Caravan & Motor Home Info
The water supply in caravan parks and camping sites around Australia can vary considerably making it an important consideration when filling tanks or connecting to the supply. You want to protect your health, your equipment and your mobile investment.
There are many options available; the right filtration system for one person will be different to the next person. No one or two filters suit every application and every person.
Filling Water Tanks
Many caravans and motor homes have more than one storage tank enabling a potable water source for drinking and non-potable for showers and washing up. While this reduces the need to treat all water to a potable standard it is still advisable to filter the water going into all tanks with a simple single sediment filter to remove sediment, rust and other suspended particles to reduce sludge build up in tanks and damage to pumps, valves and other equipment. The chlorine remains in the water to help keep it sanitised if kept for many days or weeks. If you are filling from a creek or river then you also want to consider a Doulton Ceramic sediment filter cartridge to remove bacteria, cysts and other potentially harmful contaminants from the water or a very fine 0.3 – 0.5 micron sediment filter. This cartridge can be stored and only used when filling from rivers and creeks, while a standard 1, 5 or 10 micron cartridge may be used when filing from caravan parks and other town water sources.
Aqua Safe Tank Water Sanitiser can also be added to the storage tanks to simply sanitise the water without using chlorine. This can easily be done every time the tanks are filled or as and when needed. Test strips can be used to confirm that the water has a sufficient level of sanitiser to kill bacteria and harmful contaminants.
Some customers also like to remove the chlorine, taste and odours from the water as it enters the tanks. A single carbon or Twin System would therefore be suggested for these applications.
While some filter the water into the storage tanks to a very high standard, most don’t, instead preferring to filter only the water they drink at the sink through the sink tap or a separate drinking water tap.
This usually involves installing a single carbon filter under the sink in the cold water supply line to the tap. Due to space restrictions Generic 10” filter systems are not normally used. Smaller brand specific filters are installed in either a horizontal or vertical position.
Generic Cartridge or Brand Specific Systems.
(a) Generic filters are standard 10” filter housings that can fit any 10” filter cartridge. The main advantage of these is you can get filters to suit them anywhere although they are more bulky, take up more room and are a little more difficult to service and change the cartridges.
(b) Brand specific filters tend to be quick and easy to change, however they are often not carried by distributors so need to be sourced from the supplier taking 3-7 days to ship to your location. For this reason it is often best to carry a spare should it block unexpectedly. With over 20 different types of filters currently installed in caravans and motor homes it can be difficult sourcing the right filter supplier.
Size and Capacity of Carbon Filters
Different size filters have different capacities both in the flow rates of the filter; how many litres per minute can flow through it and the volume of water the filter can treat, ie 4,000 litres.
The water however cannot flow too quickly through a carbon filter otherwise there will be little contact time with the media and low removal of contaminants. Flow rates for small carbon filters should be up to 3-5 litres per minute, medium sized systems 7-10 litres per minute and large high capacity systems such as Big Blue or Big White Systems 15-20 litres per minute. Flow rates faster than this will result in poor performance.
Many filters have the NSF logo but are not NSF certified and therefore their performance claims such as capacity and what they remove are not tested and certified against a water filter standard. Filters should have NSF42 rating for chlorine and sediment removal or NSF53 if they are claiming bacteria and cyst reduction. Without these standards water filtration companies can make any claims regarding the performance of their filters and what they remove. Most of this is unfortunately marketing hype and not a true indication on what the filter removes. This includes most lab test results where the water sample is provided to the lab or the water filter has very few litres run through it before testing.
Ultra-Violet (UV) Systems
These systems are used to kill viruses and bacteria in the water and are becoming more common in upmarket caravans and motor homes. They are installed after sediment and chemical pre-filters and require power, either 12, 24 or 240 volt to run.
UV systems have a ultra-violet lamp much the same as a fluorescent tube that emits ultra-violet light and kills bacteria, viruses, algae and other living organisms in the water as it passes through the UV system. The systems offer substantial benefit when using creek or a raw water supply. The lamps are generally designed to run for 9000 hours or one year of continuous use before needing to be changed.
Calcium and magnesium ions in the water are the main cause of water hardness. Hard water has a different feel and is often noticed by the lack of soapy bubbles or ability to obtain a lather when washing. These ions cause scale to build up on hot water appliances, taps, shower screens, air conditioners, etc.
Hard water is common in northern parts of Australia and areas in southern parts of Australia using bore water.
The majority of cities and towns in Australia have hardness levels in the “slightly hard” range. Total hardness levels in the main capital cities around Australia are: Sydney 14-75ppm (parts per million), Melbourne 15-40 ppm, Brisbane 93-143 ppm, Canberra 40 ppm, Adelaide 80-160 ppm and Perth 100 ppm. There are a number of small towns around the county such as Yass or Goulburn in NSW where levels are 180-250 ppm.
|ppm/mg/l Hardness||Hardness Classification|
|less than 20||Soft|
|Over 180||Very Hard|
Removal of hardness maybe necessary in some locations if alternative water sources are unavailable. Water filters within specific media to protect against hardness are only suitable for hardness levels up to 130 ppm at most. Levels over this require special media, resin or zeolite media to remove the hardness from the water.
Resin filters attract and hold the calcium, magnesium and other positive ions to itself releasing small quantities of sodium (salt) in exchange. For this reason the resin media can only remove a certain quantity of hardness ions from the water before the resin capacity is used up. It then needs to be replaced or regenerated.
Consequently mixed media filters such as those with carbon and resin or zeolite have very low hardness removal capacity particularly in high hardness areas. They are also unable to be regenerated and are therefore not recommended.
Standard 10” resin cartridges have relatively low hardness removal capacity with a water hardness of 150 ppm they can treat approximately 130 litres of water with a hardness of 200 ppm they will treat approximately 95 litres of water. The inclusion of a hand held TDS meter is essential so you can determine when regeneration or replacement is required.
Regenerating Water Cartridges
Regeneration involves rinsing and recharging the resin and can be done just about anywhere, only takes a few minutes using common table salt.How to regenerate a resin cartridge. [click for more information]
An important note is resin cartridges must be kept moist or wet. If it dries out it will need to be replaced.
If high capacities are required an AS355 whole of house single filter is recommended. This cartridge has a capacity of 320 litres with a total hardness of 150 ppm or 240 litres with a total hardness of 200 ppm.
Filter Micron Rating
Water filter cartridges are rated in microns. The lower or smaller the micron rating the finer the filtration, the more contaminants will be removed and the quicker the filter can block. One micron = one thousandth of a millimetre. A small fine human hair is approximately 50-75 microns. The eye can see particles to about 40 microns. Particle Size Chart.
A 20 micron filter is considered to be course, 5-10 microns is medium and 1 micron if fine filtration, less than 1 micron is extra fine. Filtering water of general use in a caravan or motor home would normally be done with course or medium filtration while drinking water would be further filtered with 1 micron or less cartridge. This is a guide only as every application is different.
Home and Caravan
Most caravan and motor home owners also have water filtration systems in their homes. In most cases it is possible to have the same system in your home and caravan. This then allows you to have only the one type of filter and swap the filter cartridges out of your home unit into the caravan whenever you go away, putting them back when you get home again. Keeps things simple and saves money.
Upgrade or Trade In
Trade in or upgrade your existing or old water filter system for a new one, all for only the cost of a filter cartridge. Simply send us your old filter head and we will send you a new filter cartridge and head complete with fittings to connect straight in where your old system was, for the cost of only a new filter cartridge or you can purchase it complete to start with and we will refund the difference when the head is returned. Applies to models QC350CV, AS2200CV, AS2110CV and L5000 filters only.
Caravan Club Discount
For caravan Club Members - All caravan, campervan and motor home club members are entailed to further discounts. Please contact your relevant club to obtain a discount code that can be entered at time of checkout for further savings.
Aqua Safe delivers filters and cartridges Australia wide within 3-7 days. This includes remote areas.