Saturday, December 9, 2023


What can an RV water softener do for you?

By Cheri Sicard
Are RV water softeners worth it? Here to answer the question is certified RV inspector Duane from the RV Inspection And Care YouTube channel.

Duane’s videos are always highly educational and this one is no exception. He starts by explaining exactly what a water softener does, which is the first step to determining if you need one.

Water from your hose goes in one side of the softener. Inside are resin particles that attract the hard water minerals from the water. The then “softened” water flows out the other side of the water softener and into your RV.

Why might you need an RV water softener?

Without a water softener, hard minerals in the water like calcium, magnesium, iron, etc. can build up in your RV’s water system.

Hmmmm, I shudder to think what my pipes might look like. After spending six months in Baja this winter I could see the mineral deposits building up in my RV’s toilet.

To be sure, you can be using hard water for a long time before it creates problems, but it can create issues.

Hard water can also have an off taste or odor. If it’s high in iron it can leave rust stains. It can make your skin dry. And worst of all, it can shorten the life of your appliances and RV plumbing system.

According to Duane, a whopping 85 percent of homes in the United States are dealing with hard water. So the problem is not uncommon.

How do you know if you need an RV water softener?

Duane recommends a small water testing kit that you can use in the places you like to camp. He thinks you’ll be surprised at how many of them have hard water.

Not to mention that campground water, in and of itself, can often be suspect. Duane has encountered it around the country, and I know I have as well. Many a campground during last year’s long, long RV trip had warnings about not drinking the water.

That’s why a lot of RVers have water filters, which do get rid of larger particulates. But they, unfortunately, do not soften the water.

Duane says you will notice an immediate difference in the quality of the water when using a water softener. Not only that, there are more benefits, including:

  • Soaps and shampoos will suds more and work better.
  • You’ll no longer deal with clogged shower nozzles.
  • Appliances will be cleaner, run better, and last longer.

How to use an RV water softener

Watch the video as Duane shows how he uses the water softener in his own rig. He actually sandwiches it between two different filters and claims they always have really great water. It works well, but of course, there are methods.

RV water softener maintenance

Using the method of doing some filtration before softening, Duane says you will need less water softener maintenance.

That said, there is always going to be some maintenance involved with this particular RV accessory. But it is not a lot and is both cheap and easy to do.

After a while, those resin beads in the water softener become saturated with hard minerals. You need to get those minerals off of the beads. Duane says regular old table salt does a great job of this. In the video, Duane demonstrates exactly how to do this simple task.

Because of the quality of the water, Duane counts his RV water softener as one of the best overall RV accessories they have in their rig. With 85 percent of U.S. water being full of hard minerals, it seems like most RVers could benefit too. Do you use a water softener in your RV? Please share your experiences in the comments below.



4.4 9 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe to comments
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Mark Morgan (@guest_240310)
5 months ago

Please do not dump the water on the ground when recharging the water softner. It is very salty and will kill trees and vegetation. Also highly corrosive to metal. Run a hose to the sewer. My method for water purification is: dual cartridge 20 and 5 micron prefilter, Pro+Aqua water softner, iSpring 500 gallons per day reverse osmosis system. All for less than $1000. End product is 99.9 percent pure water, lab tested.

Thomas D (@guest_240304)
5 months ago

Wintering in Yuma Az taught me about water softeners.
You need one. water so hard I chipped a tooth drinking a glass of it. Bought one , but real P I T A. getting it recharged. I would have added a flush port in the bottom of the tank. Other than my personal feelings its great. My neighbor has 2 so he can swap tanks and recharge at his leisure.
Cheap to use as it only uses #of table salt.

Waterdog (@guest_240298)
5 months ago

As a past fellow full timer and water treatment aficionado (35 years). The on the go unit featured is excellent at treating hard water and easy to maintain. It goes without saying everyone staying in an RV campground should be filtering And treating for hardness. I tested almost all our incoming water from the RV park we would stay, and I would say that 99% of water needed softening. We had a dishwasher, wash machine, and hydronic water heater, all are very vulnerable to hardness and iron staining. When you buy an “On the go” unit you should get a a TDS meter. It will measure your total hardness (calcium and Magnesium) and other metallic ions (iron) that you need to be worried about. So what measurement is (not good) according to your tds meter? I always treated if the water was a approaching 60 ppm (parts per million) just a rule of thumb. Just make it part of your routine when you set up!!

Cancelproof (@guest_240297)
5 months ago

We had one if these for our boats and still have one in our DP, it works great. Highly recommend for anyone with skin condition related to water and dry skin as a portable add on to your RV. Various other reasons obviously but that was catalyst for our purchase.

Glenn Blake-Lobb (@guest_240292)
5 months ago

I grew up with soft water but didn’t have it for years when I left home. Now 40 + yrs later we are traveling and found camp ground water to be iffy at best, we got the same softener you use and love it. The coffee tastes better the soap goes farther ect. Also the deposits in the sinks are gone (keeps momma happy) I wouldn’t Rv without one.

Jim Johnson (@guest_240281)
5 months ago

Our seasonal RV park uses a reverse osmosis system to control a lot of poor water issues, including hardness. So far, we only need a a filter for any grit that might scale off pipes.However, recently the RV park has had to truck in water due to severe drought impact on the park’s wells.

I have been reluctant to obtain a softener system as we encounter at least some freeze conditions every winter. I already thermostatically heat from the ground into our RV. It is not inexpensive. Revising our freeze prevention for the addition of a water softener somewhere in the line would not be a trivial addition to the cost of the softener. The alternative would involve draining the system every night we might go below freezing, then setting everything back up the next day. Doesn’t sound like fun. But if I gotta, I gotta.

Tommy Molnar (@guest_240268)
5 months ago

While this gent tended to drone on, his info was useful. We finally opted for a water softener while spending way too much time in Houston. We instantly loved it, especially after testing the water in the RV park. We loved it SO much we had a whole house water softener installed in our sticks and bricks when we got home. I fought that install for over 20 years. I did NOT like the feeling of never getting the soap off when showering. I finally got used to it and now we wouldn’t have an RV OR a house without a water softener.

Ran (@guest_240243)
5 months ago

Which model is the water softener?!

Bob P (@guest_240263)
5 months ago
Reply to  Ran

The big blue one in the pic!

Sign up for the

RVtravel Newsletter

Sign up and receive 3 FREE RV Checklists: Set-Up, Take-Down and Packing List.