when you are in a campground.
And that’s why a lot of RV owners have water filters. And of course, water filtration is a very good thing to have in your RV.
It can get rid of the larger particulates in the water and things like that. But water filters do not soften the water.
And that’s the last necessary step to make sure that you are enjoying the best quality water possible.
So you need to remove those hard water minerals that can cause so many problems for you and your RV.
The Benefits Of An RV Water Softener System
And I feel strongly that once you have a water softener you’ll notice a real difference in your water quality!
It’s hard to explain, but just the feel of the water is different. You’ll begin to notice that your soaps and your cleansers suds up more. Your shampoos just work better and so on.
And your shower nozzles don’t get clogged easily anymore. And your appliances will be cleaner inside and they will function better and last a lot longer.
So there’s a lot of good things that come from having soft water for use in your entire RV.
Now let me describe how we use our own water softener system here in our RV.
A Little Bit About RV Water Filtration
First of all though, I made a video a while back about the water filtration system that we use in our RV.
And you can go watch that if you like first. Because what I explain in that video is that I actually use two different methods of filtration for our RV water.
This is for the water that we use in the sinks and shower and things like that.
The first filter is a blue water filter that almost everybody recognizes. It is a very common type of RV water filter that you often see many RVers using.
And we actually like this kind of filter as the first stage of water filtration for our RV.
Then the second water filter I use is in our water bay in the RV. And it’s very similar to a house water filter.
It’s also a higher quality filter than just the blue one that we use at the water faucet in campgrounds.
But between the blue filter and the house filter we get really good filtration for our RV’s water.
Where The Water Softener Fits In With Water Filtration
So then, what I like to do is put the water softener in between these two filters. That way there is a little filtration first out of the the blue filter before the water goes into the water softener.
Then the water goes into the house filter before it goes inside the RV.
I have to say that we find that this system works very well for us and really handles our water needs well.
Now of course, you can set it up any way that you want for your RV and your needs.
And really, as long as the water is softened before it goes into the RV, it’ll work just fine.
But we find that this arrangement actually makes the water softener last longer before you have to do a little maintenance to it.
Maintenance For An RV Water Softener System
Now let’s talk a little bit about maintenance for your RV water softener system.
That’s because there is a little bit of maintenance that goes with water softeners. And you need to know about that in advance too.
But the good news is that it’s not a lot of work, and it’s so cheap and easy to do.
Remember those resin beads that are inside the water softener that we talked about?
I mentioned above in this article how they attract all the hard minerals out of the water that passes through the softener.
Well, there comes a point that they get kind of saturated. You know, they have grabbed all these minerals out of the water for a while.
And those mineral deposits keep building up until finally there comes a point that there’s just not enough resin to keep softening the water.
So there has to be a way to get those minerals loosened off of the resin and then get them out of the water softener.
That way the resin in the softener can work like it should again.
Recharging Your RV Water Softener
And the way to do that is with regular old table salt. It will do the job just fine.
So first of all, go ahead and take the top off of the water softener. This is the very top. Not the where the hoses connect to the softener, but the very top cap.
The next step is that you get your box of regular table salt ready. And again, let me emphasize that there’s nothing special about this salt. And it’s very cheap to buy!
Now you pour it into the water softener. Just empty the entire box of salt into the softener through the top.
Once you do that, then you can turn on the water faucet and allow the water to start going in through the water softener again.
But don’t use too much water pressure at first. You just want it moving through at a nice little flow that’s barely coming out the other side of the softener.
What’s happening is that table salt is now rinsing those hard water minerals off of the resin beads.
And then those minerals are being taken right out of the water softener as the water flows out the other side.
How To Know When Your RV Water Softener Is Recharged
So rinse the water softener at a very low pressure setting for about 15 minutes. Then you can turn the flow of water up much higher to fast rinse for another five minutes or so.
After that is finished, test the water coming out of the softener with your test kit. This will help you know whether the softener is working correctly again or not.
You could also take a little cup and drink some of the water to see if you still have some salt taste left in it.
If the salt taste is gone, and if the water is soft that’s coming out the other side, you’re all set!
At this point you have regenerated your water softener and it’s ready for another period of solid service.
So once it’s regenerated, make sure that the top is back on really good and go ahead and reattach the outlet hoses.
Then it’s right back in the system and ready for use for another few weeks or so.
Now let me say that we love our water softener! In fact, everything that uses water in our RV benefits from the water softener and just works better.
We just love the feel of the water that comes out of our RV faucets whether it’s in the kitchen, or bathroom.
In fact, I would say that overall, our RV water softener system has been one of the best purchases that we have made.
And therefore we feel very confident that we can recommend water softening as a an important part of RV life.
After using it on a daily basis, we feel it will make a real difference for you just like it has for us!