Page 7 - Travelore Issue 43 Fall 2018
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DRVC Travelore - Page 7
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shown in the map (below), will be observed in many ways. And, if you travel in any of the areas listed above, having a water softener available will provide a satisfying reward.
I use a salt-based water softener. There are several types, but the salt-based types have been around the longest; and, they just work.
A salt-based water softener uses “ion exchange” to remove the hardness. A bed exists in the softener of small gran- ules or beads which are charged with sodium (salt) ions. As the hard water passes through the bed, the calcium and magnesium, which cause water hardness, are attracted to the softening material. This ion exchange process occurs billions of times during the softening process. Eventually, so much hardness accumulates that the initial supply of sodium is depleted and the bed of softening is exhausted. When this occurs, regeneration is necessary.
To regenerate the softener for further service, rock salt
or table salt is flushed through the bed. This drives out
the accumulated hardness replacing it with sodium. The regeneration cycle can be repeated indefinitely over many years of service. (It should be noted, that the ion exchange is with calcium and magnesium. If those elements don’t exist in the incoming water, then sodium is not added to the water (or a very small amount). Regardless, this has little, if any, effect on the taste of the water.
Some people think that softeners are an inconvenience so people don’t use them or look for alternatives. Some people try to compare the portable water softener with their home unit thinking that the larger capacity will do them well.
I believe the RV unit is the easiest to use. I don’t even
use the test strips to see if I need to recharge my system.
I have been using a water softener long enough, that I just go by a rule of thumb – every eight tanks of water, I recharge the unit. When I do, it takes all of 20 minutes, and 6 lbs (4 boxes) of non-iodized table salt. It couldn’t be easier.
The reason for every eight tanks of water is another rule of thumb, my unit will soften up to 800 gallons of vvery hard water. Since my coach has a 100-gallon capacity, it equals eight tanks of water or so. If the water is only moder-
ately hard, the same portable unit will soften up to 2,000 gallons of water. This means I could go longer between
regeneration procedures. But, for the price of $3.00 worth of salt (or less), it’s not worth the hassle of keeping the test sticks around.
Since I always soften my water, I have the water coming from the source going into my sediment filter and then to the water softener. Next, the incoming water goes through the carbon filter to sweeten the water. Finally, it goes into the RV fresh water tank.
If you haven’t noticed, my water always goes to the tanks. I don’t run straight from the city water system all the time. Thanks to a good water pump, the water pressure in my coach is good and I don’t worry about city water issues or campground water being temporarily suspended because of a issue. I can easily go for seven days on a tank of water unless running the clothes washer.
I’m going to end this article here. That will leave the final installment of this series to the next article in which I will speak to other types of water “conditioners”.
Portable water softening products come in a variety of sizes and prices. The “On The Go” standard model (shown here), is 6 3⁄4 inches in diameter and 22 inches tall. It is rated at 8000 grains. It is recharged using plain table salt
through a large open- ing for easy mainte- nance and minimal storage of regen- eration material. It comes with adapters for easy backwash and convenient shut- off. It is fitted with hose connections for easy hookup to camp- ground pedestals. See https://www. rvwaterfilterstore.
com/E4011. htm for more information.

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