Caravan and Motor Home Filters InformationThe 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 TanksMany 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.
Drinking WaterWhile 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 FiltersDifferent 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.
NSF CertificationMany filters have the NSF logo but are not NSF certified materials or certified to the applicable NSF/ ANSI Standard 42, 51, 53, 58 or 61. (Contact Aqua Safe on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1300 661 735 for details on manufacturer & certification) 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) SystemsThese 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.
Water HardnessCalcium 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|