RV boondockers are always concerned about getting clean drinking water into their holding tanks. Learn how you can make water safer to drink…
How to Make Water Safer to Drink
1. Always blow out faucets, filters, and hoses…
- Before you connect your filter to a faucet, run the water to blow everything out. Bugs, particularly earwigs, love to hide inside faucets.
- Connect the filter, and then run the water again to blow out all the old water. Even though filters have charcoal to remove and sometimes kill pathogens, that water can still turn brown.
- Connect the hose to the filter, run the water again to blow everything out of the hose.
- Finally, connect the hose to the RV and start filling your tank.
2. Attach some kind of inline water filter device…
- Camco TastePURE Inline Water Filter (40035) – is most widely used filter in the community, and sold at just about every Wal-Mart, RV supply store, and camping store. It doesn’t really make your water safer to drink, it just helps it taste better. However, this filter claims to remove bacteria, but with only a 20 micron filter, it’s too large to remove pathogens. It instead relies on carbon filtration to remove some bacteria.
- Camco EVO Water Filter (40630) – offers a much higher level of filtration, and you can find these at some Wal-Marts. However, it reduces the flow of water so that it takes longer to fill your tank. Still, many boondockers use these. Armed with a 5 micron filter, it will help make water safer to drink, but still allow some smaller bacteria to get through.
- Reverse Osmosis Water Systems – these offer the highest level of filtration, and effectively gives you nearly perfectly pure water. They severely reduce the flow of water and hence takes several hours (about 8 hours per 100 gallons) to fill a tank. Generally, you have to pull into an RV park for overnight, and begin the process of filling your tank with this system.
- Read more about RV water filters on our other article, “Does an RV Water Filter Make Water Safe to Drink?”
3. Add a filtration system at your kitchen faucet…
- Brita Tap Water Filter System – is a very popular choice among RVers. It only filters out additional metals and minerals.
- Filtrete Under the Sink Water Filter – is another popular option because some RVs are too small to have a filter attached to the faucet itself.
4. Use bleach or water purifying tablets…
- Use 1/4 teaspoon (8-12 drops) to one-gallon of water, then let sit for 30 minutes. This will kill off all pathogens and make water safer to drink. Bleach and water purifying tablets are themselves safe to consume, though only if following recommended usage. Bleach will add a light flavor, however.
- Water purifying tablets made from Chlorine Dioxide are the most effective form of tablets on the market. Read our in-depth article, “Using Water Purifying Tablets for RV Use“.
5. Sanitize your water tank periodically…
- About every 6 months, run bleach into your water tank to kill off pathogens.
- Use about 1/4 cup of bleach for every 15 gallons of tank capacity.
- Let sit for at least 8 hours.
- After 8 hours, drain the water from your tank by turning on every faucet in the RV. This will help sanitize the water lines.
- Freshen the gray tank by letting the bleached water remain for about 6-8 hours.
- Drain the gray tank.
How do I get bleach into my water tank? – Your RV should have some kind of winterizing system that will draw solution from a pitcher into the water tank. If it does not, or you don’t know how to operate it, you can always pour the necessary amount of bleach into a water hose, hook one end of the hose to a faucet, and the other end to your RV’s intake, and turn on the water.
Use Your Water Tank Only For Washing
Many boondockers do this. They instead buy distilled water in gallon jugs at the market for cooking and drinking. Otherwise, they leave the water tank for washing dishes, showering, or flushing toilets. This ends up letting them boondock longer before the water tank runs out.