Answers to questions about RV Repair and Maintenance from RV expert Dave Solberg, author of the “RV Handbook” and the managing editor of the RV Repair Club. This column appears Monday through Saturday in the RV Travel and RV Daily Tips newsletters. (Sign up for an email reminder for each new issue if you do not already receive one.) Today Dave discusses water in campgrounds.
I recently got red particles in the incoming water screen and also in the hose from the campground hookup to filter. I know I need to change the filter, but what are the red specks? When I showed them to the owner of the campground, he blew me off. Are they harmful? —Michael
Since most of the water available at campgrounds is hard water from a well, it is not conditioned like municipal sources. Therefore, it is common to get calcium, lime, and other particles such as rust – which I believe is the case with your red particles. It could also be a combination of sand or grit that has taken on a reddish color due to rust or iron in the water.
I have had water so hard in campgrounds it clogged my filter solid in one week with sand. That’s why I switched to a residential style filter versus an inline filter. I can change the $2 cartridge rather than needing to change the entire filter.
Campgrounds are required to have their water source tested professionally once a year and post a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) (formerly MSDS – Material Safety Data Sheet) in the main office. However, that does not mean the water will be good for the entire year. So, in my opinion, it’s important to not only filter the water but test it periodically.
Typically particles in campground water and/or well water is not harmful
Typically these particles and minerals are not harmful unless you are allergic to them. There are a few off-the-shelf water test kits that are easy to use. This one I used in the past from a home improvement store tests for iron and copper – which might be what you are seeing.
This is a home kit but does work for well water systems found in campgrounds. However, I just came across a test kit called Home Safe at a another home improvement store that was designed for well water testing. It actually tests for 20 different issues including Lead, Nitrate, Nitrite, Bacteria, Pesticides, Mercury, Hexavalent Chromium, Copper, Iron, Sulfate, pH, Chloride, Zinc, Silver, Chlorine, Alkalinity, Hardness and Phosphate.
I don’t usually drink the water from the campground, but do want to filter it to keep sediment from clogging my faucets, water pump and other items. You can even go further with a portable water softener, which will help with better water for showers and washing machines.
Read more from Dave here.
Dave Solberg worked at Winnebago for 15 years developing the dealer training program, as marketing manager, and conducting shows. As the owner of Passport Media Creations, Dave has developed several RV dealer training programs, the RV Safety Training program for The Recreation Vehicle Safety and Education Foundation, and the accredited RV Driving Safety program being conducted at rallies and shows around the country. Dave is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club.
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