Sunday, July 1, 2012

Motorhome Mod or Lucy's New Accessory

I had had it. I was fed up and disgusted. I had battled it for over 3 months in Texas over the winter and now that we were in South Dakota, it was worse than ever! What could be so bad? Hard water! Harder than hard. The kind of water that refuses to suds up. The kind that leaves your clothes looking dingy. The kind that leaves deposits on your faucets and a white nasty film on your dishes, pots, pans and utensils. I'm talking nasty!

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After Rockport last winter I actually cleaned my dishes, glasses and cookware with Lime Away to get the nasty deposits off of it. The water on our travels through New Mexico and Colorado didn't seem to be quite as bad so I pretty much forgot all about it.

That is until we got to Nebraska and South Dakota. Man. Water this hard should be illegal! After running a couple of loads of dishes in the dishwasher, my previously shiny black spatulas are now gross and disgusting along with our glasses, coffee cups and everything else that's been touched by this water. I realize that having a dishwasher in an RV is more the exception than the rule, but I love it and use it everyday.  It performs very well with decent quality water. I am also one of those that loves my Splendide washer/dryer. I think it does an excellent job when given the right tools (water) :)

Once I get going on something, there is no stopping me :) I immediately started researching portable water softeners. Camping World had 2 that we were interested in, both on sale for the exact same price. After reading the reviews and checking the specs we decided to place an order. We chose Flow-Pure RV-Pro 10,000 which was the larger of the 2 we looked at. Our thinking was that it would need regenerating less often if it had a larger capacity. Whether that will be the case or not remains to be seen and tested. It took a week to arrive but the shipping was free so I can't complain, especially since this bugger weighs in at 26 pounds, before salt and water are added.

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Included in the box was a bottle of water hardness testing strips. Looks like the water is a little hard here, doesn't it? Almost off the chart!

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I don't have a clue how a water softener actually works. I only know that it does. Most home softeners regenerate automatically, usually in the middle of the night, using rock salt. Our new softener requires a manual regeneration using plain old table salt. One container (26 ounces) of table salt each time.

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It's supposed to be a fairly quick and easy process which is also untested. The unit arrived completely regenerated so we won't have to do it until it's due, which is when the test strips show it going into the hard category again. The harder the water, the more frequently it will need to be done. While we're here, I think that will be often :)

Installing it required re-configuring our filter system. We are pretty anal about filtering our water. We have 2 outdoor filters, one for sediment and another for fine particulates, taste and odor.

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We also have a filter inside on the refrigerator for filtered water and ice, plus a Brita pitcher for any water used from the sink for cooking or coffee. Probably overkill. Maybe not.

Anyhow, the sediment filter needed to be placed on the input side to keep any sediment out of the softener. We chose to have the taste and odor filter on the output side, so things needed to be configured a bit differently and short hoses added. The new setup isn’t pretty but it works! I think we’ll figure out a way to “pretty it up” as we go along :)

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We think this will work well for us. We are a little concerned with the added sodium in the water but, we drink mostly bottled water so it's not a big issue. Voila! Lucy is now completely accessorized :)

How does it work? Well, pretty darn good, I'd say :) My soap has suds, my clothes look cleaner and most important, my dishes aren’t embarrassing anymore! I'm a happy camper again!

Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

10 comments:

  1. Well that's a lot of good changes for you with just one purchase. Seems to have made you very happy. Isn't that the wonderful thing when just one change will fix so many problems. Congratulations!

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  2. YIPEE...shiny dishes!!! I think the entire Carolina Clan will be at your site for dinner;o)) Just glad you are happy... don'chaknow!!!

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  3. We will be interested to know how you like it going forward as we spend lots of time in the "land of hard water" - Texas.

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  4. It seems like we've "always" had a dishwasher, even back in the days when we could barely afford the soap. One thing we learned though, when we decided to "upgrade" a few years ago, was that you can't wash too darned much in hard water.
    This was explained to us by the salesperson (first dishwasher was a second hand Maytag that lasted another 20 years) when we bought our Miele. There's a little reservoir in the bottom for salt.
    Well, knock me over with a feather!
    Even the one we have here in Vienna takes salt, and works like a charm.
    You'll see a huge improvement in everything. Believe me. And your dishes will get cleaned.

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  5. Glad to see you solved your dilema with the hard water. Now you're truely are a happy camper. :c)

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  6. Hard water is all ways aggravating ' glad you soved the problem!

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  7. I like my dishwasher and washing machine too ... the conveniences of home. I'm convinced the dishwasher uses less water than I do when I hand wash. So far, haven't felt the need for a softener, but will keep this in mind should the need arise.

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  8. Hard water really is annoying. Good fix!

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  9. I wouldn't think it adds any sodium to the water after it's softened, the resin does the softening and the salt just regenerates the resin to get rid of the minerals that got soaked up by the resin. The regen process includes a flush to get rid of the extra salt after it has done it's job. After all; if all of your water tasted like ocean water it would make lousy coffee:-)

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    1. Thanks for the explanation, Neil. That actually "sort of" makes sense to me :) So far, so good. It works really well. I know many people think I'm crazy and would never consider such a thing, but it works for us and it sure makes me happy :)

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